A few months back I was at my girlfriends house where she was pulling out these pre- packaged beautiful meals, beauty waters, and delicious snacks. She was always up on the newest food plan, or model work out to look and feel her best, but this one caught my eye it was a delivery service called Sakara. The food looked amazing, the snacks were great, and the concept was something that finally made sense to me. The plan doesn't call for all these juices, leaving you starving, they want you to eat, and eat well. It is always nice to look a company up and be able to relate to the people behind The brand, to know that it wasn't made by a big corporate big shot, but people that helped themselves and now want to help you. Not only did they develop a healthy, doable plan, it is made by two young women that developed their reality into a company that can help others in the constant struggle. Meet Whitney and Danielle the two masterminds behind Sakara and learn how you too can change your relationship with food:
We are obsessed with you girls, do you mind giving us a little background about yourselves?
W: We both grew up in Sedona, AZ—we like to say that Sakara started when we met in the 7th grade—and we always had an appreciation for the healing power of food. I moved to NYC to pursue a job in finance, and discovered that it was pretty much impossible to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle in that work-hard-play-hard environment. Too many extra-long, stressful days and late, cocktail-fueled nights! I put on about 15 pounds and was struggling with cystic acne that I just couldn’t beat. After trying everything to fix my skin, I decided to go back to my roots. I teamed up with Danielle and together we created an eating regimen that healed my skin and made me feel amazing. After it changed our lives, we knew we had to share it with the world.
D: I was studying biochemistry and preparing for medical school, and supporting myself by acting and modeling on the side. All the pressure in that world did a number on my body image, which wasn’t great to begin with as a former chubby kid who dealt with a lot of bullying growing up. I was convinced that I needed a certain body before my life could start, and so I bounced from one extreme diet to the next, believing that restricting what I ate would give me power and control. Food definitely became the enemy for me. Finally, I decided that enough was enough—I needed to heal my relationship with my body. So Whitney and I joined forces to create a meal program that would nourish and heal us, and Sakara was born! I also went on to become a certified holistic health coach.
Starting a business is like having a baby, its scary, nerve racking and overwhelmingly fun all at the same time, what was the moment that you guys decided "woah this could be a business, we should share it with the world?"
W: Honestly, when it started to work. We had struggled for so long to find balance in NYC and once we put all the pieces together in a way that started to give us noticeable results, we knew we had to share it with the world. We had experienced so intimately what it felt like to get back to feeling like ourselves in our bodies and in our lives and knew that we had the answer on how to get there.
What are some words of advise you could give other women that want to step out on their own?
Danielle: There are no rules. Seriously, any rules you think exist or that others tell you exist were just made up by some other human. Make up your own rules, think outside of the box of new, creative ways to do something, and, above all…be bold!
Whitney: And make sure your business is connected to a larger mission! It will force you to grow. Sakara is so much bigger than me, so much bigger than Danielle, so much bigger than our team, and this means that no matter how tough things get, we have to keep going.
I love that you guys encourage people to eat more and not starve yourself, but when is enough enough, what are some tips on not overeating and knowing when to stop?
Danielle: Switching my mindset from am I eating too much to am I eating enough was a BIG one for me. Food was the enemy for me for so many years – something that scared me, controlled me, and made me fat. When I stopped counting calories and instead started focusing on the nutrient density of my meals – is the water content high, am I getting enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins? – not only did my relationship to food change, but my body finally started to change as well (all that fear and stress lives in the belly!)
Whitney: We’re big believers in listening to your body. And when you’re nourishing your body with the right balance of fresh produce, healthy fats, plant proteins and whole grains, you eventually build a body you can listen to - meaning a body that tells you what it needs, when it’s hungry and when it’s had enough. The Sakara Life program is designed to help you recalibrate your system and rediscover your natural instincts about hunger and fullness. That said, we all fall victim to snack attacks sometimes. A good tip is to make sure you’re hydrated before reaching for a snack, since often those hunger pangs are just dehydration in disguise. Emotional hunger (causes by stress, boredom, etc.) can only be satisfied by one thing and has to be satisfied NOW. Physical hunger is cool, calm, and collected – it gives you the time and space to satiate it. So take that time, drink some water (or detox tea!) and revisit in a few minutes.
Snacking, its a thing, which one of yours would you recommend for someone to always have hidden in their desk drawer?
D: Snacking is definitely a thing! That was the inspiration for the new products in our Clean Boutique. Everyone is always looking for healthy, convenient snacks, but the majority of what’s out there is filled with questionable, unnatural ingredients. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! So we created a collection of snacks using the same high-quality, organic ingredients as our meal program. Each Clean Boutique product is highly functional, meaning it’s designed to deliver specific results. Our Empower Bars are great for stashing in the fridge (along with some low-G.I. fruit, like berries and apples), and we usually have a bag of our superfood granola in our desk drawers. Raw nuts, dried goji berries or mulberries and raw veggie sticks are also good snack choices.
Where did you find the inspiration for the recipes for the meals?
W: We come up with many of the meals ourselves! We’re inspired by dishes we’ve tried and loved and we’re always trying to recreate comfort food favorites with wholesome, plant-based ingredients. We call it “food you love that also loves your body.” Once we have an idea we work with chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC and LA, ensuring our meals are innovative and gourmet quality. Our menu changes seasonally to take advantage of the freshest produce and keep things creative and interesting for our clients.
How do you incorporate your healthy lifestyle, while running around New York?
D: We bring a little of our hippie desert spirit to our busy city lives, which definitely helps. Whether that means morning meditation sessions or burning sage in our office before a photoshoot, we know how to take a minute to connect before diving in. And one of the best things about Sakara is the convenience factor—people here are too busy to plan healthy meals, go grocery shopping, cook and clean up. Our program makes it easy and convenient to eat organic, healthy meals all week long. We joke that if we didn’t have Sakara, I wouldn’t eat at all during the day and Whit would be eating a pastrami sandwich and potato chips everyday…very grateful for Sakara!
These days everyone has their own workout routine, what's yours?
W: We definitely have some favorites in NYC – The Class, Ballet Beautiful, Physique57, Jivamukti Yoga. But we don’t stress it. The times that we have actually felt like our best, strongest, sexiest selves in our bodies have been because of the food we’re eating, the things we’re creating, and the love we’re making(!). Movement is important, but we no longer waste our energies stressing to make a class everyday. If our movement for the day means walking home from the office and getting everyone in the office to do a push-up challenge that is a-ok.
Your meals are really beautiful, you guys obviously have an artful eye, whats your favorite fashion trend a the moment?
D: I've been watching a lot of old Hollywood movies... Grace Kelly, Katherine Hepburn... So I'm obsessing over beautiful, timeless pieces and dresses. Mid-calf white silk skirts with matching blouses. So elegant!
W: I’m a diehard vintage shopper – whether from goodwill or my mom’s closet, and I love mixing one of these pieces with something sleek and sexy.
Travel, how often, where to, and why?
D: Yes! For work and play. We just got back from San Francisco, where we officially launched our meal delivery program (woot!), and we’re in Los Angeles all the time since we have a team out there as well. We’re very last minute travelers…we don’t plan trips out far in advance, but will spur of the moment decide to go to Venice for a girls trip or Bahamas to visit an ashram. Oh, and Sedona to visit the fams and sit on top of some red rocks every few months.
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