It was a whirlwind weekend! Do you ever go on a trip and then it's over before you know it? That's how this trip with NOW Foods felt! I was invited to join NOW Foods on their Influencer Immersion trip last Thursday and Friday in Chicago, then extended my trip for a fun weekend in the city with my husband.
I was first introduced to NOW Foods in February of 2020, and I have been using their products ever since! You have seen my daily green smoothie and wellness updates, and NOW Foods has been a big part of my wellness journey. I have partnered with them twice in the past to share my smoothie and wellness routine, and offer you a discount code, so I was thrilled to receive an invitation to join their Influencer Immersion trip!
My brain is so *full* of information after this trip - I can't believe I learned so much about NOW and also about health and wellness in general. This post's cover photo is a photo of the "swag bags" that were waiting for me in my hotel room when I checked in. Wow!
NOW Foods focuses on supplements, food products, and essential oils/personal care items. I didn't realize they had so many products! I'm excited to dive in and try some new products when they arrive. In true NOW Foods *kind* fashion, they shipped our swag bags and yoga mats home for us so we didn't have to try to travel with them. Thank goodness!
I had the best time on this quick trip, learned so much, and met some of the most amazing people! I'm talking elite athletes, dietitians, influencers, such a diverse group!
Here's a breakdown of the trip and what I learned!
I arrived at the resort just outside of Chicago, near NOW Foods HQ, on Thursday afternoon, got checked in and settled in, then went up to the roof for our first night's event. It was an Iron Chef Competition! I'm competitive, so I was gearing up for a strong performance. (ha!) We met some of the other attendees, mingled, had some light bites, met the NOW team, then broke into groups for our competition.
We had to select ingredients from a huge table of fresh produce, food items, and NOW Foods products, and create a recipe using the NOW secret ingredient, which was Monk Fruit sweetener... a 1:1 sugar substitute. I was on the Red team, and we were a small but mighty team. Everyone else was in "healthy food" mode and I saw a loaf of bread on the table, and I said "what about french toast?" Well, you may know...I love french toast, and even though I'm into fitness and nutrition, I still believe there's room for french toast ;) BUT there were no eggs!
One of the girls on our team was a dietician and she suggested making a "flax egg"...what on earth?!?! She kindly explained that you can combine almond milk and flaxseed and the result is kind of an eggy texture liquid. I was shook.
We decided to go for it and came up with "Fall Spice Vegan French Toast Bites" (lol). Nobody ever said it had to be healthy! We used caramel almonds (a NOW product, apples, walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla flavoring, and maple syrup to create a delicious crunchy topping! The judges loved it! They said they had never, in all the years of hosting influencer trips, had a team make french toast! I'm so proud! Now I know a new trick about the "flax egg" and it worked pretty well!
We ended up taking first place in the Iron Chef Competition and it was such a thrill! Tbh, no matter how good your salad or quinoa is, I don't think it can beat french toast. ;) After the competition we went in for dinner, and mingled a little more. Such a fun first day!
The next morning, we got up early for a sunrise yoga flow. I always say "I need to do more yoga" so this was my chance! I definitely need to work on some flexibility, but it was a great workout and pumped me up for the day. After yoga, we had breakfast, then went to two "learning sessions." The first was all about sports nutrition, led by their Sports Category Brand Manager, and it was great! Then we had a session all about personal care, and even created some DIY sugar scrubs using NOW essential oils and products (excited to use mine!).
I couldn't believe it, but it was already time to pack up and head to our final activity (my favorite!): the manufacturing plant tour! We shuttled over to the plant and met more of the NOW team and had so much fun! Of course, we had to dress appropriately for the tour and had some fun getting dressed up.
The manufacturing plant was so cool (nerd alert!). They showed us the labs where they test products they receive from suppliers to ensure their quality before including them in the NOW Foods products, they showed us where they mix all of the ingredients that go inside supplement capsules, and they even let us walk on the "plant floor" and see the machine lines where products are filled, labeled, and packaged! Seriously, it was cool.
I was out there with my tripod, taking selfies, videos, photos, time lapses, and it was fine! A lot of people were shocked that we were able to record, etc., but I think that shows the level of transparency and confidence that NOW operates with. Love that!
After the tour, we had our final lunch together, then part ways! NOW provided our transportation and since I was staying in the city for the weekend, they arranged a car service for me to my hotel downtown.
I had the best time with my friends at NOW and all of the amazing people I met on this trip! I'll be sharing more about this experience over on @thebloggerbrunch podcast episode 71!