This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods. All statements are my own!
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago with FitFluential to attend the 2016 #NOWGetFit NOW Foods Immersion event. Haven’t heard of NOW Foods? Not a problem! NOW Foods is a natural foods manufacturer based in Chicago. Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives. From dietary supplements to sports nutrition, personal care to natural foods and even pet supplements, NOW has everything you need to “live happy, live healthy and live NOW!”
I was first introduced to NOW Foods last year at a blogging conference. If you came to my house today, you would find their raw nuts, seeds, cooking oils and hand cream looming around. I love them! Needless to say when I was informed I was one of 17 influencers chosen to attend the immersion event in Chicago, I was ecstatic!
The fun started on Thursday afternoon when I arrived at the unbelievably beautiful Hilton Indian Lakes Resort. Fun fact! It’s actually a Biggest Loser resort. The resort and weather could not have been more beautiful!
On my way to my room, I bumped into my blogging bestie (aka BBF) Susie. It was our first time meeting in person and we had copious amounts of catching up to do which we enjoyed poolside. It’s strange how you can know someone so well without ever having met them.
After checking in, I cleaned up, checked out my amazing swag bag (which you will have the chance to win at the end of this post) and the group left for a three hour dinner at Glen Prairie Restaurant, which uses local ingredients from local farmers. The food was incredible and it was gluten free which made me happy!
What also made me happy was sitting next to Ashley. She was just as lovely in person as on her blog! We sat next to FitFluential founder Kelly Olexa who is just amazing and has a firecracker personality. We talked in depth about hormone imbalances and living in Venus. When she asked me where I lived, she thought I said Venus instead of Phoenix which ironically, she plans to move to in the next few months.
At dinner, NOW Foods CEO, Jim Emme along with the founder’s son Dan Richard gave an overview of the company and I have to say, in all my years working for large corporations and consulting I have yet to meet a CEO as down-to-earth and as easy going as Jim. You can tell customer satisfaction, high quality products and his employees are what matters most to him.
Friday morning the group met for a HIIT workout at a local gym which I did not attend due to my upcoming hip surgery. It’s just too risky for me to do high intensity workouts so I did some elliptical and worked shoulders and back at the hotel gym while the rest of the gang was off doing their workout.
After working out, I had breakfast at the hotel. It was my first adventure in eating out gluten and dairy free and nothing on the buffet was GF/DF except the fruit, even the eggs were slathered in cheese. The Hilton graciously made me eggs and gave me gluten free toast after they asked why I wasn’t eating.
NOW Foods didn’t forget about me either. They fueled me up with their new plant protein powder mixed with delicious fruit. Thankfully I didn’t starve!
From there, we headed to the NOW Foods manufacturing facility for a tour. Being a manufacturing girl for many years, this was right up my alley!
From receiving to picking raw materials to manufacturing to distribution and shipping finished products, we got to see the entire product lifecycle. It’s an impressive operation especially considering how many different products NOW manufacturers. They offer 1,400 high-quality natural and affordable products. The food is 100% non-GMO and their supplements are 88% non-GMO assured.
One thing that was evident throughout the tour was how important quality products are to NOW Foods. They take it very seriously, performing checks before, during and after the manufacturing process. The amount of equipment and analysis was impressive!
After our adventure in the manufacturing facility, we went to the corporate office and had lunch catered by Whole Foods. I was never so happy to see food! During lunch, we were given a presentation by Dr. Wendy Bazilian on food tribes (i.e. Paleo, gluten free, vegan, etc.) and how they impact fitness. Her research found none of them showed a significant improvement on athletic performance which I am not surprised about at all.
Then we got to know the NOW personal care products a little doing some DIY projects making bath soaks and essential oils.
The final stop was at the NOW Foods kitchen where we learned about their natural food products from their very own R&D Chef Suzy. She led us through an oil tasting which, similar to a wine tasting is taken quite seriously. Erin drove me crazy with her oil slurping but according to Chef Suzy that is a necessary part of the tasting. Don’t worry! I’m still friends with her. She’s my other crazy half!
After tasting the oils, we assembled pretty mason jar salads to take home with us. They were delicious and everyone on the plane home was asking me where I got mine. Definitely need more of these in my life!
Then we wrapped up, said our good-byes and parted ways. It was an amazing experience being immersed into the culture of such an incredible company and getting to catch up with blogging friends too! I already miss these girls! Susie, Me, Ashley and Erin…
Now for some fun! One lucky reader will win a NOW Foods swag bag that includes everything I received at the event. You will get everything you see and more. There was so much I couldn’t fit it in one picture. This is seriously one awesome giveaway! Enter in the widget at the end of the post for a chance to win. Giveaway will be open through this Sunday. Good luck!
[Tweet “@NOWFoods and @skinyfitlicious are giving one lucky reader a HUGE giveaway! #NOWGetFit #ad”]
If you’re interested in learning more about NOW Foods or want to chat with us bloggers, we will be partying at the #NOWGetFit Twitter party on Thursday, June 16th at 9 pm EST. We would love for you to join!
[Tweet “Join @NOWFoods and @FitFluential bloggers #NOWGetFit Twitter Party June 16 at 9PM EST!”]
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of NOW Foods.