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Monthly Archives

August 2018

Paleo Chocolate Cake with Superfood Chocolate Frosting

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Holy-freakin-moly! I can’t even with this cake… Just. Can’t. Even. It is to die for. Literally. No exaggeration. Absolutely life altering.

But here’s the kicker – it’s good for you. I mean, I might insinuating that you should start eating this as part of your daily routine or anything. But I am saying that if you did for a week or so, you’d be no worse for the wear.

And not only is it good for you but it tastes UHmazing. That’s what I do right? Isn’t that why you follow me? …I make things that you think you’ll never be able to eat or indulge in again after switching to a clean eating lifestyle without feeling guilty and/or bloated, etc. after doing so and I make them clean – meaning: unprocessed and anti-inflammatory and taste incredible!

Now, this recipe I cannot take full credit for unfortunately. The frosting is all me! And I’m pretty proud of it, if I may say so myself! But the cake, as mentioned below is from Lisa over at Downshiftology. Check out her other recipes – she’s a mastermind!

But my frosting… I mean, can I just say that it is some of my best work. And, totally plant-based (simply sub honey with maple syrup if you’re strict plant-based) and perfectly stable on the counter for a few days without additives to make it that way. I made this frosting as a test and when it worked (like any recipe I come up with) I literally jumped up and down like a giddy 4 year old. It is crazy how excited I get about really wonderful, flavorful food that I can feel really good about putting in my body.

I can honestly say that I would rather have THIS chocolate cake than ANY regular, white flour, white sugar, etc. chocolate cake. Seriously.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!

Paleo Chocolate Cake with Superfood Chocolate Frosting

….recipe adapted from downshiftology.com

Serves 10

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ cups raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional and sprouted, if possible)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 4 large cage-free eggs, room temp
  • 1 ½ cups canned coconut milk (light or full fat)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ¼ cup raw/local honey
  • ¼ cup monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions for cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients, except pecans (if using) to a very large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1-2 minutes to create your cake batter.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the two baking pans and cook for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once the cake has completely cooled (approximately 1 hour), assemble the cake by adding the chocolate frosting between both layers and frosting the outside. Top with pecans and serve!

Directions for Frosting:

  • Place all ingredients except the coconut oil in a food processor and mix on high until well combined and completely smooth – you may need to stop a 2-3 times and scrape down the sides of the bowl/blender.
  • With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Frost your cake and store on the counter, covered, up to 3 days and then place in the fridge for another 3-4 days or freeze up to 3 months – if it lasts past 3 days on the counter!

 

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Directions for Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Add all of the dry ingredients, except pecans (if using) to a very large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  4. Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
  5. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1-2 minutes to create your cake batter.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the two baking pans and cook for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Once the cake has completely cooled (approximately 1 hour), assemble the cake by adding the chocolate frosting between both layers and frosting the outside. Top with pecans and serve.
Directions for Frosting
  1. Place all ingredients except the coconut oil in a food processor and mix on high until well combined and completely smooth – you may need to stop a 2-3 times and scrape down the sides of the bowl/blender.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Frost your cake and store on the counter, covered, up to 3 days and then place in the fridge for another 3-4 days or freeze up to 3 months – if it lasts past 3 days on the counter!
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Episode 166: Rebecca Hammond Talks Spartan West Virginia, Med School, and More

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In this episode Mo and Miles catch up with Rebecca Hammond after her 2nd place finish amongst a STACKED field of pro women at the recent Spartan Race West Virginia North American Championships.  We talk about:

  • Her race recap
  • How she balances OCR training with a tedious med school schedule
  • How she uses the Whoop Recovery strap to dictate daily training & training intensity
  • Her training on only 4-5 45-60 minute runs per week
  • and more!!

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher!

Mindset & Meditation: No Perfect Routine

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In all of my years of training and coaching I have found that and athlete’s quest for fitness, weight loss, weight gain, and/or performance can be hindered not only by poor nutrition, lack of recovery, etc., but also by simply thinking that what they are doing is not sufficient enough.  All too often athletes chase perfection in training and when they don’t hit a workout goal it can send them into a tailspin of negative self-talk that can 100% affect performance and goals, or they see other athletes doing different workouts and think that’s what THEY have to do too in order to succeed. Our desire to do the perfect workout in the perfect amount of time has consumed us and we often forget the real purpose of what we are training for.

 

If you have ever said, “I’m slow”, “I suck”, “I’m not fast/strong enough” STOP. Stop chasing perfection in your routine and focus on each movement, each rep, and each set being the best you can make it.  If you’re physically or mentally tired, note that, but give 100% of you best effort in that moment.  If you can’t “finish a workout” maybe you need to rest more. If you set out on a training session and you thought it was going to take 60 minutes but it only took 52 minutes don’t think that you MUST keep going for 8 more minutes.  If you put in 100% effort for those 52 minutes then you have done exactly what you needed.

 

Hear me, I am not saying that you should not set goals in your training, I am saying that more often than not we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work that we DO put in and that is what is creating negative self talk that can prove detrimental in competition and even in life.  Stop searching for the perfect training session or the perfect routine to get to your goals.  Focus instead on the journey you are on to reach your goals and strive to learn from every session every day.

Health Episodes #13: Carbs 101

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Are carbs bad? Are carbs good? When should I eat them? When should I limit them? What if I eat too many? What if I eat too few? What if I am trying to get pregnant?  If you have asked yourself one or more of these questions, Alix and Mo breakdown the basics of carbohydrate consumption. OH and we hope you enjoy the bonus songs by Alix 🙂

 

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher and please share with anyone who might benefit from this information.

Episode 165: Coach Mo Recaps NORAM Championships

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Coach Mo recaps last week’s NORAM championships and give some insight, tips, and suggestions on how to better approach grip obstacles and improve your chance of keeping your band, but not before being  serenaded by Miles Keller as Vic slurps down a massive bowl of Pho….

 

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Here are a couple of the videos from Urban Sky and the Force 5 rig Coach Mo talked about in the show

Urban Sky

Force 5

Hatch Green Chile Chicken Lettuce Tacos

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It’s HATCH season!! …one of my favs! I really love spicy foods – which is interesting because I’ve grown into that somehow. I have a client who LOVES jalapenos! Every time I ask him about what he’s eaten there are always jalapenos involved. So I put them on a salad one day and fell in love! Ever since, I’ve been a spice queen.

Unfortunately the same is not true for Mo! Ha! Poor guy – I’ve definitely, on accident – truly – smoked him out before. It’s kind of funny though because we’ll be eating and I’ll look over and he’s literally sweating bullets. I am laughing just thinking about it! He’s such a trooper though! So without fail, he always ends up picking out the jalapenos or hatch peppers and putting them on my plate! Spice and funky cheeses are about the only two things he’ll turn his nose up at – otherwise, he’s truly the easiest person in the world to cook for!

You can buy Hatch Chilies hot or mild. For this recipe, I used one hot and one mild. I honestly didn’t find it to be that spicy. But if you’re sensitive to spice at all, I would stick with only mild. And if you’re not senstive to spice, I would do two of the hot ones!

Hatch season only lasts about 2 months, so I try to take as much advantage as I can. Many people will roast huge batches and then freeze them to use throughout the year! I’ve never tried that but if I get the time this year I might! They are absolutely delicious and add so much flavor to foods! And I’m always down for anything hanging on the verge of tasting like tex-mex!

I also like to add these to burgers and salads for some added punch!

Hope you enjoy!

Hatch Green Chile Chicken Lettuce Tacos

Makes 10-12 tacos…

Ingredients:

  • 2 roasted hatch green chilies, halved and julienned***
  • 2 tsp avocado oil or avocado oil cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1lb ground chicken
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Real Salt, to taste
  • 10-12 pieces butter lettuce***
  • 3-4 tbsp grated raw manchego or crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  • First, roast the hatch chilies. While they cool, make the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the avocado oil into a large sauté pan and swirl the pan to coat (or spray with avocado oil cooking spray). Turn heat to medium; once warm place the bell peppers into the pan with a pinch of salt. Let cook until softened and slightly caramelized – approx. 8-10 minutes.
  • Then, move the bell pepper to the sides of the pan and place the ground chicken in the middle and break up with a wooden spoon. Let cook 2 minutes and then continue to break apart and stir. Add cumin through salt and stir to combine the chicken, bell peppers and seasonings. Be sure chicken is cooked through but breaking apart a larger piece and making sure it is white/not pink in the middle. Remove from heat and add in hatch chilies. Toss to combine.
  • Spoon chicken and pepper mixture into lettuce pieces in desired amounts.
  • Top with grated manchego or goat cheese crumbles and serve.

Notes:

  • If Hatch Chiles are not in season, feel free to substitute with 1 fresh Jalapeño – remove the seeds and ribs if you don’t want it to be too spicy…
  • During Hatch season (August – October) you can find Hatch Chiles already roasted. Central Market is great about this. But, if you want to roast your own, click the link in the Ingredients section and you will be taken to the directions I use for roasting my own.
  • Feel free to use romaine, green leaf, red leaf, kale, etc. in lieu of butter lettuce, if you prefer.
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Instructions
  1. First, roast the hatch chilies. While they cool, make the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour the avocado oil into a large sauté pan and swirl the pan to coat (or spray with avocado oil cooking spray). Turn heat to medium; once warm place the bell peppers into the pan with a pinch of salt. Let cook until softened and slightly caramelized – approx. 8-10 minutes.
  3. Then, move the bell pepper to the sides of the pan and place the ground chicken in the middle and break up with a wooden spoon. Let cook 2 minutes and then continue to break apart and stir. Add cumin through salt and stir to combine the chicken, bell peppers and seasonings. Be sure chicken is cooked through but breaking apart a larger piece and making sure it is white/not pink in the middle. Remove from heat and add in hatch chilies. Toss to combine.
  4. Spoon chicken and pepper mixture into lettuce pieces in desired amounts.
  5. Top with grated manchego or goat cheese crumbles and serve.
Recipe Notes

If Hatch Chiles are not in season, feel free to substitute with 1 fresh Jalapeño – remove the seeds and ribs if you don’t want it to be too spicy... During Hatch season (August - October) you can find Hatch Chiles already roasted. Central Market is great about this. But, if you want to roast your own, click the link in the Ingredients section and you will be taken to the directions I use for roasting my own. Feel free to use romaine, green leaf, red leaf, kale, etc. in lieu of butter lettuce, if you prefer.

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5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

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5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

Whether you’re a hard charging athlete, outdoor adventurer or a full time working parent, the last thing you want is to be sidelined from being too sore or injured from training, a race, an expedition or simply doing life.  When we train hard or race we create tiny micro tears in our muscle tissue. These tears produce a slight inflammatory response, which starts a process of healing and repair. This is how we grow bigger, stronger, faster, etc. However, too much intense training, or after a long/hard race our bodies are riddled with inflammation which require adequate recovery. Without proper recovery, the inflammation in our bodies begins to cause negative affects like excessive soreness, muscular weakness, tight/stiff muscles and joints, and more.  Inflammation left unattended will likely result in reduced performance and injury. What I have compiled for you below are my guidelines that I give to every athlete/client of mine to help reduce inflammation and speed recovery.  This protocol has helped my Ironman, Ultra-marathon, and Obstacle Course clients recover in record time.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods:

The foods you eat have a profound impact on your ability to recover from hard training sessions, adventures or races. Eating highly acidic foods, such as processed refined grains, poor quality grain-fed meats, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, and excess sugar (anything over 7g/serving) can actually increase inflammation and impede recovery time.  Instead of reaching for one or more of the aforementioned foods, choose foods that will reduce acidity in your body, reduce inflammation and speed recovery. My “go to” anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Coconut Oil.  This super food has many health benefits, one being fighting inflammation.  Use it to sauté vegetables, as a substitute for butter as a spread or you can even put it on your skin as a “lotion.”
  • Green Vegetables. I have a saying, “If it’s green and it grows from the ground it’s good for you.” Not only are green vegetables a great source of vitamins and nutrients, the nutrients in greens help mitigate inflammation and lower our body’s ph level (Read: makes us less acidic). Sauté them in a little coconut oil and you’ve got a double whammy of goodness to help you heal quickly.  The most nutrient dense greens are collards, kale, and spinach.  The darker the green, the more nutrient dense. If you are one that really doesn’t like to eat vegetables you can supplement with GreenVibrance and get the nutrients and anti-inflammatory benefits you need.
  • Wild Caught Fish and Grass-Fed/Finished Meats. The amino acids you get from eating meat is incomparable, in my opinion, and critical to rebuilding damaged muscles. Wild caught fish like salmon are very high in omega-3 fatty acids and therefore not only give you the protein you need to repair, but the omega’s to fight inflammation. Grass-fed meats, although a bit more acidic, have a much higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Too many omega-6 fats are very inflammatory.  If eaten with greens sautéed in coconut oil, you see what I’m doing here 🙂  — you minimize the acidity and increase recovery benefits.

Breathe:

Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, has been used for many years to calm our bodies down from the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system and engage our parasympathetic “calm relaxed” nervous system state.  Mindful relaxed breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress/anxiety, and if done daily, before or after a stressful situation, with the proper mindset can actually aid in reducing inflammation and speeding recovery. If you can calm your breath and calm your mind, you will calm your body.

Move:

A common misconception, especially when we are really sore from a workout or race, is that we should rest and not move at all.  Allow our bodies to rest and recover, not unlike the old R.I.C.E. Rest Ice Compression Elevation protocol after an injury.  What if I told you that following those theories actually lengthens the recovery process and can create stiffness and tightness in your connective tissue and joints? Even after racing a full Ironman distance triathlon I, and my clients, will go through an easy recovery movement protocol the following day. The more you sit still the less circulation, blood flow, and therefore nutrients used to heal your tissue, get to sore muscles. Incorporating non-impact movements i.e. an easy swim, an easy spin on a bike, or MOGA for 15-20 minutes a day can greatly improve recovery time.

To begin incorporating MOGA into your recovery protocol – follow us on Instagram for weekly movement posts – @themogamovement

Cold contrast shower:

The benefits of cold therapy are well documented in aiding in reduction of inflammation, improving immune function, and hormonal balance to name a few.  For the purpose of this article, when combined with heat, hot/warm water, it can greatly improve your recovery time.  When you are in a cold shower your blood vessels & muscles constrict and blood is shunted to your core/vital organs, then when warm/hot water is introduced, your blood vessels open up and fresh blood & oxygen are re-introduced.  In the latter process you are delivering nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissue that help to reduce recovery time.  A typical protocol is to take a shower as normal.  At the end of your shower go through the following protocol 10 times: 20 seconds of cold water followed by 10 seconds of warm water.  Be sure to end on cold water.  This again, is something I prescribe to all of my athletes with great success.

Supplementation:

There seems to be a bazillion supplements on the market that tout recovery benefits, and there are some legitimate ones out there, but to avoid any confusion and to keep your bank account from busting by buying multiple products here are my top 3:

  1. Omega-3 fish oil in the form of  Krill Oil
  2. Bioastin 12mg
  3. Solgar Curcumin

These 3 supplements have been tested and proven to help reduce inflammation and aid significantly with recovery from hard training sessions, races, injury, and more.

There you have it – my five, must-do, go-to’s for faster recovery! I am certain there are other methods you can implement, and/or may have implemented in your own recovery plan that have worked. If so, keep doing it! If not, give my suggestions a try and let me know how it works for you.  If you have any questions or need help creating a custom recovery protocol for your needs please contact me at mo@linkendurance.com.  Until then, train hard & recover smart my friends.

 

Life’s Detours are not Dead Ends

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Life’s Detours are not Dead Ends

 

Have you ever been driving and hit a road detour? Sure you have, we all have. Sometimes we encounter the detour just a few blocks or miles from our destination.  Sometimes you can even see where you need to get to, but instead of driving straight there you now have to take a turn, weave through some neighborhood streets, take another turn or two, until you are eventually guided back to your original path and onward to your destination.  No one likes hitting a detour. It cuts into our time, our plan, our ——. But you know what? You still get to your destination.

 

We get hit with detours throughout our fitness journey and our life journey. We get injured, we don’t hit the goal for a race, we get fired from our job, we lose motivation personally and professionally, and the list goes on.  In each of these instances in sport and/or life, and more often than not when this happens our mind turns negative. We think things like “why is this happening to me”, “I’m not good enough”, etc.  We think our “road” has come to an end, but it hasn’t, we have just hit a detour.

 

In the documentary 180 Degrees South Yvon Chouinard , founder of Patagonia Clothing  makes a profound statement when the main character in the film has to call off his almost 12 month long journey a mere 200 meters from his goal of summiting a mountain in Patagonia that he has dreamed about since he was a child. Yvon says, “If you get to the edge of cliff and can’t take another step further or you’ll fall off the edge what do you do? You don’t go backwards. You turn 180 degrees and take a forward step towards a new path, a new direction”.

 

If or when you get injured in training, lose your job, or whatever your “detour” may be, don’t lose hope. Don’t allow your mind to go to that negative space. Instead, reroute your journey to a new direction. If you are injured in sport, this is a great time to focus and learn about foods and supplements to heal quickly, or it can be time to focus on other areas of your fitness that may have been lacking.  This would be a great time to focus on mindset and meditation. The same goes for your professional and personal life. If something happens at work, instead of blaming someone else, look within yourself and see what you could have done better/different and learn for the next time. The aforementioned have all happened to me, more than once, and each time I have had to redirect my path. It has made me wiser, more patient, and given me the ability to not lose hope, rather, I see these detours as a chance to take a few right turns and weave through a neighborhood or two.  Each time this happens I learn something new, and each time I still reach my destination, even if it took a little longer to get there.

Episode 164: Mo, Miles, & Vic Talk Core Training, Grit Games, Vegan Diets, & More

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In this episode Miles, Vic (the vegan), I have some fun and talk about

  • Effective ways to build core/lower ab strength for low rigs and such
  • Vic takes us through his recent victory at the first annual Grit Games
  • We talk about how to do a Vegan diet the right way and common mistakes
  • and some other nonsense :-).  This was a fun episode and it was good to just catch up and chat with the boys

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Chilled Cucumber Soup

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We love and abide by seasonal eating. When you eat seasonally, it is more flavorful, less expensive and naturally more nutritious.

Think about it: when it’s cold outside, don’t you want heavier, more warming foods like stews, casseroles, root vegetables, etc? And when it’s hot outside, it is the exact opposite… We grab for fresh fruits and raw vegetables… Chilled soups and Gazpachos… Citrus and lighter foods… Nothing that will weigh us down… Not to be a drama queen, but heat can feel really oppressive, you know? 🙂

If you’ve been following along, you know that we live in Dallas. TEXAS. And I only add the emphasis on Texas as to drive home the fact that it is the beginning of July and frankly – it is hotter than absolute hell. You know when you get ready to go have a nice dinner or go to work and walk outside and literally, within seconds, start sweating? Yup. It’s been that way here for the last 2 1/2 months already… And we’re not even to the halfway mark yet.

That being said, anything cold and refreshing sounds amazing. Hence my Chilled Cucumber Soup. This is not a Paleo or dairy free recipe but easily could be by substituting the greek yogurt with a plain coconut milk yogurt.

My absolute favorite part about this recipe is that it comes together in literally 10 minutes and there is absolutely no cooking involved! None! Zip! Nada! No heat in the kitchen whatsoever. And right now… That is such a blessing and frankly, totally necessary!

So, for those of you that live in SoCal and have one season of absolute beautiful all year, please feel for those of us across the rest of the country, sweltering!

Hope you enjoy!

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Approx. 3 servings, about 1.5 cups each

Ingredients:

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and roughly diced
  • 1 ½ cups 2% or full fat plain greek yogurt*
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

  • Place the cucumber, yogurt, shallot, garlic, dill, coconut milk, a good pinch of salt and pepper into a food processor or high powered blender and blend until desired consistency.
  • Pour into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight, prior to serving.
  • When ready to serve, stir in lemon juice and adjust seasonings if needed and pour into soup bowls and serve!

Notes:

  • Sub with plain coconut milk yogurt if Paleo or vegan/dairy free.
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  1. Place the cucumber, yogurt, shallot, garlic, dill, coconut milk, a good pinch of salt and pepper into a food processor or high powered blender and blend until desired consistency.
  2. Pour into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight, prior to serving.
  3. When ready to serve, stir in lemon juice and adjust seasonings if needed and pour into soup bowls and serve!
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