Eating ice cream every day for a month may seem like a breeze, but here’s some great practical advice to consider before indulging.

American ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins is affectionately known as “Thirty-one” or “Thirty-One Ice Cream” in Japan, where is boasts all kinds of Japan-exclusive deals such as ice cream in a Poké Ball or this Star Wars ice cream cake made from the country’s most popular Popping Shower flavor. On top of these exciting creations, it evens offers a special ice cream subscription service called the 31-Day-Daily-Thirty-One-Challenge for 5,980 yen (US$56.30). 

Our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa had seen that the subscription service, hereafter referred to as the “31-day challenge,” was recently garnering considerable interest online but many people hesitated to actually take the plunge. Intrigued, he decided to take one for the team by documenting his experience with the challenge beginning on July 21. What follows are his honest thoughts and tips about what it was like faithfully eating ice cream every day for a month without missing a single day.

First of all, despite its name, Tasuku strongly recommends that you don’t actually subscribe to the challenge with the intention of eating ice cream every single day for 31 days. His reasoning: You may make a solemn vow to use it every day beforehand but after a while that vow could become more of a burden than you ever expected, as is what happened to him. After all, there are bound to be days when you don’t feel like going out at all or trudging to the closest location if it isn’t near your home or workplace. Also, you’ll actually break even financially as long as you use it for at least 15 days out of the month, and if you do use it more than that you’ll be getting a spectacular deal. It’s better to be flexible from the start in order to avoid mentally beating yourself up when the task of sticking to a strict 31-day daily diet of ice cream becomes more of a chore than anything.

On top of that, Tasuku also recommends that you subscribe to this challenge only if a Baskin-Robbins location is located no more than five minutes one way, or ten minutes round trip, from your home or workplace. That way you won’t have to stress about the extra time that’s been added to your daily schedule while “ice cream commuting.” In his case, Tasuku unfortunately lived 30 minutes away (one way) from his nearest branch, and he regretted taking on the challenge after only three days as it was also in the middle of a major heat wave. We think he’s probably exaggerating a teensy bit, but he eventually likened his daily ice cream commute to the 1860-61 Burke and Wills expedition in Australia which was plagued by all sorts of delays, challenges, and even deaths of participants.

▼ The Caramel Ribbon flavor from Day 29 of Tasuku’s challenge (his second ordering of it)

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Next, Tasuku recommends that you simulate the daily dining experience ahead of time by checking up on the currently available ice cream flavors online. While most Baskin-Robbins locations carry 31 or 32 flavors on any given day, the flavors do periodically rotate and there’s a chance that not all of them being offered during the duration of your subscription will appeal to you.

Therefore, unless you’re determined to keep a daily log introducing a new flavor to the world every single day regardless of how appealing it actually is to you, you’ll probably find yourself looping back to your favorites more than once. Even with rotating flavors there still may not be enough variety to keep you truly satisfied, and you may even come to lose that sense of excitement after eating your favorites time after time. Check the Baskin-Robbins Japan official website ahead of time and tally up the flavors that you truly want to try in order to determine whether the subscription challenge makes sense for you. Tasuku never tired of eating any specific flavors, but he did eventually tire of the underlying “Baskin-Robbins” essence intrinsic to all of them. Weirdly, he even found himself craving other brands of ice cream after eating a daily Baskin-Robbins.

▼ Less than an hour after eating his monthly challenge ice cream, Tasuku found himself craving another type of frozen treat and bought this one.

A question that’s probably on everyone’s mind at this point is probably “Did he gain weight?” to which Tasuku responds, no, he did not actually gain weight after eating ice cream every day for a month.

He supposes the answer to that question does ultimately depend on a variety of factors including an individual’s physical constitution. For reference, Tasuku does not have a regular habit of going to the gym. He compares himself to a lazy sea lion spending most of his day sprawled about at home. He regularly eats high calorie foods including meat and ramen and has a major weakness for alcohol. Even so, after the 31-day challenge he did not notice a difference in his weight.

It may sound surprising, but Baskin-Robbin’s ice cream is not actually that high in calories in moderation. The Baskin-Robbins Japan official website provides nutritional information for all of its flavors and a regular-sized ice cream typically contains about 170-270 calories (according to a Japanese serving size–serving sizes in overseas locations may vary). Compare that with the newly released Chocolate Marron Frappuccino at Starbucks that one of our other reporters sampled recently which contains 467 calories when ordered in a tall size with regular milk! Similarly, lightly salted Calbee potato chips contain 336 calories per (60-gram [2.1-ounce]) serving. In other words, those people with lifestyles similar to Tasuku’s who are anxious about gaining weight may be able to enjoy eating one ice cream per day for a month with little to no consequences as long as they don’t stockpile other snacks at the same time.

Finally, Tasuku would like to close by sharing one final piece of advice. The day that you subscribe to the 31-day challenge is actually a freebie and the countdown begins on the following day–so you can technically eat ice cream for 32 days in a row. Whether that news makes you feel elated or overly sated will probably depend on which day of the challenge you’re on.

Sources: Baskin-Robbins Japan, Calbee nutritional information (Japanese), Starbucks nutritional information (Japanese) 
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