This giveaway closed May 11, 2015 and the winner has been contacted. Thank you for your participation and support!
It’s time to talk about my trip to Bloomingdale, IL (right by Chicago!) to visit NOW Foods!
photo courtesy of Fitfluential
I can’t explain how excited I am to share all of the details of my recent trip sponsored by Fitfluential and NOW Foods with all of you! At the end of this post, there is an amazingly generous giveaway from NOW Foods for one Treble in the Kitchen reader. It includes all of the items in our welcomes bags (including foods, supplements, gluten free flours/baking mixes, essential oils, beauty products, protein powder, supplements and a ton more!) Alright, let’s get to the recap!
Thursday morning, I arrived at the airport so full of energy and ready to get this trip started.
Sarah, from the Fit Cookie, was on my flight too! Once we landed in Chicago, NOW had a car pick us up from the airport and take us straight to the beautiful golf resort that we were staying at for our visit.
NOW Foods sure does know how to welcome! Upon entering my room, I was greeted with an overwhelming amount of NOW Foods products along with a note and itinerary of the next two days.
So many amazing things!
I was stunned 🙂
Here is a look at what was inside all of the bags (and what is included in the giveaway at the end of the post!!)
After checking out all of the amazing goodies in the welcome bags, I changed my clothes and freshened up a bit. Our first scheduled event was dinner at Glen Prairie.
We were able to meet and chat with the NOW Management Team. It was amazing to see the passion and enthusiasm that every single person on the management had for NOW Foods.
While we listened to each person explain their area of work at NOW Foods, we enjoyed an amazing dinner (NOW Foods was kind enough to tell us which menu items were gluten free, dairy free, or otherwise and we were able to make necessary substitutions! They were SO accommodating!):
Spinach salad with berries, goat cheese and almonds
Salmon with risotto
Brownie (gluten free and dairy free) with black raspberry sorbet.
I have purchased products like essential oils, coconut oil, and body oils from NOW Foods in the past, so I knew the quality of products from NOW Foods was amazing. What I didn’t realize was that there were SO MANY products produced by NOW Foods including a completely gluten-free line of products. After hearing all of the wonderful, heartfelt things each person of the management team had to say, I knew that the rest of our experience with NOW Foods was going to be absolutely amazing.
After dinner, we went back to the resort and I went straight to bed…we had a 6am spin class to wake up for!
Friday morning, we woke up BRIGHT and early to head out to our first event for the day: an indoor cycling class followed by a 15 minute yoga session at Life Time Fitness.
We all met in the lobby and were greeted with Coconut Flax Crunch Bars as a little pre workout fuel.
The fitness center was absolutely beautiful!
The indoor cycling class was very high energy and fun (just the way I like it!), but yoga was the perfect way to end the fitness session. It allowed me to get my mind focused for a busy day ahead and I was able to stretch a bit deeper than I usually do after a spin class. They complimented each other perfectly.
Photo courtesy of Wendy Bazilian
Once we were done spinning and yogaing, our NOW Foods crew greeted us with delicious Cinnamon Chocolate Protein Shakes in really cool NOW Foods shaker bottles. Yum!
We then headed back to the hotel to shower up, gather all of our bags and get ready for our day at NOW Foods!
Our first stop of the day was the NOW Foods Plant. We started out the tour with a brief video to give us a little overview of the company history and what we were about to see.
Once we were done with the video, it was time to put on our super stylish outfits for the plant tour…
Hair net anyone?
Me with the CEO, Jim Emme.
Neil, the Nutrition Education Manager led our tour and provided us with SO much information.
NOW Foods started as a family company in 1968 and is still a family company! They were founded on the belief that natural really is better. The mission of the company is to “To provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives.” Throughout our tour, we were able to see this mission in motion and it was truly amazing.
What you may not realize is that NOW Foods actually tests every single ingredient used in their products to make sure that the ingredients are safe and unadulterated. They are constantly testing and retesting their products to ensure safety, consistency, and potency. They are always thinking ahead and working to create new products. Everything is created and packaged at NOW Foods. Pretty amazing, right?
As we walked through the enormous plant, I really felt like I was on a tour of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory (but healthier!).
A few of things REALLY stood out to me on this tour.
One–Every single employee we saw had a giant smile on their face, told us how amazing NOW Foods was as a company, said that they LOVED working for NOW Foods, and truly radiated happiness. That was pretty awesome to witness.
Two–NOW Foods is very aware and sensitive to the increase in food allergies and sensitivities and when they are done working with an ingredient that is a potential allergen, they literally take the entire contaminated machine apart and even clean the ceiling tiles! Impressive.
Three–ALL of the foods produced by NOW Foods are non-GMO. Many of them are non-GMO project verified and they are constantly working towards their goal of having all foods produced by NOW to be non-GMO project verified.
After the tour, we stripped off our awesome hair nets and gowns and got back on the bus to go to the NOW Foods Corporate Offices.
Next up on the agenda was an oil tasting session led by Chef Suzy Singh and Chef Maggie Ziph!
Photo courtesy of Taylor of Food Faith Fitness
Chef Suzy is so adorable (and 7 months pregnant!). We learned a bit about Suzy and Maggie’s backgrounds and how they found their way to the NOW Foods kitchens. Suzy is more of a savory chef and Maggie has her heart set on pastries, but they are both equally amazing and talented. They spend much of their time developing recipes for the web site utilizing the NOW Foods products, and they spend their time actually creating the NOW Foods products themselves. When they create these recipes and products they really have the entire family in mind. Many people (adults and children) are suffering from food intolerances/allergies and NOW Foods is very aware of these food needs and tries to stay one step ahead of the game when it comes to creating delicious, allergy-free food. They want their ingredients and recipes to be so delicious that the entire family can enjoy them without having to make separate meals. It sounds so simple, but that really resonated with me.
After learning a bit about Suzy and Maggie, it was time for the oil tasting! We learned the proper way to taste oil (YES there is a proper way!) and we sampled sunflower oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, rice bran oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, and coconut oil infused with butter flavoring and garlic.
They were all VERY delicious, but my favorite by far was the macadamia nut oil…it seriously tasted like buttery macadamia nuts! So good!
How did we end our oil tasting session? With amazing green smoothies of course!
Throughout our entire visit, we had cameras capturing many moments that will be placed into a highlight video of our visit. It should be ready in the next couple of weeks and I’ll make sure to share when I get the word that it is done.
After our interview sessions, it was time for a delicious lunch catered by Whole Foods (quinoa salad, salad with berries blue cheese and walnuts, chicken, salmon and roasted veggies). I had the salmon, salad, and roasted veggies. SO GOOD!
During lunch, we listened to Dr. Wendy Bazilian (who is an RD!) talk with us about wellness.
Her philosophy of Eat well. Move daily. Be healthy. was so simple and approachable and really matched perfectly with the mission and vision of NOW Foods. In the picture above you can see Dr. Wendy’s 3 R’s “Rid, Restock, and Reorganize.” All of her tips were very simple, realistic things that we can ALL put to use when trying to make healthier choices. I loved it!
When Wendy was done with her presentation, we all took a little break to recharge and refresh because the next thing on the agenda may just be the thing I was most looking forward to…
Our Recipe Session led by Chef Suzy and Chef Maggie in the Culinary Innovation Center (pictured above). This is where it happens folks! This is where the web site recipes and many NOW Foods products are created. Isn’t the space inspiring? It was so open and bright!! Check out the floor to ceiling windows, amazing view and bright green paint. I could definitely get some creative work done there 🙂
Our task in the Culinary Innovation Center was to create a cookie recipe created by the chefs themselves! My team was creating gluten free snickerdoodles using white rice flour, and the other team was creating an oatmeal golden berry cookie.
In addition to using White Rice Flour, we also used coconut oil so the cookies were gluten free and dairy free.
*Did you know that NOW Foods has an entire line of foods free of the eight most common allergens (wheat, eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, peanuts, fish, and shellfish) called Living NOW? The stuff from this line is amazing!!
We all put blue rubber gloves on (and I kind of felt like I was a doctor!) and got busy to put the cookies together.
My group actually ended up having to make our batter a total of THREE times because of small mistakes we made! It was all part of the adventure and all we could do was laugh about it 🙂
We put the cookies in the oven, then chatted a bit while they were cooking…
They tasted absolutely delicious!
We were also able to snack on banana bread and brownies from the Living Free line.
It all tasted so yummy. The folks at NOW Foods were really thinking ahead and they gave us little to-go containers so we could package up our tasty treats to take home. I had a couple of bites on the plane, but Brian is the one that really enjoyed the special treat 🙂
Photo courtesy of Michelle of NYC Running Mama
Our day with NOW Foods concluded with packaging up our treats and giving a HUGE thank you to all of the people we met throughout the course of our visit.
I know this post is chock-full of info, so if you have any questions (as always) please feel free to comment or e-mail, but we will be having a Twitter Chat with NOW Foods on Tuesday May 12 at 9pm EST (7pm MT) and I’d love for all of you to join!! 🙂 This would be a great opportunity for you to ask questions directly to the folks at NOW Foods.
OK, friends! NOW (<—get it!) it’s giveaway time!
Honestly, I’m not sure that I would be able to list everything included in the giveaway, but I know that it includes everything pictured below:
Simply leave a comment below telling me about your favorite NOW Foods product or which NOW Foods product you would love to try!
I will randomly select a winner on Sunday night and announce it Monday, May 12.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods, but all opinions are my own.