Grapefruit and Greens Energy Booster Salad! 

I love salads. I love getting creative and finding new thing to add to them. Particularly fruits and veggies that are in season. 

Lately, my favorite salad add-in has been grapefruit. I love, I mean, LOVE grapefruit! It’s my favorite of all the citrus fruits! It’s the perfect blend of sweet and sour.  High in vitamin C, grapefruit not only boosts the immune system and increases energy, but it also have amazing far burning properties! Yes, grapefruit can boost your metabolism! 

So today, I added some of this yummy super fruit to my salad. And squeezing the juice over top makes an amazingly delicious low fat dressing! 

  

Here is today’s salad recipe:

2 C Red Leaf lettuce

1 C shredded chicken 

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1/4 avocado, diced

1/4 diced onion

5-6 sliced strawberries

Bunch of grapes, sliced in half

One grapefruit, fruit wedges, sprinkle juice over top of salad

Sprinkle a little feta cheese on top

Toss and enjoy! 

SaltAir Half Marathon

I had the pleasure of running the Saltair Half Marathon today as a pacer. The race started and ended at Old Saltair. It’s kinda of beautiful building, in a creepy haunted sort of way.

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The course was a flat out and back, one I wouldn’t normally consider to be a fun route, but as a pacer, running for everyone else, getting to be a cheerleader, coach, motivator, not running for myself, that changes my perspective. It’s all about everyone else. And that is why I loved it.
My racing partner, Wan Ho is one seriously amazing guy! One of the kindest, most positive people I’ve ever met!

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Never mind the fact that Wan showed up with a sprained ankle and I showed up with a strained hamstring. A little pain won’t slow down these pacers! We were determined to get our people their goal time, pain or not!
And he brought me my own little kit of Chinese miracle healer medicine for my leg. See what I mean? Nicest guy ever!

We met some awesome runners along the course. Some running their very first half marathon. These are some of my favorite runners to meet on a course. They are green with the excitement of running and have so much energy and determination. The road of possibilities is stretched for many miles ahead of them.
And equally inspiring are those I meet on the course that are running their 50th or 100th half marathon. True veterans of the sport, eager and willing to share their wisdom.
It was just a day of grit, determination and inspiration.

Ready to meet a few?

Start line! Could it be that this many people love this running thing as much as I do?

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That’s me. Which way do we go?

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Our little group of 2 hr groupies. Sub 2 hours or bust!!

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A few miles later. Still smiling. Still running!

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Running and taking selfies is hard.

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Done! We did it! Finished!

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With Allison and Meridith. Allison is 28 weeks pregnant and smoked our little 2 hr group by a long shot. Simply amazing! Setting an example for preggos everything. One Bad A mother runner!

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Homemade Gluten Free Protein Energy Bars

I’m all about the grab and go pre-workout meal. Especially at 5:00 in the morning before a long run or a hard set at the gym.

I have to eat before I workout. It’s important to fuel for energy before a hard workout. Heck, honestly, sometimes, I eat in the middle of my workout or run. Got to fuel that fat burning machine!

My favorite go-to pre run or workout meal is a banana and a protein bar. And if you have used the store bought bars, you know that they are a) usually packed with artificial sweeteners or sugars and preservatives or b) they are super expensive.

So I got tired of paying out my nose for something I could just make at home and be able to control what ingredients go into it.

So, here is a recipe I adapted from one I found on the internet. It’s super fast, super easy, no bake, all natural, and absolutely delicious! Even my kids like them (I have to hide them to keep for myself).

There are a lot of variations you could try with the ingredients. I omit the Rice Krispies, or you could add different dried fruits, text for different flavors.

GF Chocolate Cranberry Protein Energy Bars

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1 1/2 C oats
1 C quinoa (ground in blender)
1 C Rice Krispies (optional)
2 TB ground flax seed
1 TB chia seeds
1 C craisins
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1 C carob chips
2 scoops (about 1/2 C) chocolate (or vanilla) whey protein
1/4 C chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 C honey or agave syrup
3/4 C almond or peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
In sauce pan or microwave heat nut butter and honey or syrup 30-60 sec, stir til smooth. Add vanilla.

Pour liquid over dry ingredients, mix well.

Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

Pour mixture into 9 x 13 and press into pan.

Using a large square of wax paper, very firmly press into pan.

Allow to cool on cooling rack, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut into squares, wrap each square tightly with plastic wrap.

Makes about 15-18 bars.

Enjoy!
Sherrie Shepherd

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Big Cottonwood Marathon Recap

Two weeks ago, I ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon.  This was my first time running this marathon.  Last year, I ran the half and absolutely loved it!  Beautiful scenery, nice downhill course, great company. I decided after such a good experience, I should go ahead and run the full the next year.
And so, I registered for the full and began my training.
I have always had the goal to qualify for Boston. Up to that point my running pace has been about a minute and a half too slow to qualify. Early this year, a series of things motivated me to give it a go and try to train for a faster time. I started pushing a little harder in my training runs, running intervals and sprints, and started hitting weights heavy and hard.
The hard work paid off.
The morning of September 13th, I woke up at an insane hour only runners and new mothers see on a regular basis, met up with my friends, Betty and Annette and sister Kathryn and brother Mason and loaded the school bus full of all the other crazy runners to ride up to the start. Freezing our toes off, we and all the other runners huddled together in our foil blankets, waiting for the race to start.
Roughly half hour after the scheduled start time, the race finally began. Pacing alongside, Jolene, my sister’s neighbor, who had a similar time goal as mine, I weaved my way thru the other runners, warming up my legs, finding my rhythm.
Riding the adrenaline of race day, soaking in the excitement of my fellow runners, and floating on the gravity of the canyon, I picked up speed, letting the hill carry me across the miles.
At about mile 4, I had warmed up so decided to shed my long sleeve shirt. In the process, my ear buds fell behind my back. I asked Jolene, who was still pacing beside me, to help me grab it. As we both ran along, focusing on my earbuds, Jolene ran over a traffic cone and fell down hard, slamming her knee on the pavement. As I helped her up and to the side of the road, I was overcome with feelings of guilt. Jolene had already had one failed attempt at qualifying for Boston and this was her second chance. And I had potentially cost her her shot.
After making sure she was ok, Jolene insisted I keep going. Reluctantly, I went on my way, stopping briefly at the next aid station for a pit stop.
Concerned about my potty break costing me precious minutes, I sped up down the canyon, passing a few familiar faces as I went. Eventually, I caught up with Jolene again. Thankful to see she was ok and still running, I paced alongside her again. We ran together all the way down the canyon.
At the bottom of the canyon, about mile 15, I stopped quickly to take a swig of my energy drink I had stashed, turned the corner, as the course changed from smooth downhill, to rolling ups and downs, and surged forward. The change of terrain was a nice break on my muscles after the long down hill.
About mile 16, trudging uphill, Jolene urged me onward, as she slowed for a walk break. I was still feeling good so I kept going.
I had worried that the out and back part of the course on Wasatch blvd. would be demoralizing, but it was fun to see so many of my friends pass by as they ran ahead of me along the course. About a mile before the turn-around point, around mile 18, the uphill started getting steeper and seeing that giant sign up in the distance, I started to hit a wall. That was the longest, hardest mile of the race. I thought I’d never get there. But I powered forward, promising myself a walk break at the top.
Finally, I reached mile 19 and the turn around point. Little did I know, it wasn’t all downhill. The rolling up and down I had just experienced was meant to be repeated.
I was exhausted. My legs ached. My feet ached. Putting one foot in front of the other took every ounce of strength and will power I had. I made it to the next aid station, took some GU and water as the 3:35 pacer passed by me. I had to keep up! I just had to! So, again, I pressed forward, watching as the distance between me and my goal time grew farther away.
Push!, I told myself. Keep going! Mile 22. This is that moment, in every marathon I have ever run, that moment when I have to dig as deep into my soul as I can, and find the strength, courage and will power to endure to the end. I prayed. I cried. I tried to maintain my breathing rhythm as I choked on my raw emotions.
Overcoming my discouragement, I rounded that last corner. The course turned again down hill. Only three miles to go. Frustration and fear gave way to gratitude and hope. No matter the end result, I felt such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what my body was able to do. It’s not the first time and certainly won’t be the last, that I have been overcome with thanks for my Creator for blessing me with this body that is healthy and strong and can perform what I ask it to do. Running 26.2 miles is so, incredibly hard. And once again, for the 8th time in my life, I was able to do it.
Adrenaline, endorphins and probably a few angels carried me through those last few miles. As I neared mile 26, I dug deep and surged forward, and sprinted that last quarter mile. Finishing just seconds behind my target pacer, I crossed the finish line with a clock time of 3:35:56.

I had done it! I made it! And I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!

Tears, sweat, pain, grit, love, exhaustion, elation. Just a few of the things I was feeling as I hobbled around the finisher’s square.

After waiting for my friends and sister and brother to come across the finish, eating, drinking, I walked to the timing table to get my official time printout.

Official chip time was 3:33:08!

I couldn’t be more thrilled!

I have never been more sore after a race as this one, I experienced a slight injury in my foot from the steep terrain, but it was so worth it!

I’m going to Boston!

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Fresh Mex Salsa Omelet

In our family, we have eggs for dinner.  A lot.  With 2 kids playing soccer, Mom and Dad killing it in the gym, and training for marathons and all the growing monkeys, we all need our protein.  I’m always trying to find new ways to mix it up.

This time of year, a lot of yummy veggies are getting ready to harvest in our home gardens.  Or, if you’re like me, and always intended to get around to planting, but never got to it, the local Farmer’s Market has ’em!

There is not much better than fresh picked, fresh made home made salsa!  Why not throw it in ranch style and make an omelet?! The best news is it’s super fast and easy!

Here’s the recipe.  Delicious!

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 small sweet pepper, chopped (or 1/2 large one)
1 TB fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 avocado chopped or cubed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 TB feta cheese (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Garlic salt, or 1/2 clove minced fresh garlic

1 TB olive oil
2 eggs (per person)

Chop all the veggies, and mix in a small bowl or throw them all together in the food processor. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Put olive oil in hot omelet pan or frying pan. Sprinkle desired amount of salsa into pan, and stir fry for about 1 min. Crack eggs into separate bowl, whisk, and then pour over salsa in pan. Cook until under side is nice and golden, and omelet easily slides side to side, about 1-1/2 min. Flip and sprinkle cheese on top. Fold in half, cook til cheese melts, about 30 sec – 1 min. Serve with a side of fresh salsa. Goes great with a side of whole wheat toast, or even as a egg sandwich!

Enjoy!

omelet

How to Treat ADHD, Anxiety and Depression Naturally, without Drugs

Over the past several years, I have spent many hours reading, researching and experimenting with natural, homeopathic remedies for pretty much any ailment I could think of.  My family has moved so much into the natural direction, that we rarely, if ever, use over-the-counter or prescription medicines.  That said, I am not anti-western medicine at all.  I believe both homeopathic and modern medicine work hand in hand.  But, I always go with the natural choice first–change up our diet, increase our physical activity and reach for homeopathic aids before turning to pharmaceutical help.  Most of the time, these methods work with little to no side effects, and we don’t need to go to the doctor or pharmacy.

In recent years, some of my children have exhibited signs of ADD and Anxiety.  Because I have always felt that drugs (pharmaceuticals) are a last resort, I have tried many things to help my children focus better at school, gain more confidence and enjoy life as children should.

The following techniques and products have worked wonders for me and my kids.

1) Nutrition

A clean, whole food balanced diet is incredibly helpful with focus and anxiety. Avoid red dye at all costs. Reduce sugar as much as you can. Avoid “low fat” or “diet” products such as low fat or skim milk. These tend to have more added sugar than full fat versions. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, lots of protein and whole grains.  Some medical professional recommend a gluten free diet to help with ADHD.  While, I’ve heard of many people having success with this, I am not an advocate of cutting out any food groups.  A well balanced diet, to me, if the best way to go.

This website has a list of foods and brands that contain red dye. Basically try to avoid boxed or packaged food as much as possible.
2) Exercise
Surprised?  I’m sure you’re not.  I am a big advocate of exercise and health.  People! It’s not just about weight loss!  Exercise, in any form that raises your heart rate and engages the muscles, increases circulation, oxygenates the muscles and focuses and clears the mind.  In addition, it increases endorphin (I like to call these the Happy Hormones) levels, reduces cortisol (stress hormones), and aid the body in immune function.  I could talk all day about the benefits of exercise.  Especially in children.  Your kids don’t need to hit the gym every day.  But send them outside to play! Running around, playing tag, hanging from the monkey bars, riding their bikes, playing sports.  All these things help to focus the mind.  Even just wiggling their fingers or simple stretches can help kids focus while they sit in their chairs at school.
Two years ago, my son was in an experimental 3rd grade class room, in which the entire class sat on exercise balls instead of chairs.  There were a very distinct set of rules (no bouncing off the ball, etc) that the students had to follow and it was incredibly positive experience for my son.  Just that little tiny opportunity to wiggle a little bit as he worked at school helped his focus immensely.  I personally think all elementary classrooms should have this.
This is great little article about exercises that can help focus the mind:
3) Mental exercise
Read!  Duh.  Kids these days (and admittedly, adults, too) are so tethered to their electronic devices.  Myself included.  We like instant gratification.  We want to be entertained.  Imagination?  What’s that?
When I was a kid, I loved to lose myself in a good book.  I will never forget the day, when I was around 11, when my Mom laid “The Little House on the Prairie” in my hands and sent me off to read.  I became so engrossed in the story, I finished the whole series.  After that I loved to read.  I loved to paint the picture of the story in my mind.  If I wasn’t reading, I was outside with my sisters or friends, playing school, playing house, pretending to be princesses, pretending to be robots.  Whatever it was, we were using our imaginations.
Using your imagination, whether to picture what you are reading in your head, playing pretend, or creating something improves memory, cognitive skill, focus and self-satisfaction.
Music!  Another gift my parents gave me was the ability to play piano.   Listen to it, play it, hear it, sing it, enjoy it, feel it.  Learning a musical instrument takes discipline, focus, memory, physical and mental endurance and establishes confidence in children.  Additionally, there have been studies (I’m too lazy to look them up — I probably have ADD or something–but I’ve read them) that have shown increased cognitive development in babies who listened to classical music while in the womb and as newborns.  This effect does not go away after infancy.  Listen to uplifting music.  Classical music is brain music, but hey, I love a good beat.  This is a great way to combine mental and physical exercise.  Pop in your headphones with your favorite song and jam out!  Exercise the mind and body. Done and Done!
Some other ways to exercise the mind: do a puzzle, play a memory game, read to a younger sibling or child aloud, draw or color a picture, make a craft, bake cookies! The list of possibilities is endless.  Get creative.
4) Natural Supplements
Below is a list of products I use for myself and my family.  They work great for us.  Not all minds are created equally.  We all have difference chemical balances and different reactions to different remedies.  It may take some experimentation and tweaking.  This recipe works for me, but it’s not set in stone.  It can be changed to accommodate specific needs.
 Multivitamins, Fish Oil Supplements
ProBiotic
Amino Acids
An  L-tyrosine Amino acid supplement is another great natural way to increase mental clarity, memory and focus.  This one, however, I recommend using sparingly.  For example, I  have Graves disease–an over active thyroid.  Even though my thyroid has been nuked, I take a hormone replacement supplement.  L-tyrosine has been known to increase thyroid function (good news for people with Hashimotos or hypothyroid).  Because of this, I need to be careful as to no overstimulate my thyroid.  Consult with your doctor if you have a thyroid condition before taking this supplement.
As with any health aid, please consult your doctor or health care professional before trying any of the above remedies.
Sorry if this is information overload. Obviously I’m passionate about this! I hope some or all of this info is helpful to you!
Sherrie Shepherd

Oriental Cabbage Chicken Salad

My inaugural post on Piano Runner!

Do you ever get home from the grocery store, and find you have nowhere to put your new produce, because you still have too much of last week’s produce in your fridge, waiting to be eaten?  (Or thrown away)

Here is one of the yummiest “clean-out-the-fridge” salads I’ve ever thrown together.  And it’s super easy! This makes a ton.  Seriously.  Come over and eat!  I still have some left over.

Oriental Cabbage Chicken Salad

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Ingredients:

1 head green cabbage, chopped

1/2 head purple cabbage, chopped

1 bunch green onion, chopped

2 C red grapes, cut in half

1 lb cooked, shredded chicken breast

1/2 C sliced almonds

1 TB chia seeds

2 pkgs Ramen Noodles, dry (without flavor pack)

Dressing:

2/3 C olive oil or virgin coconut oil

2 TB white wine vinegar

2 TB lemon or lime juice

2 TB agave, honey or sugar

1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over and toss.  Enjoy! Serves about 8-10