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Whitney Tingle, left, in the Soli denim top, Ryleigh high-rise jeans and Dacey clogs, and Danielle Duboise in the Rosalia minidress, photographed by Willy Lukaitis

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#MAKEITHAPPEN

Whitney Tingle & Danielle Duboise, Sakara Life Co-Founders

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Whatever you do, don't call it a diet. This is one of the main messages behind Sakara Life, a plant-based subscription meal program co-founded by Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise. The friends had one goal in mind when they started Sakara in 2011 and continue to have that goal today: to transform lives through the power of plant-rich eating.

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Here, we chat with the founders on the importance of gut health, their morning routines (down to the specific supplements and beauty products they use), and their favorite things to make—plus why those recipes are so good for you.

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My Hustle

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My hustle…
Whitney Tingle & Danielle Duboise: Transforming lives through our company, Sakara Life.

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What got me started...
WT: Sakara was started out of a personal need after a decade-long struggle with cystic acne. Dermatologists weren’t connecting the dots between the overall health of my body and what was going on on my skin. It was my big a-ha moment, discovering that my inner health was reflected in my outer appearance. I like to say, "I didn’t have a skin problem, I had a gut problem." Danielle and I created the Sakara nutrition program and lifestyle to nourish every cell of our bodies through the power of plants. My skin and outlook completely changed. Since then, we’ve made it our mission to help as many people as possible take their health into their own hands and transform their own lives using the power of plants.
DD: Eating this way changed my body and my life, so I decided to help others experience a similar transformation. I struggled with body image issues since I was 9 years old, and became very sick from yo-yo dieting. When I moved to New York in my early 20s, I started studying medicine and working in a hospital seeing patients who were suffering from a variety of lifestyle diseases. In an effort to find the answers and tools for not only my patients but also myself, I began studying nutrition for alternative healing methods. Combining my studies, nutrigenomics, and epigenetics, we created the framework for the Sakara Life nutrition program and it completely changed my relationship with food and overall health. From this moment on, I decided that my mission would be to share that way of plant-rich eating and mindful living with the world in hopes I could help others have a similar transformation. 

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What clears my head…
WT: I am most at peace in nature. I like to walk outside barefoot to ground myself with the earth, soak up some sunshine (even when it’s cold out), and breathe in the fresh air. I try to quiet my mind and find just a moment of stillness. Sometimes if I’m stressed about making a decision on something, the answer comes to me when I’m most quiet.
DD: At the end of a long day, I like to turn on good music (Joni Mitchell is a favorite) and dance with my two kids—it calms the nervous system, quiets the mind, and brings me back to what’s important.

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When in doubt, I…
WT: Ask Danielle ;)
DD: Take a breath and go with my gut.

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Greatest challenge—and how I overcame it...
DD: My biggest, scariest, and most rewarding risk by far was starting Sakara. Whitney and I set out on this journey to heal and transform our own lives. Once we realized the incredible power of food and the nutrition program we created, we knew we had to share this with the world. And, even though we didn’t know how to start a business or what that would look like, we believed in our mission and we never gave up. Bootstrapping a business isn't easy, but having a mission that you wholeheartedly believe in to serve as a north star is so rewarding.

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How I Make It Happen

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3 morning musts…
WT:
1. Drink water. The first thing I do in the morning is drink a large glass of water—if I can get through a quart first thing, that’s a good day. 
2. Along with that water, I take Sakara’s Complete Probiotic Formula. Seventy percent of the immune system is in the gut, so it’s even more of a priority now to make sure I take it daily. With 11 different types of beneficial bacteria to balance the gut microbiome, it is critical for immune support, as well as skin support—clear, glowing skin starts in the gut!
3. I’m not the best at forming routines, except when it comes to my self-care practices that are non-negotiables in the morning—I take my vitamins and thoroughly brush my teeth with my electric toothbrush that I love. Oral care is so important to our overall health and your microbiome actually starts in your mouth!
DD:
1. Kiss my children and my husband. My little ones usually wake us up with a smile and it’s changed my entire being waking up to those faces… really hard to have a bad day :). 
2. Facial massage and exfoliate every morning with Dr. Goldfaden Scrub then use Barbara Sturm Antiaging Serum, One Ocean Beauty Serum, Vintners Daughter Serum and massage it all in for 3-4 minutes. 
3. I now make my own coffee, which has turned into a lovely ritual. I also make my own almond-coconut milk. I’ll add Sakara Metabolism Powder to the milk and use a frother to whip it up together, then add it to my coffee and it’s basically a healthy mocha latte! 

3 life hacks…
WT:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus your energy where it matters most and let the rest slide right off your back. 
2. Listen to podcasts in the shower. Now that there’s less time spent commuting, I get my podcasts in while I’m in the shower. I love listening to podcasts as part of my ongoing education.
3. Order Sakara meals. Just because we have more time at home doesn’t mean that time should be spent cooking. Time is a valuable and finite resource that you can’t buy more of. Spend your time focusing on sharing your special gifts with others and let Sakara do the nutritional brainwork and cooking. If it weren’t my company, I’d still order it—such a lifesaver!
DD:
1. Meditate while you put your kids to bed. I listen to guided meditations. 
2. Pick your top three stressors and see if you can outsource them—like nutrition! Changed my entire life (and body) to have Sakara food waiting for me in my fridge. 
3. Be OK wearing wrinkled clothing. No one cares. Ironing is a waste of time :). 

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3 secret work weapons… 
WT:
1. Always have Metabolism Super Bars on hand to sustain my energy throughout the day. Snacks with adequate fiber and healthy fats are critical to keep your blood sugar stable and avoid that afternoon crash. 
2. I have a Defender Shield to protect me from unwanted radiation from my laptop since I’ve been working so much more from my lap these days.
3. Sakara! Having healthy meals in the fridge is an absolute lifesaver. Sometimes my husband will bring me a meal when he sees that I’m stuck on Zoom calls all day, and I’ll do the same for him. We always keep an eye on each other and make sure we’re taken care of. 
DD:
1. I love having our granolas on hand to mix with nut milk for days when I'm in a rush. I also swear by our Sakara Beauty Water Drops for optimal hydration throughout the day, which helps sustain my energy. 
2. Artipoppe baby carrier for the moments when I need to multitask and be both mom and CEO at the same time. 
3. Higher Dose’s PEMF Mat, which I keep on my desk chair to help reduce stress, increase energy, and improve circulation when I’ve been sitting for long stretches of time.  

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Personal talisman…
WT: Selenite crystal necklace 
DD: A tiger’s eye ring that was my uncle’s. It’s FULL of energy. 

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Best advice received…
WT: I learned that having a “growth mindset” is one of the most valuable things you can have—both in business and in life. We got to meet Oprah when we were selected as part of her Super Soul 100 group (and let me tell you, she is just as amazing and grand in real life as you would expect her to be!). She once said, “Who you’re meant to be evolves from where you are right now. So learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes, and setbacks as stepping stones to the future is a clear sign you’re moving in the right direction.” The road is long and filled with bumpy stones—you can let them get you stuck, or you can use them to hop to the next one. 
DD: Things happen for us, not to us.

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My Style

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Favorite wardrobe hack...
WT: A lot of my wardrobe is vintage—either from thrifting or from my mom’s closet. I like to pair vintage finds with a splurge shoe of the season which levels up the whole look, but still allows me to have a one-of-kind look.
DD: When in doubt, wear fringe.

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My wardrobe MVP...
WT: I own a lot of cowboy boots, flowy linen pieces, and oversized blazers. I would describe my style as business in the front, hippie-cowgirl in the back.
DD: My vintage, floor-length leather trench coat.

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What I would tell my younger self about getting dressed...
WT: You look better than you give yourself credit for. Just have fun!
DD: Be wild and free—you look great. 

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Wearing Veronica Beard makes me feel...
WT: Feminine and put together.
DD: Effortlessly put together.

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My Recharge

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What I'm reading/listening to/binging… 
WT: I like listening to podcasts like The Doctor’s Farmacy, On Being, and Esther Perel. Books on my nightstand: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself  by Dr. Joe Dispenza, The Ipsalu Formula: a Method for Tantra Bliss, In the Flo by Alissa Vitti, and Ancient Remedies by Dr. Josh Axe.
DD: Women Who Run with Wolves, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson, and Food Fix by Dr. Mark Hyman. 

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Beauty/self-care must-haves… 
WT: Sakara Beauty Water Drops, filled with ionic trace minerals harvested from the Great Salt Lakes, that deeply hydrate your cells, help maintain ideal pH balance for lower inflammation, and flush out toxins and bloat—resulting in clearer skin. Sakara Beauty Drops are truly my desert island product that I don’t go a day without using! 
DD: Start with what you put on your plate! Getting at least 4-6 cups of leafy greens are essential for our inner and outer health. Eating greens will encourage the growth of good bacteria, heal inflammation, improve motility, and promote optimal microbiome health. Also, making sure that your food is organic and grown sustainably (I get a weekly CSA delivery) for more beneficial nutrients, without toxins or pesticides, that nourish your body with optimal nutrition, while also serving and supporting the planet. I also take the Sakara Foundation Prenatal religiously while breastfeeding to support both me and my baby with all the essentials—including Choline, Omegas, Minerals, Super Greens, and our Complete Probiotic to support gut health.

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Favorite thing to do…
WT: Go on hikes in my hometown Sedona, AZ with my family.
DD: I love taking walks with my family every morning. It’s the perfect way to start the day and a lovely time for us to connect as a family of four. It’s what makes life in NYC so, so special. We walk everywhere and rarely get in a car.

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Favorite thing to make… 
WT: Youth & Beauty Salad—I specifically designed the recipe and in creating it, I wanted to make sure it was the most hydrating and most beautifying meal. (See below for its nutrient-rich ingredients!).
DD: Superfood Pancakes with Chia-Berry Compote, which is in our cookbook, Eat Clean, Play Dirty—they’re high in protein, fiber, minerals and they’re DELICIOUS!

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One mover and shaker I admire…
WT: Gregg Renfrew
DD: I am so fortunate to have several incredible mentors in my life. Dr. Aviva Romm and Dr. Robynne Chutkan, who are leading functional medicine doctors in women’s health and the microbiome, as well as medical advisors at Sakara, and Bob Mylod and John Replogle, who were the CFO of Priceline and CEO of 7th Generation and Burt’s Bees, respectively.

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Youth & Beauty Salad

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Ingredients

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Bed of romaine lettuce, one of the most hydrating greens with water content (also one of our pillars ‘Eat Your Water’)

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Entire rainbow of vegetables, beets, carrots, cucumbers to provide phytonutrients helping with circulation and keeping you young (think of the pink of the beets and the pink of your cheeks).

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Pomegranate seeds give extra antioxidants.

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Superfood sprinkle with hemp and pumpkin seeds. Hemp is super anti-aging and one of my all time favorite ingredients—contains essential fatty acids (gamma linoleic acid) and is a complete protein. I sprinkle on almost all my salads!

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For directions, see the complete recipe here.

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