I tried Sakara Life for 2-days and I'm basically a Victoria's Secret model now

I've long been fascinated with Sakara Life. Their branding and aesthetic is beautiful, and the food always looks appealing. I love to eat plants. It's absurdly expensive. *All* the Victoria's Secret models do it. 

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I HAD TO TRY IT.

I'm on this major health kick pre-wedding, I've lost 11 lbs and several inches, and TBH I go through phases where meat totally grosses me out. (Never gonna give it up forever, hence the 'phase') Also I have a very expensive wedding dress I want to look hot AF in. And then 2 weeks in a bikini on our honeymoon.

So I went for it.

Wait, back up, what is Sakara?

The Sakara Life organic meal delivery program is based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense, and delicious ingredients.

TL/DR (but you're gonna wanna read it all): I was blown away. I've tried just about every meal delivery in the book and the food is typically underwhelming. Sakara was excellent. The greens were crisp, the portions were perfect, the sauces were delicious and the MUFFIN. OMG THE MUFFIN. I almost cried actual tears when that breakfast ended.

Their difference? 

IT'S FRESH. Within 48 hours of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients arriving at their kitchens, your meals are on their way to you, packed in eco-friendly cooler bags. (We use ours all the time)

CLEAN INGREDIENTS. Sakara sources all of their ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic farms that use healthy, sustainable agriculture practices.

MENUS MATTER. The meals are inspired by everything from the latest microbiome research to Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC, and combine expert nutritional design with sophisticated culinary technique. Literally I had an artichoke heart/coconut 'ceviche' that was better than most restaurants.

Before we jump into the (vegan) meat of it, it's worth your while to understand Sakara's 9 Pillars of Nutrition

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The Deal:

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You can choose how many days you're looking for (3 or 5) and all programs come ready-to-eat and include Detox Tea and Beauty + Detox Water Concentrates. I'm not a tea drinker and I was actually really into the Detox Tea. The chocolates are also a nice little dessert/treat. I obviously ate all of mine in one sitting. It's fine.

The Food:

The food is packed with flavor - I was never hungry. Some of my favorites?

Yoga Bunny Breakfast - it was this carrot, raisin and walnut 'muffin' with this insane turmeric pumpkin butter and some blueberries (I added extra blueberries because I am extra.) I heated mine up in a skillet and I loved every single bite. I SAVORED IT.

Youth and Beaty Salad  - so fresh, so much flavor. I was actually really into the lemony/citrusy dressing and the amount of 'crunch' (hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) to sprinkle on top. The pomegranate seeds gave it a great amount of sweetness and the thinly sliced beets and carrots and cucumbers made it incredibly refreshing (this is coming from someone who hates beets and still ate them). 

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The Sakara Burger - yes it's your typical plant-based beet/grain burger but it was excellent. It was on this dense bread that heated up really well and came with a side salad. I reluctantly gave my mom a bite (I do not share food well) and she LOVED it. So being daughter-of-the-year, I gave her half. #favoritechild

Cooling Cashew Vermicelli w/ Pink Probiotic Dressing - This was absurd. I've never had kelp noodles before (spoiler: they're really good for you) and I heated this up like a stir-fry. It had veggies, this delicious creamy sauce, nuts, greens, and 'noodles'. LOVED.

Results:

This is what they promise you:

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All of the above is true. I understand our bodies fluctuate in weight quite a bit, but I also understand that in two days I lost 2.2 lbs (water weight, whatever, the number still went down on the scale), I had no bloat, I was very, ahem, 'regular', and combined with my Tata Harper skincare regimen and my summer tan, my skin was freaking GLOWING. 

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I also had no problem completing my daily power walks or my thrice-weekly Bar Method classes. And I'm an eater. This is a big deal. I actually posted this photo ON THE INTERNET after completing my Sakara two-day bender.

Do you know what it's like putting a photo of yourself, in a bathing suit on the internet? 

It's something you only do after a glass of Sauv B by the pool. (Which is exactly how this transpired.)

My key-takeaways?

Yes it's expensive. But so is organic food and high quality superfood supplements. You're also paying for convenience. But to do this every now and again is worth it. It instills a mindset and resets you. Or if you have a stressful period in your life coming up and you don't want to think about food (hello wedding planning + new job), it's a great way to take the work out of what you're eating for a few days.

Want a discount?

Check out Sakara's menu here. Use code REF_KRISTINE15

 

 

On Balance.

I get asked a fair amount how I "do it".

How I can commit to my (aggressive) workout schedule and never falter, and then only eat picture-perfect foods made with nothing but health, rainbows, and sunshine all day and all night.

You want to know how I "do it"?

I don't. For real.

Life is all about balance and moderation - even when it comes to workouts and nutrition. I'm very up-front about the fact that about a fraction of what I eat makes it onto my social media pages. A fraction. (This girl's got an appetite like a teenage boy folks.)

I try to balance my life like this:

  • Weekdays

    • Nutrition: Clean and balanced: smoothies, salads, lean protein, veggies, whole grains with minimal sugar and booze
    • Workouts: 2x cardio (usually SoulCycle) and 3x Pilates/Yoga
  • Weekends:

    • Nutrition: I typically eat the way I do during the week but I leave room for indulging, going out to eat, dessert, and most certainly, wine.
    • Workouts: I love to sleep in and get in a late morning run with boyfriend, a long coffee walk with a friend, or a SoulCycle class. If I can fit it in, a long yoga class is amazing when you don't have to rush off to something immediately after. But if I don't exercise all weekend? Just fine.

When we vacation, it's a holiday or a special occasion - I treat myself and I indulge in local specialities, wine, or homemade goodies. I don't think about it. I feel my best when I don't overdo the sugar, booze, gluten or dairy but I'm not opposed to every once and a while when the setting calls for it (or when I'm craving it). If someone makes their family's speciality, I'll try it, regardless of what's in it. If I've had a few I'm far more likely to reach for the cheese platter. I don't make a daily habit of it, but if it's there, (and if it's Mt. Tam Cheese), I'll probably have some (a lot.) 

Case in point - I'm usually not one for donuts but there's a time and a place, like when you're dancing your face off at a close friend's wedding and there's a donut bar and you wash it down with a glass of Pinot in between songs. Not an every day thing, but hot damn it hit the spot in that moment.

I also love to exercise on vacation - for once, I'm well rested and I've got time. On a beach? I love to run barefoot in the sand. (And I love the breakfast that comes right after it.) In cities I love to explore local fitness classes or go for a run to really take it all in - I've found the best discoveries running through Paris and London, and my favorite route in the world is the Central Park Reservoir. 

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The key is to not beat yourself up for not eating "perfectly" all the time - in your every day life or on a vacation. So you downed multiple baskets of chips and one too many margs while out with friends? I bet it was a hell of a night with people you love.

You went to Hawaii and didn't move from your lounge chair for 5 days? You obviously needed a break. Traveled to Europe for a week and lived off of chocolate croissants, steak frites, red wine, pasta and gelato without consuming a single vegetable? You walked around the city rather than going to your gym and doing your routine workout? Congratulations - you're living. 

Promise that green juice and your cardio conditioning class will be waiting for you when you get back.

What's In My Bag - Gym Edition

I'll admit it - I read a lot of Us Weekly. 

Okay FINE, I have a digital subscription. 

Trust me there is no better read on a treadmill than that of celebrity gossip fodder. If something exists, I don't know about it so please fill me in immediately.

One of my favorite part of each Us Weekly is the requisite, "What's In My Bag", where a celebrity "dumps" out the contents of their (absurdly expensive) Chanel bag. Obviously I'm nosy and I want to know exactly what they keep in there and validate myself for keeping my bag cleaner than they do. (It's the little things). 

So I thought I'd do the same - gym bag edition.

 

Bag: Lululemon All Day Backpack : I use a backpack mainly because it 1) leaves me handsfree to juggle a beverage of choice and/or snacks and 2) it's better for your posture. I like this one because it has a padded pocket for my laptop, and the front pouch zips off to be worn as a mini-cross-body - perfect for travel.

Clothes: I pretty much always have a pair of leggings, a sports bra, a cap and a tank on me at all times. Never know when you need to go for a walk, hit a yoga class or get a quick sweat in. Essential.

Beauty: Sunscreen always (Sunbum is my favorite), Sweat Cosmetics (the best coverage for a class - it's sweat proof and was developed by professional female athletes to help you avoid red-face at all costs), Kiehl's In-Flight Spray (so hydrating and refreshing post-class), La Vanila Natural Deodorant (the only one that actually works and is aluminum free) and Kai body lotion (my favorite scent).

Snacks: Obviously I'm never without a bevvy of snacks - I usually have a bar for emergencies (Rx Bars are currently one of my favorites - simple ingredient list and the Mint Chocolate is seriously decadent), a packet of Almond Butter to eat on it's own or pair with an apple or banana (Barney Butter makes a great single serving so I don't eat half the jar in one sitting), and my ultimate snack - dried mango. I eat a ridiculous amount of dried mango. IT'S SO GOOD.

Contents of the backpack change occasionally but these are the mainstays.

Ideally there'd be more dried mango really.

{Travel} Social Media Week LA

So a billion days ago (June) I spent a week in LA for Social Media Week - basically 4 straight days of all things social media - platforms, keynotes, best brand strategies, all of it. It was information overload in the best possible way. There was also a Jonas involved. But not of the Nick or Joe variety so it was honestly kind of forgettable. #sorryKevin

 

But, in-between all of that, it wouldn't be right if I didn't make time to sweat, eat and drink. And sweat, eat and drink I sure did.

Want more LA eats and drinks? 

Check out April's 48 Hours in LA

Moving on.

EAT

  • Cafe GratitudeLiterally would have eaten every, single, meal here if I could have. It's all vegan and it's all wonderful. Like my world was rocked. The veggie burger (I Am Magical - add avocado and coconut bacon) with the Sweet Potato Wedges, the Coconut Tostada, the STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. All of it. 

 

  • Erewhon Market - No joke, I hyperventilated when I walked inside. (This is not an exaggeration. You guys I really like food and I really like healthy food more.) Image if Whole Foods had a trendy, vegan, organic, paleo, grass-fed, wild, insert-buzz-word-here baby. That's what I was dealing with. There's prepared food, there's a hot/cold bar, salad bar, soups, ITS EVERYTHING.

 

  • Butcher's DaughterA must hit for the Spicy Kale Caesar and the GF croutons. I love their breakfast too. I love everything about the ambiance and the space.
  • Gracias Madre- To note: GM in SF is not equal to GM in LA. At all. It's a beautiful, bright, open, airy space with delicious cocktails and food. We split the enchiladas and a salad (and like, 17 baskets of chips and guac and salsa). And margaritas. (Which we certainly did not split.)
  • SweetgreenI've waxed poetically about Sweetgreen before and while yes, it's salad, it's really good, and it's not crazy expensive.
  • Kye's Montana- One of my close friends, Megan, is my sweat/food/life spirit animal (human), and has never steered me wrong in... anything. Literally most/all of these recommendations are from her. She told me to go to Kye's for lunch, so I went to Kye's for lunch. I got the Macro (Salmon, Veggies, Avocado, Rice, Lettuce wrapped in Nori, topped with Tamari) and it was essentially like eating the most massive sushi roll ever. That was also the most delicious. 

 

  • Beaming Cafe- There are very few "juice bar-esque" places I don't immediately fall in love with. Beaming tops the list. The Acai Bowl is amazing. The Overnight Oats are decadent. The smoothies are fantastic. The grab-and-go selections are perfect. The space itself is wonderful. OPEN IN SF IMMEDIATELY.

 

  • SugarfishThe best sushi in the ENTIRE WORLD. Order the Trust Me. With an extra Tuna Hand Roll. And a bottle of wine. Trust me.
  • Juice Served HerePopped in after a hot yoga class to inhale a Collard Pepita Pesto Wrap and a Coconut Water. And a Macaroon. Because I need decadence in my life always.
  • Manhattan Beach PostI WAS SO EXCITED FOR THIS. We had a late reservation and the staff was beyond accommodating. The biscuits are legendary. The salads are delicious and the entrees are perfect. They've got a great wine list and it's right downtown MB. Just make a reservation and eat here. (Or at the sister restaurant next door, Fishing with Dynamite.)
  • Love and Salt - Fantastic dinner/drinks spot in Manhattan Beach. Get a reservation, this place fills up. Between the pizzas, pasta dishes, whole branzino - everyone was happy. Delicious and a great wine/cocktail list.
  • The Source Cafe Hermosa - looking for all things gluten-free, paleo and/or vegan? Come here. Legit cold brew with homemade almond milk, delicious smoothies, GRAIN-FREE bread with almond butter and bananas and raw honey. So freaking good. I "forced" boyfriend to walk here. Twice. No regrets.

 

 

COFFEE

  • Sidecar DonutsI'll be real - I came here for the Stumptown Coffee. But the donuts did look delicious.
  • Alfred- In need of a serious caffeine hit after SoulCycle. They serve Stumptown (wonder what my favorite coffee is?) and it's delicious. Added bonus - the most Instagrammable cups.

SWEAT

  • SoulCycle - Duh. Rode at 3 studios: Culver City (HELLO BEAUTIFUL ROOF DECK), Santa Monica and Brentwood. Gina is my spirt animal and I adore her. Ride with her. Again, just trust me. Or don't, your loss. (Other recs: Lindsay, Todd)
  • YogaWorks - I KNOW. I do yoga now. It's this new thing that I'm really enjoying. Especially after an AM SoulCycle. Went to Main Street Santa Monica and Playa Vista (the studio is like a resort). Take class with Calvin Corzine (I went twice I loved it that much) and Mia Togo.

 

Morning Workouts: Breakfast Prep

Since starting this morning workout kick (which has been going strong since last... Wednesday, NBD) I've had to have a bit more foresight in the evenings than I usually would.

By foresight I mean rather than going from dinner to couch to bed there's been some in-between happenings.

I know I'm like really put-together.

So since my morning workout is 6-7am, or ideally 6:30-7:25am like it was this morning (something about not waking up in that 5am hour is just magical) I usually have ~30 minutes or less to get home, get ready, grab breakfast (which I need immediately after exercise) and get out the door.

Sometimes regardless of all that planning you still end up in your Lululemon apparel for the entire day. Bless you yoga pant wearing society, bless you. I think they call that balance? I call it happiness.

So what should we prep to ensure we're ready to get our sweat in first thing, are properly caffeinated, fed, and bathed? 

Today's post talks about my favorite thing in the entire world.

Breakfast

I love mornings. I love morning food even more. Ask anyone. I will go off for multiple minutes about my favorite spot in just about any city to score breakfast (specifically acai bowls but thats a post for another time). Ergo, I take my breakfast prep seriously.

If you have like ~4 minutes you can too.

  • Chia Pudding:

    • Mason Jar. 1/8c chia seeds, 1/4c unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2t vanilla, slice up some strawberries or fruit you have on hand, dash of honey or maple syrup. Let it sit over night and add some Peanut or Almond Butter and a sprinkle of granola the next morning. 

Recipes:

  • Smoothies: 

    • Mason Jar or Shaker Bottle. 1c Almond Milk, couple big handfuls of spinach, 1c frozen berries or a frozen banana, scoop of protein powder of choice (Vega Clean Chocolate Protein is great)
Pro-Tip: This almond milk hack from one of my favorite establishments on the planet, Beaming, will change your life:
The Cheater Almond Milk: 1-2T of organic raw almond butter (Trader Joes or Artisana have a good one) and blend with 1c of water (optional: date, cinnamon vanilla). Use immediately.

Both are obviously to be paired with the largest coffee you can find.

But for real - less than 5 minutes of prep work the night before and when your alarm goes off at that ungodly hour and you're stumbling around your apartment/house (must be nice - do you have a dishwasher too?) blindly trying to find the fridge to gulp down some Cold Brew 2 minutes before you have to leave - at least breakfast is either ready to grab and throw in your bag or ready in inhale the second you walk through the door post-sweat.

And did you know people who workout in the morning are more successful, thinner, richer, win at life, more likely to be best friends with Beyonce?

Truth.

Last night Juicero changed my life

Alriiiiight it was actually a month or so ago that it happened.

I'm of the minority that thinks Gwyneth Paltrow is everything. EVERYTHING.

I know that the majority of the population doesn't share this opinion, and that's fine. But I read Goop. I buy her cookbooks. I want to wear everything she wears. I want to eat everything she eats (and I often do eat the $200 MoonJuice smoothie (hashtag sponsored product) and it's amazing and no wonder her skin is so damn perfect). I too want to be best friends with Beyonce.

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