Did you know Americans purchase more than 16 million ounces of cinnamon during the months of November and December? That’s more than 174 million teaspoons and enough to make a whopping 682 million cups of flavored sweet potatoes! Cinnamon is warming and mildly sweet in flavor and packed with antioxidants. In fact, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon has as much antioxidants as a half-cup of pomegranate juice! From the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, this spice has been used for thousands of years for its flavor and potential health benefits. Today’s modern research shows cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels, decrease risk of insulin resistance, lower cholesterol, and may even play a role in helping us manage our weight. While most of us know cinnamon easily pairs with bakery favorites and sweet foods, it is widely used to season savory dishes in Asian, Moroccan, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Are you ready for CHALLENGE #6? Here’s what to do: Pledge to boost the flavor and nutrition of your meals by adding cinnamon to your plate (at least once a day) for TWO WEEKS. When: Tuesday, November 22- Monday, December 5 Who Says: Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, Nutrition Advisor at the world-renowned Golden Door Resort and Nutrition Editor of Healing Lifestyles & Spas Why: Did you know that spices, like cinnamon, contain powerful antioxidants—many rivaling familiar and nutritious fruits and veggies?! It’s true. In fact more than 2,000 phytonutrients have been identified in our flavorful friends. That’s why they’re superfoods, too! It’s the holiday season in fact, so how about bumping up the seasoning, flavor, and antioxidant power of your meals by adding a dash of cinnamon? (You might just find yourself using a little less sugar and salt, too!) How to get started: Join the Challenge Event on Facebook and share your experiences with flavorful hits –or misses! What’s in it for me? (WIN!) Join Dr. Wendy’s Spa Week Daily Challenge Event on Facebook and share your success story or struggle. Once you RSVP and start sharing, you are automatically entered to win one of two $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week. More on Dr. Wendy: “I love great food; it’s where flavor and health collide. They can be pals on our plates and our palettes!” Writer, researcher, educator, and real foods enthusiast, Wendy Bazilian is a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and American College of Sports Medicine-certified Health and Fitness Specialist. Dr. Bazilian graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University, and received her Master’s Degree from the University of California, San Diego. She has her doctorate in Public Health and Nutrition from Loma Linda University, graduating summa cum laude and received the highest academic honor, the prestigious Chancellor’s Award. Education and honors aside, Dr. Wendy loves food—real food that tastes great and makes the body feel great too. As a nationally-known health and wellness expert, her focus on food and fitness, alongside healthy living behaviors, drive her philosophy on the bonus of PLUS instead of minus when it comes to healthy, vibrant living. Insisting on accentuating the positive and what’s valuable about our healthy living allows us to seek health daily as a dynamic, exciting and constantly evolving state. No stranger to the spa industry and spa wellness, Dr. Wendy is the Nutrition Advisor at the renowned Golden Door Spa in California since 2003, and is the author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale). She is also a contributor to the James Beard- and IACP-nominated Golden Door Cooks at Home (Clarkson Potter), and the New York Times Bestseller SuperFoodsRx (Harper Collins). Wendy is also a frequent contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America Health and ABC News, and has appeared on NBC’s TODAY show, Live with Regis and Kelly, ABC7 in San Francisco, Telemundo, Univision and many shows. Wendy lives in San Diego with her husband and business partner, Jason Bazilian, where they co-own and run Bazilian’s Health Clinic. She is also Nutrition Editor of Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine and has written and contributed to a variety of major media outlets. Dr. Wendy is committed to helping us all enjoy real, whole foods in abundance with the promise that flavor and nutrition do unite—in our delicious meals we consume. And the fitness and wellness practices ensure we enjoy well-lived days in good health. Hard pressed to name only one favorite food (she has so many depending on the season and whim), she can name her current favorite herb—oregano, which she affectionately refers to as a ‘mini-salad’, and her favorite spice is cinnamon for its flavorsome versatility and aroma—as well as their antioxidant powers. Here are some ideas to get you started: Sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee grounds before brewing for a tasty and aromatic morning cup of Joe. Swirl some cinnamon into your morning oatmeal. Add cinnamon to chunky applesauce and spread on your morning toast instead of sugary jams and jellies. Make some baked apples with cinnamon and dried cherries for snack, dessert, or serve with yogurt for a breakfast. . .’tis the season! Whirl some cinnamon into your fruit smoothie. Make a mulled-cider or wine beverage for the holidays with cinnamon and other spices. Power up peanut butter by stirring in some warming cinnamon. Add some cinnamon to your favorite homemade or store bought chili. Hot cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon is a special flavor treat. Add to that a little chili powder and you have yourself a Mexican hot chocolate! Sprinkle away on pumpkin dishes, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash. Add a stick of cinnamon to the water as you cook your rice. Make up warm cup of Dr. Wendy’s Cinnamilk—on stove top, warm low fat or fat-free milk (using a double burner or on low) with a stick or two of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey per 8-10 ounces. Let us know how YOU are taking on this challenge and spicing up your day!