Build YOUR Health House

Build YOUR Health House

As a wellness coach I’m constantly perusing articles, videos, television segments and attending conferences to discover new tips to share with my clients and followers. As you can imagine there is an endless amount of contradicting information out there, which can be a bit overwhelming even for me! What’s a girl to do?!

Over time I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible to implement every healthful strategy into your life. Therefore, you need to pick and choose what works for you and compliments your lifestyle.

How many of you played with Legos as a kid? You would dump out the whole box, filled with different colors, shapes and sizes, and construct your own unique creation. This is how I’ve come to view wellness. You need to build your own health house.

At the foundation you need to eat a healthy diet, exercise and mange your stress. BUT how you get there is completely up to you. For instance, if you see an appealing tip, like snack on produce and protein or start your day with lemon water, add it as one brick in your house. Maybe a few weeks later you try a spin class and love it! You then add another brick and commit to going three times a week. Remember Rome was not built in a day and developing a lasting lifestyle takes time.

Now what if you finally get your dream house built, and a few years down the road, you feel like it’s getting a bit outdated? Or what if you feel like your body is changing yet again (thanks hormones!!) and what you’ve been doing for so long is no longer working for you? Or maybe you had a big life change which has completely altered your lifestyle (baby, career, financial)? Or what if you’re just plain bored? Guess what, you can always remodel!

Give ideas that appeal to you a go and make each a building block in the construction of your health house. Make changes when necessary and appreciate that one step forward is a huge accomplishment. It may take some of us a little longer to get there but it was the turtle (and not the hare) who won the race!! 🙂


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ECW Tip: The Freezer is Your Friend


Save money and time by freezing leftovers and excess food. For instance, if you load up on produce at the grocery store or farmers’ market, freezing the surplus immediately is the best way to preserve nutrients. Plus these fruits and veggies will make great additions to your smoothies and stews. You can also freeze cheeses (hard grating cheeses like cheddar thaw best), milk (to bake with), egg whites, tomato-based products (like homemade pasta sauce), broths, wine (for future cooking, not drinking), herbs, and healthy greens like kale (blanching first helps preserve quality). In addition, you can actually cook meals in bulk and freeze for days when you’re working late or running around carpooling kids from activity to activity.

Here’s a great family favorite recipe to get you started:

Vegetable Calzones

Makes 8 Servings (4 whole calzones)

  • 1 portion raw whole wheat pizza dough (I like to buy at Whole Foods.)
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage links
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 8 tablespoons pizza sauce (or an organic marinara sauce), divided
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  1. Remove pizza dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Coat onion slices and bell pepper pieces with cooking spray. Place vegetables and sausages on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill vegetables 4 minutes on each side or until browned; grill sausages 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown on all sides. Remove vegetables and sausages from grill; cool slightly. Cut onion slices in half; cut bell pepper pieces into 1/2-inch strips. Cut sausages diagonally into thin slices.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9 x 5-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup pizza sauce evenly over each rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Arrange sausage evenly over half of each rectangle; top evenly with onion and bell peppers. Sprinkle each calzone with 1/4 cup cheese. Fold other half of dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal.
  6. If eating immediately: place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat calzones with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut in half and top each half with 1 Tablespoon pizza sauce.
  7. If freezing: Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Wrap cooled calzones individually in foil and seal in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months. To Reheat: Bake calzones, unwrapped, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut in half and top each half with 1 Tablespoon pizza sauce.


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When to Buy Organic?!!

G and veggies

Eating a diet focused on fruits and vegetables is the best way to stay healthy (not to mention ROCK those skinny jeans). But the pesticides used on many crops remain a major health concern as they disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous and hormone systems, as well as increase risks of cancer. Therefore, by choosing organic and locally-grown produce, you can take advantage of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables without exposing yourself, your family and your pup to potentially harmful chemicals.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) updates their Shopper’s Guide to present the newest “Dirty Dozen Plus” list – produce that contains the highest pesticide residues, as well as the “Clean Fifteen” list – produce least likely to hold pesticide residues. This can also help you save money because it highlights which foods you should buy organically.

Here are the updated lists:

The Dirty Dozen:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas (Imported)
  • Potatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens

The Clean Fifteen:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower


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Rockstar Doggy Momma: Mindy Poortinga


Mindy is not only a total Rockstar Doggy Momma, but she’s a culinary genius! Mindy developed the food delivery company Vegan Meals by Mindy which caters to the Las Vegas Valley. Mindy is also a clothing designer, creating vegan apparel. Mindy’s vegan journey began when she volunteered at a vegan farm sanctuary. This inspired her to change her lifestyle and convert her meal prep company (and bodybuilding!) to vegan. Mindy feels amazing and is at peace with her “carbon footprint on the Earth!” And if you’re not impressed yet, Mindy’s other passion in life is fostering senior doggys.

Mindy is devoted to giving senior pups the best end of life possible. Unfortunately, many dogs are abandoned later in life and Mindy makes sure they are loved and given stability with care. She is currently fostering six seniors dogs and a puppy who is going to be competing in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl!!


Mindy’s two loves go hand in hand. Every Sunday her friends pick-up their vegan meals for the week and bring their doggys for a fun play date! It brings awareness and introduces like-minded women to some incredible senior dogs, fostering many new homes. According to Mindy, “seniors are super amazing because they enjoy chilling with you and just want to be loved!” She of course believes in feeding her pups a vegan diet and adds fresh veggies and whole-grains to vegan dog food.

In order to be a Rockstar foster Momma, Mindy advices that first and foremost you must be patient. Older fur babies need to feel secure given their diverse backgrounds and this takes time. She also recommends fostering in pairs to make the transition easier for the pups, which provides a constant companion when you’re away. Further, be sure to pick a breed that fits your activity level and lifestyle. For instance, if you prefer to lay around and binge on Netflix you’re better suited for a small lap dog than a Lab! Most of all, don’t judge a book by its cover; personality trumps all!! 🙂

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Doggy Sun Care 101

Gatsby Sunning

My Gatsby, a true golden, gets his Vitamin D year round by sunning himself through our kitchen window, not to mention he loves to play outside and swim in the lake. But can Gatsby get sunburned like us Mommas?!

You might be surprised to learn that although your pup has a fur coat, he can get sunburned too and is at risk of developing skin cancer. During the summer months you want to be extra careful that you’re protecting your pup properly from the sun. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t shave your dog’s coat for summer (or warmer climates)

Your dog’s coat acts as a protective barrier against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Therefore, when you shave your dog’s coat you’re causing him to be more prone to sunburn and skin cancer. Instead, thin out your pups’ coat with a FURminator or an undercoat rake.

  • Use proper sunscreen

If your pup is experiencing hair loss, has a bald spot, or frequently gets burned apply a quality sunscreen to venerable areas. Plus pay close attention to your pup’s exposed areas (around his lips, ears and nose). Select a sunscreen that is safe for human babies and contains NO Zinc Oxide which is toxic for dogs.

  • Use sun protective clothing

If your dog has an allergy to sunscreen or is super sun sensitive, dress her in light-colored clothing designed to block the sun’s rays. In addition, the eyes are a common spot for doggy melanoma so your dog may benefit from wearing sunglasses or Doggles.

  • Designate a shady space

Just like a human child, it’s not good for your pup to spend the entire day lounging on a pool raft!! Make sure your dog has a shady space to escape the sun’s rays.

  • Treat sunburn immediately

If your furry baby gets a minor burn, give him a soothing bath with cool water and apply 100% pure Aloe Vera gel. But when the burn is severe, you may need a trip to your neighborhood vet.

Remember, always stay hydrated during the summer months and make sure your pup has access to fresh water to protect him from the heat!! 🙂

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ECW TIP: Fire-Up YOUR Metabolism with Tabata Training

Tabata Training

Tabata is my exercise tip from my trainer Aaron Manheimer, owner of Chicago’s Wattage. High-intensity interval training deprives your body of oxygen so your metabolism stays elevated throughout your day. Plus you don’t have to spend hours slaving on a cardio machine!

This is how Tabata works with each set taking only four minutes total:

  • Workout hard for 20 seconds (maximum heart rate)
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Do 8 rounds

You can do this on a VersaClimber, Airdyne bike, rowing machine, or as sprints on a treadmill. You can also do burpees or use a jump rope. This means no gym is required! Strive to do 3 sets.

I suggest getting the Tabata Pro App which can help time yourself.

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