Meet the Women Behind the Organic Startup Lily Aldridge and Gwyneth Paltrow Adore

sakara life interview
Founders Whitney and Danielle follow a plant-based diet. Image via Sakara Life

When Victoria’s Secret models start swearing by your organic meal delivery service, you know you’re onto something – and that’s exactly where Sakara Life founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise find themselves right now.

After feeling burned out physically and mentally from their respective careers – Whitney worked crazy hours on Wall Street, and Danielle studied biochemistry and medicine while working full time – they came together to develop healthy eating plan that could heal their bodies through food. “I was super stressed out, I’d gained 15 pounds and I was fighting cystic acne, which nothing seemed to cure,” Whitney told us.

“The pressures of that world really got to me, and my relationship with my body became really toxic,” Danielle added.

Their new plant-based, organic lifestyle transformed their lives, inspiring the budding entrepreneurs to share it with the world. With a focus on nutrients, not calorie-counting, they quit their jobs in 2013 to make Sakara Life their mission. Today the startup is one of the buzziest wellness concepts in New York, counting Gwyneth Paltrow and Lily Aldridge as fans.

Both women consider wellness to be their life now, and are huge advocates of organic, plant-based eating. We chatted with the Sakara Life founders to uncover which natural health experts they visit, exactly what they eat, and how they find a healthy balance while in the throes of scaling a thriving startup.

How would you describe your approach to food and diet?

Whitney: Plant-based. To us, this means eating plant foods most of the time, with the occasional treat thrown in here and there. Also, organic is super-important, and a fundamental aspect of my diet. It’s eating the way mother nature intended!

Danielle: Plant-based all the way! Not only has this worked wonders for my body, but tons of research backs us up. I’m constantly finding new scientific studies about how eating a diet made up primarily of plants is the key to a longer, healthier life. And our clients definitely have the results to prove it!

What’s your favorite healthy restaurant in New York

W: I love a good macro plate from Souen!

D: 00+Co, Matthew Kenney’s vegan pizza restaurant in the East Village, is amazing! We collaborated with him to create some incredible new Sakara meals – he’s a visionary of plant-based cooking.

What are your go-to smoothie ingredients?

W: Anything from Moon Juice. I also love hemp protein!

D: Ghee! And greens.

sakara life interview
Image via Sakara Life

Do you take any supplements or herbs? What are they for? 

W: We both take Sakara’s Botanical Body Probiotic Formula supplement every day! In addition to probiotics to nourish your gut microbes, it also has digestive enzymes, herbs, and prebiotic fiber. It’s a game-changer for digestion.

D: Your microbiome (the community of healthy bacteria in your body) is the key to better digestion, balanced moods, higher energy, clearer skin, and lower inflammation throughout the body. Treat it right! In addition to our Botanical Body Formula, I also enjoy a chocolate probiotic before bed. It’s a magical combo!

Who is your go-to natural health provider in New York?

W: Dr. Winick, my holistic dentist, and Dr. Robin Berzin from Parsley Health!

D: Dr. Aviva Romm for the body, Maureen Dodd for the mind.

What did you have for breakfast today?

W: This morning I had our Sakara Chia Coconut Protein Waffles with Cardamom Maple Syrup. They’re great cold, but really next level when you heat them up! Our menu rotates daily, so I won’t have these waffles again for another month or so!

D: I had our Superfood Sweet Potato Bowl – sweet potato puree with almond butter and cinnamon, topped with blueberries and bee pollen. It’s actually one of my favorite Sakara breakfasts!

How do you take your morning coffee?

W: I’ve cut back on caffeine recently, so I like to brew Sakara Detox Tea first thing in the morning (after some stretches and a few minutes of meditation) and add a little turmeric and fresh ginger. I drink some at home and a cup when I get to the office as well.

D: I make a cup of coffee at the office around 9 or 10 a.m. and blend it up with some homemade almond or cashew milk (my husband and I make it in batches on the weekend!) and a spoonful of ghee – the healthy fats rev up my metabolism and satisfy me until lunch. 

sakara life interview
Image via Sakara Life

What have you snack on throughout the morning lately?

W: I try not to snack too often, plus our Sakara breakfasts are high in protein so I’m usually good to go until lunch!

D: Agreed – snacking sometimes messes with my digestion, and our breakfasts definitely keep me full for hours. If I get a craving for something, I’ll always start with some detox tea or lemon water first. 

What did you have for lunch today?

W: Our office fridge is always stocked with Sakara meals – it’s such a treat! Today I had our Youth and Beauty Salad, which is one of my all-time favorites both because of taste and because of how it makes me feel. Ingredients include beets, carrots, pomegranate seeds, and cucumber, so it’s super hydrating and colorful.

D: I had our Chili Verde Bowl with Lime Polenta between meetings, a photo shoot and more meetings! Our schedule is pretty hectic – lunch happens at a different time every day whenever we can fit it in, but we both do our best to take a moment and enjoy our meals away from our laptop screens when we can. I heated this one up in our office toaster today, and it was delicious and satisfying!

Do you snack during the afternoon?

W: OK, now is a time when sometimes I’ll reach for a snack! We keep our Sakara Superfood Popcorn around the office – it’s organic and GMO-free, and comes in both sweet and salty, so I can satisfy either craving .

D: We created the Sakara Clean Boutique, so that if and when a snacking craving hits, you have clean, functional, whole food snacks at your fingertips – rather than vending machines or the bodega on the corner. I’m definitely a huge fan of our Dark Chocolate Granola (or really anything chocolate to be honest), and also like to keep our Clarity Bars on hand for a quick snack. They contain green coffee to give me a little mental boost in the afternoon.

What did you have for dinner tonight?

W: I had a work dinner around 9 p.m. tonight, and ordered local market plate (roasted veggies), kale salad with massaged avocado dressing – and a side of truffle oil french fries – they smelled too good to pass up, and we shared them as a table! I have a lot of dinner meetings and parties at night, but whenever my fiance and I have a night to ourselves, we usually enjoy our Sakara meals at home together. I always plate the meals, heat them up, and light a few candles, to encourage ourselves to slow down, enjoy each bite, and really connect with one another.

D: My husband and I actually got to eat our Sakara meals together at home tonight, with our new baby pup! It’s hard for us to be away from her at nights since she’s so young, so we’ve been taking this opportunity to enjoy our evenings at home together whenever we can. We both always feel our best the next day when we’ve ended the night before with Sakara (and a few dark chocolate probiotics).

Sakara Life interview
Danielle enjoys probiotic chocolate ($30) after dinner. Image via Sakara Life

What is your approach to alcohol and drinking? Did you have any drinks today?

W: I had a glass of wine at dinner, but only one! Whenever I drink, I have a Sakara Night Water before bed – it prevents a hangover every time. Pro tip!!

D: Tonight I didn’t, but when I do drink, I like to have something simple like super-high-quality tequila on the rocks with lots of fresh lime. I like it because you can sip it slowly, plus there’s no need for a sugary, artificial mixer.

Did you have dessert tonight? Do you normally? 

W: I’m more of a breakfast pastry gal, but tonight we got some fresh fruit sorbet after dinner. You have to treat yourself once in a while! We always say that the Sakara Life is all about balance, and that when you eat this way the majority of the time, your body can handle the occasional dessert and french fries.

D: I’m a die-hard chocolate-lover, and I almost always end my day with a piece! Our Sakara Chocolate Probiotics have 10 billion healthy bacterial cells to diversify and balance your microbiome, so I always eat one of those before bed. I also love Fine and Raw chocolate, but try not to eat it before going to sleep!

Did you work out today?

W: I took a yoga class at Kula Yoga. I exercise when I can, and it’s definitely an important part of living a well life, but I don’t stress it if I can’t make it. Sometimes a nice walk to and from the office is all I get, and I’m ok with that!

D: Ever since we collaborated with Taryn Toomey for our Four-Week Transformation program, I’ve been trying to take The Class at least once a week. It’s such an amazing body/mind experience! But I agree with Whitney – I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it to work out. I am, however, a big fan of an office-wide pushup challenge, or hopping in our infrared sauna for 30 minutes before going home!