Are you ready for a CHALLENGE?

If your health wasn’t reason enough kick start a new healthy routine, perhaps the possibility of scoring a SpaWeek Gift Card in the process will help. Introducing our newest column: The Spa Week Daily Challenge, where we’ll be showcasing experts on health, wellness, beauty and life, and their #1 challenges to help you live a better life.

What to do?

Pledge to drop soda for TWO WEEKS. Then, join The Joy Bauer Spa Week Daily  Challenge Event on Facebook and share your success story or struggle.

Who Says?

Joy Bauer, the health and nutrition expert from The TODAY Show

What’s in it for me?

Once you RSVP to the Facebook Event and start sharing, you are automatically entered to win one of two $50 SpaWeek Gift Cards

joy bauer photoMeet Joy Bauer.

For this first Challenge, Spa Week Daily has teamed up with the ever-inspiring Joy Bauer to challenge you to become a healthier version of yourself. Most of you are probably familiar with Joy, as she is one of America’s most beloved and trusted nutritionists, the health and nutrition expert for The TODAY Show, and is a multiple New York Times bestselling author. (Her newest book, the 2011 version of Food Cures, comes out in August!) Joy’s mission is to improve the health of our nation; she believes it’s never too late or too early to reap the benefits of healthy living—just like Spa Week founder Cheryl Reid set out to do in 2004


Why Soda?


If there is ONE thing Joy would remove from every American’s diet, soda would be it. As you’ll read below* in our exlusive interview with Joy, soda is 100% liquid candy. It serves no nutritional purpose, it packs on the pounds, promotes inflammation, wreaks havoc on blood sugars, and damages heart health. Yikes!

If you’re saying to yourself “Take my soda and you take my soul, I could never give it up!” you’re not listening: We aren’t asking you to give it up for good. Just for TWO WEEKS, and just to see how it goes.



The Extra Incentive?


Besides the obvious improvement to your health, the potential to increase your lifespan, and live better day-to-day, we’re going to be rewarding two of you with a $50 SpaWeek gift card for taking the challenge and completing your two weeks soda-free (honor system here, cheat us and you cheat yourself!). Join the challenge on Facebook – simply RSVP to Joy Bauer’s Soda-Free Spa Week Daily Challenge event and post your progress on the wall to qualify to win… and to start on a new path to wellness!

See the results!




And now, an exclusive Q&A with Joy Bauer!

From the lowdown on gluten-free diets and her sweet tooth for Peanut M&Ms to her secret desire to become a rockstar… we hope you en(joy) getting to know Joy as much as we did!


Spa Week Daily: How old were you when you decided to take on a healthy lifestyle?


Joy Bauer: I was born loving sports! I participated in just about every sport—softball, track, swimming, diving, you name it.  In 6th grade I joined my first gymnastics team and started competing. It was soon after that I began thinking about “food as fuel.”



Who is your inspiration?

My mom, my dad, Meredith Vieira…

What is the biggest misconception about being a nutritionist?

People are convinced I eat healthy foods 100 percent of the time… but I promise I splurge too! I love peanut M&Ms, soft serve vanilla ice cream, and hard, crunchy sugar cookies. And yes, my kids DO eat candy.

What’s the best part of your job?


Being able to help people change their lives for the better. There is nothing more rewarding than watching self conscious, depressed, and unhealthy people transform into confident, happy, energetic individuals with new dreams, hobbies and relationships.




What’s the worst part of your job?

Getting up at the crack of dawn! And also making friends and colleagues self-conscious about their food order when we dine together.

What is your favorite spa treatment, and why?

Swedish, deep tissue massage! Anything that involves getting rubbed, I’m in!

What is your favorite spa in the world?

Canyon Ranch




*If you could remove one food from every American’s diet what would it be?

I’d actually have to go with a drink… SODA! It’s liquid candy (100% pure sugar) and it packs on the pounds, promotes inflammation, wreaks havoc on blood sugars, and damages heart health. Sweetened drinks like soda, sweetened waters, juice drinks, and sugary coffee concoctions are a major contributor to our country’s obesity epidemic, and I think most people’s waistlines would benefit if we removed them from our diet completely.

If you could add one food to every American’s diet what would it be?

Spinach—it’s a nutritional powerhouse! It’s loaded with beta carotene for radiant skin, potassium and magnesium to help manage blood pressure, vitamin C for healthy joints and eyes, vitamin K and iron for healthy blood supply, and even more vitamins and minerals…plus fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and protect overall heart health. You can’t beat it.

Do you believe in supplements? If so which supplements should women add to their daily health regime?

Yes, supplements can definitely be valuable additions to a healthy diet in certain cases. Women can consider taking a standard multivitamin (I do personally) with at least 800 IU vitamin D3. Some women may benefit from fish oils, and others may need a calcium supplement (if they’re not consistently getting enough calcium from food and drink sources). I strongly advise speaking with your physician or a registered dietitian to help you decide if you’re a candidate for any supplements beyond a standard multi, since it really depends on your personal health history.

Should women take a multi-vitamin every day? If so, which? It’s really a personal choice?

In terms of the research, studies show that taking a daily multi neither improves nor harms your overall health. If you feel like your diet has some nutritional gaps, taking a standard multivitamin (without any mega-doses of individual vitamins or minerals) can be a good insurance policy—but it certainly won’t compensate for a poor diet.

If you could name one food king of all other foods what would it be and why?

This is too tough—there are way too many healthy foods, each with their unique benefits! But if I HAD to choose a food category, I’d pick non-starchy vegetables in general (leafy greens, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, etc.). They’re ultra-low in calories and high in volume (thanks to their high water content), which means they’re incredibly filling. Plus, they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants—all ingredients for good health and great looks!

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?

Rockstar… sadly I can only sing in the shower (and even then, my kids complain).

What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

Any restaurant I’m eating in when I’m hungry!

Where is your favorite place in the world to be outdoors?

The backyard of our Berkshires family home… or hiking in beautiful Sedona, AZ.

What is the best advice you ever got?

Don’t try to change/help people who don’t want to be changed/helped (it’s exhausting, frustrating, and unrewarding).

What does a gluten-free diet consist of?  Why would someone want to go gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten-free diets eliminate these grains as well as any products or ingredients made from wheat, rye, or barley. People diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance should avoid gluten. Some people (and celebs) follow a gluten-free diet for weight loss, but there’s really no advantage to restricting gluten if you don’t have a medical reason to do so. However, on the other hand, many people do feel better after removing gluten from their diet even if they’re not diagnosed with celiac or a gluten intolerance. Bottom line: go with your gut (pun intended), it’s a personal decision. If you do decide to cut out gluten, definitely skip the gluten-free junk (cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts) and stick with healthy, whole foods.

What’s your number one tip for Moms trying to keep their kids healthy?

Stock your house with healthy foods! Make sure produce is front and center at meals and minimize the junk food you keep in the house. And of course, be a good role model for your kids by staying active and making smart food choices yourself. Healthy habits are contagious…monkey see, monkey do!

What is your #1 secret for losing 5 lbs this week?

Limit starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes). Starchy foods are calorie-dense and easy to overeat, which means cutting back on these foods can give you a big weight loss boost. Have just 1-2 servings of high-quality starch (such as whole grain bread or pasta, brown or wild rice, high-fiber cereal, oatmeal) with breakfast and lunch and completely omit starch with dinner (instead, fill your plate with lean protein like skinless poultry or seafood and non-starchy vegetables). I can’t promise you’ll drop 5 pounds in a week, but you’ll definitely see a change on the scale and feel lighter and more energized!

What made you decide to revamp the original version of your book Food Cures?

There is so much going on in the world of nutrition right now and new research is constantly being published, allowing us to understand more and more about how food affects our health and helps people prevent or manage high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, and other common health concerns. This year, I decided enough had changed to warrant putting out a new edition with updated and revised nutrition recommendations based on new science.

What information have you added to the book that wasn’t included in the original edition?

Too many things to list! Every single chapter has been updated based on information from new studies (I cite over 500 scientific studies in the back of the book!). Plus I added a new chapter on Cancer Prevention, which covers foods to eat and avoid to reduce your risk. I’ve also tweaked the menu plans and updated the shopping lists for each chapter, and added new “Frequently Asked Questions” to reflect what I currently get asked about most often by people I meet.

What information is still the same today as it was in 2007?

Some things haven’t changed! In general, I’m still recommending diets rich in high-quality carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (these are the basic tenets of a healthy diet and they’re not going anywhere). But when it comes to the specific nutrients you want to seek out (and avoid) for particular health conditions, there are some changes and updates based on the latest science.