Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fuel Up Your Adventures With NOW Foods


Photos by OHventures

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of NOW Foods.

In order to maximize an adventurous active lifestyle full of running, hiking, biking, canoeing, and rock climbing your way through Ohio and the world, it's essential that you fuel your body in the right ways to give you the energy and nutrients to keep chugging along. 

Thanks to a fantastic campaign opportunity as a Fitfluential ambassador, I had the chance to try some quality natural products from the NOW Foods "Sports" line. When my box arrived in the mail from NOW Foods, it was like Christmas morning! I opened up the package and discovered five exciting items from the NOW Sports Nutrition line in bright orange containers! Pictured above, the items I was given to sample were (from left to right):

1. L-Carnitine Liquid - 16 fl. oz.
5. MCT Oil - 32 oz.

I was anxious to begin testing out the products, some of which I was completely unfamilar with. But that was about to change!

L-Carintine Liquid
For starters, L-Carnitine Liquid was certainly something I had never heard of before, but was intrigued by its description. According to the bottle, L-Carintine is a non-essential amino acid that helps to maintain overall good health by facilitating the transfer of fatty acid groups into the mitochondrial membrane for cellular energy production. You can find L-Carintine naturally in red meats, but for those who are vegetarian, or may not eat red meat every day (like most people, I hope), a supplement is helpful.

The recommended use is 1 tablespoon twice daily, preferably on an empty stomach. Easy enough. I started out by pouring the L-Carintine Liquid onto a tablespoon each morning before breakfast along with my other supplements and vitamins. Taking it by itself was not bad at all - the citrus flavor is bold and tasty. It is rather sweet, however, so sometimes I would add it to an 8 oz. glass of purified water to dilute the taste and transform it into an orange sports drink of sorts.

The L-Carintine is a refreshing addition to my morning line-up, and the bottle has an easy pouring spout that makes things quick and easy! I feel that the supplement helps wake me up and puts a spring in my step. 

Vanilla Toffee Pea Protein
I am a huge fan of protein powders. As any avid gym-goer would know, protein helps build muscle, and the magic formula I often hear if you are looking to build muscle mass is consuming 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. But regardless of whether or not you are looking to grow into a muscle man or woman, everyone needs protein in his or her diet. 

Unbeknownst to me, peas are a huge source of protein! Usually, one thinks of chicken, turkey, eggs, and cheese as high protein sources. But peas? Yes, peas! Give peas a chance! The beauty of protein derived from peas is that it is vegan, and according to NOW Foods, it is highly bioavailable and virtually allergen free. Another perk of this NOW Foods product? The added flavor! Vanilla toffee is a protein flavor I had never tried before, so I was pretty pumped!

It is suggested to use the pea protein as a pre-workout or post-workout supplement. I added it with ice and skim milk and blended it into a protein shake! It tasted pretty awesome, I must say. I applaud the flavor, consistency, AND the high amount of protein - 25 grams per scoop! 

One item of caution I must express is that this protein powder does contain the sugar substitute xylitol. Xylitol is actually a fantastic sugar subsitute for humans, but it is incredibly toxic for dogs. My dog once got a hold of a piece of gum containing Xylitol and nearly died. Therefore, I had to take a moment to advise all users of this product to keep it FAR out of reach of any dog! I will now get off of my soapbox! 

Men's Extreme Sports Multivitamin
Everyone should take a multivitamin. This package came just in time for me, as I just ran out of my multivitamins. Plus, the fact that these multis were marketed as being "extreme sports" multis made them right up my alley! Since I often participate in Extreme Thrills through OHventures, anything geared toward extreme sports is a perfect addition to my diet.

So what makes these multi vitamins so extreme? Let me count thy ways: the vitamin is chock full of minerals, free-form amino acids, ZMA®, tribulus, MCT Oil (more on that later), herbal extracts, and MORE! I think it's important to read up on all of the ingredients and to learn what each one of them does to benefit you. That's how you can discover what the best multivitamin is for you. The NOW Sports Men's Extreme Sports Multivitamin jives with me, and I wholeheartedly approve.


Sprouted Brown Rice Protein
More protein! Yay! But just like I had never heard of pea protein before, I had never heard of sprouted brown rice protein either. The people at NOW Foods keep proving they have really unique products, and I like that. Unfortunately, this protein wasn't quite my style - at first, that is.

As with the pea protein, I went with the same basic recipe of protein mix, ice, and skim milk. The taste was unbearable to me and I couldn't finish it. I discovered that this is because the sprouted brown rice protein has one single ingredient - sprouted brown rice. That's it! So, the taste is pretty bland, if not a bit earthy. The pea protein had an advantage in that it already had an added flavor of vanilla toffee. So, I thought I would spruce up the sprouted brown rice protein by adding additional ingredients to my smoothies. These varied, but included vanilla extract, almond milk, natural peanut butter, bananas, strawberries, and any combination of these and other ingredients. This boosted the flavor (or, rather, masked the flavor) but still gave me the added benefits of a natural, pure, non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free, smooth, and easy-to-mix protein powder!


MCT Oil
Last but certainly not least was my good friend MCT Oil, yet another supplement introduced to me by NOW Foods! For those who are unfamiliar with MCT Oil, it is a weight management  amino acid derived from coconut oil and palm kernal oil that helps spare lean body tissue. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats or oils.

I have to say that this is probaby my favorite of the products I received, mostly due to its versatility! Pictured above, you can see that I combined MCT oil with organic red wine vinegar to create a flavorful and healthy salad dressing! I also added the MCT oil to some of my other meals, including in a homemade spaghetti sauce and in a summertime pasta salad! I felt at ease knowing I was using an oil much more healthful and beneficial to my diet than anything else I had been using!

All in all, my stint with NOW Foods Sports products has been an exciting adventure that is helping fuel my body for all of the exploring and exercise I will be experiencing throughout the summer. I highly recommend you check out www.NOWfoods.com to read more about their products and to find a retailer near you!

About NOW Foods
NOW Foods, a family-owned company since 1968, is a leader in the nutritional supplements industry and dedicated to providing customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering a variety of high-quality, natural and affordable products. Founded on the belief that natural is better, NOW Foods is proud to offer more than 1,400 natural products that are specifically formulated to help support optimal health through good nutrition. NOW Foods product offerings range from nutrient-rich foods and supplements to personal care and sports nutrition items.

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