When we think of vegan companies we admire with superstar ladies at the helm, Sakara Life is definitely one of the first that comes to mind. Right about now, it’s the perfect meal delivery to order as we wait out the coronavirus at home. But we’ve long admired the organic, plant-based, fresh, and nutrient-bursting meals that get delivered directly to your door with various meal program options for you to cherry-pick. The company also offers a clean boutique, brimming with snacks, super powders, chocolates, teas, and more.
On any given day, you can probably find us dreaming about vegan hits like Blueberry Earth Cake with a peach-cinnamon topping, Five-Herb Pesto Pasta, and a Butterfly Bowl with Tie Dye Carrots. Today, you can find us thinking about the inspiring vision of these #GirlBoss luminaries, Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Sakara Life. Below, we got the chance to catch up with the founders to learn the backstory behind their growing plant-based empire, how they’re taking care of themselves during the pandemic, and even some inspiring advice they got from Oprah.
Q: So what inspired you to launch the company?
DD: I’d spent a lifetime yo-yo dieting and was very sick from it. It wasn’t until I studied nutrition and began to understand that food is not the enemy, but is medicine, and has the power to transform mind and body. Creating and following this program completely changed my health, body, and life. And since then, I’ve made it my mission to share this way of eating with the hopes of helping others experience a similar transformation.
WT: I suffered from cystic acne and had tried everything from acupuncture to Accutane (a serious prescription drug) to get rid of it. When no one, not even the fancy NYC dermatologists, could cure it, I decided to take my health into my own hands and turned to food as medicine to get to the root cause of my problem. I had always thought that I was eating “healthy” but it wasn’t until I started eating the way we now teach on our Sakara LIfe program, that my body finally healed itself and my skin cleared. Once I discovered what worked, I wanted to help others through their health struggles as well and made it my mission to do so!
Collectively, we also had both lost all trust in [mass market] consumer goods. We knew how many shortcuts food producers and manufacturers can take to put products on the shelf and we wanted to make a company and products that people can trust.
Q: Times are tough amid the coronavirus pandemic. What are some of your favorite wellness activities to stay grounded right now?
DD: I set aside time to breathe every morning (currently obsessed with Ziva Meditation!) I’ve also been trying to make it a priority to get some type of movement in every day, whether it’s walking with my family and dog or trying a new online class (Ballet Beautiful, Sculpt Society, and Melissa Wood Health are my current favorites).
I also take The Foundation every single day. It’s Sakara’s new supplement line and they’re the cleanest, most nourishing supplements on the market. I feel such a difference taking them and am so proud of this product! We need nutritional insurance. Sadly, eating well isn’t enough anymore— due to nutrient depletion from stress, less sleep, anxiety, and poor soil health. These supplements help to replenish nutrients to help your body work optimally.
WT: A big part of my current self-care routine is setting aside time to fill my brain with information that will help stimulate ideas, inspiration and creativity. That’s what we try to offer with our Sakara Life Podcast — and I like listening to other podcasts like The Doctor’s Farmacy, On Being, Esther Perel, and the Goop Podcast.
As of late, I’ve also really been focused on maintaining my “normal” routine: Eating my Sakara meals three-to-five days a week and trying to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day for some sort of movement whether it’s taking a walk or doing an online class. I’ve really been into Melissa Wood Health, The Class, Sculpt Society, and Caravan Wellness.
Q: So what are your favorite plant-based meals?
DD: That’s so hard! That’s like picking a favorite child. One of my favorite Sakara meals is the Sexiest Salad in NYC. It’s full of hydrating, juicy fruit and has a warming honey, cinnamon Dijon [dressing]. It’s so satiating and gives my skin an immediate glow.
WT: I love to make a huge chopped salad with any/all vegetables I have in my fridge; broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, celery, carrots, peppers, beets, plus rice and beans, it’s an adaptation of my mom’s recipe. We share our version of the recipe in our cookbook Eat Clean, Play Dirty. Along with my personal favorite salad dressing to go with it—our Green Goddess Dressing.
Q: You are both lights in the plant-based movement and wellness industry. What’s an insight you’ve learned from a mentor of your own?
DD: I learned that calories don’t matter from Dr. Mark Hyman. Food is information [editor’s note: Hyman believes that food contains information that speaks directly to our genes; you can read more on that here] so focus on getting the right information and less on calories for a healthy body, weight and energy level. Check him out on our Sakara Life Podcast for even more incredible information about food, health, and policy.
WT: I learned that having a “growth mindset” is one of the most valuable things you can have— both in business and in life. We got to meet Oprah when we were selected as part of her Super Soul 100 group (and let us tell you, she is just as amazing and grand in real life as you would expect her to be!).
She has said “Who you’re meant to be evolves from where you are right now. So learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes, and setbacks as stepping stones to the future is a clear sign you’re moving in the right direction.”
Q: Being at home virtually 24/7 can be a struggle. What are you doing to make working remotely right now more fun and efficient for you and your team?
DD: Whitney and I are hosting small group lunches via Zoom once a week, where 3-4 team members from across the company join us for a casual conversation. It’s nice to add a little sense of normalcy into the week and swap recommendations on what we’re reading, watching, or simply thinking about outside of work.
WT: We actually have “Team Fun Captains” on our team who are in charge of hosting fun digital events for the team. We do everything from 15-minute mindfulness breaks or yoga classes which are both taught by team members, to digital workout classes, cooking classes, and today was Bingo! Even though we can’t be physically together, it’s important for us all to still find the time to connect with each other as people, not just co-workers, and to have ways to decompress.
Q: So what’s your MVP Sakara Life product in your personal life?
DD: The Foundation is one of my absolute favorite products. It’s our newest launch and is doctor-formulated advanced nutritional support in convenient doses (30-day supply; single-use packs), designed to provide you with a foundation of the essential nutrients you need every single day to look and feel your best. They provide the advanced nutritional support you need every day for gut health, immunity, energy, beautiful skin, and system-wide vitality. I also LOVE our Beauty Water Drops. These drops help make your water more absorbable by your cells, allowing for more hydration.
WT: I absolutely love our Complete Probiotic Formula. I take it every day, first thing in the morning. 70% of the immune system is in the gut, so while it helps me to keep my skin clear, I know while living in the midst of a pandemic it’s even more of a priority now to make sure I take it daily.
Q: So what’s next for Sakara Life?
DD: Continuing to improve the lives of millions with the power of food as medicine.
WT: Exactly. And using our knowledge of plants, nutrition, ingredients and sourcing to create more products that can solve real problems for people across the world.
Quite the leaders, right, dearest readers? We’ll raise our vegan smoothie and toast to that, for sure.