NOW Foods Immersion Recap + A Giveaway!

*This post is sponsored by Fitfluential on behalf of NOW Foods. All opinions are my own!

Last Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to travel to a suburb of Chicago, eat lots of food, finally connect with some bloggers that I’ve known online for awhile now, and learn a LOT about the NOW Foods company.

Sidenote: Ever since I started this blog, I’ve thought that it’s an incredible opportunity when I see other bloggers go on events like this. To be selected to participate in this was so amazing and I’m so grateful to NOW Foods and Fitfluential for making it happen.

A recap of an amazing blogging trip to tour NOW Foods and learn all about their quality products as well as working out and eating tons of great food!

Before I delve into the itinerary, for anyone unfamiliar with NOW Foods, they are a natural products manufacturer. They have several different lines of products:

Their quality control process is top notch as you will read a little later and they have done a tremendous job in growing their company to one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S.

The NOW Headquarters is in Bloomingdale, IL, which is only about an hour’s drive away from Chicago. Technically it’s only about 25 miles, but yaaaay city traffic.

I arrived at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort Thursday afternoon and the weather was BEAUTIFUL.

Hilton Indian Lakes Resort

Hilton Indian Lakes Resort 2

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I got there super early so that I could take full advantage of their pool. The resort was really nice and we each got our own hotel rooms which was amazing. Does anyone else really love solo hotel trips? Not that I make them very often, but when I do I get super excited.

Hilton Indian Lakes Resort 3

I spent about two hours at the pool, then headed inside to freshen up for our big group dinner that night. Other bloggers were flying in and I didn’t get a chance to see many people until we all met together in the lobby. LOOK — another time I am wearing a skirt.

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We all went to dinner at Glen Prairie Restaurant, which uses local ingredients from local farmers. Everything was delicious, but I didn’t get the best pictures since the lighting wasn’t ideal. You’ll have to imagine my brownie sundae for dessert.

This was our first time meeting Jim Emme, NOW CEO, and Dan Richard, the son of founder Elwood Richard. We heard some background on the company which was really interesting.

After an epic three hour dinner, we headed back to the hotel where many of us went immediately to bed after a long day. Some of us were just tired from lying in the sun.

Susie was one of the bloggers on the trip, so it was good to see her since now she lives in Lincoln Park which feels like 2156477 miles away even if it’s only like 3.

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Friday morning we had to meet in the lobby AT 6 am so that we could catch a shuttle to Lifetime Fitness. This was legitimately the largest gym I’ve ever seen in my life and had more treadmills than I could even count.

We did their C9 workout, which was a collaboration between Target and Lifetime. Target’s athletic line is called C9, so the workout focused on working 9 different body parts. It was split up into three main sections where you would focus on three different body parts, then a cardio blast for 45 seconds. Now that I teach classes myself, I’m much more aware of everyone’s form around me and how difficult it can be sometimes for instructors to try and keep the energy up (especially at 6 am!).

It was a great way to wake up, but the extended yoga part we did at the end brought me right back down into sleepsville. I should probably take some time to slow down now and then, but that morning it wiped me out!

Lifetime Fitness Bloomingdale IL

Once we finished, we were treated to protein shakes using NOW plant protein powder and a variety of fruits. This bottle is amazing because the bottom twists off so you can store powder or other snacks.

NOW Foods Protein Shake

When we got back to the hotel, we had about 90 minutes to shower and get ready to head to the factory. The buffet was decent, but hotel breakfasts are never really my favorite. I took my tea back to my room, did a little work, and got ready for the day. I love being done with workouts so early in the morning.

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Our first stop was a private plant tour. I had been chatting with the lovely Ashley and Megan since dinner the night before and it was SO GREAT to be able to meet them both in person!

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We got to sport some HOT plant-appropriate attire.

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And then we embarked on an amazing look inside the NOW plant. Do you remember watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood as a kid and he would go on factory tours and show you how things like crayons were made? I always found that fascinating.  So yes, you can also find me watching How It’s Made whenever it’s on.

The packing and sorting process at NOW is top notch and they have less than a 0.05% error rate.

NOW Foods Factory

Poppin’ bottles.

NOW Foods Factory 2

The main thing that impressed me about this facility was their $40 million quality and testing lab. I forgot how much I love chemistry, so being back with all my beloved machines was so great. There is some SERIOUS quality control going on in this lab. From the moment the ingredients arrive, they are tested to make sure they are what they say they are, then tested at every point during the process. Samples of every lot are kept for YEARS, so if any issues come up, they are able to test the exact same product.

Seriously, I have never seen such a thorough testing process.

Our guide also explained to us why NOW’s stevia is so much less bitter than other commercially available products. Different extraction process = better product.

NOW Foods Factory 3

I wanted to play in here all day.

NOW Foods Factory 4

Following our plant tour, we headed to the NOW corporate offices where we chowed down on catering from Whole Foods.

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We listened to an interesting presentation by Dr. Wendy Bazilian on different food tribes (paleo, gluten-free, low-calorie, raw, vegetarian/vegan, etc.) and how those food choices require different fuel for athletic performance.

Next, we sampled some of the NOW personal care line by making our own bath soaks and surface cleansers using essential oils. Laura is perplexed? Dumbfounded?

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The last stop on our tour was their kitchen, where we learned more about their food products, which are 100% non-GMO. Their R&D chef, Suzy, was the most adorable person I have ever seen and her enthusiasm towards the food was contagious.

We all took part in an oil tasting, which apparently is a serious thing with events and everything. We sampled all of their oils, from olive to pumpkin seed. I can’t say that I loved drinking small amounts of oil, but the experience was great and I greatly annoyed Megan with all my slurping (which means I’m doing it right). Ha.

We also tasted their flavored coconut oils, which were MAGICAL. They have a garlic and a butter flavor, which can be used on veggies or popcorn in place of butter itself. I brought some of the garlic home, so it’ll be interesting to try out!

NOW Foods Oil Tasting

After the tasting, we made our own vinaigrette dressing which I ruined by dumping all sorts of pepper and oil in, so I slid that nicely to the side.

We then made mason jar salads to use the dressing on, which I am actually eating as I write this post (sans dressing).

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Mason Jar Salad

Since this was our last event before heading home, I made sure to grab some more pictures. Don’t worry, she still liked me even with all my slurping.

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Susie, Megan, Ashley, and MOI.

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I headed back home around 3:30 pm and if you want to know what happened after that, just start reading yesterday’s post.  I had SUCH a great time and I loved going in depth to learn more about this company. It definitely opened my eyes about how important quality is in our natural products and just how hard they work to make sure we are getting the best stuff we can!

NOW — (ha, get it??) For one lucky winner, NOW Foods is shipping you the same products that we were given (and it’s a LOT).

NOW Foods Giveaway

Simply enter using the options below! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only 18 or older and will last for one week, ending next Tuesday, 6/14 at midnight central time. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re interested in learning more about NOW Foods or just chatting with some awesome bloggers, we will all be participating in the #NOWGetFit Twitter party on Thursday, June 16th at 9 pm EST, so come hop in!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods.

Questions:

  • Do you buy any NOW products?
  • Have you ever been on a factory tour?
  • Did you know about oil tasting??

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66 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 7, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Bahaha. I know, I want to go on trips all the time!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 7, 2016 / 8:48 am

      I know! Then the end we were just like peace out!

  1. Mollie K
    June 7, 2016 / 7:23 am

    the flavored coconut oil for sure..sounds incredible!!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 7, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Right??

  2. Brittney
    June 7, 2016 / 8:36 am

    That’s an awesome bag of goodies! I’m always trying out new protein powders so I would be curious to try those out.

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 7, 2016 / 8:48 am

      It’s next in the queue for me as soon as I’m done with the one I have!

  3. June 7, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Seeing that quality of food produced in such high quantities is AMAZING! 🙂 And I love that some of my favorite bloggers and friends went and got to give us the rundown of what happens behind the scenes there. That pool looks… wonderful, and all of you ladies look like you had a blast. That sugarless sugar actually looks really intriguing because my dad can’t have a lot of sugar.
    Emily recently posted…High Calorie Breakfasts in a BowlMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 7, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Yeah, you should check it out then!!

  4. Ashley
    June 7, 2016 / 9:22 am

    Awesome giveaway! I would love to try that quinoa macaroni!

  5. June 7, 2016 / 9:45 am

    I don’t know about you but my eyes immediately darted to that bag of sugarless sugar

  6. June 7, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Girl, you’ve hustled SO HARD this year and it’s totally paying off for you! You absolutely deserved to attend this!

    I’m a big fan of NOW products and they’re becoming more and more available in Canada which I LOVE (But, OMG, I just got a US shipping box!!).

    OMG. What?! FLAVOURED COCONUT OIL?! Neeeeeed.

  7. Lexie
    June 7, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Yes here in California we do oil tastings and have many homegrown oil companies with stores everywhere as we are very health oriented. This is a amazing company. Thanks for the chance. I would use all these products.

  8. craftyone
    June 7, 2016 / 11:36 am

    i am excited about the coconut oil.

  9. Maria C.
    June 7, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    I am most excited to get the Fit & Tone Protein

  10. DJ
    June 7, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    I really want to try the Pumpkin Seed Oil.

  11. Heather S
    June 7, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    I’m most excited about the liquid coconut oil!

  12. June 7, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    This trip was SO FUN! again, it wa Sao good meetin ya Erin! It really it so awesome to go to events like this a put a face to everyone’s blog 🙂

    xo
    Sarah Grace

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 9, 2016 / 8:52 am

      Absolutely! I hope to see you again at other events/conferences/etc!!

  13. Jillian
    June 7, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    The flavored coconut oils look awesome!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 9, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      They are! I was really impressed with heir safety and testing measures.

  14. Jordan Leigh
    June 7, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    I’m so dubious when it comes to buying supplements and what not because I know how that industry is so unregulated. How do you know who to trust?! So obviously I was super excited to read about nows intense regulations. Yay! Also, FLAVORED COCONUT OIL. Whaaat?? So yeah I really want that garlic coconut oil. But I also seriously want to start oil diffusing so I’m torn… But then there’s the magnesium spray… Gah so many wonderful things!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 9, 2016 / 4:02 pm

      Haha. It’s ok to say everything. That’s how I feel 🙂

  15. June 7, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    I have known about NOW foods products but didn’t really realize just how many products they have. I would love to use the sugarless sugar in baking and also try the protein powder.

  16. steph
    June 7, 2016 / 6:35 pm

    stevia and protein powder are always good choices

  17. Annamarie V
    June 7, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    I would love to try the fit and tone protein, what a great selection of products to try.

  18. Cheryl
    June 8, 2016 / 1:06 am

    I’m most excited to get the bamboo oil diffuser.

  19. Olivia B
    June 8, 2016 / 1:32 am

    I would love to try the Sugarless Sugar! Trying to break away from it!

  20. Nikki
    June 8, 2016 / 7:09 am

    Protein powder

  21. June 8, 2016 / 10:14 am

    I would love the rhodiola, protein powder, and the diffuser! Thanks!

  22. Hill
    June 8, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    Definitely the protein powders!

  23. Caroline
    June 8, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    protein powders for summer smoothies!

  24. Renata
    June 9, 2016 / 6:23 am

    I’d love the Quinoa Macaroni for healthy mac n cheese!

  25. June 10, 2016 / 12:14 am

    I love and use so many now products. I’m using that diffuser with NOW lavender essential oil right now actually. I’ve been on a few factory tours and I had the same exact Mr. Rogers thought. Must be an 80’s kid thing.

  26. Georgiana
    June 10, 2016 / 7:01 am

    I would love to try their sugarless sugar for a natural sweetener in my morning coffee. Thank you so much!

  27. Nikki
    June 10, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Protein powders! I love different ones

  28. Ray
    June 10, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    Quinoa macaroni sounds delicious!

  29. Jordan Dunne
    June 10, 2016 / 11:07 pm

    The sugarless sugar, the protein powders, and the liquid coconut oil are all right up my alley!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 11, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      Are you going to Fitbloggin this year? I wasn’t able to go last year and missed everyone!

      • June 11, 2016 / 8:29 pm

        I’m not going to Fitbloggin this year. First, I’m not sure how I feel about the changes and want to see the recaps this year, 2nd, my husband and I are going to Shiftcon in NOLA so we need to be stingy with PTO days in order to fit in all of our wants. I am a little sad because so many are going that I really want to see!
        Denise recently posted…Changes I Can Be Proud OfMy Profile

        • erinsinsidejob
          June 11, 2016 / 8:30 pm

          Makes sense. I’ll be sure to write a good one for you. Hope you have a great time at Shiftcon!

  30. Nikki
    June 12, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    I’m a big fan of now foods That’s an awesome bag of goodies! I’m always trying out new protein powders so I would love to try those out.

  31. paige c
    June 12, 2016 / 4:51 pm

    the mocha protein powder!

  32. Heather
    June 12, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    cool! i’d love to try baking with the sugarless sugar… or cooking with the infused coconut oil!

  33. Lindsey
    June 12, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    I really want to try the protein powders. I wonder if they taste good-I haven’t used any protein powders in years!

  34. Sadie B.
    June 13, 2016 / 9:58 am

    I would like the oil diffuser. I would love to use the essential oils in my home.

  35. Bianca Norman
    June 13, 2016 / 10:08 am

    The liquid coconut oil. But everything looks great! Thank you!

  36. barbg
    June 14, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    Well now the sugar less sugar sounds pretty interesting. I don’t see how they do that so I would want to try that first.

  37. Lexie
    June 16, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I am so honored to win this package of Now products!!!! I love their products as a vegan and will enjoy each and every one. Thank you so much Erin for this amazing gift. !!!!!!!! It’s a great company and I am thrilled .

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