I’m so excited to share about my experience hanging out with the NOW® team and visiting the NOW facilities in the Chicago area of Illinois. While my trip was covered by NOW and this post is sponsored by NOW, I’m a real fan and these thoughts are all my own. I also have a NOW discount code for you to use on NOWFoods.com.
I had an excellent time visiting NOW in the Chicago area a couple weeks ago. I’ve been working with NOW for almost two years as an ambassador, and I’ve always been a big fan of the brand. I can say with 100 percent certainty that after my immersion trip with the NOW team, I’m an even bigger fan. We’ll get into that later!
Today, I’m going to share with you about my trip, some of the awesome products coming out at NOW and some of the reasons why I feel so confident choosing this brand. I also have a NOW discount code for you.
Visiting NOW facilities in Chicago, new NOW products and a NOW discount code
When I got invited to this immersion trip weekend, I was so excited about it. I put it on my calendar, made sure Brady was accounted for in all-day camp and found subs for my group fitness classes. The trip came up quickly, and it went by even quicker. I was only gone from Charlotte for less than 48 hours, but I did a lot in that short amount of time and had fun.
There are maybe 40 attendees at this immersion weekend, ranging from sports dietitians to food bloggers to fitness professionals from all over the U.S. — most of whom are social media influencers. Some of us had been working with NOW for a while, and some people were just beginning their relationships with NOW.
(Shout out to registered dietitian DJ Blatner, shown above, who was so fun to meet and learn from.)
I didn’t know anyone on the trip upon arrival, but quickly made some “trip friends” and loved getting to know my fellow attendees. In fact, one of my favorite parts about this trip was meeting and hanging out with some awesome folks, who I hope to stay connected with via social media moving forward. We all have a goal to educate, inspire and help others live a healthy life, which is exactly what NOW tries to do too.
We stayed at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa, in a suburb of Chicago. And unfortunately, the air quality was bad and the weather was even worse during much of our time. The good news is that all of our outdoor activities were moved indoors, and the weather didn’t affect us at all.
I hadn’t stayed in a hotel room by myself since my last night at a fitness convention last year when my roommate had left early. I spoke to many of the other attendees, many of whom were also moms, and we all enjoyed our hotel-room solitude.
The team at NOW arranged my flights, picked me up from the airport, covered my hotel, fed me extremely well and sent me home with the largest gift bag of amazing wellness products I’ve ever seen. They were even kind enough to ship the goods straight to me, which was extra nice, because I carried on my luggage and didn’t have room for it. I mean, look at all this stuff …
When I started writing this post, the words flowed from me and it ended up like a book report. I went back and added some “fun facts” for you too. Please enjoy …
Big things I learned from my NOW visit …
- NOW is the largest independent manufacturer in the natural products industry, producing more than 1,400 SKUs. Today, NOW offers supplements, foods, essential oils, beauty & health, pet health and sports nutrition products.
- NOW conducts 19,000 tests a month at its production facilities on both raw ingredients and finished products to check for safety and quality.
- NOW not only has strict quality control for its own facilities, but NOW also visits the facilities of its suppliers for all of the raw materials it sources. If those facilities don’t meet their criteria, NOW simply doesn’t work with that source.
- NOW is still family owned, and that’s a big deal. Family members of the founder of NOW still hold leadership positions, more than 50 years after the company’s inception.
Now, let’s get to the event recap …
An evening of food, a cooking competition and dinner with new friends
The first night, we met in a banquet hall to learn a little bit about NOW natural food products (and I felt like this was so fun for me, because I have so many of the NOW foods and pantry staples at home already, and I’m pretty familiar with them). But I also got to learn about a few new products.
NOW® Foods offers nuts and seeds, cooking oils, flours and baking mixes, sweeteners, pastas, teas and more. NOW Foods features a lot of organic and gluten-free food items, as well as conventional, and they are reasonably priced. I’m a huge fan of the oats, nuts, seeds, trail mixes, oils and quinoa pasta, and you know that, because you’ve seen me share about them all (and rumor has it NOW has a cauliflower pasta in the works too — awesome). You can find NOW food items in your local grocery store, and they are also sold on the NOW site. (And you know what you need to get your hands on if you want a real taste sensation? These NOW Salted Caramel Almonds. OMG.)
The first night, we also spent time with the NOW CEO, Jim Emme, (who was with us much of the time, and who is such a normal and down-to-earth guy who started out as a commercial chemist). The son of the NOW creator, Dan Richard, VP of Global Sales for NOW, was also there hanging out with us and sharing the history of NOW. Richard’s dad, Elwood Richard, created NOW in the 1960s because he wanted to start a line of healthy products that he could sell at a reasonable price out of his own Chicago-based health stores, Health House. And today, NOW is one of the largest natural food brands in the country.
That night, we did an Iron Chef competition using some produce and NOW food products. The special ingredient we needed to include was NOW Monk Fruit Liquid. This activity was totally out of my comfort zone, that’s for sure. But it ended up being fun for us all.
We were separated out into teams, based on the color of our apron, and once we met with our groups, I had to tell my new friends and teammates that I’m not great in the kitchen. It was totally okay, because of a couple of people in our group handled the whole thing. I assisted with assembling, grabbing ingredients and even giving a signature name to our dish we created using the required monk fruit. Much to our surprise, our dish won the competition, and we were each awarded an Amazon gift card. Yay!
After the competition, we had a delicious dinner and sat around a table for a couple hours talking about everything under the sun from pregnancy to the business of blogging to fitness and more. I love how you can go from not knowing people to discussing serious and even private details. You know what was even cooler? A member of the NOW leadership team was with us the whole time joining in too.
Fun fact: Cooking oils should always be stored in a cool, dark place away from the stove, in bottles with tightly closed lids. Whenever you purchase a cooking oil, it should come in a dark glass, and try to avoid oils sold in plastic bottles. Oils are very sensitive to light, air and heat.
A morning of moving, sports, beauty and breakfast
The next morning, we met bright and early for a 50-minute sweat session led by Patrick Coyne, an amazing trainer and the owner of Black Sheep Performance out of Ohio. I was lucky enough to get to know Patrick the night before at dinner, because he was on my Iron Chef team. Patrick is all about training in the smart way, and he had our group doing mobility work, deep core engagement and breathing exercises, and I absolutely loved it.
Once we finished up our workout (and took a group photo, of course), we grabbed some smoothie bowls and sat down to hear more about the sports side of NOW.
NOW® Sports offers products like creatine to support the growth of lean muscle mass,* amino acids and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to support the growth of lean muscle and support recovery,* carnitine to help transport fatty acids to cells for energy production,* B-12 for pre-workout energy production,* various plant-based and whey protein powders for protein support, beet root powder for energy production and electrolytes for hydration and many more awesome products.
I’ve been a user of NOW Sports protein powder for some time, and I enjoyed this opportunity to hear about all the other products NOW Sports has, as well as their work with athletes and this cool project: NOW Sports Hub.
NOW Sports Hub is a resource for athletes, trainers and anyone looking for help with their sports performance. NOW Sports Hub features sports nutrition content written by nutrition experts, professional workouts, information on supplement regulations for athletes, nutrition stack recommendations and more. And if you have an athlete in your life, this would be a good resource to point them to.
Fun fact: Muscles are most receptive to fuel 15 to 30 minutes after exercise when your metabolic window is open. This is the best time to consume a protein shake after your workout.
During this session, we talked a bit about how creatine can be a beneficial supplement for people who want to build muscle and even support brain health.* I’ve never taken creatine and have always been somewhat intrigued. It may be something I try out, and of course, I’ll use the NOW line of creatine, when I give it a go.
Fun fact: If you’re exercising longer than 60 to 90 minutes at a time, water is no longer enough to keep you hydrated. You’ll need to add electrolytes to replenish your stores.
After a shower and another breakfast, our next session of the morning was all about beauty. I loved this one, because we had a chance to make our own D-I-Y sugar scrub for the lips and essential oil pillow spray, using NOW products. I brought both concoctions home with me and have been using them.
NOW® Solutions is the beauty line of NOW, and NOW Solutions offers a variety of clean personal care products, organic oils, skincare and aromatherapy products that are cruelty free, safe and affordable too. And NOW Solutions just added a baby line as well.
Quick point of history: I had been using a NOW beauty product for years and years before I ever worked with NOW. The NOW Sweet Almond Oil. It’s the most versatile item in my beauty arsenal. I use it every single night to remove my eye makeup, I use it to condition my cuticles, and I even use it to tame flyaway hairs. I use it multiple times a day. And I always have a big bottle in my bathroom and have suggested it to so many people. I told everyone at my table about my uses for this product, and they were excited to try it for themselves too.
During this beauty session, we learned how important it is to use a vitamin C serum on your skin for antioxidant protection from everyday life during the daytime. In fact, we watched an experiment to see how just a few drops of vitamin C could clear up a dark glass of water with iodine in it. That visual representation was eye-opening, and it let us know how much we all need vitamin C protection for our body’s biggest organ — our skin.
Fun fact: When applying skincare in the daytime, you should layer the products in the following order to get the most benefit of them … Cleanser, Toner, Serum (like vitamin C), Moisturizer and then SPF.
Once these morning sessions were complete, we boarded a bus to head just a bit down the road to the main production facilities of NOW in the Bloomingdale area of Chicago.
Visiting two NOW facilities and talking about supplements
NOW has three production facilities. One in Nevada and two in Illinois. I had a chance to tour through the two in the Chicago area during this trip. I’d never been inside a production facility like this before, and I was mesmerized by what I saw.
While I’d always heard that NOW was very detail-oriented when it came to quality control, I saw that first hand while walking the halls and seeing the NOW team members in action. I got to see chemists testing out new ingredient combinations. I saw facility team members working the production line bottling supplements. And of course, I did all this while wearing not one, but two sets of personal protective equipment and a hair net (we changed into fresh sets when entering a second facility). I also had to remove my jewelry, wear closed-toe shoes and long pants to follow their guidelines for being in the facility too. It was a good look …
True story: I saw two of my favorite NOW supplements that I use regularly being bottled on the production life, both the Omega 3s and the Vitamin D-3. I wonder if any of the bottles I saw will end up on my shelf one day?
Fun fact: Most supplements do best when stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat. Some supplements are best kept in the refrigerator. Check the labels of what you’re using to make sure it’s being kept in the proper place for optimal potency.
We were split up into groups for our behind-the-scenes tours of the facility and laboratories, and I was so impressed with my tour guide — the lead chemist of NOW. She was not only knowledgable about every aspect of the science and production, but she was also clearly very passionate about what she does. The ladies I was talking to in my group agreed and we loved learning during this portion of the event.
Also, apparently some of the machinery we saw during this tour is the most expensive and advanced machinery in any production facility in the nation. Some machines looked like oversized computer printers, they were responsible for testing ingredient purity down to the .0000 decimal. Wow. Also, the NOW facilities had the coolest automatic hand-washing stations …
I don’t know why I loved the facility tour so very much, but I did. I felt like I was in the middle of a documentary with as close as we got to the real work. I could have stayed there all day to learn more.
After the facility tour, we came back together over lunch to talk about NOW supplements (there are a lot of them, and you should speak to a registered dietitian and doctor to find out which combination of products is right for you — knowing that all the NOW products are safe and affordable, if you choose to go that route), and then we wrapped up. What a great event!
New NOW products I’m excited about using
I was sent home with all three of these new products, and I can’t wait to try them out:
R&R Rest and Repair Veg Capsules: I was listening so intently in our sports information session because I’m very interested in this particular product. R&R Rest and Repair is not only for helping to preserve muscle mass, but it also reduces soreness and promotes restful sleep.* This product has melatonin and magnesium for sleep and tart cherry for the muscle soreness. While I don’t need a regular sleep product in my life, I do need something like this to take during times of tough training, and I’ve been looking for a safe product. I will absolutely report back on this.
Collagen Jelly Beauty Complex Sticks: These sticks come in two flavors, and you’re supposed to take one a day. These sticks are full of beneficial collagen peptides, which are proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and promote healthy and radiant skin.* These jelly chews are best when eaten cold, but you can surely take the on the go for your daily collagen needs. I’ve used a collagen peptide powder for forever and have thought about changing it up, and these would be the perfect transition.
Organic Oat Milk Powder: The first time I ever tried a milk powder was when I was doing a virtual activity with NOW a couple years ago and we each made some recipes from home over Zoom. Since that time I’ve been very curious about incorporating a milk powder into my life, especially because I think I use way too much oat milk. The problem is that most oat milk is not organic, but this NOW oat milk powder is organic. You mix it with water, and you’ve got oat milk. So cool. Can’t wait to try it.
Another area where NOW just expanded is baby products. While I don’t need these any longer, I would have felt very confident trusting NOW with products for Brady.
Enjoy this NOW discount code
If you want to try some NOW products for yourself, you can get 20 percent off anything on the NOW site with my code WEST. You can even stack this discount code on top of other deals, so it’s amazing.
I’m sending a big thank-you to the entire team at NOW for hosting me for such an enjoyable and educational trip — everyone I met was so kind and so passionate about NOW. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experience here in this post too, friend. Have an awesome day. Be well!
Disclaimer: Thanks again to NOW for sponsoring this post. While I was compensated for this post and my trip was covered by NOW, all of these opinions are totally my own, but I think you know that. Thanks, NOW! #NOWWellness #PoweredbyNOW
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Other posts you may like
- All about the supplements I love at NOW: Five supplements I include regularly in my routine
- All about the foods I love at NOW: What I ate in a day last week
- All about the protein powders I love at NOW: How to use protein powder to increase your overall protein intake
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite NOW product?
Have you ever been into a production facility?
What’s one supplement you want to try?