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21 September 2010 @ 10:23 am
A few recommendations... :)  
I left the a/c on all night, and I feel SO much better today! Clear-headed, energetic, and like I can finally work! It's incredible, the difference that an air-conditioner can make. I guess I'll have to suck up a bill of over $100 again this month. But I'd much rather feel like this than I did yesterday!! I think that it's more about the humidity than the heat, since I have it set at 28℃ and it's not even that hot outside. But the a/c sucks out the humidity like crazy. ^^ YAY! This is what I get for being brought up in a desert. =D

I made pancakes with nutmeg and cinnamon in the batter, and topped them with caramelized apples for breakfast. Not low-calorie, but definitely high-delicious!! Apples are one of the things that I love about fall, and Japan is full of them! Mako started to teach me about all of the different kinds of apples available in Japan the other day, and it has me eager to try them all! I'll get some more information and write about them here when I can, too. ^^

So, before I start the day, I just wanted to write about a few things. One is the lovely picture at the right...

Pal Sweet.
http://www.ajinomoto.co.jp/lcr/

My friend Mamiko told me about this concoction a while ago. Basically it's aspartame, aka a sugarless sweetner, with 0 calories or 10% of the calories of sugar. Unfortunately, it is ridiculously expensive, and it doesn't cook like sugar. You can use it in almost anything (like niku-jaga, yum!), but not in baking, despite what it says on the label. It just doesn't fluff up like regular sugar. I tried to make banana bread with it, but it was flat and not very good. Plenty sweet, but yeah.. (I also tried it with something called lacanto, which is nonsugar and noncalorie and completely natural, some kind of fruit extract, but it didn't work either).

However!! It's PERFECT for some things like in your morning tea. I love milk tea, but the sugar in it usually makes me feel lethargic or crash later. Not to mention that it makes my skin break out like crazy if I eat a lot of it. So this is perfect!! I just keep cold tea in the fridge all of the time (I'm currently loving houji-cha, which is roasted green tea. It's somewhere in the middle of black and green tea in flavor. Best part is that it's ridiculously cheap in Japan), and then I put a little bit of whole milk and pal sweet in it and have a great milk tea latte during breakfast! THe only calories come from the milk, and milk and tea are both good for you, so it's a win-win!! =^-^=

There is also a zero-calorie version, but it's even more expensive. (Pal sweet regular is about $5 for 120g, Pal Sweet 0 is about $4 for 60g, whereas white or brown sugar is about $1 for one kg. WTF) T_T I wish that it was the same price as normal sugar. Then I would basically buy sugar only to bake with (although I would probably try and find something else). I'd like to cut out sugar almost completely if possible!! My skin looks so much better...

Anyways, after using Pal Sweet for a long time, I was looking for information about it online and found out that it's actually the same as Nutrasweet!! SHOCK! The thing is, I really only thought of Nutrasweet as something for diabetics, not that a regular person could use or did use. But I was wrong! All of this time I've been uninformed about the lovely world of no-calorie sweetness. WHenever I am rich, I will use it to make puddings and such. Definitely.

I've heard all about the aspartame-causes-cancer debate, so I don't really need to hear about it again.. just in case you were tempted to post about it here. I don't believe it, especially since there are no studies with proof of it. So let's let that rest. In any case, for my health and my diet, I'm a pal sweet girl all the way!! =^-^=

And the "English Teachers" drama finally went online!



It was pretty funny! I've been getting updates about it for a long time, so I was really curious to see how it turned out. I think that I'll keep watching for a while and see how it grows on me! It's got some good potential =^-^= Check it out!
 
 
 
Mikazomikazo on September 21st, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
ビデオはありがとう。 面白いなようです。
Kira_Shadowkira_shadow on September 21st, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
my family has been using aspartam based stuff for a long time...not just because my mother has diabetes but also because there are less calories in it and everything...

it's also something that I'm not allergic to (other synthesized stuff doesn't go well with my stomach)

so yay :)
hagarenobsessedhagarenobsessed on September 21st, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to keep watching English Teachers. Those 5 minutes were awesome. :3
 ★ アニー : other - just a girlanippan on September 21st, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
I love the concept of this web drama. Cute and very funny! It's my first time hearing about it but it caught my attention. Are you involved in the project?

Anyway, thanks for sharing! :)
shin_no_hanabi: conan mehshin_no_hanabi on September 21st, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
unfortunately i'm allergic to aspartame =(
i'm a fan of splenda for baking and truvia for drinks =D
http://www.truvia.com/about/default.aspx
truvia is a mix of stevia and erythritol. I've heard some ppl have issues with sugar alcohols.. so it might not be for everyone, just like aspartame i guess XD
Christina: Sid Vicious.totenkopf on September 21st, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
I get a bit warm at night also. I have a down comforter. . and when I switched to just a blanket and sheets about a week ago, I felt a difference in my sleeping/feeling better the next day, too. I bet the air conditioner is nice. . living in Washington, I'm sure you also know it doesn't get that hot here. But when we do get those warm/muggy days, we don't have air conditioning. . just the heater. As obviously we have more cold days than hot. . n_n but I can't imagine how much nicer it feels sleeping with air conditioning at night!! Glad it is making you feel better. :)

&& I love~ caramelized apples. Now you make me really want to try and make those pancakes myself :p Do you by any chance have a recipe for it, or was it something you tossed together yourself??

I'll be sure to check out "English Teachers"!
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 21st, 2010 05:41 am (UTC)
I just tossed whatever felt yummy in a pan and went from there! ^-^
Christina: Sid Vicious.totenkopf on September 21st, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
Ooh~ See, I wish I could be creative like that. My Mom usually does that too, instead of following recipes :p I'll have to still give it a try, though! :)
Melissa D. Johnson: Hachi - Sorry!mippa on September 21st, 2010 04:58 am (UTC)
Eh, the drama left me cold. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more authentic?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 21st, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's kind of a farce isn't it? I like it enough for what it is, but for authenticism I think it's best to read the blogs of teachers =D
Melissa D. Johnson: Hachi - Sunflowersmippa on September 21st, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Well the girl's behavior wasn't very well communicated, and the entire 'accidentally groping the chick's chest' was, like, 1980's Takahashi manga cliche.

It probably would've been better if they got me people who could act a little better, but considering the whole thing was primarily narration, I'm not sure.

It was a cute premise, but poorly executed. At least the name of the company was funny! "Have a Be Yes day!"
L.impressioniste on September 21st, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Have you ever tried using Splenda in baking? Or even a half/half mix of splenda and sugar. I've heard that people get pretty good results with it, in lieu of the other not-so-good for baking artificial sweeteners. I'm not sure if you have it available to you over there, but I figured I'd mention it :)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 21st, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
They don't have splenda here, but I'll pick some up the next time that I go to the US and give it a try! Thanks!
L.impressioniste on September 21st, 2010 05:41 am (UTC)
I could try picking some up for you, if you like. They sell some in bags that's specifically ratioed with a little filler to be used cup for cup like sugar (instead of concentrated into tiny packets for coffee/tea).

It's a bit expensive, but I don't mind buying friends presents every so often :3 It wouldn't be a huge supply, but enough to try in a few recipes.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 21st, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
Aw, you're so sweet! =^-^= But don't trouble yourself, I'm planning to make a trip to see my family for Thanksgiving this year, so I'll just grab some then!
L.impressioniste on September 21st, 2010 05:55 am (UTC)
Oh, Thanksgiving isn't too far off so that's not so bad. If you change your mind, just let me know! If/when you try it, they also have a website with tips for using it and adapting existing recipes for use with it. :3
arthurfrdent: notlaughingarthurfrdent on September 21st, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
splend is a name brand... try to find "sucralose" which is what it is called chemically... It may well also be called 'diet-sugar' as it appears to be in India.

seems to be one of the only types that will stand up to heat, as in baking. I also use it in tea, because it tastes more like sugar to me than any of the others incl. Stevia.
amarylliszaiamarylliszai on September 21st, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)
LOL I was watching the drama too...It seems like a fun show ^_^
キッちゃん (ki-chan)ashita_wa_ok on September 21st, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
I thought that the drama was cute! (^^) Definitely good for a laugh.
Synthetic sugar items: I haven't read any valid studies on them (good or bad), because most of what is printed does not tell you that its information can be disproved based on antecedent variables or intervening variables (additional information that changes the results, that they typically "forget" to tell the masses).
However, doctors seem to lean towards the belief that when consuming sugar-replacement substances while consuming actual sugar in your diet, that it can be contradictory to your original intentions (keeping healthy). This is because one result that has been reoccurring is that the (for now call it) "fake" sugar convinces your body that you are burning sugar, when you're not. So when you have actual sugar, your body responds by storing the real sugar, causing you to gain weight or inducing slight fatigue.
For people who are diabetic though, it can be a real help. My grandmother has a sweet tooth, so she definitely appreciates it. I'm actually insulin resistant myself, but I don't like the taste, so I just moderate my sugar intake. :P
Curiously though, are these types of sugar replacements really popular in Japan?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 21st, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Dieting is a huge thing here in Japan, and anything touted as a diet food (like this) is snapped up like hotcakes here by the young ladies. =D

Once a few years ago the news reported that eating tons of bananas was a great way to lose weight and suddenly you couldn't find a banana anywhere to save your life! Same happened with natto, though I didn't really care about short supply of that. XD
tsuk1y0 on September 21st, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
Aspartame is what is used in a lot of diet sodas and such. Actually, most diabetics are allergic to it. I'm hypoglycemic (exact opposite of diabetes but treated the same way only without insulin shots) and I'm allergic to it but several of my normal friends are fine with it.

For baking I would recommend Splenda. It is awesome! Basically what Splenda is, is the same chemical structure as sugar only flipped backwards. Your body doesn't recognize it as sugar therefore it just flushes it out of your system! I use it all the time to bake and it tastes just like sugar. :D
dee2eyrealgsl on September 21st, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Hello, i hear that if you set your a/c to above 25 degrees, your aircon bill is much lower. At least that's true for Singapore. Not sure about Japan.