For so many busy moms (including us!), cooking for ourselves is often the last thing we think about. The priority is, of course, getting healthy foods into our kids. And as a result, we end up grabbing whatever is fastest—leftovers from our kids, quick snacks, etc. That’s why we love Sakara, a plant-based food delivery service with chef-crafted recipes made from the highest quality, locally-sourced ingredients. This is clean-eating, taken up a notch.
We spoke to the founders of Sakara, Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, to learn more about their brand as well as their new cookbook! Want to try? Go to Sakara.com and use code XOLOCALMOMS for 20 percent off!
Can you please briefly describe Sakara, for anyone who is not yet familiar?
Sakara is a nutrition philosophy and food program on a mission to transform lives through the power of food as medicine. We share this mission through our organic meal delivery service, a line of functional, results-driven snacks and supplements, and are so proud to have released a cookbook this spring (a national bestseller!) called Eat Clean, Play Dirty. It’s 100 plant-based, nutrient-dense recipes that celebrate our ethos of creating your best life by nourishing a body you love living in.
What was your inspiration?
Whitney: When we initially developed the Sakara nutrition philosophy, we weren’t thinking of it as a business—we were just trying to heal ourselves. But once we started to see the transformation caused by eating this way, in less than 2 week we realized that Sakara was way bigger than just us, and we couldn’t keep it to ourselves. From that point forward our mission was very clear: to change as many lives as possible through the power of food as medicine. We started with meal delivery because at that time our clients were mostly busy, stressed out New Yorkers who didn’t have the time to prepare their own food – we were their nutritionist and personal chef in one. At that time, very few people had heard of the microbiome or knew what “plant-based” eating was, so we decided to launch our magazine as an education platform. Once we expanded from New York, to the West Coast, and then nationwide, we had clients with different needs. Maybe they didn’t want or couldn’t afford to receive meals delivered consistently, so we launched our supplements and functional snacks to support them. The cookbook has been on our minds—and our client’s wish lists – for about 8 years! We felt that now—with plant-based eating going from fringe to mainstream—was the perfect time to bring Sakara Life to the broadest audience yet.
What is your relationship as founders?
Danielle: Whitney and I have been friends since the 7th grade, where we met in math class in Sedona, Arizona. We’ve grown up together and are truly sisters. We both moved to NYC, each for different reasons (Whitney was working on Wall Street and I came for school, to study biochem), and were roommates in Soho. We often say we share the same brain because we have such trust in each other’s thoughts, opinions, and vision for what Sakara is and continues to become. We lift each other up and continue to push each other to become the best versions of ourselves.
Can you briefly outline the 9 pillars of nutrition and why they are crucial?
Whitney: This is one of our favorite questions! Our pillars of nutrition guide each meal we create on the program, and are the culmination of years of research. They cover science-supported concepts like eating your greens, incorporating healthy fats, and eating sulfur-rich plants— the mineral responsible for supporting our detoxifying organs. Our first pillar, never counting calories, is dear to Danielle’s heart because when we created the Sakara philosophy, she wanted to make sure she never had to diet and restrict again. More and more research supports that calories are a poor judge of the nutrient-density of food, the real marker of nourishment and vitality. Instead of counting calories, we count colors and phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. We also “eat our water” which means consuming fresh unprocessed, alivefoods with high-water content, eat plant protein by getting enough plant-rich amino acids; fuel with high-quality, organic nourishment so that you gain body intelligence, meaning you have the clarity and confidence to listen to what your body truly needs and craves. Thousands of clients lives have transformed through this lifestyle because food isn’t the enemy, but is instead information.
What else separates Sakara from the other meal delivery services available?
Sakara Life is first and foremost a nutritional protocol, rooted in science and supported by clinical research. You can think of Sakara as your nutritionist and personal chef in one, which sets us apart from all the other meal delivery services on the market. Our food is also innovative and chef-crafted. We work with Michelin-starred chefs to create the most mind-blowing, yummy dishes on the planet— we are total foodies. We believe that food should be a celebration; it should be a pleasurable, sensory experience. We are continuously evolving and innovating how to pack enough nutrient-density into food that tastes incredible. Stay tuned as we have some very exciting collaborations this summer on that front!
What are your favorite meals that Sakara offers?
Every week there are meals that delight the senses, and our favorites always change.
Whitney: A close one to my heart is the Youth + Beauty Salad as it is a quintessential “eat your water” meal. It contains some of the most hydrating plants on Earth— like cucumber and romaine, pomegranate seeds and radishes— with a sprinkle of hemp and pumpkin seeds for a dose of omega-3 fats. It’s also in the cookbook!
Danielle:I love the Sexy Cinnamon Rolls with mucuna pruriens-infused caramel. Our breakfasts are divine and feel indulgent, but they are packed with plant-based fiber and whole, clean ingredients so you feel satiated and nourished with superfoods first thing. Mucuna pruriens is a bean that contains L-dopa, a compound necessary to stimulate dopamine in the brain. (See below!)
What is the Shop Clean Boutique and what are your favorite products?
Whitney: A huge part of my journey towards health was healing my skin— which first meant healing my gut. The microbiome is the trillions of bacteria in and on your body that help regulate your hormones, provide energy, metabolize nutrients, provide restful sleep, give brain clarity, and we’re learning that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A healthy gut also means clear skin— I take my Sakara Probiotic Blend every single day, and sometimes double up for immunity when I’m traveling or feel a cold coming on.
Danielle: Hydration and providing enough minerals to the body is essential to feeling my best. I use Beauty Water Drops as my morning ritual with a glass of water, to wake up my skin and hydrate at the cellular level. Minerals are the electric conduits for every function of the body— we need them to thrive.
Why did you decide to do a cookbook, and what can people expect from it?
At Sakara we believe that you are what you do most of the time, and that joy is a vital nutrient. So we encourage our clients to eat the Sakara way most of the time—basing their diets on a variety of organic, nutrient-dense plant foods—but that there is never a “no list”. If eating a croissant on Saturday morning or drinking a margarita on Saturday night brings you joy, by all means – enjoy it. This is why we named our cookbook, “Eat Clean, Play Dirty.” It’s 100 recipes of plant-rich, nutrient-dense, delicious meals to share with everyone you love. It’s about celebrating, entertaining, and healing through food as medicine.
The idea of the cookbook has been a seed in our minds for 8 years, and it was such a labor of love. We are thrilled that it has finally come to life, and been so well-received.
What are some of your favorite recipes that are in the book?
Danielle: I’m excited to share the cocktail and dessert sections because these are recipes we don’t serve on the meal plan. They also illustrate how you can enjoy all the things you love—but “Sakarify” them, as we like to say.
Whitney: I’m really excited to share our Everything Bagel recipe! The bagel is such a New York classic and our twist is not only easy to make and delicious, it’s a great example of how all the comfort foods you love can be filled with nutrient-dense superfoods. No Sacrifices!
What’s next for Sakara?
We are always innovating and finding creative ways to seduce you into eating more veggies, and enjoying the experience! This summer we have some amazing projects in the works we’re so excited to share. Stay tuned.
Can you share a favorite recipe from the book?
Our Sexy Cinnamon Rolls are one of our most coveted meals on the program— so we had to share in the cookbook. They are a crowd-pleaser, and they’re especially great for making them for kids. They satisfy a sweet tooth while having enough fiber and whole, unprocessed ingredients so there’s no sugar crash. Enjoy!
Want to try? Go to Sakara.com and use code XOLOCALMOMS for 20 percent off!
Recipe photo credit: Lianna Tarantino