I've never consumed so many vegetables in my life.

By Chelsey Hamilton
April 09, 2019
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It’s no secret that many celebrities follow unique diet plans. So when I heard about Sakara Life, the pricey, plant-based meal delivery service that’s available nationwide, I wasn’t surprised to learn that A-list celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Lily Aldridge, and other Victoria’s Secret Angels swear by it. But when I heard that Chrissy Teigen—who has always been open and honest about her love of food—is also a huge fan of the service, I was curious enough to give it a try.

Sakara’s meals are 100% organic, vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based, but according to founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise, Sakara “isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” And what an expensive lifestyle it is—five days of Sakara’s Signature Program (which includes delivery and breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each of the five days, 15 meals total) comes to $349. Yes, it’s steep, but the company and its fans say you get what you pay for—which in this case is fresh, healthy meals.

As someone who is most definitely not a vegan, I was eager (and a bit nervous) to see if Sakara really offers “life-changing nutrition,” as it claims to do. But either way, I knew it was worth a shot. It was only five days, and I figured my body could benefit from a few days of plant-based eating.

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What's inside the Signature Program

On the first day, I was pleased to see that my meals were delivered within the time window I had selected (I even got text updates about when they’d be arriving) and that everything stayed put through the delivery process and was well-organized in the package. Even better, the food looked very fresh, and the meals actually stayed fresh throughout the week. I ordered the Signature Program, and my package contained breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days, as well a protein bar, “beauty” chocolates, some supplements (like probiotics), and detox tea. The delivery also included some beauty products as part of its “Eat Pretty” program, which was a fun addition to the plan.

Over the next few days, it’s safe to say that I consumed more vegetables than I ever have in my life—and I could feel my body thanking me for it! Every part of the meals, down to the dressings, used high-quality, fresh, and good-for-you ingredients. I didn’t feel sluggish throughout the day (like I sometimes do when I know I’m not making the best food choices), but I was also pretty hungry.

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What I thought about Sakara's menu

While some of the meals were very tasty, others weren’t—and to be honest, I didn’t feel satiated from only sticking to the foods available in the plan. My five-day kit included one protein bar, which was delicious, but I ate it on the very first day. And since my kit only came with one, I really wished they had included more to hold me over in between meals. I may have resorted to munching on my own snacks for the remaining four days (oops). I very much enjoyed the taste of the detox tea that was included, and drank about a cup a day, but I wouldn’t say I noticed any “detox” effects from it.

I found that the breakfasts, in particular, were very tasty—especially if you’re the type of person who loves sweets. Though I usually prefer a savory breakfast, like eggs and avocado, I really enjoyed the morning options because it felt like I was eating dessert. The breakfast menu included meals like chia pumpkin bread, rose petal pancakes, and a clean green protein muffin. They all felt like treats, and I liked them so much that I’d probably consider them my favorite part of the Sakara experience.

The lunches and dinners, on the other hand, were a hit or miss in my book. While they all looked pretty, some were disappointing when I actually tasted them. And, while I knew what I was getting myself into by trying a vegan meal service, I personally did not feel satiated from consuming nuts, seeds, grains, and veggies in place of meat or fish. I opted to add my own grilled chicken to a few of the salads to satisfy my hunger, and that solved the problem for me.

There were a few lunch and dinner options in my plan that were as tasty as they looked, though. Some standouts included the classic chopped salad with magic mushroom dressing, the Thai burger with rainbow slaw and root fries, the beauty blend salad with superfood avocado, and the butternut squash with mushroom lasagna—these were all delicious and pretty filling. If you feel lukewarm about some of the meals (like I did), try them with the dressings. I wasn’t a huge fan of a few of the dinner options, but the dressings made them so much better, and they were one of the tastiest parts of the service.

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Is Sakara Life worth it?

To get some expert input on Sakara Life, I asked Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, for her thoughts on the plan and the claims it makes. “I love that the meals are organic and plant-based. They are also gluten-free, which is a bonus for people with either celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” she says. “From the menus, it looks like they’re also whole-food based, which is fantastic, with lots of nutrient-rich ingredients, like veggies, olive oil, sesame seeds, sweet potato, oats, and nuts.”

But she also added that it would be helpful to see more nutrition facts included for each meal, which I completely agree with. “While I agree that the quality of food is more important than calories, I wish they would provide nutrition facts, including calories and macros. This would help determine if extra snacks are needed to meet nutrient needs, which vary based on someone's activity level, height, and age,” says Sass, emphasizing the importance of consuming enough daily calories for your needs.

Since I felt pretty hungry throughout the week, it’s safe to assume that I was not consuming enough calories from these meals—but I was not able to make that judgment since Sakara only included the ingredients in each meal. Sass also cautions against using supplements without consulting a doctor first, as they “may interact with prescription medications, or have potential side effects.”

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The final verdict

Overall, I appreciated the new style of eating that Sakara Life allowed me to experience. While I felt the plan worked best for me by supplementing it with other protein sources, I think this plan is a great option for anyone who regularly follows a vegan diet or who wants to reset their eating habits.

Indulging in a meal delivery service is also a nice way to treat yourself and take a break from shopping and cooking—it was pretty relaxing to know I’d have healthy meals at my doorstep each day. In the end, I loved knowing that I was nourishing my body with a vegetable-heavy diet full of nutrients throughout the week—even if I was a little hungrier than normal.

To buy: $349 (for 15 meals); sakara.com

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