I Ate Like Gwyneth Paltrow for 3 Days and Lived to Tell the Tale

Yes, you can in fact eat six cups of greens a day.
Last Updated
May 27, 2021

Long gone are the days when I’d take the elevator down to Sweetgreen from my high-rise office building, pay $15 for a subpar salad, take the elevator back up, and devour it at my desk—all in a matter of minutes. Sure, I would have rather pretended I was in Paris and taken a long, leisurely lunch break to recharge in the middle of the workday (wine encouraged). But with so much to do, and not enough hours in the day, every minute was precious—yes, even if it meant shoveling a Shroomami bowl in my face to satiate my audibly growling stomach.

Flash forward to March 2020, and the whole world came to a screeching halt. No longer did I have to plot my lunch choices around proximity to my office building, because my kitchen was my office building. Only one problem: It takes far longer to prepare a nice, healthy lunch than it does to press a few elevator buttons and teleport to the Sweetgreen pickup shelf.

But then I was introduced to Sakara Life. You’ve likely heard of the organic meal delivery program, or at least seen it somewhere on your late-night Insta-scrolling binges—and if you have, you know just how beautiful the food is. But at anywhere from $27 to $70 per day, depending on the number of meals delivered, is it really worth the price? Read on to learn more about the food, snacks, and supplements from personal experience, and through the lens of co-founder and co-CEO, Whitney Tingle.

What Is Sakara Life?

Beloved by celebs (like Gwyneth Paltrow, Lily Aldridge, and Drew Barrymore, to name a few), Sakara Life is an all-natural food subscription service that delivers plant-based, organic, and clean meals, snacks, and supplements to your doorstep. But unlike other food delivery services, there’s no preparation needed with Sakara. The chef- and nutritionist-approved ingredients show up at your doorstep fully prepped and ready to consume. And if you’re paralyzed by choice like I am, you don’t even have to decide between the Burrito Bowl with Turmeric Corn Salsa or the fan-favorite veggie-loaded Bibimbap—each meal is marked with the day and time it should be consumed for optimal freshness.

How Does Sakara Work?

It’s pretty apparent from the get-go that Sakara makes it easy to stick to a healthy eating plan, even when pressed for time. Only have 30 minutes in between Zoom meetings? Just grab your Sakara salad from the fridge, dress it, and enjoy without wasting time on prep. But what's the whole point? Co-founder and co-CEO Whitney Tingle shares, “Our Signature Nutrition Program was created to optimize your health and designed to fit seamlessly into your lifestyle through the convenience of ready-made, fresh, organic meals delivered straight to your door. Each plant-rich meal is designed to heal and nourish the gut by encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in your microbiome (which also strengthens your overall immune system), keeps your blood sugar balanced, and floods your body with phytonutrients and powerful polyphenols that support aging.”

Tingle, who had been struggling with cystic acne for years and her co-CEO Danielle Duboise, who had been suffering from a poor relationship with food, decided to take health into their own hands through adopting a whole, plant-based, organic diet. 

“We couldn’t find a solution that focused on finding the root cause versus treating symptoms, healing from the inside out, and taking a holistic approach to our health. We developed Sakara as a nutritional program and lifestyle built around our 9 Pillars of Nutrition like ‘Eat Your Water’ ‘No Calorie Counting’ and eating for abundance to fuel and nourish your body. It’s designed to give you boosted energy, clearer skin, improved digestion, reduced bloat, and increased focus,” says Tingle. 

Through eating this way, the duo completely transformed themselves, both physically and emotionally, and knew that they had to help others via the power of food as medicine.

Who Is Sakara For?

Sakara isn’t just for those seeking relief from physical conditions or those looking for more time back in their day—it’s a great solution for nearly every food-related sensitivity under the sun. Tingle elaborates, “Our Signature Nutrition Program is 100 percent plant-based and does not contain any gluten, dairy, or meat. It’s safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, celiacs, vegetarians, and anyone looking for a baseline of healthy eating.” 

The only food allergy that it doesn’t address? Nuts. A lot of meals are made with nuts, or have nut-based sauces and dressings. However, Tingle clarifies, “We’re also able to accommodate almost all allergy requests if you are a local client within our hand-delivery zones near NYC and California.” How’s that for convenience?

The Meals

How Are Sakara Meals Created?

Sakara meals look delicious, but it’s a lot more complicated than whipping up an aesthetically pleasing plate. “The framework for our Detox Level I and Detox Level II nutrition programs combines cutting-edge nutrition science, such as epigenetics and studies of the microbiome, with ancient healing modalities that have been used for hundreds of years, along with the teachings of the doctors and experts on our Science and Advisory Council,” says Tingle. Even more impressive? Sakara has hundreds of doctors and nutritionists across the country prescribing its nutrition program to their patients. “Food really is medicine,” she adds.

How Often Does the Menu Rotate?

You'll never get sick of any one meal on the program—the menu changes weekly to feature the freshest, most seasonal ingredients to ensure you receive all the plant-rich nutrients and to keep boredom in check. Tingle explains, “One of Sakara’s Pillars of Nutrition is ‘Eating The Rainbow,’ which emphasizes the importance of adding a variety of plants to your diet to get a full array of vitamins and minerals—every color of the rainbow reflects a different set of phytonutrients. Just one week of the Signature Nutrition Program contains over 150 unique plant ingredients for ultimate health.”

The only (big) downside to this rotating menu, is that when you ultimately find your favorite meals, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be on the menu the next time you order a detox meal program. But of course, there's a reason for this. Because Sakara aims to deliver organic meals made from locally sourced seasonal produce, it's all in the name of sustainability. If Sakara were to customize meals per each buyer's needs, it wouldn't be able to function on this sustainability model. And when you take that into consideration, waiting a bit longer for your favorite dish to pop back up doesn't feel so bad. However, if you love Sakara so much that you want to become a weekly subscriber, you can swap out meals with this option.

How Are Sakara Meals Delivered?

Depending on your delivery zone, you can choose the meals you’d like to receive (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Along with the meals, you receive Sakara’s Detox Tea (for daily use), and Complete Probiotic Formula (five-day supply) to help you maintain a diverse and balanced gut microbiome. “You’ll also receive access to our wellness team, so you can feel supported throughout your journey,” adds Tingle. 

As far as the actual delivery? Sustainability is a core focus. “We believe that companies have just as much of a responsibility to care for the planet as governments. Sustainability is one of Sakara’s strategic priorities as a company and something we are always thinking about and working on,” Tingle says. Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the proven ways humans can positively make an impact and we are happy to be having a positive effect by being leaders in the space.”

And when it comes to packaging, innovation is top of mind. Sakara Life’s current packaging is made from recycled water bottles, which diverted more than 15 million plastic bottles from landfills in 2020. “We have committed to having 100 percent recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable packaging by 2023,” says Tingle. “To achieve this, we’re excited to be partnering with a sustainable packaging firm to undergo an exhaustive impact assessment of every piece of package we use.”

On the topic of sustainability, Sakara is also committed to:

  • Keeping its food waste below one percent through careful projecting and menu planning 
  • Donating and composting any waste generated with vetted facilities
  • Using organic produce from environmentally responsible farms and suppliers
  • Reducing its carbon footprint by optimizing its sourcing practices
  • Inspiring people to adopt a plant-based lifestyle

My Review


  • Convenient, ready-to-eat meals
  • Free of common allergens
  • Plant-based and organic


  • Not suitable for nut allergies
  • No choice in meals (unless a weekly subscriber)
  • Expensive

As someone who is perpetually pressed for time, I’m always looking for ways to maximize my day. And while eating a healthy breakfast and lunch is important, it’s far from relaxing to hurriedly dump a bunch of ingredients into a bowl, call it a salad, and stuff it into my mouth at my desk while work deadlines are looming. We all do it (how else are we supposed to eat?!), but I finally realized it doesn’t have to be that way. Enter: Sakara Life meals. 

I’ve tried other meal delivery options in the past, and while they’re fun to cook for dinner occasionally, they aren’t necessarily efficient. In a pandemic working world, where my days are filled with Zoom meetings, what I really need is a delivery service that does all the work for me: grocery shopping, prep, cooking, and dressing. And Sakara delivers just that right to my door, in a sustainable, insulated box, with neatly stacked recycled plastic containers inside. Every meal is labeled with the day and meal in which it should be consumed for optimal freshness and nutrition, which means it also removes the added stress of meal planning.

I chose to try the three-day Signature Nutrition Detox Level I program (which works to rebalance the gut and flush everyday toxins from sugar, caffeine, and more) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus probiotics, Detox Tea, and Detox Water Drops. I also threw in a few snacks from the Clean Boutique, because they looked too good to pass up (more on those below).

As I sliced through the tape on the cardboard box with a pair of scissors and tore open the flaps, the first thing I noticed, other than the neatly stacked containers and sustainable paper insulation, was the portions. Though the term “plant-based” makes me, someone who enjoys a good burger now and then, think of surviving on little more than arugula, I assure you Sakara’s meals are big enough to feed at least two people (yet I got them all to myself). Yes, there were plenty of salads to eat during my three-day program (sometimes so big I couldn’t finish them), but each was so inventive, and hearty, they didn’t feel like boring bowls of lettuce in the slightest. The sustainable, recycled packaging also conveniently separated leafy greens from any toppings to preserve their crisp factor, which helped ensure the salads on day three were just as fresh-tasting as those on day one. The sauces and dressings are also delivered on the side in generous portions, so I was able to customize just how saucy I wanted to go. (Side note: Although the meals were hearty and larger than expected, they definitely weren't as beautiful as they look on Instagram—but I expected that would be the case.)

That brings me to the flavor. There truly wasn’t a meal that I didn’t enjoy. A few of my favorites were the Neapolitan Parfait (a three-layered breakfast parfait made of a base of coconut cream—yum), the Balance Bowl with Macadamia Feta (a lentil and beet salad with greens and pistachios), and the Sichuan Noodles with Rainbow Carrots (a saucy, slightly spicy bowl of rice noodles, sautéed spinach, and veggies)—the recipes for most of which can be found in Sakara's 'Eat Clean, Play Dirty' cookbook if you're curious. What I loved most about these three meals, was the fact that I would probably never create them on my own, due to time constraints and just general creativity—I’m no chef, so my homemade salads and bowls are easy enough for a five-year-old to assemble.

Lastly, in addition to the fact that having meals at the ready significantly lowered the potential for stress eating gummy bears during the day, I also felt so much lighter and less sluggish. You know that 3pm, post-lunch slump? I didn’t see her once during the three-day program. 

As mentioned above, the only factor that would make Sakara even better, would be the ability to choose from a menu of items for the detox programs, so you could ensure you get your favorite meals delivered on demand. You can, however, see what’s on next week’s menu in advance by plugging in your zip code, so you can pick and choose which weeks you want to opt into deliveries based on what’s being offered. You can also swap meals if you're a weekly subscriber, which is all the more reason to become a Sakara regular.

The Snacks and Supplements

Whether you don’t want to commit to a full meal program, or you’re looking to continue the whole food benefits after finishing one, Sakara’s Clean Boutique is the ideal gateway to the plant-based lifestyle. Filled with everything from granolas to bars to probiotics to water-enhancers to teas, the Clean Boutique brings Sakara Life goodness on the go. Everything can be bought once, or added to a monthly recurring subscription, so you never have to be without your favorites. It’s also a great place to find gifts for the health conscious people in your life—the Sakara Chocolate Trio, The Beauty Collection, and The AM to PM Collection are all no-brainers.

My Snack Review

The Detox Water

If you’ve ever been to a certain cafe in Los Angeles where the waiters walk around with a bottle of liquid chlorophyll tucked in their aprons, ready to drop the green infusion into your water at the nod of your head, then you’ll appreciate Sakara’s Detox Water Drops. Made with antioxidant-rich chlorophyll, the fastest and most natural way to get extra greens into your diet, the drops are virtually flavorless and can be added to any liquid, turning it a beautiful forest green hue. I just feel healthier looking at my green glass of water that touts benefits such as optimal digestion, gut health, immunity, and liver function. Plus, it’s an easy way to get me to drink more water throughout the day—something I’m always striving for.

Dark Chocolate Granola

Admittedly the snacks are my favorite part about all of Sakara’s offerings—they’re that good. I was immediately drawn to the Dark Chocolate Granola, because why wouldn’t I be with packaging and a name like that? I tore open the top of the bag and grabbed a big hunk of granola, popped it in my mouth, and did one of those eyes-closed silent chews while I took in the chocolatey, nutty, sweet (but not too sweet) flavor. If you buy one thing from the Clean Boutique, just go for the Chocolate Granola. Trust.

Metabolism Super Powder

Another fan favorite, also topping my list, is the Metabolism Super Powder. This metabolism-boosting, de-bloating, cacao powder–based supplement isn’t heavy or gritty in the slightest, and it’s not sweet, like at all. Though it’s chocolate based, you can tell that it’s pure cacao in that it’s a little more bitter than you’d expect. I personally despise the flavor and after-taste of Stevia and other “natural” sweeteners, so I was pleasantly surprised when I turned the bag around to inspect the ingredients list, and didn’t find anything of the sort lurking in there. What I did find, however, was a host of natural ingredients like Gymnema Sylvestre (an Ayurvedic herb that helps regulate blood sugar and cortisol), Horsetail Extract (a natural diuretic that eliminates bloat), and Black Pepper Piperine (an active compound that enhances digestion, revs metabolism, and controls inflammation), among a few other, I repeat, natural ingredients. 

The powder is extremely versatile: I’ll mix a scoop into almond milk for a midday pick-me-up when my sweet tooth comes knocking at 3pm. Or I’ll blend a scoop into my morning berry smoothie if I want something chocolatey. It can also be mixed into coffee, added to chia seed pudding, folded into a coconut yogurt parfait, and more. And while the results aren’t mind-blowing (they do recommend using the product daily for best results and I only use it sporadically whenever I’m in the mood), it’s enough to make my typically bloated stomach feel at ease, and curbs my appetite when I’m in a snacky mood for no reason other than boredom. And if a powder supplement isn’t your thing, Sakara just launched its new Metabolism Super Bar, which is, you guessed it, the powder in bar form. And I might like it even more? It tastes like a fudgy brownie that I wouldn’t even know was good for me, because it’s so rich and decadent.

The Results

After trying Sakara’s three or five day Nutrition Program, clients report noticing changes like boosted energy, improved digestion and regularity, reduced bloat, and brighter skin, according to Tingle. “As you continue on the program and maintain healthy, consistent habits, you’ll begin to notice the shedding of excess weight, improved skin clarity, better sleep, more stable moods, and so much more,” she adds. 

The added energy I felt was great, and the lightweight feeling I had was a plus, but the real results were those that I couldn’t necessarily see or feel—I’m talking about the whole detoxification process. If you’ve ever given up coffee or sugar for a few days, you know the dull, throbbing headache that comes along with the caffeine deficit. “When we detox or transition to a more plant-rich, clean diet, our bodies can go through withdrawals from foods like sugar, caffeine, gluten, simple carbohydrates, and dairy,” explains Tingle. “This may lead you to feel a bit run down and experience headaches, and irritability. These symptoms are normal, and can be alleviated by focusing on getting plenty of water, sleep, replenishing your body with electrolytes, and eating enough healthy fats.” 

While I wasn’t eating any refined sugars or drinking any caffeinated beverages during the Sakara meal program, I didn’t have a headache once. So, even though I trust that Sakara’s thoughtfully prepared meals were doing all the hard work behind the scenes, I personally didn’t have any unpleasant side effects. Although, let me caveat this by saying it could be attributed to the fact that I don't typically drink coffee (I know, I know) and tend to stick to a fairly clean, mostly plant-based diet even when I'm not doing Sakara. I was surprised, however, that I didn't experience any averse effects from dropping sugar—my sweet tooth is insatiable. 

To gain more clarity on what was actually going on in my body, I asked Tingle, who replied, “Our nutrition program was created to support your digestive system which plays a huge role in helping flush out toxins that can be extremely harmful for your body, especially as they build up over time,” she said. Toxins can be anything from pesticides (!) to hormones to synthetic chemicals, glyphosate, antibiotics, processed foods (gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine), and even stress, which Tingle explains, “can all strain your natural detoxification systems and cause inflammation which can damage nerve cells and tissue.”

As far as other benefits are concerned, Tingle continues, “It’s important to not only fuel your body to be able to rid itself of these toxins, but studies have also shown that eating organic (compared to a conventional diet), can help increase fertility and lower the rate of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and more."

So, Is Sakara Worth It?

If you’re on the hunt for an all-in-one solution to eating healthier, even when you have zero time for prep, Sakara is more than worth it. Because you can choose either a two, three, five, 10, or 20 day meal program, or an ongoing weekly shipment of meals, it’s customizable to your own needs. I love the idea of having lunch and dinner ready for me during the workweek, so buying a weekly plan is probably the best solution for me (in addition to my recurring shipment of Dark Chocolate Granola). Will I sign up weekly? Probably not, just based on price alone. I will, however, do another three or five day program in the future, because I felt great, and it's a convenient (and delicious) way to get back on track after indulging a little too much.

There's also the drawback of not getting to pick exactly what meals are sent. But having tried many, I know they'll all be full of flavor, so that doesn't really bother me much. That said, if you're a picky eater, Sakara probably isn't for you. Another thing to consider: the meals are labeled based on consumption time (i.e. Tuesday breakfast, Tuesday lunch, Tuesday dinner, and so on), but I went out of order some days, depending what I was in the mood for and if I thought the meals would keep past the day they were labeled for. I don't believe it had any effect on the way I felt, so I'd think of those date stamps as a loose guide rather than a rigid schedule.

If you just need to jumpstart your healthy eating journey or want to do a cleanse after having too much fun during a weeklong post-Covid Mexico vacation, Sakara Life is a great alternative to the drink-nothing-but-juice cleanses we all know and loathe. True, Sakara does seem a bit pricey at first glance (remember, prices can range from about $27 per day to over $70 per day). But if you consider it an investment in your health and wellbeing (and really use it as a reset, rather than going back to your old eating habits a day later), it's a small price to pay.

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