Meet the BFFs Changing the Face of Healthy Food Delivery
Preparing healthy, well-rounded meals three times a day, seven days a week is hard work—trust us, we’ve tried it!—thus beginning our long and steady search for a smart and easy solution. Enter Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, best friends who left their jobs in modeling and finance, respectively, to pursue their passion of empowering women through food. Their brand is Sakara Life, an organic meal delivery service that will literally change your body and life for the better!
Here’s how it works: Sign up for a three-day or five-day program, and Sakara will deliver a nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch, and dinner straight to your door at the time of your choosing. What’s that? A nationwide fuss-free service that works with your personal schedule? Yes, that’s Sakara Life. And to make things even easier, the brand recently introduced a subscription service that renews weekly and can be cancelled at any time.
We caught up with the girls at their bright and beautiful Soho loft in New York (#officegoals) to get the answers to all of our pressing questions like what’s the key to their success? How do you build a business with your friend? And do they really have a sauna for their employees? And because we asked really nicely, they even showed us how to make one of their favorite meals, the Winter Vitality Salad with Spicy Cauliflower Fried Rice. You’ll definitely want to take notes. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
MYDOMAINE: How did you find this office space?
Whitney Tingle: We like to joke that we started manifesting this office space when we moved to NYC. We would walk through the streets of Soho and look up into the big lofts and say, “One day, we’ll live there.” We were living in a shoebox in Soho instead. But I guess we weren’t specific enough, because it ended up being our office! It looks very different today than it did when we walked in a couple years ago. We painted the floor white, installed floor-to-ceiling gold mirrors, and installed a beautiful kitchen. It was really important to us to have a space where we can shoot as well as work, since we’re constantly doing photo and video shoots.
MD: What were you hoping to achieve with the look and feel of the Sakara Life offices?
Danielle DuBoise: We wanted a light, bright, and warm space that encouraged creativity while also accommodating our constantly growing team. There’s everything from a love nest and vision boards to an infrared sauna (seriously). It’s a mixture between a fashion company and sanctuary.
WT: We chose a big open loft in Soho because we wanted a place where we could host people and bring together our Sakaralites. Community is important, bringing together like-minded people who support each other in healthy decisions and positivity. We host monthly Wellness Wednesday events for our clients where we bring in experts to share their knowledge and expand our minds.
DD: Everything in our office space is mobile. The kitchen island and bar are on wheels, and all of the desks stack on top of themselves in the back in order to clear the space into an event space, which at times has become a studio for yoga, as well as twerk aerobics—mostly for our employees, but also for clients.
MD: Tell us about this infrared sauna. How did that come about?
DD: The Higher Dose infrared sauna was our holiday present to the team for an amazing year. We really wanted a place where people could go to meditate, brainstorm, or just get their creativity flowing. Sometimes people even hold mini meetings in there! Potential benefits from a 15-minute sauna session include relief of muscle and joint pain and stiffness, reduced stress and fatigue, improved skin, and a boost to both the metabolism and the immune system. All good stuff!
MD: Can you walk us through your morning routine?
WT: Neither of us are morning people, so our mornings tend to be really slow and gentle. I like to stretch out in the morning and sip on ginger and turmeric tea I make every morning. I also like to stop for a yerba maté on my way to work. I walk to work, so I like something to sip on. And I like it much more than coffee these days. I’m very hydrated by the time I get to work.
DD: I’m lucky that my husband has late mornings home as well, so we can spend some time together connecting before we each head out. We usually drink Beauty Water together (he’s obsessed with it!), do a little intention-work, and think about our days in a creative brain space rather than immediately responding to emails.
MD: What does a typical work day look like for you?
WT: Every day is a so, so different! Some days we’re in the office bright and early, others we’re running around the city for meetings and events, and others we’re in Brooklyn tasting meals in the making at our commercial kitchen. Over the past few years, we have transitioned a lot from executing to steering the ship that is Sakara and all 80 of our employees—it’s exciting!
MD: Where do you love to shop for ingredients?
DD: Farmer’s markets, like the Union Square Greenmarket, are great for sourcing organic, local, in-season produce. It tastes better and it’s better for you! Chinatown is also a great spot for really rare ingredients to experiment with, and we love Eataly.
MD: How often are you testing out new recipes?
DD: Year-round! We’re also constantly seeking ways to make our meals more delicious and innovative, incorporating feedback from clients and our kitchen, so we’re always working on the recipes, making tweaks here and there, and trying new things. It’s a blessing and a curse to be surrounded by so much yummy food.
MD: What’s your favorite all-time Sakara Life meal?
WT: The Youth & Beauty Salad or the Chia Coconut Protein Waffles; these together are quite possibly the perfect day.
DD: The Red Beet Burger; Roasted Red Potato Salad; Sweet Balsamic, Superfood Sweet Potato Bowl—there are so many!
MD: If we are looking for a healthy meal out in New York, where should we go?
WT: The Sakara philosophy is all about balance—Sakara is not a diet. So when we go out, we like to let loose a little and enjoy ourselves, which often means French fries and martinis are involved. That said, if you’re looking to keep it clean, we have a few guidelines to help you eat clean at any restaurant. Look for salads, broth-based soups (no cream), and anything with lots of veggies (be sure to check out the sides). Feel free to ask the server how something is prepared if you’re not sure, and ask for any heavy dressings or sauces to be left on the side. And while we think it’s best to eat plant-based most of the time, if a nice piece of fish or other lean animal protein is the healthiest thing on the menu, go for that. As far as our favorite healthy restaurants, we love Dimes, The Fat Radish, and Maman! And for a vegan meal that feels like a splurge, you’ve got to try by CHLOE.
MD: What has been essential to the growth of Sakara Life?
DD: Hiring a dream team. We’re so grateful to have found a team of amazing people who are not only intelligent, creative, and daring, but who also connect to Sakara’s mission of helping as many people as possible feel good in their bodies. It’s what fuels us to continue to grow as a team and as a company.
MD: What are your best tips for others starting a business with a friend?
WT: Make sure that you feel that you're both inputting the same amount of work. Make expectations very clear—stress starts to happen when expectations differ from reality—and give fast feedback. If you let things fester without talking about it, it can blow up into something bigger than it actually is. That goes for all relationships, not just friends. And always put your friendship first. If you know that the other person is looking out for you and not for themselves, then you can't get mad at them.
MD: Do you have any weekly or daily rituals that help you stay focused and productive?
DD: We have a team meeting every week where we all get together, including our L.A. and kitchen teams, who join us by phone, to go over sales numbers and share team updates. We like to do them in a circle and bless one another for the work we’ve completed. It’s a nice combination of digging into the metrics of the week and allowing us to all pull up and look at what we’re co-creating. We also host spontaneous push-up challenges when the office feels low energy. [We do] 20 push-ups together regardless of how high your heels to the office are that day.
MD: What do you look for in a Sakara employee?
WT: We were just talking about this the other day: smart, eager, passionate, and optimistic! That is the dream recipe—people who are not afraid of a challenge, are self-motivated, curious, and confident in their abilities to run a piece of this business. We’re all entrepreneurs here. Everyone we hire will forever change the course of the company. That's why we have to be so picky.
MD: What has been your biggest hurdle or challenge in developing your own brand and company?
WT: People thinking we’re two little girls with a pet project. Fortunately, those misconceptions have faded over the past couple of years, but we got it a lot at first from the people in our lives. This was especially hard during fundraising, but we’re fortunate to have a multimillion dollar company and institutional investors to back us up now. No matter what kind of entrepreneur you decide to be, you'll have to fight some stereotype. Just find your certainty, don't listen to people who say no, and always say "thank you" when you receive harsh feedback or criticism.
MD: Where is Sakara Life going from here?
DD: Up, up, and up! We just recently launched our Clean Boutique, expanded our organic meal delivery program nationwide, and rolled out our new subscription program. We have a really exciting year ahead where we focus on inspiring people to take care of themselves and live the Sakara Life. We’re helping create a new generation of people whose DNA, thoughts, and actions will be impacted by the food we’re sending them. It’s amazing.
MD: Tell us about the dish you made for our shoot. Where did the recipe come from? What do you love about it?
WT: One reason we love this salad is because it’s so colorful, and eating the rainbow is one of the fundamental principles of the Sakara Life program—it helps you get a wide variety of nutrients. Roasted veggies are so delicious during the winter, and are perfect for warming your body and soul on a chilly winter night. We always take care to create nutritionally designed meals that contain the perfect balance of vitamin-rich vegetables, satisfying whole grains, and a ton of healing, hydrating greens, and this meal is the perfect combination. Our Superfood Salad Dressings help boost the nutrient density of the entire meal with functional ingredients that help keep you healthy and glowing.
Winter Vitality Salad With Spicy Cauliflower Fried Rice
NOTE: Serves 2
3 cups spinach
1 head cauliflower
1 red onion
1 lb broccolini
1 avocado (diced)
1 lb purple potatoes
1 butternut squash
4 garlic cloves
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup hemp seeds
1 cup quinoa
2 tsp. rosemary
Directions for Quinoa
Place 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in pot. Bring water to a boil, then simmer. Cover pot on simmer for 30 minutes or until water has evaporated.
Directions for Broccolini
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place broccolini with cloves of garlic, olive oil, and pinch of Himalayan salt in large pan. Cook all at 400 for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle with dried cranberries once cool.
Directions for Cauliflower and Onion Mash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut large pieces of cauliflower and onion and place on a large pan. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt, olive oil, and chopped garlic. Cook for 40 minutes or until fully roasted. Take out of oven once cooked, and let sit for 20 minutes or until cooled. Once cooled, chop cauliflower and onion into small pieces, making a "rice" size and texture.
Directions for Potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into small slithers. Lay out on pan and dress with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and Himalayan salt (if you want a little spice, add some roasted red pepper flakes!). Cook for 40 minutes or until your liking. Take out and let cool off for five minutes.
Directions for Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (feel free to cook this with the potatoes!). Cut squash into small cubes and lay flat on pan. Dress in olive oil and sprinkle Himalayan salt. Cook for 45 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, sprinkle hemp seeds on top.
Lay out bed of spinach in large bowl. Place the quinoa and the vegetables on top of the salad, placing the cauliflower-onion "rice" at the very top. Enjoy!
What are some of your favorite healthy meals to make during the week? Share your recipes in the comments below!