Fitness and Nutrition


 Training for Fitness

There are many benefits that can occur as a result of using resistance training which include prevention of chronic diseases, weight control, increased strength, better sleep, increased energy and self-esteem, stress reduction and decreased risk of depression. In contrast, lack of physical activity can increase the risk of elevated blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

As women age, resistance or weight training is beneficial for increased bone density and joint integrity.

Cardio or Weights for Weight Loss? BOTH! Dieting, without resistance training, often results in a loss of both fat and muscle mass. The decrease in muscle mass can have the effect of reducing your metabolic rate.


Fitness Walking – The Proper Technique

– Stand up straight

– Eyes up, chin parallel to the ground and looking to the horizon

– Lift and roll your shoulders back and down and relaxed

– Tighten your core. Keep pelvis neutral. Squeeze your glutes tight.

– Bend the elbows 80 to 90 degrees. This is essential to increasing walking speed.

(It also keeps your hands from swelling.)

– Keep your hands relaxed, cupped or in a handshake position

– Your arms/hands should not cross the body midline.

– Heel-down and toe-up foot placement facilitates a smooth heel to toe roll. Shorter strides.

– Drive elbows back and don’t punch forward


General Strength

Cardio            5-6 days, 30-45 minutes. Use cardio equipment of your choice.

Treadmill: vary incline (start at 2%) and speed. Do not hold onto handrail

Outdoor, vary intensity. Dress for weather conditions.


Resistance     3 days, 3 exercises per muscle, 2-3 sets, 10-15 repetitions

Specific large muscle group eg. chest/back, triceps/biceps, legs/shoulders.

Core, every other day.

Warm  up prior to resistance training and cool down after cardio and resistance. Peloton app has various warm up and cool down selections as well as cardio selections.


Ginger Chews – There is evidence to suggest that ginger may help reduce muscle soreness after exercise so if you suffer from delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or want to nip it in the bud, try enjoying a few CHIMES’ Ginger Chews after your workout. Chimes’ has 5 flavors!  

Women’sHealth NO GYM REQUIRED, Special magazine. Great information and workouts! 

* I am not a paid sponsor of apps, books, magazines that I mention.


Based on my training and education of sports nutrition and whole plant-based nutrition, I will share what works for me. I have eliminated as many processed snacks/foods as possible from my diet. For example, crackers, cookies, tortilla chips, cereals, chocolate, desserts, candy.  Five years ago, I chose to eat vegan and did it “cold turkey”.  No meats, fish, dairy, eggs, oils, diet soda, desserts. This works for me but I have salmon occasionally. There are great plant-based cookbooks and recipes. Start out with a few meals. I will share a few favorite recipes of mine.

I include smoothies in my diet and you can find recipes on the internet. My favorites are Green Smoothie that includes a 3-day detox diet with a 21-day plan and The Vegan Inspiration. I also like the detox waters…Skinnyfit day detox blend and Zzz nighttime blend. Start your day with a cup of hot lemon water and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Flat tummy water: 1/2 of lemon sliced, 1/2 of lime juice, 1 sliced cucumber, 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, 5-6 fresh mint leaves, 6 cups of water. Refrigerate overnight.

3-2-1 Dancing Dressing. I use this on salads and sautéing brussel sprouts and kale salad mixes.

Prep time: 2 minutes – Makes almost 1/2 cup dressing

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar        2 Tbsp mustard, your choice              1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice        Chopped fresh dill (optional)

Combine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice in jar and shake well. Add chopped dill. Serve over salad or cooked greens. Also great in a quinoa bowl.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Prep time: 10 min  Cook time 6 min or so

1 large sweet potato

1 c. cooked brown rice                                   ¼ tsp onion powder

1 c.  salsa                                                        ¼ tsp chili powder

1 c. chopped fresh spinach                             ¼ tsp ground cumin

1 c. black beans, drained and rinsed              6-8 whole wheat tortillas

8 oz. vegetarian no added oil refried beans   1 jalapeno pepper, diced

Pre-made or home-made guacamole

Bake sweet potato in microwave, prepare rice.  In a mixing bowl, mash the sweet potato with the salsa, rice and fresh spinach. Place the sweet potato mash in a saucepan and mix in the black beans and refried beans and heat the mixture thoroughly over medium heat.  Add the onion powder, chili powder, and cumin to taste, and stir to incorporate.

Slather half of the tortilla with the sweet potato-bean mixture. Add jalapenos, a few fresh spinach leaves and fold in half. Place in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and press down on the top with the spatula, then cook in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook opposite side for 3 minutes more. Cut in 2 or 3 sections, serve with additional salsa and guacamole

Panana Cakes

Prep time: 25 min, Makes 1 dozen pancakes

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour                          1 c. water

1 tsp baking soda                                            1 c. nondairy milk

1 tsp baking powder                                       2 egg replacers (2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

½ tsp sea salt                                                      with 6 Tbsp water)

1 tsp cinnamon                                               2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 banana, mashed

  • Combine, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix mashed banana, water, milk, egg replacers, and maple syrup.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir just enough to remove any lumps. The batter should be pourable; if it seems too thick, add more milk.
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet or griddle
  • Using ¼ c. measure, pour small amounts of batter onto the heated surface, and cook until the top bubbles. Turn with spatula and cook the second side until golden brown. Serve immediately with fresh fruit, maple syrup or raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

10 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed           1 tsp balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

In food processor, combine both ingredients and process until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Mindy’s Cacao Balls

½ c. walnuts

½ c. cashews or almonds

1 c. pitted dates

1 tsp. vanilla

½ c. Cacao Powder

  • Add nuts to food processor – pulse until chopped well
  • Add 1 c. dates, 1 tsp vanilla – grind until you can make a ball
  • Add ¼ c. cacao powder and mix well
  • Make balls – freeze

Great energy source before working out or needing a late afternoon pick-me-up.

My favorite vegan cookbooks:

The CHINA STUDY Cookbook, Leanne Campbell, PhD

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn

PLANT-STRONG, Rip Esselstyn (Plant Strong food items available online)

Be a PLANT-BASED WOMAN WARRIOR, Jane Esselstyn and Ann Crile Esselstyn



In good health,

Rasa DeLafosse,



Fitness and Nutrition2023-03-21T15:50:16+00:00

Movement, Meditation and Conversations


By: Carrie Waller

In Reverence of Lake Michigan

“Gratitude bestows reverence . . . changing forever how we experience life and the world.” ~ John Milton ~

If you’ve spent any amount of time around Lake Michigan, you know the lake’s magic can carve out a special place in your heart and calls you back again and again. I grew up in the beachside town of Michigan City, IN. After college I moved away but many years later moved to Chicago. One summer evening I was on a crowded CTA bus heading northbound on Lake Shore Drive looking out at the lake. The setting sun turned the color of the water to a shade of blue that spurred a deep sense memory for me. That shade of blue was unique to Lake Michigan, at least in my brain’s catalogue of colors. And it brought back a rush of wonderful memories.

Last summer I spent time at Beachwalk, a lively beachside vacation community in Michigan City. The lake called to me again and asked,

How about a yoga retreat here? I answered, yes.

In partnership with Bloom Yoga Studio*, we began planning for an August Beachwalk Retreat and an idea came to me to offer a nighttime restorative yoga practice on the beach under the stars. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to offer a guided meditation incorporating some of the geological story of the lake. It could be an offering of reverence to Lake Michigan – a kind of prayer of gratitude. So, I started doing some research and began writing.

We all learn in grammar school that the Great Lakes were formed by glaciers that gouged out deep basins that filled with water and became what we now know as the Great Lakes. I think most of us appreciate that the lakes are very young geologically, only about 10,000 years old. But I didn’t realize the stones and sand that form the lake’s foundation are 300-400 million years old. They were originally formed in northern North America and carried down and deposited during multiple ice ages. Now every time I hold a lake stone in my hand, I marvel at its age and wonder how it survived for hundreds of millions of years compared to my short time on earth. It brings special meaning to the Mary Oliver quote, “Each stone is a tiny church locked up tight.”

While humans have sadly and dramatically damaged the lake’s ecosystem, there is still such beauty there. I’m hopeful that with awareness and the right actions we can revive the Great Lakes. I’m grateful this retreat will generate only a minimal carbon footprint. No jet fuel is needed to get us there, it’s just a short drive from Chicago to Michigan City. We’ll enjoy locally grown food, and we’ll keep it simple.

If you are interested in joining the retreat, a few spots are still open. It will be a small, intimate group. I hope you’ll join me under the stars for a guided meditation in reverence of Lake Michigan, morning yoga on the beach, long walks along miles of unobstructed shoreline, and the company of a wonderful group of individuals. How blessed we are to have this magical piece of nature right in our backyard.


Recommended reading about the Great Lakes:

• The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, Jerry Dennis

• The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, Dan Egan

• A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach: One Woman’s Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan, Loreen Niewenhuis


* Special thanks to Julia Means, Studio Manager at Bloom, who has worked so hard organizing this retreat.

Movement, Meditation and Conversations2023-05-10T16:25:34+00:00
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