Day 24 – Christmas Presents…

As it is the
tradition on the last day of our Advent Calendar, I wanted to share a
Christmas story with you. This is a story that involves a single mom and
two kids, a son and a daughter who are ten and seven years old
respectively. The mom is me and the story takes place 16 years ago…

Putting a little bit of yourself in each gift…

On the first
Christmas after I became a single mom, my budget was pretty slim but I
wanted to give my kids something that they would love and that would be
worth more than the price that was paid… I thought “if I could, I
would give them a piece of me…” At a time when their world had been
rocked to the core with their dad and me separating, all I wanted was to
give them back a bit of the security they felt they had lost…  


Anyway, one of the
things I had in abundance were pyjamas… I know, it sounds weird right
but every year for Christmas, my first husband would lavish upon me a
new PJ from La Sensa… great quality stuff that takes years to wear
down. So with my simple sewing skills, I converted two of them into PJs
for my kids. The one was an blue Oxford stripe night shirt which was
turned into a top and boxer shorts for my son… and the other one was a
long night gown that had teddy bears dressed in plaid (with berets if
you please…) that I converted into a top and pj bottoms for my
daughter. When my kids opened these presents they beamed! They couldn’t
wait to get them on and I only realized why a bit later… It was
because even thought they had been washed, the kids could still smell ME
in the fabric of the pjs! They wore these pjs until the flannel was so
worn that it would rip and even then I would be asked to mend them so
that the life of the precious night clothes could be prolonged! Little
do we know the real gift that lies behind a home made gift!


I have since made
other presents for my kids… we themed some Christmases “Low tech –
High touch!” When you put your hands in the making of a gift, you can
label it a high touch gift… in today’s world these are less and less
frequent and yet they mean so much more!


I wanted to share this story with you today because I recently came upon a similar story from Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe.
If you are not familiar with this wonderful Canadian story teller, you
must get acquainted with his dry sense of humour and his highly gifted
talent for writing and telling a story!


For your enjoyment, I am including the story that inspired today’s email. It is called Christmas Presents.
Now most of Stuart’s stories involve the same little family: Dave, the
dad, who is originally from Cape Breton, Morley, the mom, and two kids,
Stephanie and Sam. In this particular story, Morley has thought up this
brilliant idea that for Christmas this year, they should each pick the
name of a family member and hand make a present for that person. It is a
funny story but as you will hear; it is also very touching and I
couldn’t help but be moved by it. My hope is that you will be too!

I take this
opportunity to say how much, once again this year, I have enjoyed
writing these emails. I have appreciated the help from Jiji and Carolyne
and all the feedback that I have received from our clients. Thank you
and to all a Merry Christmas!


Lise Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 23 – Adding the WOW factor!

are here and everywhere we go, we see lights, decorations and music.
Some may think it’s a little extreme but for the other bunch, it gets us
really excited! Today I want to show you a few creative ways to attract
your guests and get them excited about grabbing good foods instead of
the bowl of caramel popcorn or the glass jar filled with chocolates.
It’s very important to create a good ambiance for your guests when you
are hosting the holiday get-together. We have all attended a few that
were great and as expected, we have all tried to copy what worked

One of my personal discoveries…

So, today I will show you one of my personal discoveries; how to present your veggies and create the WOW factor!


My mother is the
hostess with the most-ess… a real party queen of a host! She always
takes the time to make little cards with everyone’s names to put on the
table beside their plate. Each person has a glass with a little pendant
to identify which is theirs. She always has the right holiday music, the
huge decorations, centerpieces to die for and we all love it when it is
her turn to host the party! She has shown me many ways to take some of
the simplest things and turn them into something amazing… and it
always gets the conversations started! Over the years, even the small
gestures she did have remained vivid in my memory and they will be
etched in there forever! They have made a huge difference in how we
celebrate as a family. That’s why today I am sharing these food
decoration tips with you.


By the way, my
mother did the IP protocol. She is a phase 4 graduate now and is doing
great in maintenance. She has changed some of her buffet styles over the
years and now we look forward to the delicious veggie buffet. YEP,
Veggie BUFFET! Even if we have the usual holiday foods as well, the
veggies are so pretty that you just keep going back for more!


As you can see in the picture, it’s beautiful yet simple. Making
art out of food doesn’t mean you need to take classes and learn how to
carve a wildflower with your tomatoes! You just need a little time to
put it together. As you can see, glasses can be used for dipping sauce
and vases for the veggies. This is fun, attractive and clean! Add a few
bows or ribbons and some candles and voila it’s done! You can even get
the glass jars at the dollar store!


For those who are
attending a party rather than hosting one, here is a fabulous way to
bring something healthy but fun and good all at once! Just cut up some
of your favorite veggies, add your walden farm dressing at the bottom of
little cups and fill them with the veggies. Serve your cups on a gold
platter and voila! Looks great and trust me, these will be gone fast! This is so simple and easy to make, and everyone gets their own portion!

Remember that staying on protocol during the holidays will help
you reach your goal faster… And without compromising your ketosis you
will save yourself having to go through the dreadful symptoms of those
first few days.

Phase 4 tip…


Being able to eat whatever
food you want on a fun day is such a pleasure isn’t it? But that
doesn’t mean NOT eating anything healthy!  Don’t forget that you are
what you absorb and if you eat some good healthy foods, you are giving
your body the gift of nutritional abundance! That gift keeps on giving!
You will stay more alert, less stressed out and not feel like you need
to roll yourself out of the room lol. You will also avoid feeling like
you are hung over from a carb overload!

want to personally wish you the best holidays ever! If you are dieting
this year, know that the gift of health is priceless. All your loved
ones appreciate the extra years you will get to spend with them in good
health! Enjoy your parties and stay “Food-Wise”!  


Happy Holidays, 
Carolyne Sauvé
Food-Wise Weight Loss  

PS: if you have little ones, this last veggie/fruit platter set up is for you


Day 22 – Goldilocks at Midnight Mass

traditions have drastically changed through the years, and I can prove
it! Today’s blog is a story about angelic songs, white gloves, beautiful
dresses and endless tables of food made with love.This Christmas Story
is my gift to you.

A Christmas story for you…

upon a time, in a far far away land called “le Lac St-Jean” lived a
French Canadian family, my mother’s family. Every second year or so, my
mother would decide to celebrate Christmas with her family; which meant
music, tons of grandma’s food (yummy!) and skidoo rides very late at
night. Even though the road to get there was long, I didn’t mind; it was
worth it every time. During the train ride, we would talk about
grandma’s “tourtière du Lac St-Jean” (wild meat pie), her amazing “pets
de sœur” (a.k.a, nun’s farts, a dessert) and also her “soupe aux
gourganes “(broad beans soup). We also anticipated the skidoo ride.
Believe me, for city kids like my brother and me, going on a skidoo ride
at 1:30 am was a thrill of a life time. All that said, what called my
heart the most was the Midnight Mass! I don’t know what it is about the
sound of a choir in a Cathedral, but ever since I was very little, it
has always made me feel really close to Heaven, so close it’s

simply indescribable.  

preparation to go to the Mass (just across the street) was an event in
itself. All the kids had to go upstairs and take a nap for at least an
hour. I have to ad
mit, we were pretty obedient; those who did not
sleep, didn’t get to go on the skidoo ride that took place right after
Mass. Well, we didn’t want to be left behind that’s for sure! While we
were sleeping (or doing a really good job of pretending to…) the women
would get all the tables ready. Food was everywhere! Each mother also
had to lay down the winter gear for her kids, the pair of long mittens
that covered your entire forearms, the huge winter boots and the one
piece snowsuit; let me tell you, no one was cold. As for the men, some
would get the bonfire ready at the cabin in the woods, (our skidoo
destination) while others made sure all the skidoo’s had gas and were in
good mechanical condition. Everybody knew their part; the collaboration
was astounding.


just around 10:30 pm all the mothers came upstairs to get their kids
ready for the Midnight Mass. The beauty of that moment is that ALL the
girls/women: mothers, daughters, grand-daughters, nieces and
(and grandma of course), were dressed in white, and the boys/men:
fathers, sons, grand-sons, nephews and uncles, (and grandpa of course)
were dressed in
black and white; absolutely every member of
the family without exception. When I think about it my heart melts.
Once inside the church, we all sat together, waiting patiently for the
angels to start singing. You see, the particularity of that Mass, is
that all the members of the choir had angel wings attached to them. We
called it, the angel choir of Christmas. Some churches had the live
Nativity Scene, we had the angel choir. I loved it! I used to close my
eyes gently and keep them close all through the songs. I literally let
myself float on each note. I was way up there amongst the angels. When
the last note evaporated, I would slowly open my eyes with perfect peace
in my heart.


After mass was
over, we all rushed home to get our snowsuits and mittens on for the
skidoo ride. The air was filled with electric energy, laughter and
giggles. Outside, the sound of the skidoos was so loud; we had

to look for sign language to communicate with each other. Within 20
minutes we were all riding along. After a while a glittery orange light
would be waving at us; it was the bonfire “telling us” we were almost at
the cabin where hot vanilla milk and ice cream with warm cinnamon
apples were waiting for us. That part of the evening was truly unique to
our family. After our little treat we would all go back home to feast,
sing and dance. Our celebration could last until the break of dawn; for
us, there was no Christmas morning.  


don’t go to Mass anymore, or wear white long satin gloves at Christmas,
but I did create my own little family traditions. Things have changed,
and sometimes I wish my kids and grandkids could live one of my
childhood Christmases, but life moves forward and brings with it new


I want to provide a recipe that you can incorporate into your Christmas
memories and if you like it enough, maybe it can become a new tradition
for you. This recipe is particularly good to have on hand for aging
parents who are burdened with diabetes. With everything else on the
table having one dessert that contains no sugar/carbs might be welcomed
not only by those who are protecting their ketosis but also those who
are monitoring their sugar intake! Enjoy!


Zucchini Apple Crisp (by Rebecca Mascano)



2 cups of zucchini sliced and without the peel

2 packets of Splenda

Juice of one lemon

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 packet of Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

1 Ideal Protein Apple and Cinnamon soy puffs packet

“I can’t believe it is not Butter” spray



Peel zucchini, cut lengthwise and then in fairly thin slices

Toss the zucchini in the bowl with the Splenda, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and syrup.

Place the zucchini in a baking dish

In the bag, crush the apple and cinnamon soy puffs, sprinkle them on the zucchini

Spray the top with the spray

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes


And dig in without guilt! 

Phase 4 tip…


Being in Phase 4 often means feeling
free from restrictions. Although this is true, making sure your
Christmas family traditions don’t hinder all that you have accomplished
and maintained so far is very important. If you could have the feeling
of grandma’s apple pie without it getting the best of you, wouldn’t that
be good? This may be just the recipe for those multiple fun days
stringed too close together!!! You CAN have this on a day following a
fun day!

only two days left before Christmas, we are all scrambling to get last
minute things done. If you have not yet purchased your turkey, you need
to know that they are available at Food Basic’s for something like
$0.76/lb (or $1.61/Kg). You can use Carolyne’s brining instructions from
Day 2 of the Advent Calendar to get a juicy, tasty turkey!


this is my last entry on this Advent Calendar, I wish to take this
opportunity to extend my best wishes to you and your family! May this
season bring your family closer together while you create memories that
will last a lifetime!

Merry Christmas my friends!


Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

I trust you have enjoyed this daily email, I certainly have enjoyed
writing for you and sharing some of my stories! Take good care, I hold
you in my heart!

Day 21 – Who’s the entertainment?

you remember Christmases when you were a kid? I don’t know about your
family but although my sister’s and my musical talents had yet to be
developed, our family still enjoyed singing at Christmas. Each member of
the family had their song and nobody needed to pry it out of them, they
sang it willingly. It was one of the highlights of the gatherings…

You’ve got talent… (YOU, not America, not Canada!)

If the weather keeps you inside this weekend and you

is funny how the time has passed and in many family gatherings,
including ours, we simply end up talking around the table but the
entertainment has subsided. The kids go to the family room and play
video games instead of board games, and they text their friends who are
in their respective families having their own Christmas gathering and
doing the exact same thing, playing video games…


my family, things too have changed since I was a kid. Today, my sister
is a full-on musician playing the organ and the guitar and she sings in
the locally renowned mega-choir called “Les chansonniers d’Ottawa”… my
daughter plays the guitar and the ukulele and sings with a voice that
makes the hairs on my arms stand right up it is so beautiful… and I
play several instruments and sing… and yet none of this comes to light
at our family gatherings.


mother and father would be the first to tell you that they miss the
music and can’t understand why it went away. Maybe it is because we run
through life and have so little down time to appreciate everyone’s
company so when we do get together we would rather talk than sing… we
need to spend real moments appreciating each other and understanding
each other… Believe me, I understand… but we must remember that our
kids will look back and all they will remember is that we sat around and
talked. Maybe that’s the reason why they leave the table and go play
video games.  


A quick anecdote…


August, my daughter came to spend a weekend at our trailer. On Saturday
night we went over to the neighbour’s camp fire with our guitars and
sang a few songs. Everyone was energized. My daughter’s voice awed
everyone and then she pushed the limits by doing something that really
impressed everyone… she did the cup song! (If you are a movie buff,
this is the Beca’s audition in the movie Pitch Perfect)
Well I was so impressed that I asked her to show me the moves… We
almost drove my husband crazy from all the practicing… but ah, the fun
we had!  


forward two weeks later when my husband and I attend our godson Jesse’s
18th birthday. After dinner, the teens are showing us dance moves and
videos when I pipe up and say “do you know the cup song?”… Well they
get really excited and Jesse goes to the kitchen to get three cups: one
for his girlfriend, one for his girlfriend’s sister and one for
himself… That’s when I say “hey, where’s my cup?”… You should have
seen the expression of surprise on everyone’s face! So off to the
kitchen he went and handed me a cup… All four of us did the cup song
together and it was a blast! Two generations tied together in the same


woke up this morning with this in mind and wanted to show you how to do
the cup song. If you have kids… teenagers especially, or young
adults… don’t worry, they know about the cup song! Imagine their
surprise when you suggest it and join in. You don’t need to have a great
voice (play the video in the back ground), you don’t need to play an
instrument either… all you need is a cup! Included here is everything
you need to learn, except the cup…LOL! There is a tutorial for you to learn the moves, the cover song so you get the moves with the music and the actual artist video of the song!

so what does this have to do with dieting and food? Everything! Have
you ever tried to sing and eat at the same time? What about play tap-tap
on a cup and eat at the same time… When you get absorbed in an
activity other than eating, the time passes and you stop focusing on the
things on the table that would taste great in your mouth, but that you
would regret eating the minute you swallowed! It only takes one person
to get the ball rolling and then others want to show you their talent
too… this is a time to create memories for your children… I bet you
they won’t forget this one!

Phase 4 tip…


There is no phase 4 tip here… Regardless of the phase you
are in, the above applies! Think back to your own childhood memories and
see what you remember most… When we went to my dad’s side of the
family, there was one cousin in particular… he never joined the kids
upstairs as we played bingo (it was the only game available), no this
cousin stayed downstairs and told jokes to the adult crowd (some weren’t
even appropriate for our/his age group)! How each of us wished we could
entertain the adults instead of playing bingo!

you are one of our readers who is in the process of deciding if this
January you will join our great family and our amazing program, maybe
you have done this program already and have been finished for over a
year or two even… Maybe you have kids or maybe you have grand-kids…
My goal here is simply to help you create a new setting around the
dining room table, one that focuses on something other than food!



Lise Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 20 – Something for you to nibble on…

as we start the weekend, I realize that this is the last one before
Christmas!  There are people out there who are counting on this one to
complete their shopping and others who are counting on this one to
complete their baking and prepare their house to host family and friends

You’re gonna want to keep this one…

the weather keeps you inside this weekend and you are looking for
something to bake that YOU will be able to have, I thought of sending
you this cake recipe!  This is totally phase 1 acceptable so go ahead
and enjoy!


Pudding Cakes




1 package Ideal Protein Pudding

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 Egg whites

2 ounces Water

Spices of choice for flavor (see below)




1. Mix together egg whites, vanilla & water using emersion blender until egg whites are frothy.

Pour out into bowl and sprinkle on spices of choice (see combinations
below…cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc.) and add 1/3 of

pudding package at a time.

3. Fold pudding into frothed egg whites.

4. Pour into greased ramekin/muffin tray.

5. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.



Lemon pudding / poppy seed

Butterscotch pudding / pumpkin pie spice

Chocolate pudding / cinnamon

Vanilla pudding with instant coffee and cinnamon

Vanilla pudding / spice cake

Vanilla pudding / cinnamon and nutmeg


Yields: 1 Serving


Cook’s notes:

cakes will get VERY large while baking, and will deflate when cooling.
If you put too much batter into a small baking dish, your cakes will
literally explode in the oven. It is VERY important to only fill the
baking dish or muffin tin 1/2 way.


Phase 4 tip…


When I started my phase 4, I had made a vow to not eat
anything made with refined sugar.  That is because as a sugar addict, my
brain undergoes a chemical change when I consume sugar. What I did to
help me with my vow was buy the Splenda cookbook and chose new recipes
that my family would like.  Today, you can find a lot of recipes online
at the Splenda website
The same holds true for baking with Stevia or Xylitol.  If you want to
enjoy your holiday treats and reduce their impact on your waist line
consider these alternatives!

weekend will also be a travel one for many whose families live out of
town.  I wish you safe travel especially with the expected weather. 
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you will have access to your email
when you reach your destination.  We still have 4 days to share with



Lise Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 19 – The Challenge of the Dessert Table

you ever wondered why we crave sweets? I have. To be honest, I think we
all crave sweet foods once in a while, this is not the issue. The issue
is: we know that refined sugar and other forms of sugar are bad for us,
so why do we still make, buy and eat sugary foods and drinks? That is
the question I am asking myself. How can we modify a situation if we
don’t understand the elements creating it? My goal here is to shine
some light on certain elements that could ease up the ”Holiday Season
Dessert Table” challenge.

Going to the root of the matter…

If you are part of the ”sweet tooth clan”, or the ”I am on a diet” clan, the next week or so will be a challenge. There are tons of interesting concepts on why we still eat what we shouldn’t. My top three favorite are: peer pressure, the need for reward and habits. So let’s take a look at them. 


Being part of the clan (peer pressure)


Don’t be fooled,
peer pressure doesn’t end at graduation; it is part of life and there to
stay. Being part of a clan (family, social group, friends circle) is a
human behaviour as old as our nature. Before the institution of prison,
the highest form of punishment was to be cast away, shunned, or rejected
from the clan. The expelled member had often brought shame and
dishonour to the group.


Because we are
social creatures, our need to belong is intrinsic to us. Jane Howard
expresses this very well. ” Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a
tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you
need one.”  


That being said,
the strength of our bond to one another does not imply surrendering our
personal pursuits and values. I often say to my children: “it is not
what you say; it is how you say it that matters.” If you are under
pressure during a Christmas supper, you don’t need to sacrifice your
commitment to yourself. By expressing your present situation in the
right manner, pressure could easily turn into admiration and
inspiration. Being part of the clan does not mean having to blend at all


Need for reward  


Have you ever
heard someone say: “I have worked all day, I deserve a piece of… or a
glass of… or just one….” I bet you did. As a matter of fact, you
probably said it yourself, more than once. I sure did!


What about this
one: “I’ve been dieting for 6 weeks, I’ve lost 15 lbs, I’ve done so well
I deserve to treat myself to a _________!” That is precisely where the
whole thing starts to unravel!


The worse one is
when a family member, often a spouse or parent says: “You’ve been doing
this diet for so long and you’ve done so well, you deserve a _________,
surely it won’t hurt anything!” The reason why it is even worse than the
previous scenario is that now, not only do you have to stand up for
yourself, but you have to be different from the rest of the clan!
Starting to get the picture?




They say it takes
21 days to change a habit. I don’t believe that anymore. If it was true,
addiction to substances would not be a problem any longer. Within three
weeks, an addict would be cured! … We ALL KNOW there is no such


Habits are
conniving… they develop without a warning. Sometimes, they are so
dubious that it takes someone else to tell us we have ”a problem” or
”a lack of control”. Habits and addictions have a few things is
common; one of them is the way they creep in, and another is the way we
are often unaware of their presence and effects on our body and mind.  


The beautiful
thing is that good habits are as tenacious as bad ones. So why not trade
the bad ones for the good ones! It is the same process anyway.
Practice, practice, repeat, and repeat, that is all we need to do. If
you view your food choices (during your diet) as temporary, you are not
creating a habit at all. The old has to give way to your new choices;
then you have the birth of a habit.


So before you go to any family or friends gathering for the
Holidays, take an honest moment with yourself to evaluate if sweets or
food in general, are part of a bad habit. If the answer is yes, remember
that you will be faced with this reality over and over again. Make your
own decision and believe you have the strength to respect the vow you
made to yourself. Nobody said this was easy, but we all have the freedom
and the ability to transform our lives… to create new habits and life
patterns that will, in exchange, open the doors to new opportunities
and joy!

Phase 4 tip…


In Phase 4, this kind of situation is more than
probable. The worry is that because you don’t have the “diet” as a
crutch, people won’t understand why you are still refusing a dessert or a
second glass of wine. The thing is that you do deserve a reward,
everyone agrees! But a reward should not result in sabotaging your hard
work and devotion. That just doesn’t make sense.

Christmas Season
is a time of gathering, a time to be a part of a group and a time to
feel that we deserve a break, a good laugh and loving company… Be
prepared as you may well find yourself faced with all three challenges
at once: peer pressure, the need for a reward and old habits that die
hard… take it from someone who knows, the plate of sweets is not a


Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 18 – Remembering where they came from…

we get use to something, we forget it had a beginning. We forget that
someone had an idea and that idea became a tradition and that tradition
became an intrinsic part of our “normal way” of seeing the world. There
is a first time for everything and everything has more than one
beginning. It grows, like a snowball rolling down a hill. An invention
brings life to the next and the next inspires another inventor who
brings forth another beginning. We are all connected, even in the
evolution of inventions, concepts and traditions. One thing gives life
to the next, just like the cycle of nature. The idea is to remember to
be grateful for all those wonderful and impressive people who took part
in the Big story, the story of us.

Going back to the fundamentals…

There is something
to be said about remembering the birth of an event, an emotion or an
invention. When we remember, we give thanks to whom ever gave us that
tradition, that way of life, that method of expression, that piece of
human dignity and that view of the world. We get into a mode of
gratitude which in turn elevates our spirit, our mood and brings us in
touch with a kindness inside that doesn’t only belongs to us; it is the
thread of human kindness. Today I want to show gratitude for one concept
and one invention; together they created the Christmas tree.  




We would think
that the Christmas tree is a Christian concept but it is not. It is a
blend of human interpretations related to the cycle of life and later
on, Christianity. The celebration of a green tree seems to have
originated during King Tut’s Empire (1332 BC – 1323 BC). Throughout the
solstice of winter, the Egyptians would bring in their homes, green date
palm leaves to symbolize life’s triumph over death. In the times of the
Roman Empire, it was tradition to celebrate the solstice of winter by
decorating the homes with light and greens and to exchange coins for
prosperity, desserts for happiness, and lamps for our human journey on
earth. The German and the Scandinavian people honoured the evergreen for
its symbol of hope that spring would be coming back.  


As for the
Christian concept, it is a mix of two stories; the first one involves
St-Boniface a German missionary who became the Patron Saint of Germany
(675 – 754). It is said that St-Boniface got furious when he witnessed a
pagan ritual taking place around an oak tree. He cut the tree and from
it, a fir grew. For him, it was a sign from God. The fir was a symbol of


The second story
takes place around 1500 with Martin Luther. During one of his winter
walks he noticed a group of young evergreens. He was touched by their
beauty and decided to decorate them with candles to honour God’s


I could go on,
connect more dots, but this would not be an article, it would be a book.
The point is, by knowing and remembering where, who and why we take
part in certain rituals and traditions, we are able to truly be a part
of the celebration, in mind, body and spirit. The Christmas tree is more
than an illuminated evergreen; it is a symbol of hope, gratitude and




Christmas lights as we know them today are the result of one man: Thomas Edison. In 1880, this great inventor was looking for a way to advertise his “incandescent light bulb”. It was two years
later that Edison’s bulbs were displayed in a tree. By the year 1900,
General Electric bought the patent rights and today we all enjoy
Christmas lights!


The story of
Christmas lights doesn’t stop there. In 1985, Canada launched the
Christmas Light Program which took place only on Parliament Hill. Today,
there are more than 60 illuminated sites in the National Capital
region. As the years went by, other provinces embarked in the program
and today, it is a National Event! 


celebration doesn’t have to be about overindulging on food and alcohol.
It doesn’t have to cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Christmas
time should be the sum of what you value the most… And although we all
value food to the extent that without it we would be in a very sad
place, food should not be the reason we get together but rather what
allows us to prolong the time we spend together!


By putting the focus on the things that have real value, we free
ourselves from temptations such as desserts and rich foods, and we also
free ourselves from the feeling of missing out. The power of gatherings
lies in the belief we give them. “Phenomenology” is a philosophical
theory which expresses that, only what we see and believe in, is what
exists. The moment you stop believing in something; it withers, fades
and dies, and with time gets replaced with what you now value.

Phase 4 tip…


everything gets reintegrated into your food list, and nothing is
disallowed, chances are that you forget from time to time, and
especially during celebrations, all the hard work that you put in to get
the body and the health you wanted. By re-evaluating which ritual is
valuable and which one would fall under the “we’ve always done it that
way without questioning why”, you can better see what could be at the
root of some of your previous spiralling out of control. Just as a
reminder, if you are a carb addict, it is better for you to stick with tree decoration rather than cookie decoration. You wouldn’t want to wake up at Easter with the sinking feeling that you never saw the last 3 – 4 months or 20 – 30 lbs!
remember the stories, they are the ancestors of our traditions, the
foundation of our celebrations. Therefore instead of grabbing a piece of
cake, light a candle and be grateful… And think that you are every
bit a part of the Big story!


With an illuminated heart,

Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

Day 17 – How many does it make for you?

left my parent’s home in May of 1984 when I first got married so that
makes for almost 30 years… Now, have you any idea how many non-stick
pans I have gone through over the years? If you’re like me, you don’t
just have one, you have many, and of multiple sizes… And it seems that
regardless of how careful you are with the tools, inevitably, they
become scratched and they start to stick and sometimes, they even peel!

A quick story…

A friend of mine
and colleague at the time, comes into work one morning about 15 years
back, and tells me about all the excitement from the night before. My
friend is a bit shy and tries to keep off the radar as much as possible,
you know the type, but the previous night, this had been completely
impossible when all the firetrucks and the police cars arrived at her
house and blocked every access and the street…


You see, right
around supper time, after having cooked a wonderful dinner, just when
they were about ready to eat, they found both of their pet birds, dead
in their cage! A feeling of panick got a hold of them and they did what
every safety conscious individual would do in the same situation, and
called the city to report this, just in case it was related to a gas


Within minutes,
they were surrounded and asked to evacuate their house. A thorough
searched went on for some time before they were allowed to return
inside. No gas leak was found and no reason was provided for the dual
death of the beloved pet birds…


Fast forward eight
or nine years and I am reading a report on the toxic gases emitted by
the Teflon coating in non-stick frying pans when they are heated up to a
certain degree. Although the emissions cannot be detected by our noses,
they contain at least 4 gases that are extremely toxic. One of them “PFIB,
is a chemical warfare agent 10 times more toxic than phosgene (COCl2, a chemical warfare agent used during World Wars I and II)”
1 The Environmental Working Group has written a paper titled: Canaries
in the kitchen: Teflon offgas studies. You can read this report by
clicking here


What this report
brings forth are the various studies showing how over time and with
being exposed to high heat, the surface of Teflon breaks down and
releases toxic gases that are extremely bad for you. They are
subtle for our noses to pick up on them, but they are deadly enough to
kill birds! Was this what happened to my friend’s birds? Who knows?


Fast forward yet
five more years and we have an alternative! I don’t know about you but I
really hate it when my food sticks to the pan, especially eggs! If you
like all the convenience of non-stick pans without the health hazards of
Teflon, you need to take a look at the OrGreenic Frying pan. Now, I would love to tell you that it comes in multiple sizes, the video certainly looks promising but I only know of the 10″ pan. You can check it out on this website to see all it can do. Done are the days when you have to baby the pan with plastic cooking utensils. This pan is made to last!


Here’s something you can take to the bank… last October, our coach Carolyne posted on our Facebook
something about the OrGreenic pan. My mother, who is one of our biggest
supporters, asked where she could get one. We told her that it was
available at Showcase (there’s one at the St-Laurent Shopping Centre)
where she promptly got one for herself. When I called her tonight I
asked if she still liked it and if it was living up to all its
promises… she simply said that she uses it everyday and couldn’t
imagine life without it! That’s proof for you!

Phase 4 tip…


In my mind, it doesn’t matter what phase you are in, nobody
likes food that sticks to the pan. Worse yet is when your food boils
because you can’t get the pan hot enough to sear the juices in… Sound



This is not
only a cooking tool for people who are trying to lose weight, it is one
for people who are health conscious and want to stay away from toxins
and chemicals!  

is still time to get one of these on your wish list but even if you
wait until Boxing day to get one, the thing that you can be sure of is
this… you will never again look at your old Teflon coated pans the
same way!



Lise Hamilton-Carrière
Food-Wise Weight Loss



Day 16 – I want some of that!

you remember those times when your kids devoured broccoli because they
would pretend to be dinosaurs eating “dinosaur trees”? Or the times when
as a kid you ate your carrots first because you were told they had
super-vision powers? It only takes a little creativity and anything can
become amazingly appealing!

Are you worried about your family’s diet over the holidays? Don’t you worry we have a plan!!

So what’s the plan? Change
up the names of your food dishes this holiday season with something
that gets people’s attention. Start by using more descriptive words.
That way it leads people to think it’s tastier BEFORE they even try it.


You can always
trick your family into eating healthier. Because most reactions to food
come from our mind not our mouth, AND we have the ability to trick our
minds. If we think a specific food is going to be delicious, we are much
more likely to enjoy it!


Here is a great
example: ”Consider two pieces of day-old chocolate cake. If one is
named “chocolate cake,” and the other is named “Belgian Black Forest
Double Chocolate Cake,” people will buy the second. What is especially
interesting is that after trying it, people will rate the Belgian cake
as tasting better than an identical piece of plain old cake.” 1


Knowing how to
tease your family’s taste buds into liking the food you make with only a
few words on a piece of paper can be a big deal if you’re trying to get
your family away from the holiday cheese ball or chip bowls…


”This name game
is called “confirmation bias,” meaning that if you say something is
juicy, people almost unconsciously turn up their “juicy sensors” when
they taste the food. Once their taste
sensors are activated, people become pre-programmed to think a dish tastes good.”


So here are some examples of words you could add to your meals:


Meats and Fish


Succulent Italian Seafood Filet instead of Grilled Fish Filet


Authentic Spicy Jamaican Chicken instead of  Spiced chicken 


Juicy Bourbon Steak instead of Marinated Steak




Succulent Spring Picked Beans instead of Simple Green beans


Cajun Red Beans with Rice instead of Beans & Rice (Phase 4)


Amazing fruit fury bliss instead of fruit salad (Phase 4)


Here is a mini list of words to help hype up your dish this holiday season:


finger-licking, tongue-smacking, delicious, tasty, tempting,
alluring, bitter, sour, sweet, honeyed, prickly, sugary, mouth-watering,
delectable, heavenly, savory, toothsome, divine, inviting, tantalizing,
luscious, enticing, appealing, attractive, vinegary, appetizing,
scrumptious, enjoyable, delightful, pleasing, satisfying, yummy, fit for
a king, lovely, tangy, flavourful, juicy, succulent, flavorsome, rich,
sugar-coated, syrupy, candied, spicy, peppery, piquant, thirst
quenching, moist, ripe, salty, zesty

Phase 4 tip…


Now that you
can enjoy ALL foods on your fun day you can explore the world of
desserts with the same name game. This is certainly easier with sweets
than with meals. Velvety chocolate pudding sounds much better than
simple chocolate pudding doesn’t it? You know that all bakeries have a
real grasp for this concept! So, in turn, be creative and create the
hype your recipe deserves!

The most important
part of the holiday gatherings is spending time with your loved ones.
Enjoying a great meal together doesn’t mean eating a high-fat, high carb
meal! The pleasure resides in the moments spend together, the talks and
the laughter. You will feel absolutely fabulous to have pulled off a
stunning meal and evening with healthy options for your family. Instead
of making 10 batches of cookies this year, make a creative center piece
and name tags for your buffet table and it will attract your guests and
get the conversations started!


Keep checking the
advent calendar every day, next week, I will tell you how to create a
WOW factor by decorating with food this year!  

Happy holidays!

Carolyne Sauvé
Food-Wise Weight Loss




Day 15 – Homemade Christmas cards and Phase 1 cookies

the age of 25 I already had 4 children. I stayed at home with them for a
whole decade without cable, video games or computers. We did have a
television, but it had one function: to view family movies. Our reality
translated in being organized, creative and busy. Without TV or video
games to facilitate my days, my job was to keep them busy. We cooked,
baked, drew, hiked, danced, meditated and created beautiful collages
together. Halloween brought the art of carving and baking, Valentine’s
Day was mostly about card making and poetry, Easter concentrated on egg
painting and storytelling and finally, Christmas season was all about
cards and homemade cookies. So here is a story about cookies and
homemade cards!

Cookies please!

There is nothing
cuter in this world than a young child baking with his/her mother. If
you never baked with your kids before, here are REALLY important
pointers to remember before you start. The most important thing to
remember is: your kitchen will be a disaster! Don’t try to minimize the
damage, instead, enjoy the mess, it truly is part of the ”mommy and
me” baking adventure. Secondly, put some happy music on, its vibration
will give a beat to the activity and will keep your child interested.
Without music it could seem (after a while) like a chore and your child
will want to move on to ”better things”. Also, make two separate batch
of cookie dough, one for you and one for him/her (or them if you have
more than one child). Once the cookies are ready to eat and store in
gift boxes, believe me, what your child will want is nothing less than
one of your cookies; don’t ask me why, it just happens that way.
Finally, those little Christmas boxes I just mentioned get them at the
Dollar Store; they are cheap and perfect for Christmas cookie boxes.
Just add silk paper and there you have a great homemade gift for


Now you are
probably wondering why I am talking about cookies when you are on a
diet?! No worries, here is a Phase 1 cookie recipe that you can make AND
enjoy! And believe me, no one will know, that’s how good they are. Yay 


Oatmeal Cookies – (Phases 1 to 4)


1 Ideal Protein oatmeal packet

1 Ideal Protein Butterscotch packet

¼ teaspoon Splenda or Stevia

A dash of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 egg white

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Water (enough to get a dough texture)



Heat the oven at
325 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients; add the egg white, vanilla and
water. Mix into a cookie dough texture. Spray the cookie sheet with Pam
olive oil or anything else that you usually use during your diet. Bake
the cookies for 5-10 minutes, check often. Let them cool down, separate
the batches: some to give and some to keep.



Once you have the cookies all done, it is time for phase 2 of this
creative project: making Christmas cards! The art of making Christmas
cards is not restricted to Christmas trees, Santa’s, or drawings of big
gifts with red bows; but let’s be honest here, receiving a homemade
card of a Christmas tree design from the foot prints of a young child…
ok, my heart is melting. A card like that deserves to be framed and
exposed for everyone to see. Enjoy the Holidays with your kids. Make
time to take time with them. They grow so fast, and so do we.

Phase 4 tip…


Being in
Phase 4 during this season is, in a way, perfect timing. It is the test
of all tests; you will be surrounded with Christmas deserts of all kinds
and for more than one evening. Just remember, it doesn’t need to be a
sad or frustrating experience… it is the beginning of your new way of
life. Enjoy their smell, their beauty and the memories of them but don’t
stop there. Also recall the lessons of the past; the feelings that came
after indulging on Christmas desserts and the extra pounds and the
guilty feelings. Is it really worth it? We probably agree that it’s not.

whether you are in phase 1, 2, 3 or 4, enjoy your Holiday Season
without guilt. Maximize the pleasures of that particular part of
Christmas through your other senses. What will come next this time is a
feeling of victory, no extra pounds and an awesome example of self-love
and discipline! That is worth it.



Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss