Did she thrive...or barely survive?
Even though I’m a nutritionist for a food magazine, Sakara Life isn’t necessarily the type of meal delivery service that’s on my radar. I like to cook, and these meals arrive fully prepared (minus the occasional heat-and-eat component), so I had never really looked into it.
But when one of our editors asked if I’d be willing to trial run a few days of Sakara Life and write about it, I was cautiously interested but needed to first do some Googling. Here’s what I found: The Sakara Diet is about eating plant-based, organic, whole foods with high water content and plenty of nutrients. As a nutritionist, I said, “Yes, please! Sign me up!”
A few days later, my 3-day trial—complete with breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus a few extra “bonus” items—arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of the generous Sakara Life folks. (And by generous what I really mean is uber-generous because it’s not an affordable meal delivery service and I didn’t have to pay for it: 3 days of meals ranges from $239 to $255; 5 days is $420; and the 20-day challenge is a casual $1680.)
I dove in, and here’s what I thought.
The Meals Were Surprisingly Good
Like, really good. But—disclaimer—I like earnest, hippy-dippy food, so the idea of eating a seed-crusted avocado sounds tasty to me (and it was!). I live in the South where people are connoisseurs of barbecue, fried chicken, biscuits, and Hummingbird Cake, so I realize I might be in the minority here.
Over the course of the 3 days, I ate meals like the Sakara Cobb Salad for lunch (coconut “bacon,” that seed-crusted avocado I mentioned, plus the other non-meat and non-dairy fixings like tomatoes and corn); a savory Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna; and—this one was hands-down my favorite—an umami-rich Golden Pineapple Un-Fried Rice (with tempeh and red cabbage).
The Bonus Items Were Fun, but Not My Cup of Tea (Pun Intended!)
My box came with some Sakara Detox Tea and Beauty Chocolates, which according to the website, will “replenish your complexion from the inside out” and “improve skin in just two weeks.” I tried not to roll my eyes. Instead, I channeled my inner Gwenyth Paltrow and gave them a chance.
The Sakara Detox Tea (red rooibos, lemongrass, and rose) was floral and tasty, but green tea is definitely still my go-to. The Beauty Chocolates (they come with a boost of collagen) had a nice dark chocolate bitter hit, but they lacked that satisfying melt-in-your-mouth element of the real thing. Also, I didn’t experience a life-changing beauty transformation (but, full disclosure: I didn’t fully commit myself to the beauty foods they sent).
The Breakfasts Were My Favorite Part
Each one was delicious and satisfying. The Superfood Shot Breakfast Bowl was a cinnamon-spiced overnight oat-type cup with blueberries and nuts. I could have easily eaten two. And the Sacha Inchi Pumpkin Scone with Apple Butter (which I warmed up) was absolutely divine.
The Packaging Was Clutch
I was impressed with how well each meal was carefully packaged and the fact that they stayed fresh, even past the timeframe in which I was supposed to eat them. Because—as a friend who works in food service pointed out—it’s hard to keep fresh veggies fresh, especially when you’re shipping them fully prepared and holding them for a couple days after they arrive. So, kudos, Sakara Life!
Overall, the meals and snacks were tasty and it was incredibly convenient to not have to cook (or even assemble) my meals for a few days.
Unfortunately, though, it just wasn’t enough food for me: I was always hungry well before my next meal. So much so, in fact, that after day one on the “diet,” I couldn’t maintain their soft recommendation to stick to just eating their meals. I ended up being able to eat only two Sakara meals a day and a third of my own construction, plus a snack...plus half of the bread basket at a work event to comfortably make it through the day (whoops).
One of Sakara’s nutrition “pillars” is to not count calories, so I have no idea how many calories I was eating. But clearly, it wasn’t enough because I was hungry. In fact, I was hangry for a few days.
Quick disclaimer, though: I’m comfortable with my size and I wasn’t looking to lose any weight on this plan, so being hungry wasn’t something I was willing to accept.
The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, clean up your diet, go more plant-based, and cooking isn’t high on your list of preferred activities, plus you have a fairly decent disposable income, this could be a good plan for you. But you could easily recreate a plan similar to this one at home—for a lot less money—with some of our vegan recipes.