"Does anyone here meditate?" asks Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of Moon Juice in Los Angeles. “I could really use some meditation time before heading back out into the world.” This might seem like an odd request at a party, but not when the hosts are Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, the creators of the cult plant-based meal delivery service Sakara Life.
It’s not time to meditate yet, though. First, cocktails are in order. As Tingle squeezes fresh lemon juice, the women—all founders of health-minded businesses—swap wellness secrets. The best way to stay energized while traveling? Bacon swears by raw chocolate. Where to go for an eco-friendly manicure in New York City? Caroline Gogolak of the online activewear store Carbon38 loves JINsoon in Tribeca. Sarah Larson Levey, founder of Y7, a hip-hop yoga studio, asks for Los Angeles picks. The conversation moves from Fashion Week to whether retirement would be fun. (The general consensus is no.)
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While many hosts would use the frigid weather as an excuse to serve rich, meaty braises, Tingle and DuBoise have put together a vegan menu that tastes remarkably indulgent and satisfying—much like the meals they’re known for at Sakara Life.
“A lot of our inspiration comes from where we grew up, in Sedona, Arizona,” says Tingle. “It’s a new-age, hippie, healer type of community where people eat vegetables they grow or know their farmers by name. There, it’s understood that food is an important element of your well-being.” When these childhood best friends started their business five years ago, the goal was to bring grounding food and balance to stressed-out New Yorkers—which they both had been for a while. DuBoise had modeled and acted while Tingle worked on Wall Street. After DuBoise became a certified holistic health coach, both women dived into the study of food medicine. Back when they launched Sakara Life in 2012, they were making meals in DuBoise’s home kitchen and delivering them to their first clients, mainly people working in TV and on photo shoots. Now, the business has a staff of about 80 people and delivers more than 50,000 meals per month nationwide.
One of the secrets to DuBoise and Tingle’s success is that they take familiar, comforting dishes and look for ways to make them nutrient-dense, plant-based and free of gluten. Tingle likes to call this process “to Sakarafy.” By relying on a wide range of spices and flavorful sources of healthy fat, they aim to make food that’s as delicious and beautiful as it is healthy. Working with an advisory board of doctors, they design menus that balance nutrients so they leave you feeling energized, with no blood sugar spikes and crashes. And while some customers do use the meals to help with weight loss, Sakara Life never, ever counts calories.
The Caesar salad they created for the party menu is a perfect example of their style, replacing the usual romaine with more phytonutrient-rich kale and brussels sprouts and swapping out the Parmesan cheese for a crunchy-savory crumble of almonds, hemp seeds and cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast. The crisp-edged, honey-sweetened chocolate chunk cookies rely on almond flour and almond butter, so the treat satisfies a sweet tooth and is packed with fiber and protein.
Their powerhouse guests are thrilled to eat such healthy food at a party. In fact, some of them are clients, and all are fans. “I used to drink five cups of coffee to get through the day, but I’m down to just a half cup,” says Gogolak. “And a whole cocktail.” Now that’s our kind of balance.
Sakara Life's New York City Black Book
The Butcher’s Daughter. “They serve a mean avocado toast, great organic egg dishes and fresh-pressed juices we love.”
Double Zero. “We’re crazy about chef Matthew Kenney’s new vegan pizza place. The housemade dough isn’t gluten-free, but it’s all organic.”
Peacefood Cafe. “Great vegan comfort food. The chickpea fries are addictive.”
Souen. “Their macrobiotic plates are totally delicious, and we’re obsessed with their corn bread.”
Shopping & Markets
Eataly. “For incredible produce, such as lobster mushrooms and organic greens. Whenever we go there, we always find something new.”
Chinatown herb shops. “We love to wander around Chinatown looking for medicinal herbs, like ashwagandha root, which is considered beneficial for female health, and immune-boosting reishi mushrooms.”
Kalustyan’s. “We love this spice market, especially in winter when we add warming spices, like cumin, ginger and cayenne, to our food.”
Carbon38. “The stylish activewear company was cofounded by our friend Caroline Gogolak and makes our go-to workout clothes.”
Rag & Bone. “We’re partnered with Rag & Bone and love that they make clothes you can wear to the office and then out with friends. They have a pair of blue boots from the spring 2017 collection we’re coveting.”
ABC Carpet & Home. “This store curates beautiful things using values we appreciate, like buying from small, female-owned companies.”
Credo. “This shop is like Sephora, but you don’t have to read the labels.”
CAP Beauty. “Another great natural beauty store that also stocks supplements and herbs.”
What Goes Around Comes Around. “This shop has incredible vintage, like Chanel from the ’40s. I recently found a Freemason coat that’s 100 years old, complete with a gun pocket.”
Ritual Vintage. “Where we go to buy everyday, wearable vintage.”
Y7. “Cofounded by our friend Sarah Larson Levey, this is yoga with an infrared heating system, set to a hip-hop playlist.”
Kula Yoga. “Almost the opposite of Y7, the yoga here has more of a spiritual side but is still a good workout.”
The Class by Taryn Toomey. “We call this our church. You go and you work out so hard and use your body to release negative emotions. It’s a cathartic workout.”
The Rope with Amanda Kloots. “She is just this shiny, funny instructor. Going into her class (a mix of dance and cross-training), you feel happier already.”
ModelFit. “It’s one of those workouts that doesn’t feel hard but you wake up with results. They know how to shape a physique.”
Ballet Beautiful. “These are private classes by Mary Helen Bowers, a prima ballerina. A lot of Victoria Secret models take these classes.” [There are also subscription-only online classes.]