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Q & A with UnJunk Your Diet author, Desiree Nielsen

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Author and registered dietician Desiree Nielson with her book, UnJunk Your Diet.

Author and registered dietician Desiree Nielsen with her book, UnJunk Your Diet.

For registered dietician Desiree Nielsen, the release of her book UnJunk Your Diet comes at a time when people are ditching short term “diets” and shifting towards more long-term and attainable eating habits.

Nielsen’s story began in Vancouver in 2001, after relocating from her native Victoria to study at the University of British Columbia.

After finishing school, she branched off to start her own private practice and became inspired to create a fun, educational, and relatable guide to help readers “unjunk” their diets.

I had the fortune to sit down with Neilsen recently to talk about her book and her passion for getting people excited about food.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think for me, as a dietician one of the biggest challenges I have with diet books is that you don’t see a lot of diet books by dieticians on the shelf and I think it’s because many dieticians are so committed to evidence-based nutrition and rational advice and that doesn’t really sell that well. So I wanted to see if I could make evidence based, rational, sane, nutritional advice interesting and easy to read for people. I really wanted to make it accessible and fun and hopefully get people excited about real food.

What can readers expect from UnJunk Your Diet?

People can expect a lot of humor thrown in, a lot of education and myth-busting about nutrition. They can also expect something that doesn’t preach. It’s really about providing them with the information and helping them learn more about who they are as an “eater” and what approach might be right for them whether that’s taking baby steps or diving into a 2 week detox.

What is one myth you hope to dispel?

Sometimes people think that when you UnJunk your diet you’re removing taste and flavor and that’s just not true.

You focus a lot on “prevention.” 

My core principle is anti-inflammatory nutrition. It’s all about prevention. It’s about staying vibrant and staying healthy. If you are unwell or have chronic pain, anti-inflammatory nutrition is the path that will help you out of that. 

There’s a lot of stigma attached to the word “diet.”  What’s your definition of a diet? 

For me, a diet is what you eat. It’s not “diet” with a capital D. I never want to see anyone go on a restrictive, time sensitve diet in anticipation of losing 15 pounds for a vacation. I want people to change their diets permanently so that it brings some joy and so that they love what they’re eating. 

 

Who is this book intended for?

This book is for everyone from 18-80 who just wants to get healthier and is tired of fad diets.  I’ve taken what the health conscious community has been talking about for a while and I’ve really made it accessible to the masses.

What’s the best advice that you can give to anyone working towards maintaining a balanced and nutrititonal life? 

 There’s a real on and off mentality that happens with dietary change. To realize that every choice that they make in the right direction, matters. So having a huge side of spinach salad with your steak dinner matters to your body because it helps nourish your cells.  It’s important to have an “all or nothing” approach. It’s about making simple food, cooking for yourself and making something at home that’s tasty and inexpensive but far more nourishing than anything that’s packaged and processed.

What’s next for Desiree?

I think there are more books in my future. I love to write and I love the challenge of trying to interest people in what is really basic advice. Eat your veggies.  For me, it’s growing my private practice and reaching as many people as I can through speaking and writing and getting people really excited about food again. 

 

Follow Desiree Nielsen on Twitter: @DesireeRD

 

 

 

 

 

Blanca is a graduate from BCIT’s Broadcast Media and Online Journalism program. Blanca was born in Nicaragua, and was raised on the West Coast. Throughout the years, she has developed an eclectic style and has merged her love of culture, fashion, and food to create her blog: feastingbeauty.com. Blanca also works as a TV producer and travel host. A “social media queen”, Blanca believes in the power of the internet and its ability to connect and compel. Blanca is bilingual in Spanish and English and is currently learning Portugese.

Food & Drink

This Surrey cafe offers a delicious Bombay brunch

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Bandra Cafe
Marco Ovies / Surrey604

Tucked away on the edge of the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre is Bandra Cafe, one of the best places for brunch in Surrey. It offers unique menu items that are not only full of flavour but are pretty just to look at. If you’re looking for something different than your basic pancake breakfast, this is the place for you. 

Bandra Cafe serves Bombay-style cuisine that is chock full of flavour and spice. On our visit, we ordered the Bandra Benny and it did not disappoint. Just like your standard eggs Benedict it came with poached eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce, but was served on top of chili-cheese toast. It gave it the perfect kick that you wouldn’t normally find in an eggs Benedict, setting Bandra Cafe apart from all the other brunch spots in the city. On the side, there were crispy potato wedges and some sliced avocado. 

Bandra Cafe

Bandra Benny (Marco Ovies / Surrey604)

We also ordered their dalgona coffee, which we had never tried before. It came with whipped coffee on top of steamed milk. Our waiter politely helped us out and instructed us that we needed to stir the drink (we had just gone right in for the sip and it left us with a coffee mustache that wasn’t noticeable until we got home). The drink both looked impressive and tasted great. 

Bandra Cafe

Dalgona coffee (Marco Ovies / Surrey604)

But Bandra Cafe doesn’t just do eggs Benedict. They also serve kanda poha (a popular Bombay breakfast with flattened rice, onions, peanuts, herbs, and spices, topped with coconut and sev), Kheema Par Eedu Skillet (kheema, potato salli, fried eggs, and pav bread, described on the menu as the “Bombay breakfast of champions”), and even a vegan platter (avocado, grilled tofu, vegetables, and salad with tahini almond dressing). You can also order small bites and drinks to share if you’re coming to visit later in the evening with friends. 

The cafe itself is very modern looking with a plant wall at the entrance with a neon sign that reads “Good Brews, Good Bites.” The service was excellent and we’re excited to go back again to try the rest of their menu. 

Bandra Cafe is open Monday to Thursday from 11am to 10pm, and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 11pm. 

Bandra Cafe

 

Address: 7310 #110 120th St.

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Food & Drink

6 of the best sushi restaurants in Surrey

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best sushi restaurants in Surrey
Sushi from Sushi California and Sushi Street (@sushicalifornia_surrey; @sushistreet_surrey / Instagram)

There are so many different sushi spots in Surrey that sometimes it can be hard to choose. That’s why we’ve created a list of the best sushi restaurants in Surrey to satisfy your next sushi craving. 

 

MaguroGuy Sushi and Grill

 

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MaguroGuy has an excellent assortment of sushi and delicious Japanese dishes. We’d recommend visiting for their lunch special Udon Set which comes with a dynamite roll, tuna, salmon, and ebi nigiri, tempura, Seafood udon (small), and a green salad.

 

Sushi Mori

What makes Sushi Mori so special? Well for starters there is a tree in the middle of the restaurant. They also make some great sushi and have plenty of specialty rolls to try like their Spicy Sunflower Roll which has crab meat, cucumber, avocado, and prawn tempura covered with spicy salmon and topped with tempura flakes, shredded red beet, spicy mayo, and aioli sauce.

 

Kami Sushi 

Kami Sushi is the best place to grab a filling and affordable lunch. The best thing to order is one of their lunch combinations that are available from 11:30 to 3:30 pm. We love their combo B which comes with four pieces of sushi, three pieces of their Reno roll, four pieces of the spicy love roll, and tempura udon for $19.95. You get a great assortment of food for a great price. 

 

Sushi California

Sushi California has a great assortment of different rolls, potentially the largest selection in all of Surrey. They have over 67 different rolls you can choose from, and that’s not even including nigiri or any of the other things on their menu. The only other sushi spot that could compete is the next one on our list. 

 

Psi Sushi & Roll

Psi Sushi & Roll is another Surrey favourite that has plenty on their menu. They also have some very unique rolls like their Flying Unicorn Roll which has crabmeat and cream cheese and is deep fried with melted mozzarella cheese. 

 

Sushi Street

 

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If you’re searching for your next picnic meal look no further than Sushi Street. They offer these sushi boxes that can feed one to four people that are perfect to take with you. We’d recommend trying Street Box #2 which can feed up to four people and has a Crazy Roll, Dragon roll, Dynamite roll, Philadelphia roll, Chicken wings, Edamame, vegetable sticks, and five kinds of special sauce. 

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Food & Drink

You can order a whole box of sushi from this Surrey restaurant

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Sushi Street Surrey
Sushi Street serves delicious Japanese takeout by the King George Skytrain Station

If you’re looking for the next great sushi spot, look no further than Sushi Street. Located close to the King George Skytrain Station, this place should be your go-to for sushi takeout. 

Sushi Street specializes in only takeout and offers quick and delicious Japanese cuisine. They specialize in bento boxes, sushi combos, and ready-to-eat foods that you can just grab and go. But probably the coolest thing they offer is their sushi boxes.

 

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You heard right, sushi in a box. They offer two different boxes that can feed anywhere from 1 to 4 people. Their Street Box 1 which can feed one to two people has a crazy roll, Philadelphia roll, dynamite roll, chicken wings, edamame, vegetable sticks, and four kinds of special sauce. 

If you’re looking for more food you can get the Street Box 2 which feeds three to four people and has a crazy roll, dragon roll, dynamite roll, Philadelphia roll, chicken wings, edamame, vegetable sticks, and five kinds of special sauce. This is the perfect meal to grab on your way to a picnic over at Holland Park across the street. 

But don’t worry, you can also order individual rolls if you’re just eating for one. They also serve inari which is sushi rice packed into a tofu pouch topped with all sorts of sushi ingredients. We’d recommend ordering the Inari Unagi or the Inari Spicy Salmon. 

 

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While Sushi Street does specialize in takeout, they do have some seats inside to sit down and enjoy your food. But regardless of whetheryou eat in or take out, we promise you’ll love the food. Be sure to visit this new Surrey hidden gem soon!

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Food & Drink

This Surrey restaurant is serving up “monster burgers”

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Fab Burgers
Fab Burgers Inc. makes some of the best burgers in Surrey (@fabburgersinc / Instagram)

Located in the heart of Newton is Fab Burgers Inc., the home of Surrey’s “monster burgers.” What is a monster burger you may ask? Well, it’s about as intimidating as it sounds. 

Fab Burger Inc. has six monster burgers on their menu, and one of their most famous ones is the Fab Meaty Muncher which comes with breaded crispy chicken, a beef patty, chicken bacon, cheddar cheese, purple slaw, pickles, tomatoes, an onion ring, and their signature FAB sauce. It’s piled high and requires some maneuvering to be able to take a bite. 

 

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If that’s still a little too small for you, you can order their Sweet Temptation Burger which comes with three patties of your choice of chicken or beef (yes you heard right, three patties), topped with lettuce, sauteed onions, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and finished with barbeque sauce. It’s the biggest burger on their menu and definitely deserves the name “monster burger.”

But don’t worry, they also serve regular-sized burgers for those who don’t have a monster appetite. The Flamin’ Nacho Burger is a fan favourite and has a beef patty topped with fresh salsa, onions, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, nacho chips, and topped with cheddar cheese.

 

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If burgers aren’t your thing, Fab Burger Inc. also sells other foods like Chicken and Waffles and BBQ Lamb Chops which are marinated with their in-house blend of seasonings and sauces and served with fries, coleslaw, and a drink.

 

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So whether you’re craving a monster burger, or just want something on the smaller side to eat, Fab Burger Inc. has it all. Be sure to visit the next time you’re craving a good burger. 

Fab Burger Inc.

Address: 7320 King George Blvd #108

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Food & Drink

These are the best places to get coffee in Surrey

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best places to get coffee in Surrey
Whether you go to cafés for the atmosphere, food, or coffee, we’re sure there's a café on this list you’ll love. (@coffeemonster_official; @west_village_cafe / Instagram)

You can only drink so much Starbucks before you get sick of it. That’s why we’ve made this list of the best coffee shops in Surrey so you can switch it up. Whether it’s because of the great atmosphere or unique drinks, these are the best places to get coffee in Surrey. 

 

Coffee Monster

If you’re a student in Surrey then you need to visit Coffee Monster. It is the best place to get some late-night studying done. Every table has access to an outlet and it’s open until 10 pm. Plus, they have some delicious drinks like their Spanish Latte which you can order hot or iced. 

 

Bandra Cafe

 

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Bandra Cafe is one of the first Indian-style cafes in the Greater Vancouver area and has some exceptional drinks and eats to show for it. Bandra Cafe tries to copy the vibe of the area in Bombay with the same name by creating a similar atmosphere by having “dark wooden chairs and white table tops” and also by selling “dishes like salli chicken, kheema pan and mawa cake.” This is definitely a very unique cafe that you need to visit. 

 

West Village Cafe

If you’re looking for one of the trendiest cafes in Surrey, then West Village Cafe is the spot for you. With a very clean and minimalistic interior and some fancy food to eat, this might be the fanciest café in Surrey. Not only does West Village Cafe serve your coffee shop classics like lattes and pastries, but they also serve alcoholic drinks and food like tacos, a chimichurri salmon and vegetable bowl, local craft beer on tap, and more! If you’re feeling extra fancy you should head in for one of their Bailey’s coffees. 

 

Espresso Cafe

 

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Espresso Cafe is located in the heart of Newton and has a very homely atmosphere to it. From the fireplace to the home-style baked goods, there is so much to love about Espresso Cafe. We’d recommend ordering one of their filo spinach feta pastries which are delicious. They have an always expanding menu and plenty of specialty drinks on rotation so be sure to visit Espresso Cafe. 

 

The GrassRoots Cafe

The GrassRoots Cafe is a student-owned and operated café located on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Surrey campus. They serve “alcoholic beverages and KPU brewed beer on tap, delicious food, snacks, coffee drinks and healthy alternative options such as vegan and gluten-free meals.” They also host a bunch of different activities like slam poetry, movie marathons, and more! Plus, if you’re a KPU student you can get a 5% discount. 

 

Prairie Cafe

 

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When a café has been around since 1949, then you know it has to be good. Prairie Cafe offers some classic vintage breakfast and coffee. They do classic American breakfast as well as Asian dishes like chicken Teriyaki, wonton soup, and chicken pan-fried noodles. If you’re looking for a blast from the past then you need to visit Prairie Cafe. 

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