Hello, My Name is Sara and I am addicted to Hot Sauce (Plus, the Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Too)

Growing up in my house, we didn’t eat a lot of spicy things. That’s not to say we didn’t eat flavorful things, just not spicy. It wasn’t until I went to college and had an Indonesian and Indian roommate (at a very multi-cultural college as well) that I discovered the world ofspicy heat. Suddenly, the possibilities with food and even ethnic cuisine were endless. I was hooked. I can’t get enough hot sauce – all kinds, flavors and origins. I’ve been known to “sample” it from the bottle. My favorites are the Asian varieties, but I’m not picky. I’ll try anything that has heat to it. Habaneros straight off the vine? Bring it on.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Celiac Awareness Tour with my friend and fellow blogger Rebecca at Pretty Little Celiac. The day stated off with a kick – just the way I like it!

I got to meet the lovely ladies of Tandoor Chef and try their delicious product. It was so good! I was hesitant at first because this is frozen food, and I was wondering if it would taste like “restaurant-quality Indian cuisine” as promised.

I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala and it was fantastic. I could not tell it was previously frozen. It was rich, spicy, warm and flavorful. I’m typically hesitant with chicken – it has to be overly cooked for me – but, this chicken was even good, flavorful and yes, even I liked it tender. It was also gluten-free as are 16 of their other dishes. Tandoor foods are not genetically modified (Non-GMO), have lower sodium and has vegan and vegetarian options, enriched with the fiber and protein your body needs. What I really want to try is this (I am also obsessed with chickpeas). I will be purchasing these products in the future – if you haven’t, you’re missing out!

From there, we only turned up the heat. We visited Jungle Jim’s – a gigantic international market and grocery store in Fairfield, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati. They have everything there, and I do mean everything. Including candy insects.

Just look how big this place is!

I knew it was going to be a great experience when the first sign I saw was about the upcoming Weekend of Fire starting on October 6. You can “Sample and purchase sweat-inducing foods from all over the country at our Fiery Food Show!” I am so there.

And if that wasn’t enough, after perusing the huge gluten-free selection of foods, I findthe largest hot sauce display I have ever seen in my entire life. I may have freaked out a little bit (just a little).

How can you stay calm with THIS before you?!

There were hot sauces from everywhere and some very unique names as well. Giantjugs of tobasco too – anything you could want. Even. My. Favorite. Sauce. Of. All. Time. Oh yes, I purchased several of these babies and Sarachi to take home with me.

Satan’s Blood was even there.

In fact, many things are giant at Jungle Jim’s. When it’s my favorite sauce, I really can’t handle it. The smaller ones are the only ones I have ever seen at the regular grocery stores around here.

I also purchased some Ghost Chili’s (The Naga Bhut Jolokia) from India, which are reportedly the hottest pepper in the world. It had Scoville (a.k.a. hello your hotness) rating in 2004 of 1,041,427 units. For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000 and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the piquance of pepper plants) rates at 16,000,000 units. I have never tried them, but I am so excited.

And Rebecca bought be a birthday gift, which I just tried on homemade pizza today. Enter, Frostbite. It’s white, yes, but there is nothing frosty about this sauce. It is fantastic! And it contains pure capsaicin – I think I’m in love.

SO – while I may have a slightly unhealthy obsessive irrational unique love of hot sauce – did you know it is actually good for you? Researchers are finding that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili and cayenne their zing, has a lot of health benefits. Find out why!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Hot Sauce (If you can stand the heat, that is) 

  1. Hot sauces improve digestion. The spiciness in a hot sauce or a salsa stimulates stomach secretions. And while it is usually heard that ulcer sufferers should avoid spicy foods, it turns out that eating hot food stimulates blood flow to the stomach and increases its mucous lining, which may actually help heal ulcers
  2. Hot sauces can battle depression. Every time you eat something hot, you release endorphins and endorphins are the natural “happy drug” that your body produces. Endorphins resemble opiates in how they work and help to relieve pain and promote a sense of well being. They’re often called “natural pain killers” or “the runner’s natural high.”
  3. Hot sauces can treat a cold. Have you ever eaten salsa when you have a cold? It helps clear the sinuses.
  4. Hot sauces may boost your metabolic rate. And can help you eat less and feel satisfied longer. It suppresses appetite and increases the number of calories your body burns. In fact, a British study showed that capsaicin when added to breakfast foods or appetizers at lunch caused people participating in the study to eat less during meals as well as afterwards. I just read you can drink spicy tea for breakfast (hot sauce added to a mild tea) to really boost your metabolism in the morning. Don’t think I won’t try this.
  5. Hot sauce contains vitamin C. This vital nutrient helps repair and heal many different parts of your body and may even help to heal aching and painful arthritic joints.

What about you? Do you like hot sauce? Do you hate it? Have you noticed any health benefits since you’ve been eating it? Tell me in the comments below!

Stay tuned for more about my Jungle Jim adventures and enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Plus, don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY.

Until the next mile marker,

My 30th and a WINNER!!!!!!!!

I turned 30, you run the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run. Sounds good, right?!

I turned 30.

I had a quiet, but great day yesterday. The quiet was okay with me since I don’t entirely feel like myself yet and wasn’t feeling all too great last week. The main thing I wanted to do for my birthday? Sleep IN! That didn’t really happen, although I gave it my best effort to stay in bed until 11:00 a.m. It was nice just to relax.

I made lunch from leftover White Chicken Chili and it was so good. I made tacos with the chili, sour cream and of course, hot sauce:

I spent some time with my Dad too, which was really nice. We visited the park where Mom last ran and the bench we had put in honoring her memory. It is the first time I have seen it and I am really thankful for the way it turned out:

It provides a quiet place where I can go and remember her, which is comforting to me. And, I hope I can run there someday and have a nice place to sit when I am done with my workout. I think Mom would be happy about that.

Then, I met up with two of my favorite running pals (Duane and Judi) for a brisk walk on what turned out to be a beautiful night. It is the farthest I have gone since I got sick, and I felt great:


You run the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run:

Thank you to those of you who were able to enter and thank you to Pretty Muddy for providing me and one of my readers with this awesome opportunity! I’m so exited to say CONGRATULATIONS to…


Elizabeth, thank you so much for reading and for entering my giveaway. Please email me your contact information (sara@wordstorunby.com), and I will forward it to Pretty Muddy, who will directly mail you your entry and shirt! Please respond by Monday, September 10 at the end of the day or I will select a new winner.  
Don’t forget, if you didn’t win, Pretty Muddy has graciously provided me and my readers a discount code to sign up for the Columbus race at Mad River Mountain on September 29, 2012. You can save $10 by going HERE and typing WordsToRunByDisc in as the promotional code.

Have a happy and safe weekend everyone!

Until the next mile marker,

Get Pretty Muddy for My Birthday Giveaway!

Time flies when you are having fun. Period. I look back over the past few years so of my life and think about how different things are now than they used to be. I went from being inactive – completely sedentary – to running and training for half and full marathons on a daily basis. I made a major lifestyle change and I stuck with it. I gained back my self-confidence, health and courage, and I was happy to be me was again. I made more friends than I ever had in my adult life and helped others, like my mother, achieve the happiness I had found through accomplishing something that was once thought to be impossible. Early in 2011, life delivered a blow like I had never felt before when my mother passed away unexpectedly. I was (and still am in many ways) devastated. I kept running and surrounded myself with the people who cared. Just when I started to come out of the daze that life left me in only a few short months ago, I was hospitalized for ten days for Pulmonary Embolism that killed a portion of my lung and only by the grace of God not my heart. It was the first and hopefully only time I ever have to hear, “You’re lucky to be alive.” I stopped asking life, “What’s next?” I don’t think I want to know.

I turn thirty next week, and I’m not entirely happy about that. There are so many things I never thought I would say before I was thirty. Things like, “I remember Mom used to…” and “Oh yeah, before I got sick and had to be on oxygen…” and “Hang on, I need to find an elevator because I can’t do stairs yet….” I am only thirty, right?! Good, because life just about has me fooled.

So, the few people that know I am turning thirty keep asking me what I want to do for my birthday. In all honesty, all I really want to do is run a race, but I can’t. Not yet. Which race would I run, you ask? Well, I would run any of them, but I have really wanted to run in an adventure or obstacle or (yes) mud race for quite some time now. In fact, I am pretty excited about the newly launched Pretty Muddy Mud Run – women’s only, obstacle run taking place in Zanesfield, OH on September 29, 2012  at Mad River Mountain. I wish I could be there – it would be the perfect belated Birthday present – if I could run!  

And that’s exactly where you come in.

Pretty Muddy has graciously offered to partner with me in offering one of my readers a complimentary entry to the race in Columbus (Zanesfield) and T-Shirt. 

Check it out, I love it:

Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventurous obstacle course mud run for any woman who wants to get outside, spend time with friends and have a lot of fun doing it.

Here’s what you get:
  • 5k Course (3.1 miles, run or walk)
  • Women Only (sorry, guys)
  • Mud (lots of it!)
  • Architectural Obstacles (much better than shabby hay bales and shaky plywood)
  • Pretty Epic Finish Line Party (Entertainment, music, drinks and celebration galore)

The obstacles look completely awesome too:

Okay, even I can do this one – 

Doesn’t it look like so much fun? If you don’t agree, you don’t have to do all of the obstacles, or, you can go back through and do them as many times as you want!

I was grateful to have the opportunity to participate in a live Twitter chat last night with Pretty Muddy and FitFluential and let me tell you, this race just sounds like it is going to be a blast. My favorite thing I learned? The Pretty Muddy mud run is designed to be empowering, not overwhelming and you can take as much time as you need. The focus is friendship, fitness and muddy fun for hard-working women! The race was inspired by the thought that moms and wives (and all women) need more balance in their lives.

Who is near Columbus and wants to go?

Here’s How to Enter for a Complimentary Pass and T-Shirt to the Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run at Mad River Mountain in Zanesville on September 29, 2012 (Please make sure you can go before you enter!):
Leave me a comment telling me (1) if you have run a mud race before and (2) what you loved (or did not love) about it or tell me why you have (1) not run a mud race before and (2) what’s stopped you. + 2 entries
Leave me a comment telling me why you want to run the Pretty Muddy Mud Run in particular.  + 1 entry
That’s it! You have until midnight on Thursday, August 30 to enter (that’s my birthday)! I will randomly choose a winner and announce it on this blog on Friday, August 31. Please be sure to check back to see if you won too.
Don’t want to wait to see if you won?

You can register for the Columbus race using this link. Also, enter the promotional code WordstoRunByDisc to save $10 off the $69.50 entry fee!
Not in Ohio? 
2012 Pretty Muddy events are happening in these cities and you can find out more on their website:
  • Chicago IL Sept 15
  • Columbus OH Sept 29
  • Richmond VA Oct 20
  • Jacksonville FL Nov 3
  • Tampa FL Nov 10
  • Miami FL Nov 17
Each city has a designated Pretty Preferred Partner: an organization with local ties that benefits from a portion of proceeds. However, you can opt to designate a portion of YOUR proceeds to the 501(c)3 charity of your choice, benefiting the cause that means the most to you, which I think is a really cool option. We all run for a reason, why not make Pretty Muddy a part of it?

Be sure to get muddy with Pretty Muddy on Facebook and Twitter too if you aren’t already. This is really a fun and empowering community to be a part of. 

Good luck, ladies!

Until the next mile marker, 

Where Roses Bloom

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. 

-Dale Carnegie

Sometimes life gets in the way. It happens to all of us. We get busy with work, school, cleaning, running errands, taking care of children and families and start to forget to enjoy the small things. Dinner with a friend, a walk in the park, a solitary run or a lazy afternoon spent on the couch with loved ones.

Ever since I got sick, life has been nothing but in the way. Just as things were starting to look up for me with a new job and a fresh start, I was suddenly hospitalized for ten days and potentially lifelong complications after that. I am constantly worried about my health, medical bills, what the next blood test will reveal and when I will be able to return to “normal,” including running and working out. My days start running together with work, worry, doctor’s appointments and on and on. I think about what I “should have,” “could have,” or “would have” done before I got sick.

I momentarily forgot there was life beyond the life I am living. I still need to take the time to enjoy the things that made me happy before. It has been so long since I have seen so many of my running friends – primarily because I am not running right now – that I forgot what it was like to be in the company of another human being that wasn’t a family member or colleague. It was nice, comforting and a gentle reminder that even in the midst of my medical crisis, I do need to “stop and smell the roses” once in awhile, if you will.

Last night I went to dinner at Northstar Cafe(Hello-my-new-favorite-place-and-why-didn’t-I-find-you-earlier!) with my friend and co-coach, Judi. Northstar is a local café that “recognizes that every decision we make affects the health of our community and the environment on a local and on a global scale.” I especially like that Northstar is extremely careful about the ingredients they use. Per their website, “We choose locally grown, organic, and artisan produced foods not only to protect the environment and to support producers whose values are aligned with ours but also so that we are serving the most wholesome and delicious food we can.”

We ordered chips and salsa for starters:

And the best ginger ale I have ever had:

For dinner, we had the Buddha Bowl (Pan seared organic tofu or roasted chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies). I had the tofu, which was absolutely delicious:

Judy agrees: 

Afterwards, we drove over to the Park of Roses and surprisingly, there were still plenty of beautiful roses in bloom for us to look at. The Park features three rose gardens, a herb garden, perennial garden, and prairie.

Here is part of one of the rose gardens: 

And so many beautiful roses, the orange ones are among my favorites. I can’t imagine what the park looks like in the spring when it is in full bloom:

We grabbed a bench and sat and talked until the sun went down (and-it-was-near-dark-and-we-don’t-have-the-best-luck-so-why-test-it-we-better-leave-NOW) and we decided it was time to go. It was truly a great night, and I am thankful to be reminded of what a wonderful friend I have in Judi. I can be myself, laugh, cry and talk about all of my craziness and she doesn’t judge me or treat me differently. In fact, she understands more than a lot of people do. It’s nice to be able to relate to someone on more than one level and just enjoy each other’s company and friendship.

I’m truly thankful I took some time last night to smell the roses blooming right outside my very window and enjoy life for what it is, instead of what it could be.

Until the next mile marker,

My Day at the Arnold

Finally. I get to tell you about my day at the Arnold SportsFestival. But, before I say anything else, I would like to say a huge THANK YOUto the FitFluential Team and to GNC for the opportunity to go! It was a great day, and I am very thankful to be a part of such an active, supportive and motivational community.

After writing the release that was this post – in which you all responded with more love, kindness, compassion, understanding, encouragement and heartfelt stories of your own then I could ever imagine, thank you – I found myself actually excited to go to the Arnold. My planned eight mile training run didn’t go so well on Saturday morning due to my knee acting up so I ran a few errands instead and rushed home to get ready to head to the Columbus Convention Center. I was nervous, no doubt, and must have asked my husband about 5,000 if my hair looked alright. He kept saying yes, by the way, but I was still worried about it.

I don’t live very far from downtown and as I exited the highway to make my way through the maze of streets to get to the Convention Center (I was convinced if I took the alleyways, I would avoid traffic) and immediately ran into a wall of traffic. I inchedto the convention center and parked ($8, a bargain because I saw some spots for $40), arriving later in the afternoon than I had originally planned.

The wall-to-wall traffic turned into a massive sea of people as I made my way to the Media Room, where I picked up this exciting package:

I have to admit, I never felt so cool! The staff in the media room was so friendly and helpful, they asked what I was reporting on and when I clearly didn’t know that answer, they were all very quick to sit down with me and tell me about the events taking place and how to get to them. They also told me cell and internet reception was minimal to non-existent in the convention center and going outside had not proved to be any better.

I was pretty upset with that. I didn’t get to meet up with any of my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors because I had no way to contact them! I was thinking about you all day, though, ladies and scanning Media badges like a mad woman to find you.

I left the Media Room and headed out into the sea of people, trying to make my way to the GNC booth. I cannot even explain to you how crowded it was. You cannot move inside the expo, if you do, you are inching. Literally. I am not exaggerating. I have been to the Arnold before, but I felt like this year it was far more crowded than I remember. I really wish they would consider moving it to a bigger venue in Columbus. I feel that it has really outgrown the space at the Convention Center.

It is difficult to get up to the booths, let alone talk to anyone, but I eventually made it to GNC. I introduced myself to a few of the representatives there, but it was very hard to hear. I also did not get many pictures due to the crowds.

From GNC, I meandered around checking out vendors and fitness celebrities.

I saw Lou Ferrigno (better known as the “Incredible Hulk”), which was pretty cool. His arm muscles are GIGANTIC:

Lou Ferrigno.

Stacy Kennedy (Editor-In-Chief of Oxygen Magazine) and beautiful people everywhere:

I did feel uncomfortable around a lot of the competitors, models and vendors. Kind of like that feeling that you don’t “fit in” quite right. I couldn’t get to the main stage to watch any of the lifting competitions, but I couldsee the stage (Does that count for anything?):

Some cool dudes demonstrating Kardio Kraze (um, I wouldn’t make it in this workout, not a chance; I can hardly run normally on a treadmill):

And, I ran into my friend Kristina Grogan who was a Bikini Competitor and representing Max Muscle:

I did some networking, handed out some business cards and told as many people who would listen about FitFluential and Pace Per MileRadio!

I also got to watch some great events, ones that I do not get to see very often. I watched girls gymnastics (amazing that they are so little and they can flip like that), some martial arts (so dedicated) and lastly, fencing. Which I became enthralled with and wanted to try myself!

I even took a little video (Hint, hint: I have been experimenting with V-logs – yikes!) and no, I am not in it. I would show it to you here, but it is horizontal and should be vertical. Oops. Who knows how to fix that? Besides asking the whole Arnold to come back so I can try again. 

So, all in all, I had a great time at the Arnold and I am forever grateful for the opportunity! I am just bummed that I did not get to meet up with my fellow FFAs or have the ability to move more freely in the expo.  I did, however, make some great contacts and looking forward to hearing from or working with new companies in the future.

Have you ever been to the Arnold? If so, what did you think?

Until the next mile marker,