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Restrictive diet! How will I cope in Tokyo?

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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:01 AM
  #1
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Restrictive diet! How will I cope in Tokyo?

I have gastritis and have been on medication and a restricted diet for about 6-7 weeks now. There has been a little improvement but I've experienced set backs when I've deviated from my very basic diet.

I eat 7 things! Steamed or sauteed white fish, chicken, cooked carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, egg and a little cheese.
I can tolerate a little butter or oil for cooking purposes but no fried food.

Every day I have soup made out of the vegetables and I eat scrambled egg with cheese or veg frittata or baked potato plus fish or chicken for dinner.
NO spices or seasoning apart from a little salt!
I think I should be able to tolerate white rice but I didn't have any success with it so far.

So my trip is 6 weeks away but I'm starting to panic about the food. I have tried to eat sushi but I presume I can't tolerate the vinegar in the rice.

Ack! I was so looking forward to the trip and the food!

So does anyone know what and where I'll be able to find food that I can eat in Tokyo?

I've shrunk my itinerary to make it easier to deal with my food issues as I feel that a less ambitious plan is called for.
We'll be staying 5 nights near Shinjuku at the Hyatt Regency, 2 nights in Hakone (Hyatt) then back to the PHyatt for 1 night before heading to Tokyo Disney for 2 nights.

I'm presuming I'll be able to find something I can eat at the hotels for breakfast and I hope that Shinjuku station really does have a myriad of food options including DULL, BASIC AND BLAND!!

Sigh, I had to cancel my trip to Hawaii last week as I really wasn't fit to travel but I hope I can go to Japan! Both trips were meant to be extra special pre and post birthday presents.

Thanks for any advice apart from the stay at home suggestions
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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How horrible for you. I'm sure this is not fun at all. Best news that I can offer is that you will probably have more options in Japan than anywhere else I can think of.

That's primarily because a huge source of food for tourists in Japan is from department stores. Virtually every department store in the cities has a food hall in the basement, and in these food halls you'll find a wealth of prepared foods, groceries, snacks, and most anything else you can imagine. Plus, I am sure that the Hyatts will try to provide whatever you need.

Do keep in mind, though, that vegetables might have the same names in the US and Japan, but those vegetables might be slightly different. I believe that Japanese sweet potatoes, for example, are much stickier than those found here.

That said, I do wish you the best in finding a solution. I was in a similar situation a few years ago -- I'll spare you the details, but would up returning home (I was on safari in Kenya at the time) when it became too difficult to continue. I am in no way trying to compare what I had to your current ills or trying to diagnose your ills, but I eventually learned that I had some nasty bacterial infection, and a sourse of antibiotics cleared up the problem within a few days. The suggestion of the antibiotics came from the 3rd Dr that I saw. Wish it had been one of the first two, whom I'd seen before the trip.

Good luck.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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Don,
Thank you for the encouraging words and advice. Sorry, to hear you've been in the same boat or at least a similar vessel on a prior trip..

I'm hoping I don't have to resort to buying a microwave in Tokyo to cook my own soup but it's good to know that groceries are widely available in the department stores.

I didn't plan to shop on this trip but I might have to!
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Feb 26th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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I would think an international chain like the Hyatt can be very helpful to you. I would email the concierge a week or so ahead of your arrival and explain exactly what you think you will need and politely ask if there is any way they can accomodate you perhaps with special meals.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato)one of my favorite things to eat from a basement depato. Okinawan sweet potatoes(purple) are even better(sweeter).
The Hyatt in Shinjuku should have a microwave you can use(rent)in your room as should the PH. Take food with you to Hakone as you will be in an isolated situation there with not much to choose from when at the hotel.
You will be in a strange and different country but luckily not a third world situation so you will be able to fine the food you need just as you do at home with the difficult part being the cooking of it. You can either take your microwave containers to cook or stop off at the Tokyu Hands store east side of the JR Shinjuku Station to buy some cheap alternatives. The Tokyu Hands should be on your to do list anyway if you are a shopper. Good luck!

http://shinjuku.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/index.html

Aloha!
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Feb 26th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato)one of my favorite things to eat from a basement depato. Okinawan sweet potatoes(purple) are even better(sweeter).
The Hyatt in Shinjuku should have a microwave you can use(rent)in your room as should the PH. Take food with you to Hakone as you will be in an isolated situation there with not much to choose from when at the hotel.
You will be in a strange and different country but luckily not a third world situation so you will be able to fine the food you need just as you do at home with the difficult part being the cooking of it. You can either take your microwave containers to cook or stop off at the Tokyu Hands store east side of the JR Shinjuku Station to buy some cheap alternatives. The Tokyu Hands should be on your to do list anyway if you are a shopper. Good luck!

http://shinjuku.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/index.html

Aloha!
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Feb 26th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Good suggestions from ht re: Hakone.

I'd also suggest that you see if you can tolerate Miso soup. If so, it will help a lot as you can get miso soup **everywhere** (often, whether you want it or not).
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Feb 26th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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HT and laurie-ann,
Thanks for the advice re the Hyatt and the depato. I will ask about a microwave for the room.

Don, I've never been a fan of miso; I've tasted better dishwater! It's definitely a no go though as I've been told to stay clear of onions and anything fermented (soy sauce, etc).

It's frustrating as I can't eat something as simple and readily available as yogurt (as it's fermented).

I forgot to mention I can tolerate a little milk and vanilla icecream but less than 1 cup per day of dairy is recommended.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 06:47 PM
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Noodles? ramen, udon. soba
Grilled fish?

Sashimi? No vinegar or hidden wasabi like in sushi.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 06:59 PM
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What about congee? I know it's Chinese, but I would guess you could order Chicken congee in Japan and get it. It's a chicken and rice soup, and is what the hotel manager sent to Cheryl when she was sick with food poisoning.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 10:44 PM
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I was recently in Japan and had noticed that several grocery stores have sweet potatoes cooking/baking on some sort of a grill. They are ready to eat---already cooked and even warm!

There was a variety of cheese available.

I enjoy cheese for snacking so I actually carried a few small packages and stored them in the small refrigerator in the hotel. They came in handy everyday with some crackers or bread. Not sure if you are able to eat crackers and bread.

In addition, many grocery stores also sell a wide variety of soups ---Campbells, Knorr's etc. So if there is one you like and are able to eat, you can buy there.

Lastly, I have sometimes used a teacup that is often in the hotel room to warm up some canned soup when I am a little sick. Soup is a life saver sometimes. Have you tried using some chicken broth mixed with some cooked rice. I know it may sound terrible, but sometimes such simple, dull food item is required by an ailing stomach. Chicken broth made from those little cubes can be handy too if you like the taste.

Some hotels rent microwaves and if you are able to get one, you can easily cook an egg too!

Good luck. Do share your experience with us on your return.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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Thanks for the further suggestions.
I must admit I'm a little leery of eating prepared foods.
I have eaten out just once since I fell ill and although I was very specific about my needs (plain grilled white fish, no seasoning with a baked potato with a little cheese or butter) I was actually served the fish on a bed of cooked greens. Maybe it was to make the dish look more attractive but something aggravated my stomach that night and I suspect the greens were cooked with a little garlic.

I can't eat bread, pasta or crackers and I'm not sure about rice. I'll give it another try!
I've not tried congee but recipes I've read include ginger.. or green onion.
Tinned soups are out. They all seem to contain some thickening agents, onion, spices or herbs.

I can easily survive on baked potatoes for lunch every day with a little cheese and if I can find someplace that cooks plain white fish or chicken..steamed, grilled or baked and make my own scrambled egg and boiled carrots in a microwave then I'll be all set.
I'm actually eating very little so maybe my lack of energy will set me back more on this trip than my diet restrictions.

I'm really hoping this would be the worst case scenario as I should see some improvement within 3 -4 weeks and my trip is 6 weeks away. No guarantees though as I've been told stomachs heal slowly and everyone is unique.

I'll contact the hotels a week or so beforehand and see what accommodations they can make for my diet.

Thanks again and I will let you know what happens..
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Feb 27th, 2013, 07:00 AM
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How about renting an apartment? My friends just spent time in a VRBO in Tokyo and loved having a flat in a "neighborhood." Then you would only have to worry about a few nights in hotels.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 07:15 AM
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Here's a video my friends made about their neighborhood - part of a series of short films about their year traveling around the world. You'll see a modern supermarket, which are all over Tokyo, and would have all your ingredients.

http://www.ayeartothink.com/2012/10/...ng-coffee-run/

They also rented an amazing place in Kyoto.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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crosscheck, while I now think an apartment would be ideal for this trip we booked the hotels months ago and some nights were prepaid (good rate).

I do think I'll be able to cope; after all my dietary requirements are pretty basic items needing no elaborate cooking techniques. Access to a microwave would allay any doubts I have.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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You'll be fine then - You should be able to get plain chicken and fish everywhere and standards of cleanliness are impeccable. Just have someone write your restrictions (no spices, etc.) on a business card that you can hand to the servers. Good luck!
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Feb 27th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Sassy cat--just wondering if you have asked airlines to help you with your meals in the plane.
Or would you be able to carry baked potato, carrot etc. that can be heated by the FA.
You are brave to plan a long-distance trip. But the nice thing is Japan is a very clean country and the people are wonderful and helpful.
So, I think you will be okay since you are doing so many planning ahead of your trip.
Good luck
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Feb 27th, 2013, 10:52 AM
  #18
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crosscheck, I will definitely make sure my food restrictions are clear. One bad experience was enough for me!
I enjoyed the short video on your friend's blog.

ileen, the trip to Japan was booked and planned before I fell sick and having already cancelled one vacation (I should be in Hawaii right now) I'm determined to go.

I think I'll be fine on the plane. I can take all I need on board. It wouldn't be the end of the world if I have to eat cold scrambled egg or potato!
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Feb 27th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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You can cook something from home package it and I am sure the FA will warm it for you. They often warm up food for babies, so I am sure they will be helpful.
Try to tell a FA before the service begins and you should get some help.
Are you able to eat 1/2 banana!
Good luck
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Feb 27th, 2013, 07:37 PM
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>> I'm not sure about rice. I'll give it another try!<<

Is there a Japanese restaurant in your area? Try it there.
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