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Clean Eating Cornbread Muffins

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I grew up on cornbread! My mom always made it to go with soup, which we had pretty often growing up! Smelling it baking in the kitchen brings me right back to my mom’s house when I was little. It is the best nostalgia!

Corn can be a tricky thing though because of the gmo’s (genetically modified organisms) corn can be so high in. So, I went for quite a while without eating it and frankly, always avoid it when eating out, etc. unless I am sure that it is made with non-gmo cornmeal. If you’ve avoided gmo’s and then accidentally had them at one point or another, you know that they can make you pretty uncomfortable – sleepy, tired, lethargic, GI distress, disrupted digestion, inflammation, joint pain, etc.

My recipe specifically calls for non-gmo cornmeal – I like Bob’s Redmill brand for this. And just so you know, if a product is listed as organic, that also means that it is non-gmo. But, most products that are known to have gmo’s will have a label on them that states specifically: non-gmo.

I LOVE cornbread that has lots of texture and “stuff” in it, so I put green chiles, bell peppers and corn kernals into mine! But if you like it plain, you will still love this recipe!

These are a great pair with my Clean Eating White Chicken Chili or any chili, soup or stew!

AND, a great bonus is – during the holidays, you can make this ahead of time, freeze it and it’s ready to go when you need to make cornbread dressing. And now, you’ll have a cornbread dressing you can feel really good about eating!

Clean Eating Cornbread Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine ground non-gmo cornmeal
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup canned LIGHT coconut milk
  • 2 cage free eggs
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can (or frozen) organic corn, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1 can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spray a 12-count muffin tin with avocado or coconut oil cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix very well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and mix very well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until all clumps of cornmeal are gone.
  • Add in the corn, green chilies and bell pepper, if using. Mix well to combine.
  • Pour into muffin tins that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Pour evenly into 12-count muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center muffin comes out clean.
  • Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.

 

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spray a 12-count muffin tin with avocado or coconut oil cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix very well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and mix very well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until all clumps of cornmeal are gone.
  5. Add in the corn, green chilies and bell pepper, if using. Mix well to combine.
  6. Pour into muffin tins that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Pour evenly into 12-count muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center muffin comes out clean.
  8. Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
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Fudgy Superfood Brownies

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When the cooler months hit, I really get into baking! Honestly? I wake up thinking about it! As in, almost daily! Ha! And I have to refrain from baking all the things I want to bake because then, I would eat all the things I bake! Thankfully I live with a “cookie monster” so Mo usually eats his fair share! But, it’s all SO good!

During the holidays, we get invited to parties, get-togethers, dinners, etc. as I’m sure you do to! Part of the season, right? And what is it about the holiday season that all ANYONE seems to think about is food? Am I right? LOL! It’s cold outside, the holidays are typically (for most people, anyway) a time of year that feels celebratory, more laid-back… It is one of my very favorite times of the year! But every year I try to walk into it with the attitude of walking out of the holidays feeling as good as when I walked in. …emotionally, mentally, physically…

One way I do this: I lean into the food-craze – know it’s coming, embrace it, and enjoy every bit of it! But, I do this by keeping things around our home that we can feel really good about indulging in so that when we do go to parties, dinners, get-togethers, etc. the desire to eat ALL the food is not near as strong and absolutely avoidable.

For example: when I go to someones house and they have decadent desserts set out that I would LOVE to eat lots of, I can much more easily have a couple of bites of a couple of desserts and move on, because I know that we have good, clean-eating things at home that I can have and feel really good about having, whenever I want them!

These brownies are one of the things I try to keep around during the holidays! They are fudgy, chocolately, decadent… Absolute heaven! AND, really good for you!

Hope you make these part of your holidays this year and enjoy as much as we do!

Fudgy Superfood Brownies

Serving Size: Makes 12 brownies…

Ingredients:

  • coconut or avocado oil cooking spray
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup 70% or higher dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup raw/local honey or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed gelatin

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with coconut or avocado oil cooking spray.
  • Place dark chocolate and coconut oil in the bowl of a double boiler and melt over low heat, stirring almost constantly and never letting the water in the pot come to a boil.
  • While chocolate is melting, puree the avocado in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
  • Once chocolate is melted, pour into the same bowl with the avocado and add in sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  • Add in eggs one at a time.
  • Then add in baking soda, cacao, tapioca flour, coconut flour and gelatin and mix no more than 30 seconds, until just combined. Use a spatula to scrap down the sides of the bowl and mix once more to combine.
  • Let batter sit for 5 minutes.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just pulling away from the sides and middle is still just a touch moist.
  • Cool and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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Fudgy Grain Free Avocado Brownies
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with coconut or avocado oil cooking spray.
  2. Place dark chocolate and coconut oil in the bowl of a double boiler and melt over low heat, stirring almost constantly and never letting the water in the pot come to a boil.
  3. While chocolate is melting, puree the avocado in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
  4. Once chocolate is melted, pour into the same bowl with the avocado and add in sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  5. Add in eggs one at a time.
  6. Then add in baking soda, cacao, tapioca flour, coconut flour and gelatin and mix no more than 30 seconds, until just combined. Use a spatula to scrap down the sides of the bowl and mix once more to combine.
  7. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just pulling away from the sides and middle is still just a touch moist.
  10. Cool and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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3 Ingredient Paleo Naan with Easy Primal Tzatziki

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This duo of recipes is one of my very favorite things to make for Mo and I (or, just myself 🙂 ) when I get the craving for something bready and unctuous! You know that craving? No? Just me? Ha! If you don’t know it – I’m not sure how to explain it… It’s just this want for something doughy that has a little chew to it and something to dip that texture in just tops it off! …takes it over the edge!

The naan in this recipe is not mine to claim at all! Ashley from My Heart Beets is due FULL credit for this and deserves every bit of it! She’s a genius for many of her recipes, but this one alone made me a believer!

The tzatziki is not traditional in the sense that it does not have cucumber in it. Could you add it? Absolutely! I would use a Hothouse cucumber. Halve it length-wise and then scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Finely dice or grate using a box-grater – a quarter to half of the cucumber depending upon your preference and mix it into the tzatziki recipe below.

I love to serve this with my Primal Greek Casserole (recipe coming soon!) or as an appetizer when we have company over… Or, like I said, when the craving hits me and I want something clean-eating to fill the craving with!

Hope this becomes one of your new go-to’s when you get that craving too! You’ll feel much better for it!

3 Ingredient Paleo Naan with Easy Primal Tzatziki

Makes 2 large Naan or 6 small Naan and 1 cup Tzatziki

Ingredients for Naan:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk
  • pinch of sea salt

Ingredients for Tzatziki:

  • 1, 7oz container 2% or full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped + more for garnish
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions for Naan:

  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and pour batter to desired thickness.
  • Once the batter fluffs up and looks firm/mostly cooked – approx. 2-3 minutes, flip it over to cook the other side.
  • Continue until all batter is used.
  • Serve or store in an airtight container, once cooled, for up to one week.

Directions for Tzatziki:

  • Pour the extra water off the top of the Greek yogurt as you want it to be as thick as possible.
  • Place all ingredients except into a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.
  • Garnish with extra dill, if desired.
  • Serve!
  • This can be made one day ahead!

…naan recipe adapted from My Heart Beets

 

 

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Directions for Naan
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and pour batter to desired thickness.
  3. Once the batter fluffs up and looks firm/mostly cooked – approx. 2-3 minutes, flip it over to cook the other side.
  4. Continue until all batter is used.
  5. Serve or store in an airtight container, once cooled, for up to one week.
Directions for Tzatziki
  1. Pour the extra water off the top of the Greek yogurt as you want it to be as thick as possible.
  2. Place all ingredients except into a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.
  3. Garnish with extra dill, if desired.
  4. Serve!
  5. This can be made one day ahead!
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Episode 172: Training & Nutrition Tips for Beast/Ultra-Beast and How to go into the Off-Season

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In this episode Mo, Miles, & Vic answer listener training, hydration, & nutrition questions for the upcoming Dallas Beast & Ulta-Beast. Even if you’re not racing the Dallas B/UB we provide great advice and tips to help you prepare for any B/UB you will do in the future.

We also quickly dive into how you should be training this off-season to make 2019 your strongest season yet!

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!

The books Coach Mo reference about mindset
Elite Minds by Dr. Stan Beecham & Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness

Paleo One-Skillet Tomato Basil Chicken

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I come from a long line of crazy Italians and I LOVE Italian food! No surprise there, given my heritage – but, probably some surprise due to my predominantly grain-free lifestyle.

A little story about me as a little girl… Growing up, my very favorite breakfast was cheese tortellini with butter and lots of salt and pepper. Man, I can taste it as I type this! I don’t tend towards this breakfast now, as most of you who follow me know! 🙂 And not that I would be opposed – but it’s interesting, taste buds change. Not only between growing up from a kid to an adult – but as we eat differently, taste buds will change. Did you know that?

You can eat a certain way your whole life and then change your habits and your body will begin to CRAVE the new things you feed it. This works both ways of course – you could go from eating a very clean “diet” to perhaps going off the rails for several days (think: the holidays) OR you could go from eating a highly processed “diet” to eating a very clean “diet” — either way, you will teach your taste buds (and your brain) what to crave.

So, while I LOVE pasta with butter and man – how many times have I had Fettucini Alfredo?! 🙂 I just don’t genuinely CRAVE those things anymore. Not that they are bad AT ALL – but, in moderation.

So, this is my way of satisfying my Italian craving, while still maintaining little to no grains.

Please hear me clearly here: GRAINS are NOT bad – this goes for pasta too! In a perfect world, we would have 100% access to sprouted grains all the time… So, when I do eat grains, I try very hard to be sure they are sprouted. I’ve simply learned that I feel far better when I do this vs not caring. So when I say that we eat a predominantly grain-free “diet” – this is why. Not because I think they are bad for you. Just wanted to clarify this small but significant point. 🙂

I served this with a small herb salad – butter lettuce, spinach, cilantro leaves, chives, a few shavings of raw manchego and tossed with evoo and balsamic vinegar and my “cheesy” roasted cauliflower! It was de-lish!!

Hope you enjoy!

Paleo One-Skillet Tomato Basil Chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs chicken tenders
  • avocado oil cooking spray
  • 1 ½lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 – 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 – 2 tbsp paprika
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

  • Spray a large non-stick skillet with avocado oil cooking spray and place over medium heat.
  • Season both sides of the chicken tenders with oregano, paprika, salt and black pepper.
  • Place chicken into pan (you don’t want to crowd the pan, otherwise the chicken will steam and not get that yummy crust, so you may have to do this in two batches) and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until chicken is almost entirely cooked through (a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees F).
  • Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  • Add the tomatoes and garlic into the pan with a little salt and cook for approximately 5 minutes until tomatoes are softened completely and the liquid from the tomatoes has reduced a bit.
  • Add chicken back into the pan and coat with the sauce.
  • Add in basil and stir to combine.
  • Turn heat to lowest setting and let simmer for another 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
  • Just before serving, squeeze half lemon over the top of the chicken.
  • Serve with cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash or roasted heirloom potatoes!

 

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Instructions
  1. Spray a large non-stick skillet with avocado oil cooking spray and place over medium heat.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken tenders with oregano, paprika, salt and black pepper.
  3. Place chicken into pan (you don’t want to crowd the pan, otherwise the chicken will steam and not get that yummy crust, so you may have to do this in two batches) and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until chicken is almost entirely cooked through (a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees F).
  4. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  5. Add the tomatoes and garlic into the pan with a little salt and cook for approximately 5 minutes until tomatoes are softened completely and the liquid from the tomatoes has reduced a bit.
  6. Add chicken back into the pan and coat with the sauce.
  7. Add in basil and stir to combine.
  8. Turn heat to lowest setting and let simmer for another 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
  9. Just before serving, squeeze half lemon over the top of the chicken.
  10. Serve with cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash or roasted heirloom potatoes!
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Health Episodes #15: Protein 101

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In our final episode on the macronutrients, Alix and Mo talk about:

  • The importance of eating protein
  • The importance of quality
  • How to consume before early morning sessions
  • How to use supplements
  • and how Mo is using protein to make his biceps Huge! 🙂

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower Rice

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We LOVE curry at the Brossette’s. It’s one of our favorite flavors. Good thing too because it is full of anti-inflammatory benefits!

Sometimes I have no clue where I come up with ideas for recipes. I used to hate my appetite. A battle with anorexia will do that to a person. I used to get so frustrated that I craved things and was hungry for food… That food was (still is, duh!) important to me. I just wanted to be that person who “didn’t care about food” – you know, the people who “forget to eat lunch…” Ha! I will NEVER forget to eat a meal. Never. And I used to really dislike that about myself.

Now? I lean into that. I LOVE that I crave things and I REALLY love that when I allow myself to have said craving, I usually don’t crave it anymore for a while. Hence, moderation. Too much of ANY thing – even spinach – is not good. And our bodies know this. It’s so beautiful to me – if we allow our bodies to work like they are intended to and we lean into the things we crave without over-doing or under-doing – we will naturally be exactly what we’re supposed to be in terms of aesthetics. It’s when we start forcing our bodies to become an idea that WE have in our heads as to what we WANT to look like that things start going haywire.

This is why we, at LINK Endurance, coach nutrition the way we do… It’s a long, slow process but one that will bring you to what I described above.

Ok, so what does all of that have to do with Coconut Curry Meatballs? Well, not a whole lot honestly, except that to say, I woke up one day CRAVING curry but I also wanted meatballs. I wanted something saucy and filling and full of flavor. It’s the Italian in me coming out, I’m sure. So – that is where these meatballs came from.

I adapted a recipe from Randa at The Bewitchin Kitchen, as I’d never made a dish quite like this before. I mean, I’ve made curries and I’ve made meatballs of course, but have never put the two together. So I leaned on her for some inspiration and a jumping off point!

I must say, she and I would make a great team if we could come up with a recipe THIS good every time!

These meatballs are incredibly easy to make, the sauce culdn’t be simpler and the cauliflower rice – well, it’s easy, yes, but roasting it gives it SO. MUCH. FLAVOR! It’s the only way I make cauliflower rice these days! And! The leftover meatballs are JUST as good, if not better the next day!

Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower Rice

Makes approx. 28 meatballs… Serves 4-5 people…

Ingredients for the Meatballs:

  • avocado oil cooking spray
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 large shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1lb ground chicken breast
  • several cilantro leaves or julienned basil, for garnish (optional)

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 1 ¾ cans coconut milk (light or full fat)
  • 2 heaping tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp almond butter
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt

Ingredients for the Cauliflower Rice:

  • 2-3, 10oz bags pre-riced Cauliflower (fresh or frozen)***
  • salt and black pepper
  • coconut aminos (optional)***

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two large sheet pans with foil or parchment paper. Spray both with avocado oil cooking spray and set one aside and pour the bags of cauliflower rice onto the other one and spread out evenly – spray the top with additional avocado oil cooking spray and a few dashes of salt (unless using the coconut aminos after roasting – see notes) and a few pinches of black pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.
  • Place all of the ingredients for the meatballs (except the chicken and cilantro/basil garnish leaves) into a food processor and pulse until chopped and combined.
  • Pour mixture into a large bowl along with the ground chicken. Mix well with a spatula or your hands.
  • Roll into 1 ½ – 2″ balls and place them onto lined sheet pan.***
  • Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack of your oven, roll the meatballs over and bake them for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Place the cauliflower rice onto the top rack of your oven when you put the meatballs in and let roast 10 minutes, toss and then place on the bottom rack of your oven and let roast another 5-10 minutes. Once you pull the meatballs out, just leave turn your oven off and leave the cauliflower rice in the oven to stay warm until ready to serve – just be sure it’s on the bottom rack at this point.
  • While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce by heating the coconut milk over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring until combined and the almond butter is melted.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce, stir them around to coat them with the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve over roasted cauliflower rice with fresh cilantro and/or basil on top.

Notes:

  • If you buy frozen cauliflower rice, thaw before roasting and drain any excess water before placing on the sheet pan.
  • I like to toss my cauliflower rice with several dashes of coconut aminos as soon as I take it out of the oven. It just gives it more umami/flavor! Not a must, but definitely recommended! If you do this – do not add salt prior to roasting.
  • When making the meatballs, I suggest using a small ice cream scoop to scoop out the meatball mixture so you ensure each meatball is close to the same size and therefore cooks evenly.

Recipe adapted from Randa at thebewitchinkitchen.com…

 

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Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower Rice
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Ingredients for the Meatballs
Ingredients for the Caulifower Rice
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Course Dinner, Main Dish
Servings
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Ingredients for the Meatballs
Ingredients for the Caulifower Rice
Ingredients for the Sauce
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two large sheet pans with foil or parchment paper. Spray both with avocado oil cooking spray and set one aside and pour the bags of cauliflower rice onto the other one and spread out evenly – spray the top with additional avocado oil cooking spray and several dashes of salt and a few pinches of black pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients for the meatballs (except the chicken and cilantro/basil garnish leaves) into a food processor and pulse until chopped and combined.
  3. Pour mixture into a large bowl along with the ground chicken. Mix well with a spatula or your hands.
  4. Roll into 1 ½ – 2″ balls and place them onto lined sheet pan.***
  5. Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack of your oven, roll the meatballs over and bake them for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Place the cauliflower rice onto the top rack of your oven when you put the meatballs in and let roast 10 minutes, toss and then place on the bottom rack of your oven and let roast another 5-10 minutes. Once you pull the meatballs out, just leave turn your oven off and leave the cauliflower rice in the oven to stay warm until ready to serve – just be sure it’s on the bottom rack at this point.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce by heating the coconut milk over medium heat in a large skillet.
  8. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring until combined and the almond butter is melted.
  9. Add the meatballs to the sauce, stir them around to coat them with the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Serve over roasted cauliflower rice with fresh cilantro and/or basil on top.
Recipe Notes

If you buy frozen cauliflower rice, thaw before roasting and drain any excess water before placing on the sheet pan. I like to toss my cauliflower rice with several dashes of coconut aminos as soon as I take it out of the oven. It just gives it more umami/flavor! Not a must, but definitely recommended! When making the meatballs, I suggest using a small ice cream scoop to scoop out the meatball mixture so you ensure each meatball is close to the same size and therefore cooks evenly.

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Episode 168: From not being able to get over a Spartan Race wall to winning Spartan Elite Races & Toughest Mudders with Rachel Hamrick

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THIS episode is FIRE!! Seriously, our guest Rachel Hamrick has one hell of a story to tell. From gaining over 80lbs & suffering depression as a single mother of 3 girls, to her first Spartan race and not being able to get over any of the walls, failing all the monkey bars, & maxing out at a 12 minute mile run pace, to WINNING Spartan Elite Women’s races and running 6 minute miles!

We also have fun talking about how she grew up in, and exactly what is, a “holler”. She tells us about the ONE 7th grade student who’s dog legitimately DID eat his homework, and why she would bring a rope with her on a desert island (besides taming a leopard) 🙂

This show is incredibly inspiring and Rachel is seriously and amazing woman who proves that with the right daily mindset and taking time for yourself, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. You’re going to want to share this with someone that needs a little motivation

 

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Foods to Eat/Foods to Avoid

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At LINK Endurance we coach holistic nutrition… This means that we advise a client on what they should eat AFTER we have considered their work-life, home-life, athlete-life, training-level, stress level, relationship with food, etc.

Hence: “LINK” Endurance – we believe strongly that a person is only as strong as their weakest link. We don’t ever want to give a plan to a client that might seem like an “ideal” plan but one that the client cannot realize due to a link in their chain being too weak to see it through. At this point, an “ideal” plan becomes a “bad” plan for this person. This isn’t a bad thing, by the way. We ALL have weak links… Yes, even Mo and I – though we know some of you might beg to differ. Come move in for a day. You’ll see that we’re humans too. 🙂

One of the links we come across most often that people need help with is the food they keep in their home. It is important to realize that if you don’t buy something, you can’t eat it and vice versa of course.

So I’ve put together a list of foods that we encourage clients to eat 80-90% of the time in any way, shape or form! These are the foods that you want to keep in your home… That you eat day in and day out, week after week.

On the flip side – there is a list we’ve put together that we encourage clients to eat only 10% of the time. These would be “Foods to Avoid.” These are the foods that we strongly encourage clients not to buy and bring into their homes. More often than not, if a food is available to you in your home, you will eat it eventually.

From what we’ve heard, most people we come into contact with think that Mo and I have some form of “superhero” cape on at all times and we never have temptations or, if we do, we don’t give in. Let me clear this up: this is FAR from the truth. We DO have certain foods that tempt us and we’ve both learned that when we make those foods part of our daily or weekly lives, we really don’t feel good for doing so. Namely, tortilla chips and salsa for Alix and Snickers bars for Mo. So, we don’t buy these things. We don’t keep these things in our home. But, we go out for Tex-Mex every now and then and enjoy ourselves! Or, one of Mo’s favorite treats is a Snickers the day before or after a race! But 90% of the time, we eat the foods listed in the “Foods to Eat” list below.

Let’s do a little math, shall we?

  • If you eat 3 Meals per Day + 1 Snack per Day, that = 28 times per week that you eat – give or take…
  • So, if we’re shooting for 80-90% of those meals to be made up entirely of “Foods to Eat” then that means that approx. 24-26 of those meals/snacks are within that list.
  • Conversely, 2-4 of those meals/snacks could be made up of “Foods to Avoid” in some capacity.

I hope this shifts your perspective a bit about your nutrition and how it doesn’t have to be a grind day in and day out. We’ve found that when we take the decision-making at every meal out of the equation, people eat much cleaner, much more often. But when you don’t really have a path to stick to and every meal creates a point of decision-making, it’s much easier to give into temptation. I like to call this behavior: “Pre-Made Decision Making.” If you stick to the list of “Foods to Eat” when you grocery shop, cook meals, eat out, etc. it takes a huge amount of the decision-making process out of the equation and allows you to use that brain energy for other good and you’ll also feel a hell of a lot better!

Side note: if you’re trying to lose weight, we encourage sticking to the “Foods to Eat” list 90-95% of the time (or 1-2 meals/snacks per week). If you’re trying to maintain weight, we suggest sticking to the “Foods to Eat” list 80-90% of the time (or 2-4 meals/snacks per week).

We really like to break it up this way (see below) – and this takes the guess work out of it for us and creates pre-made decision making week in and week out + consistency, which is KEY for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Monday – Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are “Foods to Eat”
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Breakfast and Lunch are “Foods to Eat”
  • One Day of the Weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday): Dinner is “Foods to Eat”
  • Two Days of the Weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday): Dinner involves some form of “Foods to Avoid” – i.e. Sweet Potato Fries or Tortilla Chips or we might have dessert, etc.
  • But please note: when we choose to eat “Foods to Avoid” we eat them in moderation – meaning, we do not (or we try our best not to) over-eat – we keep portions under wraps and push back from the table satisfied vs overly full.

The list of Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid is below or you can click the link below to download the list and print for your daily use! Please note that the columns for each list are side by side – so the Foods to Avod

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

 

FOODS TO EAT

(i.e. you keep your kitchen stocked with these foods – 98% of your intake comes from these foods…):

  • Vegetables: 1-3 “handfuls” at every meal…
    • Any color, any kind – especially dark leafy greens…
    • Organic when possible*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Fats: 1-2 servings approx. the size of your thumb finger (“thumb-sized”) at every meal…
    • Unsweetened Coconut
    • Avocados
    • Nuts* (any kind except peanuts)
    • Seeds*
    • Olives
    • Hummus
    • Ground Chia Seeds
    • Ground Flax Seeds
    • Avocado Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Grass Fed Better
    • Ghee (Clarified) Butter
    • Avocado Oil Cooking Spray
    • Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
  • High Quality Proteins: 1-2 “palm-sized’ portions at every meal…
    • Grass Fed/Finished Beef
    • Grass Fed/Finished Bison
    • Wild Caught Fish
    • Cage Free Eggs
    • Free Range Chicken
    • Pastured Pork/Bacon
    • “House Roasted” Deli Meats or Diestal/Applegate Organics brands only…
  • High Quality Carbohydrates: 1 “fistful” at 2 meals per day…
    • Potatoes (any kind, any color)
    • Fruit (no more than 1-2 pieces per day…)
    • Siete Almond/Coconut Flour Tortillas
    • Beans of any kind
    • Lentils
    • Jasmine or Basmati White Rice*
    • Wild Rice*
    • Quinoa*
    • Millet*
    • Teff*
    • Fruit (no more than 1-2 pieces per day…)
    • Ezekiel/Food for Life Sprouted Bread/Tortillas
  • High Quality Dairy: Milk/Yogurt – approx. 1 cup, 2-3x per week; Cheese – 1 “thumb-sized” serving at 1 meal per day…
    • Raw/Unpasteurized Cheese*
    • Low Pasteurized/Low Homogenized Milk
    • Organic and Grass Fed at the least…
    • 2% or Higher in Fat
    • Organic Goat or Feta Cheese
  • Alternative Flours and Sweeteners: use in moderation – no more than 1-2 tsp of the sweeteners per day…
    • Almond Flour
    • Coconut Flour
    • Cassava Flour
    • Tapioca Starch
    • Raw/Local Honey
    • Molasses
    • Coconut Sugar
    • Monk Fruit Sweetener
    • Stevia/Truvia
  • Alternative Milks:
    • Canned Coconut Milk (light or full fat)
    • Any Nut Milk in a carton that does NOT contain carrageenan or Vitamin D2
  • Condiments: use as needed – please note that the Avocado Oil Mayo and Dressings do also count as an “anti-inflammatory fat” – so 1-2 thumb-sized portions at each meal…
    • Red Duck brand BBQ Sauces (any flavor)
    • Annie’s brand Ketchup
    • Annie’s brand Mustards – any kind: Yellow, Dijon, Grain, etc.
    • Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil brand Mayo
    • Primal Kitchen brand Bottled Dressings
    • Homemade Dressing:
    • Mix of Olive Oil, Avocado Oil or Primal Kitchen Mayo + Vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white wine, red wine, rice vinegar, etc.) + Sea Salt and Pepper + pinch of Cayenne Pepper + pinch of any dried herbs you like…
  • Notes:
    • Whether buying organic or non-organic vegetables, always wash well with a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and filtered water…
    • Try to find “sprouted” nuts and seeds as often as possible…
    • When cooking any type of grain (rice, quinoa, etc.) that has not been “sprouted” or “germinated” always rinse well before cooking – and if possible soak in water for 30 minutes, up to overnight and rinse well, prior to cooking…
    • When buying cheese/dairy, it will denote on the label if it is raw/unpasteurized…

 

FOODS TO AVOID

(i.e. you do not keep them in your house or have them more than 1x every 1-2 weeks…):

  • Refined Carbohydrates/Sugar:
    • Granulated Sugar
    • High Fructose Corn Syrup
    • Corn Syrup
    • White/Wheat Flour
    • Bread, Cookies, Cakes, Crackers, Snack Bars, etc. made with White/Wheat Flour
    • Boxed Cereals
    • Corn Chips*
    • Pasta*
  • Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils:
    • Canola Oil
    • Vegetable Oil
    • Soybean Oil
    • Safflower Oil
    • Margarine
    • Low Calorie Butter Sprays
  • Artificial Sweeteners:
    • Aspartame
    • Phenylalanine
    • Splenda (otherwise called Sucralose)
    • Equal
    • Sweet-n-Low
    • Nutrisweet
    • Diet Drinks
  • Poor Quality Animal Protein:
    • Grain/Corn Fed Beef
    • Farm Raised Fish
    • Caged Chicken
  • MSG: (monosodiumglutamate)
    • Seasonings
    • Marinades
    • Bottled Dressings
    • Chips
  • GMO’s: (genetically modified)
    • All foods containing corn, unless noted on the package: “Non-GMO Verified”
  • Alcohol and Mixers: (women, no more than 2 drinks per week… men, no more than 4 drinks per week, if trying to lose weight…)
    • Beer of any kind
    • Rum
    • Tonic
    • Juice of any kind, except fresh squeezed lemon or lime…
  • Notes:
    • Great/Foods to Eat Substitutes for Chips are the following brands:
      • The Raw Coconut
      • Siete
      • Jackson’s Honest
      • Beanitos
      • Way Better
      • Any chip that is made with coconut oil or avocado oil, non-gmo corn, sprouted grains or potatoes and salt are good in our book!
    • Our favorite substitute for pasta is Vegetable Noodles of any kind. Or, try to find a quinoa pasta or spinach-based pasta…

 

 

 

How to Build a Bombproof Back

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Nothing can stop you dead in your tracks like back pain, and in my 23 years of training I’ve had plenty of athletes come to me with what they thought to be bad backs.  The reality is, they were simply imbalanced in key muscle groups and their back was taking the brunt of the imbalances.  The imbalanced muscles I am referring to are the core complex and the glutes.

 

To bombproof your back you need to build a strong foundation, and by “foundation” I mean core. The muscles of your core include the abdominals, obliques, transverse abdominus “TVA”, pelvic floor muscles, and several others. They each serve a common purpose, and that purpose is to support and stabilize your spine.  The most effective way to build strength in this “core” group of muscles, that I have found, is by incorporating 3 basic movements, or rather anti-movements.

 

The Plank:

Holding yourself in the plank position with your shoulders over your elbows, glutes, shoulders, and head all at the same level, and breathing through your diaphragm is hands down the best movement you can do to build a strong core to support your back during any activity.  This movement can be done daily.  I recommend starting with 3 sets of as long as you can hold without beginning to shake or feel any discomfort in your back. Feeling any discomfort in the muscles of your low back while planking is your body signaling you that your abdominal core complex can no longer support you in that position.  That is your signal to stop the set.

Pro Tip:

Focus on keeping a relaxed diaphragmatic breath during the plank and by no means hold your breath. You don’t hold your breath while performing your sport so don’t do it here. Also, engage or “squeeze” your glutes for 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off during each set.

 

Side Plank:

Same concept as the plank with the exception that you are on your side with feet stacked on top of one another.  You will notice after the first time doing this movement that one side may be harder than the other.  That is very common, as we tend to favor our dominant side, right hand/left hand, during sport, therefore creating an otherwise unseen imbalance.

Pro Tip:

Start each side plank on the weaker/non-dominant side. It will take more energy to hold the weaker side in the proper position, so use your energy for that side first.

 

Anti-Rotation “Pot Stir”:

Sport requires movement of the body while maintaining integrity throughout your core to stabilize/protect your back.  The Pot Stir movement can be done with a resistance band, or cable, and can be performed at multiple angles to challenge and build a strong core. Standing perpendicular to the resistance with feet no wider than shoulder width apart, move the band/cable in a circular motion, as if you were stirring a large pot.  Stay with your relaxed diaphragmatic breathing just as with the plank and side plank. I recommend 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per side.

Pro Tip:

Challenge your core by bringing your feet closer together. The closer they are, the harder your core works to stabilize.  Also, be sure to squeeze the glutes tight during each “stir” rotation.

 

Build your butt… When your glute complex (Glute Maximus, Minimus, Medius) are not functioning properly, and you squat, lunge, step, etc. the muscles of your back take on that responsibility and can cause significant discomfort and pain.  Use this movement to build strength in your glutes that will take the stress off of your back.

 

Glute Bridge:

Lying on your back with our palms by your sides facing up, tuck the heels of your feet closely to your glutes. Engage or “squeeze” your glutes and drive through your heels. This will elevate your hips into the air into a “bridge” position. Hold for 2-3 seconds at the top and then slowly lower your hips back to the ground.  As soon as your glutes make contact with the ground re-engage and repeat for 10-12 repetitions.  Do 3 sets of this movement.

Pro Tip:

Once you can easily complete 3 sets of 12 repetitions, advance to a single leg glute bridge by extending one knee and bridging with a single side at a time for 10-12 reps. If you feel any discomfort in your back with bridging, simply lower your hips until the discomfort goes away.  That discomfort means you are bridging too high at the moment,therefore using your back muscles and you don’t want that J.

 

Each of the above movements should be performed daily, or at a minimum 4 times a week, as part of your active warm-up prior to training or during active recovery days. Make these movements a part of your daily activity, just as you put your pants on before leaving the house, hopefully, and you are well on your way to building a solid foundation for a bombproof back.