As part of the #NOWWellness Influencer Program, I received product samples and compensation from NOW® to thank me for my participation, but the product selection and all opinions are genuinely my own.
It’s December, you guys! Is anyone else still mentally in November? True story: there are three advent calendars sitting on my desk right now and I had to open a week’s worth of little gifts all at once because I totally forgot what month it is. 🙂 Speaking of gifts, I bet many of you got a major chunk of holiday shopping done during the Cyber Week, but still have a few people left on the list that you didn’t get anything for yet. That’s why today I wanted to share my favorite products from NOW® in each category, and maybe give you some ideas on what to pick up for yourself and any of the remaining giftees on your list.
At this time NOW® offers six types [as per website]: Supplements, Beauty & Health, Essential Oils, Sports Nutrition, Natural Foods, and Pet Health. Luna’s vet does not recommend any supplements right now because she is in good health, so they will not be included in the roundup, but I picked my absolute favorite product and two runner-ups in the remaining five categories!
NOW® is known for their extensive range of supplements, there’s truly something for everyone. I used many different ones depending on what my body needs/lacks at the time, but in 2018 I have to give the crown to Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion* ($33.99). Maybe it’s a little TMI, but I’ve been having some women’s health issues this year, and my OB prescribed probiotics with L. rhamnosus and L. acidophilus, as well as Bifidobacterium lactis. Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion* contains all three in almost exact dosage she recommended, and I feel like it really helped my body get back on track after a few weeks of use. I am still taking it once a week for maintenance.
Also tied for the top spot is Advanced Gamma E Complex* ($19.99) that I’ve been taking for everyday boost of antioxidants.
- Black Currant Oil 1000 mg Double Strength Softgels* ($28.99) – I grew up in Russia where black currant is more popular than strawberries, blueberries, and just about any kind of berry you can think of. It’s near impossible to find fresh black currants in the US though. In Russia black currants are often used as a natural remedy to support the immune system. I don’t know if black currant oil supplement is comparable to the berries, but I always feel compelled to take these during the fall and winter months for immune support. 🙂
- Vitamin D-3 Liquid* ($9.99) – This year I also found out that I have a Vitamin D deficiency – a simple blood test confirmed it [which makes sense, as I tend to avoid being in the sun]. My doctor said that it might explain some of the health issues I’ve been having recently, including my low energy levels. As soon as I started taking Vitamin D in the prescribed dosage, my mood improved and I feel generally more alert and energetic. Vitamin D3 supplements come in many forms, but I prefer liquid like this one because it’s easy to put a few drops in my food plus it’s something different. I don’t like taking pills, and if any other form is available I will choose that in a heartbeat.
P.S.: I don’t advise buying supplements as gifts for obvious reasons, this part was mostly to let you know about my personal favorites in 2018. With that said, I am very impressed with the quality of NOW® supplements, and always recommend this brand to friends & family when someone asks me what I use.
BEAUTY & HEALTH:
I’ve been raving about the new NOW® Solutions Charcoal Detox Cleanser ($9.99) for the past couple of months on this blog and on my social media channels pretty much non-stop. It made my list of November favorites, and I also included it in my beauty routine post as well as gave the entire Charcoal Detox line a thorough review in its own dedicated blog post. This is such a good product, you guys, I seriously recommend giving it a try if you are looking for a new cleanser! It’s super gentle, has the perfect pH level, and the formula doesn’t have any fragrance or dyes added to it – the scent is subtle. It leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, never dry or stripped of moisture.
- I actually like most of NOW® Solutions skincare products, but I’ve been reaching for my Completely Kissable™ Vanilla Lip Balm ($1.99) so much lately that it definitely deserves an honorable mention. I like the pomegranate variety too, but the vanilla one smells so good that I keep reapplying it just to catch a whiff. So far it helped keep my lips in good shape and protect the delicate skin from the elements. I have one of these in every purse!
- XyliWhite™ Refreshmint Mouthwash ($9.99) is another household staple. I used to buy my mouthwash from big national brands but decided to switch to a more natural option from NOW® a couple years ago, and it was a game changer. My gums were always irritated from the harsh additives in conventional mouthwash, but Xyliwhite™ products turned out to be very soothing. Xyliwhite™ mouthwash comes in three varieties, and Refreshmint is a favorite in my family.
I know there’s a whole lot to learn about essential oils so I won’t even pretend that I’m any sort of expert on the topic. I use them mostly for aromatherapy, and there was one kind that I’ve been using more often than the rest – Lavender Oil, Certified Organic** ($22.99). I find lavender scent very relaxing, and it helps me sleep better at night. I put a few drops on a small sachet and set it on my bedside table where I can catch whiffs throughout the night. I used to run a diffuser with lavender oil but I noticed that it started bothering my cat, so now I only turn it on to humidify the air.
- Speaking of diffusers, NOW® actually makes very nice ones and the prices are quite reasonable. I tried most of them, but there are only two I use all the time. One of them is NOW® Solutions Ultrasonic Glass Swirl USB Oil Diffuser ($44.99) made with BPA-free parts and hand blown glass dome. It’s perfect to use on my work desk where I can conveniently connect it to my laptop via USB cord and have it run quietly for 5 hours. It’s beautiful to look at and I love breathing air that is slightly more humid, especially in the winter when the central heating is on all the time.
- Another diffuser I use a lot is NOW® Solutions Dual Mist Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser ($49.99), which can run continuously for 8 hrs or intermittently for 16. I have two in the house – one in the bedroom and another one in the living room. I like pretty much everything about this diffuser: it’s made with BPA-free parts, has all-day (or all-night) run time, no-heat mist, two directional nozzles so I can point the misting toward the middle of the room and away from the wall, and of course the ease of cleaning the thing. It’s a very high performing diffuser that involves little effort to run and to care for. If you are looking for a new one to buy for your home, this would be my #1 recommendation from NOW® Solutions.
If I had to pick a category that NOW® excels at, it would be sports nutrition. From the top of my head I can’t think of any other brand in this price range that dedicates as much time and effort to make affordable products of the highest quality and subjecting them to rigorous trials and third party testing. Remember the motto? “What you see on the label is exactly what you will find in the bottle”, – I absolutely love that approach! I’m not alone in that – many professional athletes, marathon runners, body builders, and even olympians expressed their support for NOW® Sports label. A couple years ago I made a promise to myself to move more and start working out regularly, and NOW® Sports products helped tremendously with my fitness goals. This year I discovered BCAA Big 6 Powder, Watermelon Flavor* ($49.99) and it’s been my go-to performance drink for every single workout. It tastes amazing, and I noticed that it takes my body a lot less time to recover from intense workouts. We’re talking maybe a day of feeling sore vs the usual 2-3, and that is a big difference in my book!
- I immediately knew what my honorable mentions would be in this category, because I talked your ears off about these already. One is definitely Egg White Protein, Unflavored Powder ($27.99), it’s like having a pure egg white in each scoop. There is only one ingredient, with no fillers or additives, and it always tastes amazing in my shakes, protein pancakes, or protein breads I make sometimes.
- Last year I went vegan for a few months and that’s when I discovered Plant Protein Complex ($34.99). There are different flavors available, but Creamy Vanilla is by far my favorite among them. It kind of tastes like vanilla frosting, and turns every shake into a yummy dessert. I even use it to satisfy my sweet cravings sometimes, so I get some healthy protein without the guilt of eating more sweets. This blend features pea, hemp, and quinoa so it has a more complete amino-acid profile, which is especially important for people that follow a vegan diet.
Aside from health & beauty products, natural foods is another NOW® category I am quite familiar with. I think I tried almost every single product at least once, so I have a few favorites by now. In 2018 I finally confirmed my suspicion that my body is sensitive to gluten, and got a medical diagnosis from an actual professional. I’ve already switched my diet to mostly gluten-free foods by that time, and it was nice to know that I did the right thing by simply listening to my body and connecting the dots. NOW® Foods has plenty of gluten-free options to choose from, and this year I cooked with their pasta pretty much exclusively. NOW® Foods offers three different pasta shapes, and my family seems to prefer Organic Quinoa Macaroni ($4.99), made with only three ingredients: organic quinoa, organic rice, and organic amaranth flour. They are small, cute, and easy to eat, plus the shape of the pasta allows for the sauce to thoroughly coat each piece, making the dish taste extra delicious. Compared to many other gluten-free pasta varieties this one tastes the most like the regular wheat semolina pasta, so I don’t even miss it. Whether you follow a gluten-free diet or not, you should give it a try some time if you spot it in the store!
- I cook with Ellyndale® oils Every. Single. Day. There are so many varieties to choose from, and they each taste delicious! My most used oils are Avocado Cooking Oil ($13.99) for high heat cooking and stir-frying, Organic Extra Virgin Sesame Seed Oil ($6.99) for Asian-inspired dishes, Organic Canola Oil ($7.99) for any dishes that require cooking with flavorless oils, and of course Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($9.99) that I exclusively use for salad dressings and marinades. I also like the design of the bottles – they are tall and sleek, and look very stylish on the shelf. Even with my small hands the bottles are easy to grip, and I feel more comfortable handling them than many other brands. I think these oils would make really nice stocking stuffers for all the cooks in your life.
- I also wanted to mention NOW Real Food® Organic Cashews, Whole, Raw & Unsalted ($7.99). This year I started making my own cashew milk, so I haven’t really bought plant milks at the store for a while. I saved so much money by making my own that I can’t believe I didn’t switch sooner. I will share my exact recipe in another post, but I promise you guys that it’s the easiest thing ever! My recipe doesn’t require any straining with cheesecloth, or anything other than a blender, some cashews, and a dash of salt & sweetener. I have tried using other cashews, but always end up coming back to my favorites from NOW®. I also enjoy eating these cashews as a snack and put them in salads, stews, and curries for a nutritional kick.
I hope you enjoyed my yearly roundup and maybe found a thing or two to put on your wish list. NOW® products really make great gifts and stocking stuffers. The quality of everything is top notch, and I think the pricing is very reasonable. We are essentially getting a premium product without the premium price tag, and you guys know how picky I am about these things. NOW® products can be found at many major national chain retailers and health stores, as well as online – here’s a handy link to find a store near you. Cheers!
Do you have most of your holiday shopping done already? What gifts do you usually give as stocking stuffers?
*Always consult with your physician before taking any new dietary supplements.
**NOW® Essential Oils are highly concentrated and can be irritating to the skin. Avoid direct contact with skin and always dilute essential oils before topical use. Discontinue if rash appears after skin contact. Not for internal use. Avoid contact with eyes.