When Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle first became friends in seventh grade in Sedona, Arizona, there was no telling that the pair would one day become innovators in the plant-based food movement. But the founders of buzzy food-delivery service Sakara Life have done just that. The pair moved to New York City after finishing their undergrad degrees, with Duboise intending to study biochemistry at med school, and Tingle marching toward a career on Wall Street.
But as the tale very often goes, the Big Apple was something of a shock to the system: “City life was a huge change of pace from the spiritual and grounding roots we left in Sedona,” Duboise explains, “and the hectic energy took a toll on our bodies and overall health.”
After struggling for years with body-image issues, she decided to swap her biochem focus for a study in nutrition. That coursework inspired her to develop a plant-based diet to better care for her body. And Tingle, who was likewise experiencing fatigue and burnout from “working 80-hour weeks, eating whatever was convenient, going out drinking, and networking every night” decided to join her in developing and testing that diet.
How this dietary shift changed the way their bodies felt stunned them, to say the least. “Something magical happened… [and] this realization of the power of food as medicine (and the power of the microbiome) was too significant to keep to myself,” says Tingle.
So, in 2012, the pair began cranking out meals in their own kitchen and delivering them on bicycles to a list of clients that was growing slowly but surely as word got out about this super healthy — and visually stunning — plant-based meal service.
Fast forward nearly six years and the Sakara Life team has grown to 80 people, delivering meals and snacks to 48 states across the country. As thrilling as that success has been, however, it’s been a jam-packed couple of years for the founders.
Here are some of the self-care secrets that keep them grounded — in mind and body — as they work tirelessly to deliver that same sense of well-being to their customers:
Power Mantra: “What you seek is seeking you” and “What I think, I create”
D: “What you seek is seeking you.” This Rumi quote helps ground me so I feel present instead of exhausted by the chase. My desires will find their way to me.
W: “What I think, I create” It’s the foundation of Sakara, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “with form.” This means that your thoughts manifest into reality.
D: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is a powerful blend of botanicals and phytonutrients. Plants heal the skin, too.
W: True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster and Radiance Oil — all natural skin glow! And it smells so good, too. Or Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask is where it’s at for that insta-glow!
Can’t-Miss Podcasts: Where Should We Begin and How I Built This
D: Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel. She wrote Mating in Captivity and her podcast reminds me that communication is key.
W: How I Built This. It’s a good reminder that even the most successful people go through ups and downs, and that it’s usually what you do in the downs that determine if you make it.
D: Right now, that’s my maternity jeans from Hatch and striped top from Isabella Oliver (I’m due in July).
W: My mom’s old cowboy boots — she wore them when she was pregnant with me and now I wear them all the time.
Currently reading + listening to:
D: The two books I always have on my nightstand are Women who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. A Return to Love changed my life and had me ask myself, “How can I approach things with more love, grace and compassion?”
W: Reading: Genius Foodsby Max Lugavere, a book on nutrition for cognitive function. Listening: “Easy on My Love” by Janelle Kroll; she gave a live performance at our office holiday party, and everyone was enchanted by her “Last Christmas” rendition.
Productivity Hacks: Setting aside time for emails and outsourcing tasks.
D: Set aside time for emails; don’t make them your go-to to-do list! Plan your schedule around deep work time, instead.
W: Know how to do everything yourself, but outsource what you can—having my Sakara meals saves me so much time, thinking and decision-making, so that I can focus on work and doing things that only I can do.
Most-opened Apps: Spotify and Gmail
D: Spotify, because I need music to set the tone for every moment.
W: Gmail, because it’s my work on the run.
Good-Hair Secret Weapons: Salt spray and a great haircut
D: Salt spray. I love body, but not anything too overdone.
W: A great haircut. I go to Dylan [Hwang] at Bumble & Bumble; she cuts mine so that it air-dries nicely and I can run out the door without having to worry about styling.
Flats, Sneakers or Heels?
D: Heels! Some of my favorites include Loeffler Randall, Tamara Mellon and Rebecca Minkoff.
W: Heels! Love my leopard print Tamara Mellon booties — I’ve mixed and matched them all season.
Self-Care Methods of Choice: Quiet mornings and Sakara Life
D: Quiet mornings, without emails or rushing out the door.
W: Sakara Life. Your body completely regenerates itself — from your bones, to your liver to your skin and more — in cycles ranging from a few months to 10 or more years. That means what you eat now is building the body of your future. I care for both my present and future self by eating the right foods to give my body what it needs to thrive.