Spoiler Alert: I was really, really hungry.
Three Days of Sakara
In an effort to get re-inspired in the kitchen and excited about interesting and unexpected ingredients, I decided to treat myself to three days of Sakara – an eating program based on the idea that food should make you feel sexy. They urge their clients to stop counting calories, touting themselves as an "uncleanse". I love this mindset... it's what initially drew me in. Sakara has been publicly loved on by none other than VS Angels Lily Alridge, Erin Heatherton, and – GASP – Gwyneth Paltrow herself.
Here's how it went for me:
1. Tuesday dinner: Spicy Detox Salad
This was a crap load of dandelion greens, a few tiny dry chunks of grapefruit, and a green creamy dressing. It was oooookay – pretty dang boring, extremely bitter, and not satisfying, but I'm sure quite healthy. Is that what being a supermodel feels like? Snooze.
Preface - I live for breakfast. I'm a major morning person and generally consume 400-500 calories before 7am hits. Soooo... yeahhh, I was a little nervous for my Sakara breakfast.
2.Wednesday breakfast: Zucchini Muffin w/ Coconut Bliss Creme
Upon first opening my little breakfast package, I actually laughed out loud when I saw one single strawberry in it's own plastic container. The rest of the "breakfast" was a teeny tiny muffin (again, I eat lumberjack sized breakfasts usually so I am biased) and a coconut-maple creme. I cut the muffin in half, warmed it in the oven, and spread the icing on top. It was really delicious, despite portion size. I took my dog for a three mile walk immediately after this and already had a light-headed, dizzy feeling. Supermodel breakfast might not be for me.
3.Wednesday lunch: Middle Eastern Bowl w/ Preserved Lemon Hummus
I was READY for something to chew on when it came to lunch time (which I may or may not have eaten by 10am). This was, more or less, a big pile of arugula. There was a bit of millet, onion, and radish in there... but looking at the ingredient list – it seems there was supposed to be a lot more. The hummus, grains, and greens combo was great, regardless.
Around 1pm, I was starving. I made myself a big old salad with tons of fresh veggies and a homemade mustard vinaigrette I love... still vegan, still technically on plan with Sakara.
Around 4 pm, I couldn't deal. After some more stomping around in the woods, I made a big protein smoothie with Billy's Infinity Greens protein powder, a big handful of spinach, and almond milk.
4. Wednesday dinner: Jicama Anasazi Tacos
Having peeked at the words "tacos" earlier in the day, I was really looking forward to this one. When I opened the pack – I was massively disappointed, but not hugely surprised. There were two half dollar sized slices of jicama (damn), maybe a half cup of mango chunks, and – you know it – a mountain of arugula. Major bummer – BUT this did inspire me to use jicama for wraps post-Sakara... and new meal inspiration was my goal going into this hungry, hungry three days.
5. Thursday morning: Aphrodite's Morning Fig Bar
Oh god. Say it ain't so. This bar was smaller than the palm of my hand (don't let the pic fool you, I used a saucer as a plate in an attempt to trick my brain). My boyfriend empathetically hugged me when he saw it. After how dizzy I was on my post-breakfast dog walk the previous day, I decided to supplement this bar with Greek yogurt and flax seeds. I put the bar in the oven for a little toasty warmth. It was really yummy.
6. Thursday lunch: Cannellini + Cucumber Salad w/ Creamy Mint Drizzle
With the help of a ton of tea and some client deadlines, I made it to 10am before cracking into lunch. This salad might have been my favorite one so far... it was mild but satisfying and that watermelon radish was just so damn pretty. On the downside, my lettuce was really soggy and wet (for this price, they better be pristine). I understand shipping is rough, especially on fresh and fragile veggies, so I reached out to customer service. Without hesitation or hassle, they refunded one day of meals.
Again, my dog and I hiked and played in the woods and I came home famished. Made the same protein smoothie as yesterday.
A couple hours later, my tummy started talking to me. Time for a big old homemade salad. At this point, I've fully accepted that I need at least two extra meals per day.
7. Thursday dinner: Turmeric Toast + Cooling Cucumber-Dill Salad w/ Cashew Ranch Dressing
This one. I just can't. I forgot to log the ingredient list because I was still struggling to deal with the false claim of toast. There was a big old pile of greens, there were three quarter slices of a beet. There were lots of feels.
8. Friday breakfast: Classic Superfood Granola w/ Green Goddess Mylk
Now we're talking. When I unpacked all the meals on day one, this was the one I was the most excited about. It totally lived up the hype: a great granola in a perfect quantity. The green mylk would have been better on the side than mixed in, but who cares. All in all, this was the best breakfast. I'd buy this granola from Sakara again.
9. Friday lunch (or as I like to call it, second breakfast): 1966 Burger
The final meal! The coup de grâce! When warmed up, this burger felt hearty and nourishing. And, shocker, it was served with a mountain of greens and some not-very-pretty-but-certainly-delicious Peruvian purple potatoes (who knew that was a thing?).
At the end, I was just so, so happy to free again. The truth is – I love creating in the kitchen. I didn't know how meditative I found it until I had no need to do it anymore. So, a pre-packaged meal plan probably wasn't a great idea from the go-ahead. If it were a busy week stuck in the office or traveling for work, it would be a great relief not to have to think about cooking.
I avoided "working out" over these three days, but couldn't avoid my active lifestyle... lots of hiking with my dog, teaching and practicing yoga, and general tomfoolery. This meal plan is definitely not for the active.
There are a few great takeaways from Sakara Life and a way to do this at home if you're on a budget. Here's how:
- Go to the farmer's market and load up on organic fruits and veggies.
- Try three days of avoiding dairy and playing with new grains in combination with your farmer's market loot.
- Don't count calories, just pay attention to how you feel. Eat when you're hungry and don't worry about the rest.
- Drink a ton of water (no soda or alcohol) and substitute tea for coffee.
- BOOM! You did it :)
Final takeaway : I'm really glad I'm not a Victoria's Secret model.
What have you tried in the name of wellness? What worked and what didn't? Sound off below.