Most of us spent the majority of 2020 at home. We turned dining rooms into offices, kitchens into classrooms, and living rooms into fitness studios. As a bride-to-be living in New York whose norm was being constantly on the go, this new reality left me feeling less active, fatigued by screens, and unlike myself in many ways.
Feeling your best plays an important role in wedding planning. It gives you the energy to cross tasks off your checklist, the confidence to make decisions, and the strength to combat stress that arises along the way. Stepping into this next chapter should start with your best foot forward, so when I realized I no longer felt like my best self, I knew I needed a way back. Serendipitously, I was introduced to Sakara Life's Bridal Program.
Sakara Life embraces a "food as medicine" approach and its freshly re-launched Bridal Program provides the tools needed to become your best self—physically, mentally, and spiritually—for your big day. "Everything we do at Sakara has come out of some need that either we've had or witnessed," says Sakara Life co-founder Danielle DuBoise. "One of the reasons we came up with the program is because we wanted to help women create a body [they] feel fantastic in. The program is set up to help you make a promise to yourself that for four weeks you're going to be committed to healing your body."
Meet the Expert
Danielle DuBoise is the co-founder of Sakara Life, a wellness company and ready-to-eat meal delivery service based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients.
How the Program Works
The four-week program covers four focal points:
- Nourishing meals
- Movement exercises
- Beauty rituals
- Mindful practices
It's centered around balanced meals delivered fresh and ready to eat (three meals a day, five days a week). Each menu is thoughtfully prepared to provide four to six cups of organic leafy greens every day and organic, high-quality fat sources like avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, nuts, and seeds. What they don't contain? Hydrogenated fats, GMOs, antibiotics, artificial flavors, hormones, or preservatives.
A holistic program, it also includes a one-month online membership to The Aligned Life Studio by Lauren Roxburgh and one month of meditation with Inscape. Not to mention, tons of goodies like Dr. Barbara Sturm's GLOW DROPS, Sakara Beauty Super Bars, Sakara Youth and Beauty Tea, and Sakara Mini Beauty and Detox Water Drops.
Armed with all of these tools, I embarked on the month-long journey. Read more about my experience ahead.
My first week on the program coincided with the 2020 election, a day I found extremely anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking. Thankfully, resisting the urge to stress eat wasn't so hard when I had new and exciting food to distract me. Opening each package (clearly labeled for zero confusion) was something I looked forward to. It was almost like opening a birthday present; I was giddy to see what's inside—and for good reason.
One thing I noticed immediately about this food is how colorful it was, and as I soon learned, fruits and vegetables get their colors from the antioxidants and vitamins they contain. These meals are packed with phytonutrients, minerals, and amino acids—and the proof was in the pudding. Some were meant to be enjoyed cold while others came with heating instructions. To give you an idea of how versatile and delicious the meals were, here's a breakdown of the first week's menu:
- Pumpkin Pie Parfait
- Mother Earth Bowl with Detox Dressing
- Empress Rice
- Roasted Pear Pancake
- Equinox Salad
- Roasted Peach Chana Masala
- Coconut Praline Granola with Cacao Milk
- Forbidden Rice + Tatsoi Bowl
- Sakara-Style Bolognese
- Chaga Chai Detox Bowl
- Sunflower Bowl
- Black Garlic BBQ Burger
- Cherry Tea Cake with Stonefruit Jam
- Balancing Macro Plate
- Butternut Squash + Mushroom Lasagna
As someone who typically doesn't eat three full meals a day, I felt utterly spoiled. Having clean and nourishing meals waiting in my fridge at all times was a treat, to say the least.
Another new habit I enjoyed working into my routine was meditating. I had tried meditation in the past but found it difficult to maintain as an everyday practice. Inscape's library of guided meditations made it so easy to sneak even five minutes of mindfulness into my day, and since it was an app on my phone, I could do it anytime, anywhere.
With one week under my belt, I definitely felt a shift in my gut—literally. I've never been formally diagnosed with food intolerances, but certain dairy products tend to disagree with me. Having gone what seemed like the longest ever without eating cheese, I felt lighter and less bloated (thank you, anti-inflammatory ingredients!) and as someone who suffers from migraines, I also noticed I had gone longer without getting one than usual.
At first, I was suspicious that it was in my head—was being consciously aware of my cleaner meals the real reason for this improvement? Was I just convincing myself that I felt better or was it actually happening? After going on 10+ days without my usual gas pains and debilitating headaches, I knew it had to be true. So I ate my breakfasts of dark chocolate granola and raspberry tea cake, lunches of truffle kale salad and cooling cashew noodles, and dinners of five herb pesto pasta and Indian spiced samosas in total bliss.
My favorite savory meal of the entire program was during week three: the Baby Fennel and Sunchoke Pasta with roasted garlic and seasonal vegetables. This dish beat out my previous favorite: the Thai Basil Buddha Bowl with green coconut curry broth. Although I had been on the program for two full weeks, the third week is when I started to really crave my usual go-to's. I found myself yearning for a slice of New York pizza—and not the vegan, gluten-free kind. I have to admit, I did give in to cravings a few times on off-days, but the feeling of an irritated stomach was all I needed to snap out of it.
Additionally, week three is when I noticed a visible difference in my skin. Thanks to all the goodness I'd been feeding myself, and with the help of Dr. Barbara Sturm's GLOW DROPS, I even received compliments about how luminous my face looked.
Receiving my last Sakara box was bittersweet. I was grateful for the food I'd been putting into my body for the past three weeks but sad that it was coming to an end. This was the week of the Butterfly Bowl with Tie Dye Carrots, which was hands-down the most beautiful dish I'd received—and I finished every last bite.
Trying the program was about creating a strong and healthy foundation to get back on track, not only for my wedding day but for my mind, body, and soul. I've never been a fan of diets or even the term diet, and Sakara taught me that eating well is a lifestyle that can be delicious and satisfying. I learned that being thoughtful and intentional about what we put into our bodies can be transformational and truly life-changing.
"The hope is that we remind women that it's worth it to prioritize their own vitality and wellness, right now and in the future," shared DuBoise.