Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 10

WIW graphic for post

Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 10

Lbs Lost this Week: – 1

Lbs Lost Total: – 13.4

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week


It’s time to be honest. I really do not know how I lost weight this week because all I did was celebrate (two dinners with friends I don’t see regularly anymore, Fourth of July and our 6th Wedding Anniversary – which involved two meals) and go way over on my points. All I know is that when I did eat out (an astronomical five or six times last week), I tried to be reasonable – I skipped the fries or ordered a salad with my meal. I tried to stay away from grains as much as possible, but I made up for the calories I know for sure in sheer volume and alcohol! My favorite meal was that above (dinner with Friend #1), which included an amulet (I’m not kidding, look at the picture) of steak, shrimp, chicken and veggies) and a Coronarita (Margarita with a mini Corona in it), which was so good, it’s dangerous.

Activity of the Week

The heat and humidity have been horrible. I only managed to get in one run of  2.75 miles in 47 mintes for a 17:08 pace.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…
10 lbs
20 lbs
30 lbs
35 lbs
40 lbs
45 lbs
50 lbs
55 lbs
60 lbs
65 lbs
70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…
Run a 5K (Giant Eagle 5K; Columbus, Ohio; July 28, 2013)
Run a Quarter Marathon (Emerald City; Dublin, Ohio; August 25, 2013)
Run a Mud/Obstacle Race (Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run 5K; Columbus, Ohio September 14, 2013)
Run a Half Marathon
Start Biking


4th of july 2013

This week I learned that you just need to have a little confidence in yourself that you can and will do what you put your mind to. I was worried about losing weight this week (and I did), but I did not stop living my life either. July is my favorite time of year and I wasn’t going to miss it like I did last year. I lived my life, enjoyed food and drink in light of special occasions, but did not overdo it to the point of sabotage and even if I had – I. Would. Have. Survived. So, live your life and do the best you can and I think the best will eventually find you.


Until the next mile marker,

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What I’m Longing For

The truth is, we are far too consumed by our lives to pay attention to the things that really matter. We get wrapped up in our cell phones, televisions  emails, Facebook, blogs and Twitter to the point that we can’t even fathom, “What would I do without these things?” The truth is, we don’t really need them like we think I do. And I, for one, often find myself longing for a simpler time.

Apple Butter Festival 2012

It’s fall, one of my favorite times of the year, and I have spent the past two weekends searching for simplicity. I need to get away from the noise and static of everyday life and reconnect with not only nature, but what really matters – family, friends, nature, good company and good, whole food.

Two weeks ago, I visited the Apple Butter Festival and the Ned Moser cabin, built in the 1800’s. I have since been longing to reconnect with the simplicity of the pioneer times.

I sometimes wish I lived in a time when we cooked all of our meals over an open fire or hearth. The campfire brings people together, meals used to take longer to prepare, whole families used to join in on the cooking and whole communities used to come together to eat. No TV’s, no computers, no grabbing dinner on the go.

Early settlers drank primarily apple cider because their water was not always safe to consume. They made their cider with a press by hand from bruised and damaged apples. They drank from deerskin cups, which they crafted themselves.

There were no indoor restrooms.

And they kept all of their vegetables, fruits, meats and cheeses cool by storing them in an underground root cellar. These are all things the early settlers would have built on their own, with their own two hands. They had to survive on the land with the tools and resources they could find or make on their own. We have lost so much of that today. We want everything fast, easy, convenient, cheap – and it is taking a massive toll on our health to harvest and eat highly processed, highly contaminated foods.

But there was warmth and comfort and a true sense of community and family. This place felt like home, even though I had never set foot inside the cabin before.

Each board and nail was carefully constructed by hand – not like today where you can order a house and practically have it mailed to you – to look like every other house on the block. Not this cabin-

People often say to me, “Yeah right, you couldn’t live like that unless you really had to.”  But, I disagree. I have always felt a strong connection to the simplicity of a time that has long since come and gone. I have always loved to touch, feel and be in the presence of old things – whether they be structures or items or works of art. Sometimes I feel as if I belong there rather than here. We all came from these times, why do we seem to forget them so quickly? Sure, I would miss some modern conveniences like cell phones or computers, but what do they matter, really? Sometimes I feel like a part of me still belongs in the past. Can you imagine looking out of your home you built with your own two hands at this, everyday?

October 2012

There is so much beauty to be witnessed, even in life that has passed.

How do you feel about days gone by? Do you long for them or a simpler time? Do you ever feel the need to disconnect, unplug and decompress? Tell me in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

Top Ten Natural Blood Thinners – The Spice Edition

Top Ten Natural Blood Thinners Cover

Ever since I have been diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), I have been reading about natural “cures” and remedies for blood clotting, including what natural blood thinners exist. I don’t know about you, but it really bothers me to be on so much medication and for such a serious condition. I would like to get to a point someday where I can not be dependent on medication. I believe that the earth – in it’s natural state – originally provided everything our bodies needed to survive and heal. How else would be have survived all of these tens of thousands of years?

I believe the state of our environment, water and food supplies have a lot to do with what is causing us to be sick in the first place. Especially in America (and those counties that eat our food), we have paid a price for convenience, preservation and price all while sacrificing what is natural, whole and healing.

There is some interesting information online about natural remedies for serious disorders, and all new courses of treatment should be discussed with your healthcare provider before you make a switch. For instance, people taking prescription anti-coagulant drugs also need to be careful not to consume too many foods with natural blood thinning components in addition to their regular medication.

The chemicals in blood thinners, which are known as salicylates are also found naturally in some plants, stored in the bark, leaves, roots, skin and seeds. Blood thinners help block vitamin K and in nature, salicylates help to protect plants against insect damage and disease. Aspirin is another everyday example containing salicylate and many foods also contain them.

I love to cook with spices – and not just salt and pepper – so I was excited to see there are many spices and herbs that are naturally comprised of salicylates, or natural blood thinners. Below is my list of the top ten natutal blood thinning spices and what you can use them for, along with some other health benefits they may provide.

  1. Ginger- Ginger can be added to almost anything and brings flavor to most meals. I use it in Asian and Indian dishes. Ginger also helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and has been used in the treatment of a variety of ailments from cancer to migraines.
  2. Cayenne Pepper- Cayenne Pepper is one of nature’s most healing and therapeutic foods. It gets it’s color and spicy flavor from an ingredient known as capsaicin. I love spicy food so I use this ingredient a lot. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  3. Curry Powder– One of my all-time favorite spices to cook with. Curry has many anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat inflammatory diseases for centuries. I use curry on a weekly basis in shrimp, chicken and vegetable dishes.
  4. Paprika – Paprika is rich in antioxidants and vitamin c and also helps the cardiovascular system by reducing swelling and increasing circulation. I don’t use it very often, but it is good on eggs and potatoes. I will definitely have to get more paprika next time I head to the grocery store.
  5. Thyme – Thyme is rich antioxidants and helps aid in digestion, as well as soothing coughs. My favorite way to eat thyme is in a tea right before bed time.
  6. Cinnamon- Consume pure cinnamon to help with regulation of blood sugar and lowering of cholesterol as well as blood thinning. Cinnamon has long been used in baking recipes, but I prefer it sprinkled on top of oatmeal or over a cup of hot apple cider in the fall. I also use cinnamon in several Indian dishes.
  7. Dill- Dill has been used for centuries in cooking and as a herbal remedy. It is known to be a digestive and sleep aid. I like dill on baked or sauteed potatoes or in an egg omelet.
  8. Oregano– This herb is excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium and when eaten fresh, it packs a punch of vitamin c as well. I love oregano in pasta sauces most of all. I just toss some of the fresh herb in the pot after chopping it up a bit.
  9. Turmeric- Turmeric is the ingredient in curry that gives it a vibrant yellow color. It has anti-inflammatory properties and just a pinch is tasty in egg salads and deviled eggs.
  10. Peppermint– Peppermint helps an irritable bowel and may also help in the fight against cancer. I like peppermint freshly steeped in hot or iced tea.

Next time you are cooking, try a couple of these herbs and even if they don’t help clotting, they are sure to not only delight your senses and tantalize your taste buds, but maybe add in some extra health benefits too.

Until the next mile marker,

Shop Jungle Jim’s for all Your Grocery Needs

Does it really matter where you buy your groceries? With multiple grocers available to most of us, we have our preferences where we choose to shop. We go to certain stores for certain items – for example, I like to get fresh meat and seafood at Giant Eagle and we get our basics from Aldi – a discounted grocer in our area. I like to get fresh produce from the farm or a farmer’s market when I can, but also like the produce section at Kroger. I like the International section at Meijer. For items we use in bulk like rice, pasta, dog food and some spices we shop at Sam’s Club.  So yes, for me it does matter where I buy my groceries.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Jungle Jim’s International Market, located in Fairfield, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati. It was glorious, to say the least. I wish I lived closer than two hours away so I could shop there on a regular basis because I would! Jungle Jim’s began as a local farmer’s market in 1971 and has only grown from there. What makes Jungle Jim’s special (besides the size, variety, freshness, local fare, international selections)? Jungle Jim’s is much more than a grocery store, it’s a whole destination! There are over 200,000 square feet (that’s about six acres) of shopping space in and over 150,000 products from which to choose. You could get lost there.

But, there’s more – Jungle Jim’s also offers tours of the store, food demonstrations, cooking classes and special events like the Weekend of Fire.

The store also offers demos on a regular basis so you can try the products the offer – including produce, gluten-free, seafood, cheese and international food. They also offer gift shops, specialized boutiques (where you can find clothing, accessories and gifts) and places to eat inside the store.

So what exactly can you find at Jungle Jim’s? Prepare to be amazed.

Fresh Food

  • Produce
  • Deli Cheese
  • Bakery
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Olive Pit

What I loved about the Fresh Food: I love seafood and we eat it regularly in our house. The seafood department is so fresh, you can pick out live fish for dinner to take home with you. Jungle Jim’s will take care of everything for you (but, I still feel bad for the fish, I think). The produce section is second to none – they had so much variety! I also liked the reduced section where I found some great prices on produce like peppers.

Specialty Food

  • Hot Sauce
  • Gourmet Galleria (pots, pans, specialty cookware, gadgets, small appliances, etc.)
  • Natural Foods
  • Herb ‘N Jungle (herbal supplements, sports nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc.)
  • Honey
  • Coffee Bar
  • Gift Baskets
  • Greenhouse (everything plants and growing)

What I loved about the Specialty Food: Um, if you have to ask, it is the HOT SAUCE! You can read more about that here. I have never seen a bigger hot sauce display anywhere. I was also impressed with the gigantic selection of honey, much of it locally harvested.

American Grocery Food

  • Grocery
  • Dairy
  • Frozen
  • Health and Beauty
  • Pets

What I loved about the American Grocery Food: The pets section! There was a large variety of foods, treats and products, many reasonably priced or even cheaper than my local grocers. You can even purchase natural treats for your canines there. My two got pigs’ ears, which they love. Grace didn’t even wait for me to take her picture, it was gone within a minute or two.

International Food

  • Asian
  • Indian
  • Hispanic
  • European
  • Eastern Europen
  • Middle Eastern
  • African

What I loved about the International Food: This is my favorite part of the store. I love cooking international and ethnic foods, and I can find  everything I need in this store. It is clearly labeled and easy to navigate the large aisles. I even found my favorite Asian hot sauce there – and purchased it in an extra large size (seriously, I need to buy stock in this company). Asian cooking is my favorite and there are over ten Asian countries alone represented here as well as a huge selection of Indian curries.

Beer and Wine (Food)

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cigars
  • State Store
  • Glassware
  • Home Brewing

What I loved about Beer and Wine (Food): They have an incredibly unique selection of products here, including my newly discovered favorite Woodchuck Cider.

And, don’t forget, you can also find things like chocolate-covered insects and bacon ketchup (which they apparently sold out of before) at Jungle Jim’s.

I will be visiting Jungle Jim’s again – and possibly taking a cooler to purchase meats and dairy for my deep-freezer at home. This store has certainly become my favorite grocer!

What about you? Have you been to Jungle Jim’s? Did you like it? What do you look for in a grocery store? Tell me in the comments below?

Until the next mile marker,

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,