egg-free, nut-free cocoa fudge brownies and the power of movement

Brownies, oh brownies, how I love brownies. You know what else I love (something that I haven’t written much about recently, but practice every single day)? CrossFit and movement in general, really. Nutrition is the basis of health, yes, but movement, well that’s what makes us human. It’s something we all share a need for, no matter who were are, where we are on our journey, or what are fitness levels may be. I am a true testament to this because after working my body into the ground through years of overtraining in endurance sports and then taking that same mentality to CrossFit for the first two, I had to take a year “off” due to a pretty bad neck injury. Even in this year off, though, I never once stopped moving, and in its truest form, I never once stopped CrossFit.

Until I found CrossFit, I thought my daily quota of movement could only be fulfilled by 3 hours in the gym (90 minutes of cardio and 90 minutes of light weightlifting). I thought health was measured by the number of miles I ran, rode, or swam. I thought that without excessive exercise, I could not be fit. Damn was I wrong.

IMG_7874What I have come to learn through years as a CrossFit athlete, trainer, Level 1 Seminar Staff member, and CrossFit HQ employee is that movement is a part of every moment of our day, movement is natural, and most importantly, movement is ESSENTIAL. Aside from competitive CrossFit athletes, the short time folks put in inside the gym or at outdoors (like the awesome outdoor workout you see to the right) should really be with one main goal in mind – to take the skills and strengths developed in the gym into their everyday lives. To chase kids faster, to do their jobs better, to keep up the actives (ie: surfing, hiking, mountain biking, etc) they love for longer, and to play more – never letting age be a limiting factor. We move every day. And we should enjoy this movement.

Each moment offers an opportunity to move functionally, to build health, and to create a better capacity to love life and prosper.  In the gym, we practice and develop the skills necessary to take on life for the long haul – whether it’s picking up the groceries, suitcase, or small child off the ground (deadlift); sitting down near or on the ground to play with a child, working in our garden, relaxphoto 2 (1)ing, or building that booty (squat); putting a suitcase or dog food onto a high shelf, throwing a child in the air, picking fruit from a tree (press); hopping a fence, climbing a tree, or getting to the top bunk of your kid’s bed to say goodnight (pull up). We can even break these skills down more simply in the way they help us sit or stand in better posture throughout the workday, leading to less pain and headache (literally) in the rest of our lives. The truth is that once we lose the ability to do these movements in our everyday lives, we lose the ability to truly live. We’ve given up. And I am sad to see so many people that seem to have already let go of life. It’s not too late, though!

Every day offers a chance for more movement, to change our DNA, to actually reverse aging. And you can START NOW!

Since finding out I had to take some time “off”, I have made a promise to myself to move as often as possible EVERY SINGLE day, and you can too. Let’s always find time to stretch each morning. To take a walk with the dogs or family. To look at the mountains in the distance (yes, even our eyes need exercise). To step away from the computer and squat it out every 30 minutes or so. To pick things up with a set, strong midline often throughout day. To squat in the garden and soak in the sun. To pick things up and press them overhead (just for the fun of it). To get outside and play in nature every single week. And to simply put it… MOVE. IMG_9893

It doesn’t take hours in the gym to find health and fitness, but it does take functional movements done often. Don’t sit in your car and wait for a close parking spot; park as far away as possible and walk. Forget something upstairs on purpose each day so you have to take an extra trip. Sit on the floor rather than a couch. Cartwheel, summersault, go upside-down. Get outside and PLAY every single week (like Nym over there does). Find a good CrossFit gym in your area and get in at least a few times a week.

I’ll continue to slowly but surely get back into the gym as often as I can in order to continue to move, to lift heavy (in baby steps to start), to breathe, and to laugh with my community there. And though I took time off from setting new PRs and pushing myself to high intensities in the gym, I never really took time off. I continued my CrossFit journey (my life journey, really), I never stopped squatting, and I learned a lot in the meantime, while continuing to build fitness through movement and healing.

After all, life keeps moving, and so must we!

Most importantly, appreciate that you, as a human, not only need to move, but GET to move. It’s what makes us who we are. So fuel right. Move daily. And above all else ENJOY the ride.

And in celebration of movement, here’s a little treat to enjoy (on occasion) with the ones you love and the ones you love to move with. So get up (squat), go for an adventure, play hard, and then eat a brownie. Because these are good.

I made them egg free in honor of a client of mine, who just rocks (but can’t eat eggs). I don’t think you’ll miss the eggs, though, and now ANYONE and EVERYONE you love can eat them. These are FUDGE-ing good (see what I did there?). So go ahead and ENJOY! <3


Egg-Free and Nut-Free cocoa fudge brownies (GF, NF, EF)

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 3 TB Otto’s flour
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup grass fed butter (Use ghee for AIP)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened organic cocoa (use carob powder for AIP)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar (use date sugar for AIP)
  • 1 TB honey or maple syrup (or yacon syrup works great – find out about THRIVE HERE)
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Otto’s flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder (use THIS substitute for AIP)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or homemade nut milk, if you can tolerate nuts)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks from a crushed up dark chocolate bar (preferably soy free and fair trade and I like the chunks better)*
  • OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (if you’re ok with nuts)*

*leave out for AIP


  • preheat oven to 350 F and soften your butter as the oven preheats in a 8×8 glass baking dish
  • combine the 3 TB of flour and water, cook over medium heat stirring continuously until thick (this will be fast so don’t leave it!). Then move to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool
  • when butter has melted, pour into a bowl and add the cocoa, mixing until smooth (keep residual butter in the dish to keep the brownies from sticking when you bake it)
  • now, beat the sugar and vanilla into the cooled flour mixture, and then stir in the cocoa mixture and coconut milk until blended
  • in a separate small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt, and then stir into the batter until blended (It will not be batter consistency, but more of a spongy, cake-like dough)
  • fold in chocolate and optional walnuts then spread evenly in the buttery pan (I used my hands for this)
  • bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • let it cool, cut into squares, and ENJOY (oh yeah)

Let me know what you think! I love to hear from you. How often do you move? How can you get more movement into your life? Enjoy and go MOVE today <3


  1. […] come as no surprise that I love this stuff (case and point: waffles, savory scones, blondies, and brownies. […]

  2. Kimberly May 9, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Is the coconut milk in your recipe of the canned variety? I am guessing it would make a big difference if it is canned or the kind in a carton (watered down?). Thanks!

    • Laura Bruner May 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Hello Kimberly! Yes, I use the full fat, canned kind. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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