Showing posts with label healthy snacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy snacks. Show all posts

May 30, 2018

Why I Trust NOW Foods for my Natural Products


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fitfluential, LLC on behalf of NOW Foods. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



In health and fitness, there are lots of claims and labels being thrown around by brands and people. As a former chemist (who will always be a science nerd at heart), I’m the type of person that finds the actual research article when I read a headline about a new study. Sometimes there are small samples for the study, bias, or parts of the research aren’t addressed. The same thing goes with labels such as “natural” not being a regulated label or even their being specifics about what constitutes “organic”. Before visiting NOW Foods headquarters just outside of Chicago for the #NOWGetFit influencer event this month, I hadn’t considered myself super brand loyal, but now I can tell you I trust NOW Foods!

NOW Foods #NOWGetFit Day 1
After a travel snafu (ugh American Airlines WHY) I made it out to the event on Thursday starting with a trip to the Cooking Skills Academy for an “Iron Chef Challenge” using NOW Foods ingredients. 

Chef showing us how it's done.

My team won with a take on an avocado toast-clearly all those years watching Iron Chef and the Food Network have paid off! 

The winning dish!
Also forgot to mention that the before our challenge the night before, Kasey from Powercakes made us DELICIOUS protein donuts. I don’t throw around the word delicious paired with protein donuts ever.
Girl, I'd watch your Food Network show. 
I’ve bought many NOW Foods products in the past because it seemed to be good quality and has been a very affordable option for me for supplements, essential oils, and baking products. I’ve bought their products in natural food stores like Whole Foods, on Amazon, or on iHerb. All of their products are free of preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Getting to listen to the NOW Foods CEO Jim Emme talk about the company and hear about its history was really eye-opening. Today it is one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S. with over 1500 different products including foods, supplements, sports nutrition, essential oils, health & beauty products, and a new pet supplement line. 


The company spends very little money on marketing which helps them keep their cost so low for consumers which may be why you’re unfamiliar with the brand. You may recognize their signature orange and white label from health food stores or your own pantry!

NOW is still family-owned since Elwood Richard started the company in 1968 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It still continues its original goal of making healthy, quality, and affordable products. 

When I made it back to my hotel room at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa that night (which was fabulous!) I sifted through two giant bags of NOW Foods products including protein powder, a diffuser and essential oils, and supplements (psst…you can win the same gift bags valued at $520 on my Instagram)

Swag on swag. 

NOW Foods #NOWGetFit Day 2 

The next morning we got up bright and early for a tough group tabata workout with the lovely Kasey from Powercakes. 

The group post-workout

This lady is so much fun and knows how to lead a killer workout. 

After our workout, NOW Foods had created the smoothie bar dreams are made of so we could refuel with our own smoothie creations. 
Can I have this in my apartment every day? 

I got to try out NOW Foods protein powders, MCT oil, amino acids, and more. While enjoying my smoothie, I learned more about the sports nutrition which I was very interested in as an athlete.


NOW Sports uses quality ingredients that are heavily researched and tested. This year NOW Sports will have the Informed-Sport certification which is a globally recognized assurance program by the LGC for anti-doping that certifies that every batch of a supplement product and raw material with the certification logo has been tested for banned substances. Professional and collegiate athletes can use the 150+ products in the NOW Sports line without worrying about the ingredients. I even met a couple awesome Olympic athletes at the event who were NOW Foods ambassadors!  

All the proteins and MCT oils-with the new labels coming out soon!
Later in the morning we headed over to the NOW Foods Operations facility to take a tour of the plant in Bloomingdale, IL (they do public tours monthly FYI!). I was honestly blown away by the level of quality, documentation, and testing. NOW tests each and every batch of raw materials and finished products that come into and leave the facility. All of their products are non-GMO, and their products in the Living Now line are produced in a dedicated gluten-free and allergen-friendly facility. These products are made without the 8 major allergens (including dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, and fish).

Looking chic in my factory gear and hairnet!
So clean and organized. 




As someone who spent the last 7 years working in research labs, I was excited to learn about their Quality Control and Quality Assurance programs as well as see their labs. NOW has an A rating from the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and is one of the first to seek GMP certification in 2000. Their testing goes above and beyond this as I mentioned earlier, making sure that everything that they say is in their products is actually there, free of contamination. 

I used to work with these LCMS machines-but look how many they have!
Also without geeking out too much, their labs were immaculately clean and organized (and yes some of these labs had people working in them). Learning a little about their research to make a stevia that was complete but not bitter-tasting was interesting too.

Research poster on NOW and stevia
Everyone I met from the company and in the factory was friendly too, which is nice to see in a company.



After the tour we headed to the corporate headquarters for lunch catered by Whole Foods which was a dream-like a Whole Foods hot/cold bar without having to weigh your plate! I learned more about NOW Food’s body care products and essential oils and also made my own fitness cleaning spray and sports soak. 

All the Mediterranean goodness on one plate. 



NOW Solutions, their health and beauty care line is made of pure and natural ingredients. Besides being affordable, their essential oils are certified organic and 100% pure, which is tested using strict quality standards. I learned that their essential oils are some of their top-selling products!



One of the fellow influencers asked the CEO Jim why fly a bunch of influencers/bloggers out here and take the time to put on such a nice event for us when he could pay for marketing. He said that we shouldn’t undervalue ourselves and that visiting the company in person is more valuable to him because we can see it all for ourselves and share our experiences with other friends, family, and followers. To him that was more important than any TV commercial. So I left the weekend 100% trusting the NOW Foods brand and knowing that when I’m buying their product, I’m getting exactly what the label says.

Some of my swag that YOU can win too!
Again, I’m partnering with NOW Foods for a giveaway to win the same amazing swag bag I received with over $520 worth of products including an oil diffuser, body care products, protein powder, baking products, and more. Head over to my Instagram to enter!


What decides what natural products you purchase-quality or price, or both? What is a brand you trust? 

October 21, 2016

Super Berry ProYo Smoothie Bowl

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ProYo. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Right before Expo East this year, I was introduced to the one of exhibitor products, ProYo, a protein-packed frozen yogurt pop.  I really find myself needing to up my protein and not just eat sugar-packed protein bars on-the-go, plus I love ice cream & frozen yogurt. It seemed like a win-win and spoiler alert: they taste delicious! Each 4 oz ProYo tube is made with creamy probiotic yogurt packed with 20g of protein, 2g of fat, 3g of fiber, and only 140 calories plus is rated as low-glycemic. It's also gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO.  

I love that I get an extra helping of probiotics to help my tummy out as well as 25% of my RDA for calcium. The pops come in various flavors including Vanilla Bean, Dutch Chocolate, Banana Vanilla, and Blueberry Pomegranate. Truthfully, I can tell the pops have that slight whey/protein taste,but despite this I still had to tell my boyfriend to keep his hands off of them! 

Despite being delicious right out the package, I've found that the recommendation on the ProYo boxes to blend with water like a smoothie has been one of my favorite ways to eat them. It's great make 'banana ice cream' with frozen bananas and pop one of these in there for a different flavor plus extra protein.  

When I'm feeling a little more ambitious to whip up a pretty food-blogger inspired smoothie bowl, I've been making a variation of the one I'm sharing on the blog today.  I really prefer eating thick smoothies out of bowls and love being able to top them with all sorts of goodies (chocolate chips is a favorite topping!). This is a berry ProYo smoothie bowl topped with superfoodie toppings like chia seeds. 

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Super Berry ProYo Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients: 

      1 Tube Blueberry Pomegranate ProYo High Protein Frozen Yogurt
      1/2 Cup of Frozen Strawberries
      1 Tbsp honey
      ½  Tbsp of chia seeds
      ½  Banana
      4 oz milk (based on preference)
      1 handful of ice cubes
Toppings (optional)
-       ½  banana
-       1 Tbsp peanut butter
-       ½ Tbsp chia seeds
-       1 Tbsp hemp seeds

Instructions: 

– Squeeze ProYo Blueberry Pomegranate Tube into blender.

Super-Berry-ProYo-Smoothie-Bowl_blender
– Add ½ banana, honey, and ½ tbsp. of chia seeds
– Add 4 oz of milk and handful of ice cubes.
– Blend all ingredients together and pour into a bowl.    It maybe a little thick so use a spoon to help.
– Slice ½ banana and place on top of bowl. Top bowl with peanut butter, chia, seeds, hemp seeds, and anything else you’d like!
Super-Berry-ProYo-Smoothie-Bowl_toppings
– Eat immediately and enjoy!


If you don't have any ProYo on hand this recipe could work by substituting 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or various other substitutions. Obviously I totally recommend the ProYo (plus it's simpler), which you can find in the freezer aisle at Giant stores locally in the Maryland area or check out their store locator for more options. Check out more recipes on the ProYo website including mine :) 


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Do you enjoy drinking smoothies or eating them out of bowls? What is your favorite snack topping?

October 13, 2016

My Go-To Post-Run Snacks with Relay Foods MD

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Relay Foods. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Thank you SO much for all of the congratulations on my previous post-yes a race recap for the Chicago Marathon is coming so stay tuned! 

With travelling and a really busy rest of the month ahead, I definitely am in need of some healthy and easy grocery shopping and meal prep options. I've reviewed Relay Foods MD before and even shared a yummy marinated mushroom recipe from Relay Foods that is still a favorite and easy side dish. I was definitely excited to place an order after getting back from Chicago so that food shopping was one less errand I had to run. 

Basically Relay Foods is an online grocery store where you can shop online from their stock of products and groceries from over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  

relay-foods-md

Relay Foods also just released their new rigorous food standards, ensuring that they are always offering foods good for you, the community, and the planet. 

I just completed an order of my favorite easy snacks to refuel with after a run.  I always try to eat something within the 30-60 minute post-run window, even if it's a snack before I get the chance to make a meal. Honestly I'm always hungry so it's easy to eat, but it's good to try to get a snack with a good 3:1 carb to protein ratio that will help my body recover.  

Check out my go-to post-run snacks: 

go-to-post-run-snacks-relay-foods-md

1. Bananas with nut butter 

(right now I'm loving Relay's Own fresh ground almond butter). 

2. Michele's Granola and yogurt (like this Liberte black cherry whole milk yogurt) 

Michele's Granola is a delicious Baltimore brand that is not too sweet or heavy on the sugar and is super crunchy. 

3. Organic chocolate milk 

(I limit dairy but chocolate milk has great a great recovery ratio and is super easy to drink a glass of while I'm prepping a larger meal!) or these single serve boxes

4. Trail mix

I'm a sucker for trail mixes especially ones with lots of different nuts, dried fruits, seeds and of course some chocolate chips. This Antioxidant Mix, Berries & Chocolate also satisfies my sweet tooth!

5. Energy Bars

It's easy to have an energy bar in my gym bag or purse to have on hand, especially if I'm away from my apartment or need to drive home from a run. Some of my favorites lately are the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate KIND bar, and Coffee Chia Health Warrior bar


Relay Foods has a great Refer a Friend (RAF) program in which if you're a current customer you can refer friends to try out Relay Foods with your link and you both save! 

Currently a RAF link will save a new Relay Foods customer $20 off of their first order of $60 or more and the person who's RAF link it was, will also get $20 credit. During the month of October it has been increased to $30 off of $60 (still for new customers only!) and the RAF link owner will also get $30. 

relay-foods-md-refer-a-friend-october-2016

If you haven't tried Relay Foods and are curious, please use my Relay Foods link to save $30 off your first order of $60. If you already are a customer, share your code with friends to save! 


What's your go-to easy post-run or post-workout snack? 

July 31, 2016

Matcha Green Tea Protein Smoothie {with Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Boosters}

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill as part of a campaign through my partnership with SweatPink and Fit Approach. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own!

I have talked about how the new Bob’s Red Mill Protein and Nutritional Boosters packed with 20g of protein have helped me stay #summerstrong. Well I've always been a huge coffee and tea drinker, but this summer's newest drink obsession is iced matcha green tea almondmilk or soymilk lattes. I've been getting them from a local coffee shop (shout-out to 3 Bean Coffee!) in the mornings, and it's always so creamy and delicious. 

They are super refreshing after a hot run or workout plus I'm getting all that antioxidant goodness from the matcha, which is powdered green tea leaves. Unfortunately, right now I can't afford getting a $5 latte whenever I want one, aka everyday. 


post-workout-run-matcha-green-tea-latte
Post #NP_BAL workout iced matcha latte
I decided to come up with a protein smoothie version which is just as satisfying after a run and saves me some money plus gives me an extra nutritional boost! I had this package of Kiss Me Organics brand Green Tea Matcha powder that I used. I'm loving this vanilla gluten-free Bob's Red Mill protein powder so I used that-just a heads up that it has chia seeds mixed in so it's not little ants or anything, haha.  The end result of the smoothie came out a little more brown than green thanks to the banana and protein powder, but it's delicious nonetheless! 

matcha-green-tea-protein-smoothie-1




print recipe

Matcha Green Tea Protein Smoothie

matcha-green-tea-protein-smoothie-3



Ingredients
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup almondmilk
  • 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1/8 cup Bob's Red Mill vanilla protein nutritional booster (or any vanilla protein powder!)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 handful ice cubes
Instructions
Combine all ingredients together in blender. Blend until fully mixed and serve immediately.
Details
Total time: Yield: 1 smoothie




matcha-green-tea-protein-smoothie-2


Just a reminder that if your local store carries Bob’s Red Mill products, you can get a discount on Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Boosters with this coupon!

This post was linked up with Weekend Snapshots

Do you like matcha or green tea flavors? What is your favorite summer drink right now?

July 22, 2016

#FuelYourAwesomeness this Summer with Bob's Red Mill Protein {Giveaway}

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill as part of a campaign through my partnership with SweatPink and Fit Approach. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own!

While the fact that summer is flying by makes me sad, I have been trying to pack my summer with as much awesomeness as I can. I haven’t even been able to keep up blogging but if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know I’ve been having some fun this month in Boston and at November Project Summit 4.0 in Canada last weekend (posts to come!).  Lots of travelling and eating out or on-the-go for sure! 


november-project-summit-4.0-canada-blue-mountain

Let’s be honest though, travelling and having fun are exhausting so that’s why I was glad to get some new Bob’s Red Mill Protein and Nutritional Boosters in the mail packed with 20g of protein to stay #summerstrong. I received 4 varieties including Vanilla, Chocolate, Chai, and Protein & Fiber Booster. 

bobs-red-mill-protein-fuel-your-awesomeness1

Even if my eating has been full of more treats and less greens, having a post-workout smoothie with some protein and fruit or veggies is an easy way to refuel this summer. 

bobs-red-mill-protein-ninja-smoothie

If your local store carries Bob’s Red Mill products, you can get a discount on Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Boosters with this coupon!

GIVEAWAY! ::woop woop::

One lucky reader will win a 16 oz. package ($30 value!) of Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder NutritionalBooster to fuel their own awesomeness! Enter via Rafflecopter below!

This giveaway ends July 30th, 2016, 12 AM EST. The winner will be notified via email right away. If I don’t hear back from the winner within 24 hours I’ll have to pick a new winner. Delivery of the prize is by Bob’s Red Mill.

How are do you #fuelyourawesomeness this summer?

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as NicoleJilland Amanda .

June 24, 2016

{5 Friday Favorites} Beer, Beyonce, and Beast Mode

It's Friday and I'm here with some favorites from the past few weeks. It's been a hectic and humid week for me so I'm looking forward to a fun and sunny weekend.  

{5 Friday Favorites} Beer, Beyonce, and Beast Mode

1. Beyonce Formation World Tour

beyonce-formation-philly

A.K.A my second time seeing the QUEEN. 

I'm a HUGEEEE Beyonce fan so if you don't like her just skip this paragraph. Yes, I'm the girl blasting Lemonade in her car and singing along.  I could go on and on about this concert I went to a few weeks ago in Philly, but I'll just say it's literally a magical experience and in a completely different way from her last tour with Jay-Z. She puts on an amazing show-even people who aren't huge fans or don't know a ton of her non-radio hits have said so to me! Bey  was sure to keep the message about self-love and how the most important relationship is the one with yourself and how you can do anything #PREACH.  I mean that's a message all ladies can get behind. 

I also want a wind machine following me and an acceptable place to wear a sparkly leotard and high heels, kthanks.

2. Beer Flights

flying-fish-beer-flight

I got to enjoy a nice little beer flight at Flying Fish Brewing Co. with my family last weekend. Anytime I go to a new brewery I also get a beer flight. Sometimes when I can't decide what I want I get one too. I also love it because some beers are interesting for a little taste, but I don't want a full pint of it. Sometimes you just want a little bit of everything. Or if you are me, you always do. What's wrong with wanting it? 

3. Summer long runs

run-nuun-selfie1

Okay so I don't like the humidity or being completely drenched after runs (#sweatyAF), but now that I'm in my first week of marathon training I do enjoy some of the routine of a long run and the peace that comes afterwards. Plus feeling like a badass for crushing many miles.  Another pro is that I spend at least 4 miles of the run thinking about what I want to treat myself to for breakfast afterwards. Long run days go wake up, run, eat, shower, eat, nap, then restoftheday.  Tons of sweaty laundry and trying to remove a soaking wet sports bra are definite summer long run cons. 

4. KIND Snacks variety pack

kind-snacks-bar-variety

A.k.a. the motherload of KIND bars. I was nice enough to have been sent this complimentary 30-pack of KIND Snacks bars which includes some new flavors such as Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut & Raspberry Cashew Chia (YUM!) and all my old favorites including Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt. I've always been a fan of variety packs becaus I like choices and a little bit of everything (see: beer flights) . 

Let's just say between my boyfriend and I, this pack did not last long in our apartment.  

4. Awesomeness alert- American Runs for Homelessness with Back on My Feet

america-runs-homelessness-back-on-my-feet

Back on my Feet is an awesome organization  that restores hope and independence through running in over 11 cities (including a chapter in Baltimore!) and has helped more than 4000 individuals find employment and housing. With half a million homeless people in the US, that's awesome. Go here and sign their American Runs pledge to help end homelessness. For each pledge BoMF receives $1, and you are entered to win a free year of Dunkin Donuts. You know I love me some DD coffee so that's a sweet bonus for helping out a great cause! 


This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole, and Jill

What is one of your favorite workouts, snacks, charities lately?