Weird Japanese Drinks: Euglena Farm Juice (飲むユーグレナ)

Euglena themed food items are a new health craze in Japan!

Yesterday, I drank Euglena.

What is euglena, you might ask? That’s a really good question. I had no idea what euglena is, but my husband and his other Japanese friend were very excited about the prospect of drinking it.

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Ryosuke was all like “it’s super-healthy! It makes your metabolism faster and is really good for you!” I thought it was like the acai berry supplements or some other vegetable that is surprisingly good for you. It tasted just like any of the other vegetable drinks you can find at the supermarket.

So I looked it up.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope. For other clueless people (like me), euglena is not a vegetable. It is a single-celled flagellate protists. Or, in more simple terms (hey, science was never my forte), euglena are green single-celled organisms with the characteristics of both plants and animals.

They are also an incredibly popular food item in Japan. That looks like this:

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You learn something new every day.

That afternoon, Ryosuke showed me an aloe yogurt at the convenience store across the street (Family Mart) – their aloe yogurt also contains a bit of euglena. We also found some Euglena cookies at a museum near Odaiba. This Japan Times article talks about the popularity of euglena is a food item in Japan, if you’re interested.

It’s… interesting?

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Perhaps I’ve just been living under a rock, but before we got this drink, I had never heard of euglena. Several of my Japanese friends have.

So next time you’re walking around Tokyo and see a euglena food item, check it out. This drink was pretty good (you know, as far as super-healthy drinks go). I give it an 8/10.

Apparently eating certain single celled organisms is actually good for you. 

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About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

16 Comments on Weird Japanese Drinks: Euglena Farm Juice (飲むユーグレナ)

  1. Anonymous // 23 January, 2016 at 1:45 am //

    The other common uses for euglena are recycling – the euglena eat toxins and capture carbon – and manufacturing jet fuel!

  2. The japanese has lots of weird things to eat and their commersializm is over the edge

  3. Eugenia Shusman // 27 October, 2014 at 1:38 pm //

    Hahaha my name is Eugenia. I remember reading about Euglena in high school.

  4. Anonymous // 21 October, 2014 at 7:36 pm //

    I eat anything that walk, crawl, swim or fly. Might be a good idea to add this to my diet after I polished off an animal. Haha.

  5. Me neither have ever heard about it. I will check the conbini for it. :)
    As long as it the taste is fine, I’m willing to give it a try.

  6. Anonymouse // 21 October, 2014 at 8:25 am //

    I haven’t ever come across euglena myself (maybe it’s currently mostly a Tokyo thing?), but I am super skeptical about the health benefit claims. I did a little digging on the internet and everyone seems to be repeating the findings of the report put out by the company selling the euglena products (and I hope I don’t have to spell out why that does not count as a reliable source).

    I mean, it would be nice if it was as nutritious as the report says and did all the things it claims to do (“increases metabolism!”, “boosts immune system!”, etc), but until there are some peer reviewed studies about the effects consuming euglena has on human bodies I’d be cautious about jumping wholeheartedly on the newest “superfood” bandwagon. (Especially since the claims about “superfoods” are almost always overblown and aimed at getting people to buy more of a particular food than they really need.)

    • I’m with you – I’ve never been one for the super-food diets/fads. I kind of just like eating what I like eating.
      If anything really was magic and somehow made you “healthier/better” well, I don’t know. It would get much more media attention.

      But I’m willing to try anything once :)
      Especially if they come with little bugs floating in them~

      • Anonymouse // 21 October, 2014 at 11:17 am //

        Mmmm, bugs ;)

        “I kind of just like eating what I like eating.”

        Yeah, that’s my policy too. While there’s a lot of competing theories on diet and nutrients, “eat what you like when you’re hungry” seems to be a pretty healthy route for most people. And if someone is worried that they aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals from their normal diet, they can always take a multivitamin once a day. It probably won’t help (most people’s diets provide their body with what it needs), but most multivitamin brands are safe for daily use so at the very worst it’s just a waste of money.

        All that said, if I ever see euglena in the store I’ll probably try it. If nothing else, I’m curious about the taste :)

  7. I have never heard of euglena before. I don’t even know if I would like to try these drinks, they look too creepy for me :p

  8. The only “vegetable” juice I’ve ever had was like, the extra fruit V8 (fruits and veggies, so luckily the fruits covered the taste of vegetables), so I’m not sure I would be able to stomach this. Actually, I take that back – I had this other juice that Starbucks in America sells that had a flavor that was like lemon and spinach or something and it tasted awful, so I probably really won’t like this euglena drink.

    I heard about euglena through an article on that aloe-euglena yogurt! Like two days ago. It sounds really interesting, and if it really does make your metabolism faster I would so go for it, since I’m lacking in the exercise department ever since I got here >.< I really like the aloe yogurt here, so I think it should be fine to try it…

    The color of the euglena drink looks so unappetizing…

    • It actually tasted really good.
      I normally don’t do those V8 drinks (ewww) or fruit smoothies, but this really did just taste like your run-of-the-mill “healthy drink.” I think you have to drink a TON of them for it to make a difference on your metabolism, though…

  9. I thought acerola was weird when I was told it is Indian cherry blossom drink. Seems like this is weirder, much weirder..

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