Gluten Free Travel Japan: Eating Out and Grocery Shopping

Japan is an excellent destination for the traveler on a gluten free diet. With these simple gluten free travel tips, no Celiac or gluten intolerance sufferer need feel deprived while visiting Japan.

Avoiding Gluten in Japanese Food

There are relatively few wheat based . The gluten free traveler should avoid noodle dishes (including soba buckwheat noodles, as they are seldom made solely from buckwheat), fried foods such as karaage (fried chicken) and tempura and batter based foods such as takoyaki (an octopus dumpling-like dish) okonomiyaki (a savory pancake-like dish). Further, to avoid hidden gluten in the guise of soy sauce, the traveler on a gluten free diet must be wary of most foods prepared with sauces, including salads and greens with dressing, simmered dishes (nimono, in Japanese) and stir-fry dishes.






Finding Gluten Free Japanese Food at a Restaurant

Unlike Japanese restaurants in other countries, restaurants in Japan frequently focus on one type of food. Sushi restaurants and restaurants offering teshoku set menus are most likely to offer gluten free meals. The gluten free traveler will find few options in noodle shops, okonomiyaki restaurants and curry houses.

Most Japanese restaurants are furnished with a display containing plastic models of the different menu items, located either outside the shop or just inside the entryway. This handy display can help the visitor determine if there is any safe food to be had within. A few of the dishes that can relied upon to be gluten free include:

  • sushi prepared with raw fish
  • sushi prepared with raw vegetables
  • shioyaki salt-grilled fish
  • chilled tofu

Many restaurants offer a teshoku set menu, in which rice, soup and a number of small dishes are served together. Rice, unless flavored or mixed with barley, is sure to be safe, and miso soup is usually gluten free (miso is sometimes made with barley, so showing a gluten free traveler card to the server is a good idea). To avoid soy sauce, skip any simmered dishes, stir fries or dressed salads. Pickled vegetables are usually gluten free, but it is wise to ask if they have been seasoned with soy sauce.



Gluten Free Meals at the Japanese Supermarket

Japanese supermarkets have a section devoted to take out food and bento boxed lunches. These can be a good place for the gluten free traveler to find a quick meal. Look for:

  • shioyaki grilled fish
  • raw vegetable and raw fish sushi
  • potato salad
  • edamame young soy beans
  • white rice or rice steamed with adzuki beans
  • onigiri rice balls containing ume boshi pickled plum, takuan pickled daikon radish or tuna salad
  • green or mixed salad with dressing packed separately

With a selection of these foods, a balanced meal can be pulled together at any supermarket and many convenience stores.

Gluten free travel can be a challenge, but a little preparation will go a long way. By choosing restaurants with gluten free menu items like sushi and grilled fish, Celiac and gluten intolerant travelers can enjoy some of the best Japan has to offer by way of food. What is more, visitors can bring back a love of Japanese cuisine and, upon returning, incorporate Japanese dishes into their own gluten free diets.

The Diary of a Lost Girl: #2 Traveling

Dear Diary,

It has been about a month since I have been living this life of homelessness. I feel a sense of loss within me since I have no idea where I come from. I feel sort of alone and I have no idea where to go from here or what to do.

I found another shelter as I began wondering around the streets to find some answers. I just took myself and the clothes upon my back and headed down the street. I let my feet guide me and fate take me to where I need to go. Now, I am lying down upon this not so comfortable cot resting my body. I plan to stay here for about a week and then I will begin to make my next step to find out my past.

I feel like I have a huge case of amnesia but I do not think I have been hit in the head, nor do I think anything bad has happened. I guess I will find out someday what my past holds. Until then I must build a bridge from my present to the future. One day at a time.

Yours truly
Tibet an Summers.

The Business of Being Born – Time for a Change: Producer Ricki Lake's Documentary about Birth in the United States

Abby Epstein directed this documentary about The Business of Being Born. The history of the medical community intersecting with maternal health care has come to a point where the insurance business is not about giving good care, or options, for women and their families, but about maximizing profits and making life easy for physicians. Giving birth has become a billion dollar industry, with the worst outcomes by far per dollar spent of anywhere in the developed world. Yet insurance companies continue to fight midwifery as an alternative. A hospital birth is about $13,000 and a midwife birth about $4,000; why is this not a better way if the statistics show that less is more in this case?

The Business of Being Born is a Billion Dollar Business Not Aimed at Helping Mothers or Babies

There is a crisis in maternity care. We have higher death rates than many third world countries. Yet the system is designed to make things easy for the doctors and insurance executives, not for women and their babies. If the woman comes in and is not having contractions rapidly enough, she is give a drug, Pitocin, to hurry things up. Then to help her with the severe pain caused by the Pitocin, an epidural is given. This causes greater distress to the helpless infant, who is experiencing more the effects of the painful, dangerous and violent contractions.

Historically, the medical community has tried to make childbirth easier for the medical practitioner. A few decades ago, doctors were taking ex-rays of the woman's uterus, which led to cancer in the babies, so that practice was stopped. Then in the 1950s, Thalidomide was given to women, which led to children being born without arms and legs, so that regime was stopped. In the 1990s, women were given another drug that cause ruptured uteruses and death for many babies. Each of these practices left behind a legacy of suffering, infant deaths, and material maladies.

Normal Birth is Becoming Extinct in the U.S.

C-section is becoming the norm, with as many as 45% of all births being surgically planned in some areas. It has become trendy, with some famous women "too posh to push," and the trend then becomes the desired procedure for other women who emulate the celebrities. Will infants and mothers ever learn the truth about how natural childbirth can be a wonderful experience? Will women continue to go along with the trend towards scheduling births for the convenience of doctors and hospitals? This film was Rickii Lake's attempt to shine a light on a subject that is often overlooked by women. One midwife said that she had witnessed at 500% increase in C-sections performed, while in the midwife sector, they have been going down. This film urges couples expecting a child to research their options before deciding which type of birth they want to experience.


Time Travel

True joy and happiness are not spatial;
we eventually learn that they are behavioral.
The Nasdaq or a piece of real estate;
it’s quite obvious, they cannot placate.

As we travel through space and time;
always searching, looking for the sublime.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher;
let us avoid that path to joy’s forfeiture.

A time to lose, a time to gain;
is there ever a life that doesn’t have pain?
I’ve learned this lesson, just this day;
blessings come in secret, I’ll follow this way.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for;
don’t despair, just look inwardly and don’t ignore.
It is in silence where we meet truth and joy;
once we taste the celestial, the terrestrial becomes a ploy.

In order to feast, first we must fast;
this oxymoron will keep us from being downcast.
Let’s face it, many folks are lost;
go the wrong path, we then pay the cost.

True joy and happiness are not spatial;
now we see this notion is universal.
Why do we labor for that which does not satisfy;
seek the things above, then we can beatify.


7 Smart Tactics That are Working for Top Bloggers

I felt it was high time that we compiled a list of cool things that bloggers are doing to increase subscribers, please their readers, encourage comments, generate links, build revenue, and create more stickiness. There are tons of plugins that can increase the usability and stickiness of a blog, but in this post, we’re talking about the things bloggers are doing aside from plugins.

So let’s get right to it:

  1.  Recapping successful posts for newer subscribers

Matt McGee, author of Small Business SEM and Patrick Schaber, author of The Lonely Marketer do an “in case you missed it” post periodically with links to some of the more popular posts from the past. Both bloggers not that they have experienced an increased number of subscribers in a short time period, many who may not have seen some posts that others responded well to. This is great way to further hook some of your newer subscribers.

  1.  Asking for anchor text

If you develop a loyal enough following like John Chow, they’ll want to see you grow and prosper – so why not ask them for a little help in the search engine rankings in exchange for an incentive? This is exactly what Chow did with his win a Microsoft Zune contest where he asked fellow bloggers to write a post with the anchor text “make money on the internet” in exchange for a chance to win a Zune. Must be working… as one of his commenter’s said in good fun “…pretty soon you won’t be able to a single search on Google without a link to JohnChow dot com popping up!!”

  1.  Encouraging reciprocal link love

Nate Whitehill does a weekly round up of favorite posts from around the blogosphere like many others do, but he found a way to bump it up a notch and encourage a link back to his blog with his “Powerful Posts” Award. Bloggers who were mentioned can copy and paste the HTML of the award on the post that was featured, letting their readers know that they received a mention on Nate’s blog. We liked the idea so much, that we created something similar for our Friday “Who Said That” round-up. Thanks Nate!

  1.  Predictable, consistent, weekly features

A blog is similar to a magazine in that the goal is to develop a strong following and grow a subscriber base. One thing that all magazines share, no matter how different they are, is having predictable, consistent columns or features instead of a bunch or random information. Some people may enjoy one feature so much that they remain a subscriber just to see what’s new each week even if they don’t have time to read every post, every day. SEOMoz’s Whiteboard Friday where an SEOMozer discusses some behind the scenes insight is a great example a consistent feature that I personally look forward to watching each week. Zen Habits also has a consistent topic schedule where every Tuesday is GTD (Getting Things Done) day and Sunday’s are dedicated to posts about building a better balance with your family.

  1.  U-Follow? U-Tell

People like to comment… but they like to comment even more if you follow. If you’ve made the decision to follow links back to the commenter’s blog or website, why not announce it like HD Biz Blog does?

  1.  Guest Blogging

A number of bloggers have started having others write posts on their blogs and/or write as guest bloggers on other blogs. Many said that that they may have been hesitant about asking guest bloggers to post on their blogs, but after trying it, many like Brian at CopyBlogger were happy with the diversity that new voices provided. This is also a smart way to keep your blog fresh if you know you might be out of town or unavailable for a while. However, if you’ve built up a following, they may be resistant to change. Want some real market research on this? Take a look at the comments when ProBlogger readers were asked if Darren’s guest blogger experiment was “good or bad.”

  1.  Holding a Contest

Not to toot our own horn, but our Podcasting contest where anyone who subscribes and lets us know about it is automatically entered to win a huge box of podcast gear has been pretty successful! (More about the results in a later post). The launch of the contest allowed us to generate traffic from press releases, get mentioned on a number of blogs, and encourage many people to subscribe. Of course, it’s our responsibility to keep those subscribers, and we’re happy to have that responsibility. (If you haven’t entered yet, be sure to do so by July 18th!)

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of smart things that bloggers are doing to please their readers and increase the success of their blogs. Feel free to comment with great ideas that you’ve seen around the blogosphere!

Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade: And Grilled Chicken Skewers

Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade can be hard to find in stores. There are some brands of sauces that are gluten free, but this teriyaki marinade with no gluten is so easy that there is no need to buy a store bought sauce for your gluten free diet.

Ingredients for Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade

  • 1/2 c. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 c. gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs. sesame seeds (optional)

Directions for Using Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade

  1. Combine all ingredients in a dish or zip top plastic bag.
  2. Stir well to dissolve brown sugar.
  3. Submerge meat or vegetables in Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour to overnight.
  5. Discard Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade and cook meat or vegetables as desired.

Makes one cup of Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade.

Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade is perfect for making Grilled Chicken Skewers (or Kabobs). Lean chicken and fresh vegetables compliment each other perfectly in this classic summer dish.

It is recommended that you wrap your Grilled Chicken Skewers with Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade in foil before grilling. This helps them to cook evenly and distribute the flavors. If you prefer to have charred grill marks on your Grilled Chicken Skewers, skip the foil step and place them directly on the grill instead.

If you are using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them thoroughly in water before grilling to avoid burning on the grill. If you are short on time, or not needing quite as much of a presentation, try the packet grilling instructions instead.



Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Skewers with Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 c. Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can chunk pineapple (drain and reserve the juice for Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade)
  • 12 wooden or metal skewers

Preparation Instructions for Grilled Chicken Skewers with Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade

  1. Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Place chicken and Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade in dish or zip top plastic bag and refrigerate for one hour to overnight.
  3. Slice peppers and onions into 1-2 inch pieces.
  4. Place marinated chicken, pineapple chunks, peppers and onions on skewers in alternating order until all skewers are filled.

Grilling Instructions for Grilled Chicken Skewers with Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade

  1. Wrap loaded skewers in foil in groups of 2-4, laying flat.
  2. Place wrapped chicken skewers on grill and cook, rotating every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Time Saving Packet Grilling Instructions

  1. Omit skewers from preparation.
  2. Place vegetables and marinated chicken on a large sheet of foil.
  3. Wrap foil tightly around food and seal edges.
  4. Place wrapped chicken and vegetables on grill and cook, rotating every 5 minutes, about 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Serve Grilled Chicken Skewers with Gluten Free Teriyaki Marinade on a bed of rice for a light and satisfying meal, or as party appetizers alongside Gluten Free Porcupine Meatballs.