I’m editing this post to make it a bit more relevant to Japan (which is where I live), and I hope it may serve as a useful tool for others who may be traveling or living in Japan as well.
So I’m somewhat new to using ingredients like coconut flour and the like, and I wanted to get some feedback on what items I should be stocking to lower my carb intake. I’m also searching for foods that are low GI.
The challenge is finding and obtaining these ingredients in Japan.
Here’s a quick overview of food in Japan as they might relate to a type 1 diabetic:
Japan is very starch heavy- and at times there seems to be no way out of it. A meal, especially one at a restaurant, is filled with either rice, noodles (udon, soba, etc), or bread (white). None of these help keep my blood sugars stable, so I do my best to avoid restaurants. At home, I have been mixing rice with barley to make a lower GI rice mix, which seems to help.
Some foods that I have lived with while being in the US are either very hard to find or very expensive in Japan. Nuts and cheese are two prime examples, and I’ve pretty much removed them from my diet because of the sheer cost. Cost can be an issue as well when grocery shopping, as there is little price stability for vegetables (a rain storm back in September nearly doubled the price of all vegetables in my area).
On the flip side, tofu, moyashi (bean sprouts), ito konnyaku (aka shirataki), and various kinds of mushrooms are typically very cheap in Japan. The vegetable store (about 1km away by foot) near my apartment has a mega sale every Saturday (and is closed on Sunday). It’s actually nice to see fruit and vegetable stores in the city… in the US, they were taken over by big chain stores long ago…
I think this pretty much sums up food in Japan, although there’s plenty that I left out. Non-calorie sweeteners. While I rarely use them, I have yet to see them in grocery stores in Japan.
Luckily there are a few websites out there that ship to Japan and have a nice selection of spices and grocery items that are either difficult to find here or wildly expensive.
There is one caveat, some food products are either not allowed in Japan, or are taxed (sometimes as much as +50%). If a product is banned, it’s best to look for a seller within Japan using Amazon.jp or Rakuten.
Products that I’ve Found in Japan
Almond Milk (Reasonably Priced!)
Hard to find in Japan
Stevia or other non calorie sweeteners
Expensive (more or less) in Japan, Cheap to Ship From US
Popcorn Kernels (yay!)
Granola (Bob’s Red Mill- price is right!)
Honey (could be taxed up to 50%)
Dry Beans *
Rice (such as basmati rice)
Seeds (although some herbs might make it through)
Any other recommendations would be gladly appreciated. I’m absolutely buying stevia and considering erythritol, but I’m not entirely sure about the learning curve of using them.