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Chickpea Curry and Your Road to Health

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While there is a growing representation of vegetarian options in Surrey (local restaurants like GNJ Vegetarian Bistro or Spice King Bistro), not many of us knows what it truly means to be healthy. But maybe, we can find health in vegetarianism?

The quest for health is a long and winding road. I mean, come on, it’s already so hard to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Things like promising to take better care of our bodies, making healthier choices, being more diligent with exercise or perhaps just making some kind of positive change that will benefit us in life takes a lot more GRIT than doing something that provides immediate satisfaction.

Having goals mean giving up a comfortable routine for another, and the most challenging part to any goal is making the choice to change. Questions like…”Do I enter couch potato mode once I get home after a long day of work or go to the gym?” or  “Do I succumb to my cravings of a KFC meal or cook a nutritious meal?” pop into my head on a daily basis.

While humans tend to choose the most immediately rewarding and effortless choice, one of these days, you may encounter one of the hardest choices that you’ll ever have to make in pursuit of health: switching to a meatless diet. And my first thought? There’s got to be an easier way than religiously committing to eating salads three meals a day.

Let’s take a glimpse into the road to health, told in the voice of Surrey604’s Fatima Beatty, to learn how vegetarianism helped her husband fight a turn in his health. With that comes the lesson that the gift of compromise and open-mindedness is the key to change and that comes in ways that we don’t expect.

For Fatima, her gift of compromise came in Chickpea Curry—an example of a type of food that falls in the vegetarian category but can still taste absolutely delicious. It’s like making it a goal to exercise. Going to the gym can be like a job on its own, but what if you found a type of physical activity that you love—like yoga?

Many people don’t think that they could eat a delicious meal without meat and and still feel satisfied. For example, love a simple meal of dhal and rice or flavorful curries with potatoes and vegetables.

The first time I made a non-meat dinner for my husband he looked at his plate and said, ‘There’s no meat in here?’. I answered in the affirmative. He responded, “Well I don’t think this will fill me up.’  He loves chicken and I quote, ‘Chicken is the best food in the world.’  Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. We both loved cheese. This particular evening, he ate his chickpea curry as he happily eats anything I put in front of him (thank goodness) and luckily he was full. But I knew the next night, the man required some meat in his meal. Two nights of no meat?! Scandalous.

Note this moment of realization.

Fast forward to January 2014.  A routine check up revealed he had abnormally high cholesterol. The doctor said that he had the cholesterol of ‘an obese person of your age’. We both have a history of heart disease in our families; and my mother suffered a heart attack in her 50s. This news was a life-changing moment. How do we take control?

So…. we both made the change to a more plant-based vegetarian diet (minimal dairy).

The decision can be simple when you are hit with the news that you are not healthy even though you feel like you are doing pretty good with exercise and food choices. But why did I make the change even though I didn’t have high cholesterol? I did it because (not necessarily in order of importance): #1. I do the majority of the cooking and #2. I saw this as a journey towards better health for the both of us. #3 We had nothing to lose, except of course, meat.  

Then it was a matter of figuring out this new world of vegetarianism. The first thing we did was start educating ourselves through online resources and documentaries. Forks over Knives provides research and information supporting the concept of a whole-food plant based diet to aid in the reversal of health issues and the health benefits of Superfoods . Next, we visited our local organic grocer. We are lucky that we have one nearby, Organic Grocer in Newton. We filled up our cart with lots of nutritious foods and it was exciting to imagine the possibilities. That evening we enjoyed a homemade, hearty and delicious vegetable stew.

The first two weeks were not easy. In the midst of this I also decided if I was giving up meat, I may as well give up coffee (gasp) during the week. I felt hungry yes, but I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. I had snacks in my desk of nuts and seeds and got some  herbal teas to enjoy from Teavana at Central City mall. Was I craving meat? No, not necessarily, I realized my body was probably in shock with the sudden change. It was saying, ‘what are all these new things you are filling up with and how do I digest this?’ By the third week, I was feeling much more settled.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with finding recipes and ways of preparing food that are practical and nutritious.  I really don’t want to be in the kitchen for 2 hours preparing a meal after long hours of work on a weeknight. Cooking and preparing meals in a vegetarian way has been a new and fun discovery. We are experiencing and learning how to think differently about the food we consume and it’s impact on our health.

Eating out is different than it used to be. Instead of chicken, ribs, hot wings and more chicken, we are having fun discovering vegetarian and vegan restaurants. It’s been a road of new experiences. It’s also great to know that some of our favorite chain restaurants have vegetarian and vegan options – something I never really contemplated before.

My husband’s goal is to get tested again in a few months to see the effects of this change. My goal is to have a healthier diet and focus on feeling good about the food choices we make everyday. Nobody is perfect. But if I can do the best that I can today, it helps the people I love, the environment and the planet.

My husband is the last person I would have ever thought would decide to become a vegetarian. Anything is possible. Here’s to the gift of health!

Luckily, Fatima was able to discover that the real challenge is finding compromise in the daily choices that she makes and she was able to overcome this initially seemingly challenging goal by turning it into something enjoyable. If you’re open-minded, any health challenge/goal can be fun! 

I know there are many of you who contemplated a vegetarian or vegan diet or want to incorporate more meatless meals into your routine. Life is all about open-mindedness, curiosity and discovery…and when you approach any challenge with that mindset, you will stop seeing certain challenges as a chore. 

Find your Chickpea Curry…

Next time, when you’re thinking of vegetarianism, look at how taking on the better and tougher choice head on can impact your health and the people you love. Then find a compromise. Chances are, you will find something that can be both enjoyable and satisfy your goals at the same time.

Now, go on your adventure. 

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Food & Drink

The five best restaurants and bars in Central Surrey

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If you thought you had to make the trek to Downtown Vancouver just to eat well, think again. There are pockets of great places to eat right here in Surrey’s City Centre. Check out this list of five of the best restaurants and bars to get your fill of good eats in Central Surrey. 

Central City Taphouse & Kitchen 

The Central City Taphouse is a staple, and one that truly caters to everyone. It lands consistently at the top of any Surrey eatery list and offers everything from brunch to pub-style food and drinks, including happy (or “tappy”) hour specials. Enjoy a warm meal with family or watch the game with friends. The large patio, beautiful courtyard, and excellent food are destined to provide you with the perfect ambiance. 

Address: 13450 102 Ave., Unit 190 

Dominion Bar & Kitchen 

For those looking for a truly “downtown” experience, this place is the top choice. From bunch, lunch, dinner, and late night mixers, Dominion Bar has a modern vibe and locally sourced ingredients that shine both in menu and drinks. Trendy, socially on-point, and providing a timeless dining experience with a mix of influences, this place is a must when you’re planning your night out. 

Address: 13475 Central Ave., Unit D1

Bubble 88 

For the last decade, Bubble 88 has been able to provide a trendy yet authentic flair of Taiwanese cuisine to Surrey. Easily one of the best bistros in the area, the chefs make each dish with passion and the presentation makes it just as beautiful as it is delicious. Of course, as you may have guessed by the name, bubble tea is also available. 

Address: #102-10209 King George Blvd.

Neptune Seafood Restaurant 

Although it is not unique to Surrey, the quality and fine dining provided at this Asian restaurant cannot go without being mentioned. With the best dim sum and arguably the best Chinese cuisine within Surrey, a large dining space, and the ability to host events, Neptune Seafood is worth adding to your foodie bucket list. Neptune has won several awards for their restaurant group, and of course for their dim sum as well. 

Address: 1130-10153 King George Blvd. 

Sumerian Grill 

Perhaps considered a hidden gem to some, Sumerian Grill is often highly rated amongst those that have visited the restaurant. Providing Middle Eastern cuisine, the meals are rich in flavour and full of warmth. The menu offers the best in Surrey for Iraqi and Turkish dishes and wraps with colours of the Mediterranean. 

Address: 10671A King George Blvd. 

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Food & Drink

The five best spots to grab a coffee in Surrey Centre

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Sipping on a delicious coffee at a local cafe has a certain allure to it. And enjoying a local business, with a friend or alone, is extra special when it’s close to home and has that neighbourhood feel. When it comes to Surrey Centre or Guildford, these are the best coffee spots to check out.

Cafe Central

The most central you can get with a friendly vibe and some really good coffee. Cafe Central is the perfect stop on a busy day, to work, or school, or a break in between. While mostly being a “to-go” cafe, it does have tables and chairs for those who wish to stay a while. Located central, it also has hosts of convenience items and food. What people seem to enjoy most though is the caramel frappuccino.

Address: 10350 University Drive, City Centre Library

Prado

If you love coffee, then you will love Prado which uses coffee roasted by 49th Parallel. It first opened in Vancouver and has grown to multiple locations, including this Central Surrey spot. The place is vibrant and hosts a number of good eats and drinks and teal seats for a modern vibe. Outside of your regular items you will find things like pastel pink beetroot latte, citrus cake, apricot cookie, or the infamous cookie with no name.

Address: 13475 103 Avenue, Civic Plaza hotel

Stuffies Pastries

This cafe is better known for its stuffed pastries that are shaped like cute animals, than its coffee. Patrons can choose to stuff the pastries with a number of fillings such as Nutella, vanilla, dulce de leche and more. The soft pancake filled treats are enticing enough to make anyone check out this cafe. Located inside the Guildford Town Centre, it may not be a place to sit down and enjoy but it is a great spot to grab and go while in the mall.

Address: 10355 152 Street, Guildford Town Centre

Coffee Monster

Coffee Monster is a true coffee shop with interesting and delicious menu items ensuring there is something for everyone. Whether you are craving one of their signature cold beverages (such as frozen chocolate) or their Spanish latte, the drinks alone make this a great spot. However, the cafe is also known for its pastries, cakes, waffles and dessert treats like earl grey crème brulee. The vibe is relaxing and the menu is creative.

Address: 15285 101 Avenue, Suite C1B

Happy Jack’s Cafe

Known for its friendly staff, Happy Jack’s Cafe is a hidden gem in the area with delicious food and flavoured coffees. Plus, the brunch-like items — think blueberry pancakes — make it a perfect place to meet a friend and enjoy an afternoon together.

Address: 110-10470 152 Street

Do you know of any other locally-owned cafes in Surrey Centre that we have to try? Let us know at info@surrey604.com. 

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7-Eleven Announces Sev’s 360 Summer Roll With Us Campaign

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7-Eleven Canada Announces “Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us” Campaign Coming To Your Neighbourhood. Get ready for exclusive Slurpee and skateboarding events, contests and giveaways, all summer long.

7-Eleven Canada announces their summer schedule filled with events, contests, and giveaways designed for Slurpee, skateboard, and summer lovers.

In celebration of the partnership with Canada Skateboard and the National Team, Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us Campaign invites fans to take a front-row seat to Canada Skateboard experiences and chances to win awesome swag and prizes.

7-Eleven Canada will be giving away one skateboard deck a day all summer long, exclusively to 7Rewards members.

Norman Hower, Vice President and General Manager of 7-Eleven Canada, says: “This year continues to be challenging for many Canadians and our goal is to provide ways to make this summer enjoyable and easy for all.

As Canadians head out to the beaches and parks to make the most of the outdoors, they can have meals, snacks, and drinks delivered to wherever they may be, or available to pick up on the go, and Sev’s 360 Summer Roll With Us campaign will add extra fun to the occasion.”

7Rewards members can enter for a chance to win by scanning 7Rewards with every purchase or placing an order with 7NOW delivery and can earn an additional 5 entries by scanning partnered products.

Rockstar Energy® Drinks is one of the partnering drinks, along with refreshing Slurpee frozen beverages, Crispy Classic Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Wings, Fresh from the Oven in Minutes 24/7 Pizzas and delicious snacks like Old Dutch Chips and McSweeney Beef Jerky are also a part of the 7Rewards 360 Summer – Roll With Us contest to keep your summer days fueled.

Only at Sev, fill up an exclusive Canada Skateboard Slurpee Collectible Cup with limited time flavours including; delicious Pink Grapefruit Lemonade, Fanta Dragon Fruit, MTN Dew® Blue Shock ™ and Slurpuccino (yes, it’s back).

For more chances to win great prizes, play the Hide and Seek game on the Canada Skateboard Slurpee Collectible Cups, featuring the 2021 Canada Skateboard National Team, and the Sticker Slap AR game on the 7Rewards app.

Click here to see more details on Sev’s 360 Summer- Roll With Us campaign

To learn more about all the events and contests coming up with Sev’s 360 Summer – Roll With Us campaign, click here or visit 7-Eleven Canada’s Instagram Page.

Customers who are not yet a 7Rewards member can download the 7Rewards app by texting APP to 711247 or sign up.

Fans are also encouraged to check out 7-Eleven Canada’s new 7Now® Delivery App, where Canadians can get 24/7 around the clock pick-up and delivery within 30 minutes on groceries, necessities, meals, snacks, drinks and treats – like Slurpee drinks.

Every order through 7Now is one automatic entry in the 360 Summer – Roll With Us contest and with over 900 items to choose from, members will earn 7Rewards points with every order.

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Food & Drink

Mother’s Day Brunch with Frozen BC Blueberries

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Recipes Courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council

By: Brooklynn Doucette on behalf of the BC Blueberry Council

On Sunday, May 9th, it’s time to celebrate Mom! Whether it be over the phone, via Zoom, outside, or in-person, our Mom’s deserve to be showered with love this Mother’s Day.

Start Mother’s Day off right with one of these delicious breakfast or brunch recipes, all featuring frozen BC Blueberries! Make sure your frozen BC Blueberries are from BC by looking for “cultivated” or “high bush” “Buy BC” “Product of Canada” on the packages.

3-Ingredient Bc Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Commemorate mom and the frozen BC Blueberry season with this delicious 3-ingredient BC Blueberry Banana Pancakes. Kid-friendly and ready in under 15 minutes, these pancakes are perfect for an impromptu Mother’s Day brunch.

Yields: 4 – 6 pancakes
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
(Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup frozen BC Blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe banana.
  2. Add in eggs and mix well.
  3. In a medium non-stick pan, heat vegetable oil (or any neutral tasting oil) on medium-low heat.
  4. Pour a large spoonful into the pan.
  5. Flip when it turns golden.
  6. Stack it up and enjoy!

Bc Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie

The perfect accompaniment to a Mother’s Day brunch is this BC Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie. This recipe can be enjoyed with breakfast or on its own. Make mom smile this Mother’s Day by bringing her a smoothie in bed!

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300g) Frozen BC Blueberries
  • 1 cup (150g) Frozen banana, chopped
  • 2 cups (500ml) Unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup (40g) Hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) Almond butter
  • 2 (48g) Medjool dates, pitted (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth.

Bc Blueberry Chia Oat Milk Pudding

Looking for a vegan Mother’s Day brunch idea? This BC Blueberry Chia Oat Milk Pudding is the perfect recipe. Pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes, add your toppings, and serve your mom a tasty brunch treat!

Yields: 2 cups
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 17 mins
VEGAN

Ingredients

Chia Pudding
  • 1/3 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of oat milk (or your choice of milk alternative)
  • 1/3 cup frozen BC Blueberries
Optional for Serving
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 – 5 pieces of sliced ripe banana
  • More Frozen BC Blueberries!

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add oat milk, chia seeds, and frozen BC blueberries. Whisk to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (or overnight). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy.
  3. Layer with fresh or frozen fruit, compote, maple syrup (vegan), or honey, and enjoy.
  4. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For more Mother’s Day recipes, visit bcblueberry.com or follow along on social @bcblueberries

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Food & Drink

Phoenix Society Partners with JRG to Support Local Community

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Finding new ways to encourage and support local communities and initiatives has always been at the heart of The Joseph Richard Group (JRG).

JRG is proud to announce its most recent partnership and community initiative with The Phoenix Society. Earlier this year, the Phoenix Society launched a Mobile Community Kitchen, Phoenix Flame BBQ Food Truck, that helps to serve free meals to those in need during this difficult time. The free meal service program was launched to serve those living on the poverty line as well as those who are unhoused in Surrey and beyond. The mobile kitchen allows the Phoenix Society to meet vulnerable populations where they are at, serving food in single-use recyclable containers in an outdoor setting where the guests can safely distance.

“I was fortunate to meet Amy from the Phoenix Society through her work in local media when she and her son participated in JRG’s 2019 annual charity event called One Night Out. We are truly grateful to reunite with Amy and the team at the Phoenix Society to continue supporting our communities.” – Ryan Moreno, CEO & Co-founder of Joseph Richard Group.

The Phoenix Flame BBQ Food Truck has the capacity to serve up to 100 meals per day, three to five times per week, but lacks the revenue to sustain long-term residency. Partnering with The Joseph Richard Group, the Phoenix Society can provide ongoing meals and continued support for the community. JRG will be renting the food truck for pop-up activations across Metro Vancouver.

In just two months we have provided close to 2,000 free community meals to those most in need, but our goal has always been to find ongoing revenue to help sustain the program in the long-term. We couldn’t find a better partner than Joseph Richard Group; a company that has a clear desire to give back to the community.” – Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Society.

In 2020 alone, the Phoenix Society provided services to over 2,500 individuals through our Surrey-based Residential Substance Use Treatment, Supportive Housing, Employment, Extreme Weather Shelters, Community Corrections, Home Ownership and Outreach Programs. JRG is proud to partner with this socially-minded organization and work towards building a more stable community for those who are facing poverty.

To learn more about the Food Truck and how you can support this community initiative, please visit phoenixsociety.com for the official announcement. 

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