Wednesday, November 19, 2014

STRESSED | DESSERTS :: Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

When Dallas decides to drop 30 degrees and wobble back and forth between a tease of fall and the looming winter cold, and the hustle of a crazy busy time of year grabs you, it becomes increasingly hard to avoid those warm cozy foods...more specifically desserts...
Is it a coincidence that "desserts" is "stressed" spelled backwards?! I think not. Something about the reward of a warm cookie with an afternoon coffee calms that right eye twitch...just me? Surely not.

A friend of mine found this recipe for easy Paleo cookies online a couple years back and we've both sort of adopted it to our own thing. While this is not a Whole30 approved treat, it is technically a "clean eat" and is a great occasional treat as long as you share them with friends and don't eat them all. Prepare for simplicity.

What I used:
  • 1 cup almond butter (each one creates a different texture in your cookie. I prefer to use a crunchy almond butter...make sure it is just almonds and no oils or additives!)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or agave)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a dairy free "paleo friendly" brand that makes awesome dark chocolate chips. I bought mine at Sprouts)
  • ...that's it. No seriously.
What Had Happened Was:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix everything in a bowl with a spoon
  3. Line a cookie sheet with foil and use some coconut oil or EVOO to grease the pan
  4. Use the spoon to make drop batter on the foil, spread about 2" apart. I usually make 8-10 cookies from this.
  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes
  6. Remove and let cool on the pan a bit
I like to keep them in the fridge for a cool gooey treat at a later time too. 
As a reminder, this is a fat dense treat and still has natural sugars that you have to consider when treating yourself. That said, everyone deserves a little "stressed" spelled backwards every once in a while. Enjoy!

Finding Fit,

Friday, November 14, 2014

Here's a story...of a happy fat kid.

For as long as I can remember, Obesity has played a lead role in my life.
What? Is that a little heavy of a start to this post? Welp, it's the truth and this is my story, full of those "heavy" moments in oh so many ways. Buckle up.

I grew up in a wonderfully supportive, loving and encouraging, Christ centered family environment and would not trade my amazingly crazy family for anything. But I do think the three Sorenson girls could have dealt without the weight. Literally.
With genetically slow metabolisms from the start, we were just always happy fat kids. I know how hard this had to have been on my very "normal" sized parents as they watched their daughters grow up; but, I have to say it didn't hold us back. Perhaps, that's why it took so long to find my way into a new healthy lifestyle ...there just wasn't much I felt held back from!
Thank you Early 90's for the jewel tones and socks with loafers.
I have always been an over-involved girl, taking on any leadership roles, opportunities to perform and, of course, making new friends at every chance I get. Personality, self-esteem, and drive never fell victim to excessive weight which is why I think getting the weight off always took the backseat on the priority list.
Senior Banquet with my beautiful (and noticeably smaller) parents, 2006
Weight Watchers was a common thread in our home, by the time I hit middle school and we settled our Air Force family down in San Antonio, Texas, for what would become the long haul. "How many points is that" was a regular family phrase, and alongside Curves or whatever other "exercise" regimen, participating in the program with my supportive mama led to 30 pounds down here, 40 pounds down there. But keeping up with high school, extra curriculars, and a social life to boot never left anything sticking around.
High School Graduation 2006 after singing our Alma Mater for our graduating class. Strike Em Rattlers.
I don't even know that I noticed my peek weight but I sure did ride that roller coaster up and down and into college, never losing more than 50 pounds or so, but always sure to put it back on without truly noticing. I'm sure college allnighters, drinking and college food habits consistently played into it, but it still never really held me back. I watched as my two older sisters lost over 100 pounds each at different times...and then put it back on and I just didn't understand what it would take or why God wouldn't just fix it.

The Lord kept bringing me to a scripture through my prayers, through my friends, and through different experiences and convictions in my struggle with weight.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body"
I began sharing my struggle with friends and using it as a point of relation to friends who confided in me their own struggles. While I don't doubt the Lord created me to be empathetic and intentional with these friendships and relationships, I can now see that my struggle with obesity was a crutch, but not something I was willing to turn over to God and His sovereignty. "Rejoice in Hope, Be Patient in Tribulation, Be Constant in Prayer"...Romans 12:12 was another scripture ticker-taping through my brain as I tried to pray away my tribulations and those of my friends, whatever they were. But it wasn't God not hearing my prayers, it was me not leaving anything more than words at His feet.

Seeking the Lord's plan in every nook and cranny of my oh-so-defining college years, I could not understand why I could not just give this over to God and honor him in that surrender. But my selfish control and pride would not free me to His grace in my struggle with weight.
Baylor Graduation, May 2010. Sic Em Bears.
It wasn't until I graduated in the pit of our economy, with no job and no plan, and had to head back home to San Antonio, that I truly found a place uncomfortable enough, I had no other choice but to see God flagging me down. With the unending support of my parents, I joined a gym, where I was handed over to a pesky trainer, who would become one of my closest friends for the next 14 months. I soon learned that the Lord had gifted me this time of living with my parents who supported my healthy eating changes, and being able to spend 3-4 days a week with my trainer. As I began to accept the Lord's plan in this and truly just submit my struggle to HIM, I began to see a determination and a desire for this change that I had never seen before. God met me where I was, in a frustrated pit of not knowing what was next, and He planted a seed in me to pursue HIS purpose with my body and with my life. I spent the next year doing "crossfit" style workouts with my trainer and watching as I developed a love for working out and the thrill of my body changing shape. It was literally just eating the right foods and exercising, but at the core of it, I knew I was doing it to honor the Lord.
August 2011 as I prepared to move to Dallas and leave my beloved, trainer, Byron.
Just over a year later, God opened up incredible doors for me to take an amazing job in Dallas. Before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to my trainer and shipping off 5 hours north on 35. My first free weekend had me signing up for a free trial at Crossfit Strong. I left that morning in tears...of joy. I knew this would be my home to continue my journey of this healthy lifestyle...and 3 years later, it still is. Moving out of a house where my dad prepped chicken and salads for lunches, and my parents and I shared in healthy dinners together was a hard transition but I quickly found a passion for cooking. Nutrition and knowing the WHY's of what I believe is a healthy eating lifestyle continues to drive my passion for clean eating and fueling my body.

In the midst of a (very) busy life, I have found some of my greatest joy in pleasing God by treating my body as HIS temple. When I put good things into my body and push myself in the gym, I see results. But I see even better results when I do it for His Glory, knowing He has already overcome this for me. 

Over the last 4 years, I have still seen ups and downs. I have had great wins, and hard defeats. I have fallen short and into food traps or social-life eating and drinking habits. I have completed numerous Paleo/Clean eating challenges. I have been through A LOT of clothing.
It's hard work and I sometimes buy into the satan's lies that it would just be easier to just be the big girl and not fight this. But my God is Greater, Stronger, and Higher than any other. He continues to meet me where I am, often with friendships and accountability to help me through, because He intends more for me than being the happy fat kid.
People ask what my goal is...there is no number...mainly because I don't even know what that looks like. But there is a hope that I can honor God, roll these successes up into praise to Him, inspire others to seek the same...and ya know, be really strong too.

This is my journey. My forever journey. And I'm thankful for it, even in the trials. This is my way of finding fit, in all the ways.

With a heart of gratitude (especially if you made it through the novel)
Finding Fit,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Paleo-ified Homecoming Weekend.

Homecoming Weekend is one of my absolute favorite times of year. It is reunions, parades, song and dance, hugs galore, football, scarves and coffees, friends who are family, and copious amounts of green and gold. And at the root of it all, it's about TRADITION. I love the comforting embrace each time my Alma Mater welcomes us home to celebrate together.
So what does this have to do with my journey? Well, as you can imagine, there are some food oriented traditions that come along with this celebratory weekend and a non-stop schedule of events, reunions, and little sleep, make it difficult to stay ahead of my every meal and snack need. One of our traditions is to share in some yummy bread loaves sent from one of the mamas each year. The early morning cold and sunshine mix perfectly with a hot coffee and a slice of zucchini or pumpkin bread as the parade passes by. And let me tell you...that bread is GOOD.
Well I came into the weekend guns loaded. I am not a huge fan of "paleo-ifying" breads, desserts and other treats that still trigger reactions in your body, HOWEVER, there is a time and place for even a clean treat and THIS was just that for me.

I chose to make the Paleo Chai Pumpkin Bread from PaleOMG's awesome blog. This hit two birds with one stone... made for an excellent breakfast companion to my venti Starbucks Red-Eye... AND prevented any fear of missing out on the breads or feeling deprived around my friends. It is a pretty easy recipe and is completely Lurong Paleo Challenge approved....oh and it's pretty. (Especially for my first ever bread making experience...Paleo or the like.)

While conquering the parade munchies was a success, I still had a busy day ahead of me. We were spoiled to get to join a wonderful family in their suite at the new McLane Stadium as the Bears slaughtered the Jayhawks. With that box seating, came a spoiling spread of gourmet foods from ribs and mac n cheese to fried chicken, buffalo salads and slaws, and a dessert bar for days.
In all honesty, my spirit was killed a little when I saw how difficult it would be for me to truly stick to my guns and actually get to EAT anything. Hungry, defeated and frustrated, I walked away from the food. Insert one of my best friends swooping in with loving encouragements and ideas. She literally cut rib meat off the bones for me and helped me load up on some raw veggies which had been masked by a typical dip tray. For a bit, I was able to ignore the popcorn, candies and chips and dips flooding the suite life, downing water and focusing on the game.
A couple hours later, Dr Pepper floats (a great tradition of Baylor), were delivered to the box. I once again found frustration as everyone devoured snacks, desserts and continued to munch with freedom through the afternoon. While I have come to a place where I don't mind missing out on treats and choose to cling to my own decision and convictions for what I am personally deciding to do and not do, those rational thoughts become fuzzy when my stomach starts grumbling with no clean eats in sight...

I write this in both confession and celebration. I do not ever want to pretend to have it all together because I can post some great pictures and make a mean meal prep. Dedication, determination, and a goal-oriented mindset keep me from straying, especially while in challenge mode. BUT you need to know, for all of our sanity, some days are just hard and that was one. I survived Homecoming weekend and wrapped up week 7 of clean eating without a cheat. That's the celebration. And I'll keep celebrating the little moments.

Finding Fit,