Lily Aldridge Has Been Eating This Diet for 4 Years, So I Tried It Myself

With my busy schedule packed that includes meetings on the hour as well as upcoming travel to plan for, I recently thought it seemed like the perfect time to test out a week of meals delivered from Sakara Life. I had just come off of a weekend of drinks at an L.A. film screening and dinner out with friends—and I discovered my jeans were a little harder to button than they were last week—so I was ready to press reset on my eating habits. Plus, my skin, which is generally free from breakouts, had been acting up, so I was feeling extra-inspired to rid my diet of caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods and (fingers crossed) return my complexion to its regular glow.

While there are plenty of meal programs out there, Sakara Life, founded by Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, is a favorite among the fashion and beauty set. It has been test-driven by editors at The New York Times, Into the Gloss, Allure, Byrdie, and plenty more), and it has a cult following among the celeb set. Wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge fan, and model Lily Aldridge has been following their program for four years now, which, to be honest, is pretty remarkable.

Unlike other meal delivery programs with processed foods loaded with preservatives, Sakara takes a mindful approach. The meals are all organic, plant-based, and are delivered to your door within 48 hours of fresh, locally sourced ingredients arriving in their kitchens. Plus for the true foodies (myself included), you can rest assured knowing that Michelin-starred restaurants help design the recipes and menus. While I have tried Sakara’s food before, I’ve never committed to a full five days of its signature meal program. Ahead, I’m highlighting my takeaways and what it was really like.

My Reservations

No calorie counting is the number one pillar of the program. While I’m not crazy when it comes to counting calories, I do like to have the information available to know what I’m putting in my body. For five days, though, I decided to put myself in the hands of the experts at Sakara. To be honest, it was refreshing to eliminate the concept of calories when sitting down to a meal—instead allowing myself to enjoy the food that was in front of me.

How the Week Went

Breakfast on the first day of the program.

MONDAY

My first day begins with Sakara’s beauty water concentrate. An elegant dropper bottle filled with rose, silica, and 72 trace minerals, the elixir is their recommended way to rehydrate and boost collagen production first thing upon waking. I personally enjoy all things rose-flavored—and I’m terrible about drinking water during the day—so loved the experience of flavoring my water.

A carrot raisin muffin with lemongrass butter starts out my day for breakfast, followed by a panzanella salad for lunch. The true star of the day is a red beet burger served between chia oat bread, which, once heated in the oven, is 1000% more delicious than it sounds. Equally as impressive is the side salad, topped with a vibrant lemon poppyseed dressing. My sister, who is a fan of Sakara meals, told me that the dressings are the true stars of their meals and she wasn’t exaggerating. It’s impressive how much flavor these superfood dressings are packed with.

Just like the morning, the day ends with a water elixir—this time a green-tinted concentrate containing chlorophyll to detoxify and magnesium for digestion. Both chlorophyll and magnesium are regular supplements I take, but adding it to my water is a new nightly ritual I’m already enjoying. 

Highlights of my first day were the meals, but also the water concentrates and beauty chocolates.

TUESDAY

A traditional Spanish meal of patatas mas bravas is on the menu for breakfast, a medley of roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts that I heat on my stove for five minutes. The sauce—a smoky purslane flavored with cashews, paprika, and cayenne pepper—is again a winner.

Even messages on the top of the containers make you more mindful about what you’re eating and more connected to where your food is coming from. Here's what I read about the lunch earth bowl from the top of the lid: “Heirloom plants are pollinated naturally (by insects and the wind) and passed down through generations, like family heirlooms. With gut-healing fiber, glow-boosting vitamins and phytochemicals that fight disease, these heirloom greens are truly a treasure.”

Dinner is an empress rice dish with brown rice, spinach, and vegetables that are heated in a saucepan.

An evening ritual I could get used to? The beauty chocolates stocked with plant-based collagen to give skin a boost.

WEDNESDAY

I woke up feeling a bit bloated. I’ll attribute it to the abundance of leafy greens (four to six cups per day) that are included in the program. While I am mindful of eating plenty of vegetables, the volume of salad greens isn’t something my body is used to yet.

The dark chocolate granola is heavenly for breakfast—basically an enlightened version of cocoa puffs. Instead of refined sugar and cornmeal like you’ll find in most breakfast cereals, it’s stocked with organic Brazil nuts and cacao nibs, pink Himalayan salt, Ashwagandha for delightful stress-reducing properties, and served with freshly made almond milk. The granola is one of the pre-packaged foods you can purchase, and I already added it to my cart.

The granola tastes like cocoa puffs, but it'smade with superfood ingredients.

THURSDAY

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I noticed a true change. My stomach felt flatter and my skin was clearing up.

I stuck to the breakfast (a delicious coconut yogurt parfait with layers of pistachio granola) and lunch (a macro plate) but had a dinner with friends that I had to navigate at night. With a few days of Sakara behind me, I didn’t want to undo my healthy habits, so when I sat down to our table at Night + Market in Venice, I stuck to the sweet potato curry and skipped the pad Thai, even though I was tempted to add some to my plate.

I finished the night with a cup of Sakara Life detox tea, another product that won me over that's on my shopping list.

I could easily eat this for lunch every day.

FRIDAY

By the end of the week, I was impressed that I had stuck with the program, minus one dinner out with friends. Instead of a hard-core cleanses, the Sakara program instead emphasizes the importance of balance, which is one of the reasons I was able to follow it so well. As I was reading the pamphlet that comes with the meals, it mentions that if you must have a coffee, or don’t stick with things to the letter, that’s okay! After all, the goal is to improve your habits and nutrition choices so that you’re making healthier decisions.

Here's what two days worth of Sakara Life meals looks like after they're delivered to your door.

My Takeaways

Weight: After five days of sticking to the Sakara meals and supplements my weight stayed the same. But I also didn't gain any weight. one of my reservations going in was the lack of calorie information, but guess what? I maintained my current weight. I generally eat pretty healthily so wasn’t expecting anything very dramatic. As someone who maintains a pretty balanced diet, I personally wouldn’t turn to the program with weight loss goals in mind. Instead, I plan to order it in the future when I want meals delivered to my door that I know are filled with healthy ingredients and that have almost zero prep-work involved.

Skin: Another reason to return to Sakara? By the end of the week, my skin had completely cleared up. My breakout from the weekend before was gone, and my complexion had restored its glow.

What I learned: Sakara introduced me to healthy ingredients—like jackfruit and black bean noodles—I wouldn’t normally cook at home or order off of a menu. When eating healthy and cooking at home, I tend to get stuck in a rut with ingredients I’m familiar with and am comfortable preparing, so this process of discovery was a real highlight of the program.

What I loved most: The ease of having healthy meals prepared and delivered to my door took all of the stress of shopping for food and cooking dinner after a long day at work. Breakfast and lunch were ready as is, and the dinners only needed five to 10 minutes of heating on the stove. For me, this was one of the biggest perks of the program.

More Things From Sakara I Loved

Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle just launched a book, Eat Clean, Play Dirty, that includes recipes for some of their most popular meals. I'm already planning to make the wild mushroom pasta and sweet potato tartines.

I didn't realize these would be included with the program but loved them. The perfect healthy snack with a rich chocolate flavor.