Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise want you to feel good about yourself.
After moving to New York from their native Sedona, Arizona, the women found it challenging to maintain holistic, healthy lifestyles: DuBoise was a pre-med student and a working actor and model; Tingle was slaving away on Wall Street. Racing to keep up with their respective hectic schedules left them feeling off-kilter and out of touch with themselves physically and spiritually.
DuBoise decided to enroll in nutrition school. And that’s when the old friends decided to team up. In 2011, they launched Sakara Life, an organic meal delivery solution for “people ready to take control of their health.”
Here, Tingle and Duboise describe their shared nutritional philosophy and their personal secrets to lasting happiness
Live The Process: You were raised in households that prized holistic living in Sedona, Arizona. Was it difficult to maintain those ways in NYC?
Whitney Tingle: Yes! New York is such a hub of health and wellness and is buzzing with resources and delicious restaurants, but access to fresh, whole foods that taste great and make you feel great is surprisingly limited. Combine that with a serious lack of time, constant dinner parties, six-floor walk-ups and kitchens the size of closets and you’re facing some pretty serious obstacles to staying healthy.
I was working on Wall Street when I first moved to the city and every other day was a coworker’s birthday or a business dinner that I had to attend in order to keep up, and I wanted to be a part of it all and not have to sacrifice feeling good. Pretty soon, I had fallen out of balance and lost touch with the holistic, healthy living I had grown up with. Instead, I was filling my body with lifeless foods that lacked any serious nutrient density—i.e. medicine for the body—because they were fast, easy, tasty and right at my fingertips. The result took a serious toll on my skin, waistline, mood and energy level, until Danielle and I got together and decided we were going to find a solution.
Danielle DuBoise: I moved to New York for college and was acting and modeling while studying pre-med. What I struggled with the most was my relationship to my body. The food I was eating made me feel like crap, so I felt crappy about my body and the cycle fed into itself in that way. I obsessed over food, feared it and used it as a tool to change my body rather than to fuel it. I totally forgot about the importance of food and how nutritional integrity defines my health, fuels my happiness and builds my beautiful body, allowing me to go out into the world and create.
It took a couple of very extreme incidences (like a 21-day retreat that started with a 7-day water fast and ended with me in the hospital with pneumonia) before I was able to whole-heartedly commit to taking my health and wellness back into my own hands. I enrolled in nutrition school and have never looked back.
LTP: How did you come to create Sakara Life and what is the nutritional philosophy behind it?
WT: We like to say we’ve been building Sakara since eighth grade when we met in math class. We both always knew we wanted to create something big to share with the world and continued to trust and work independently until we figured out exactly what that was. When Danielle graduated from nutrition school, I was feeling at an absolute low with my body, skin and happiness, so we started to work together to help us both get to a point where we felt really good in our bodies. Together we concocted health-promoting recipes, nutritionally designed meal plans and played around with the various areas of our lives that are so integral for health and happiness, until we found exactly what worked.
DD: What we quickly realized is that living the life we had always lived in Sedona, while juggling a career, relationships and all the important self-love time everyone needs, is impossible in this city unless you are sleep just four hours a night. And, if you’re sleeping four hours a night, you’re not going to be able live the healthy, happy life you deserve.
The most difficult part, by far, was working the fresh, nutrient-dense, hydrating, whole foods that our bodies needed into our diets. It's easy to go out and find a good steak or piece of fish, but finding delicious, fresh, organic vegetables that fill your body with the nutrients that make you feel amazing? That's tough.
The Sakara Life food philosophy is based on the science behind a whole food, plant-rich diet that includes nutrient-dense superfoods to increase the nutritional value of every meal. We include a lot of leafy greens, sulfurous veggies and a rainbow of colors to give a large variety of micronutrients and antioxidants to keep your body functioning at its best. When your body is functioning optimally, it digests, eliminates, cleanses and heals itself naturally. The results are energy, happiness, drive, passion, physicality and the overall health of your dreams. That is what we share with the world, and it is what we help our clients achieve each and every day.
LTP: Even at your busiest, what is the one thing you must do every day to care for yourself?
WT: Move! By no means do I exercise every day in the conventional sense, but I do spend at least 10 minutes every day—usually in the evening—truly in my body. Sometimes that means breath work, other days it’s stretching and sometimes it’s something a little more intense. We are in our heads so much of the day, we forget how our physical bodies impact our lives. Giving them some well-deserved love and attention every single day helps to rebuild that awareness.
DD: Connecting with someone I love. Really truly connecting without distractions. Being present, listening, sharing, experiencing things together. A hug goes so far in this world.
LTP: Is there a piece of advice someone once gave you that you’ve found helpful?
WT: "Let your light shine for others."
Sometimes, I get nervous and have stage fright when we have to do videos or speaking events and want to cancel whatever it is we're doing. Or I think that something might look dumb—a picture, a product—and hold back from putting it out into the world where it can be criticized. But someone once told me to let my light shine for others and that's what I think every time I get nervous and want to hold back. I think about the possibility that what I'm putting out there into the scary world could help even just one person make a difference in his or her life and that makes it worth it. Instead of fear, I do it out of love for others. We all have a strong inner light in us and allowing others to see it is what brings us all closer together.
DD: My mom always told me that everything is within reach; no ceilings. And that I had the power to do anything I wanted to do.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
WT: Whatever is happening right now in this very present, beautiful moment and acknowledging how lucky I am to be a part of it.
DD: It doesn’t look like anything, but it has a very distinct feeling, a very specific place in my body from which it radiates out. What I’ve found is that true happiness for me comes very naturally when I am able to fully nourish, balance and feel confident in the various areas of my life that contribute to my health. My body must be nourished, my desire to move, my connection to others and my creativity must feel tended to. Then that happiness flows effortlessly.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
WT: To “Live The Process” means to enjoy the journey. We live in a very results-oriented world that places blinders on us and prevents us from taking them off until we've reached the finish line (at which point we most often will be assigned a new finish line down the road). How often do we actually stop and breathe in the moment? Look at it square in the face and appreciate it for what it is? To be happy for from where we have come and for where we are right now? We work a lot with our clients to enjoy the journey, live the process and savor each and every bite of their adventure because, not only is it super delicious, it helps make the end result so much more sustainable—otherwise, what’s the point?
DD: To me, living the process means believing that everything is exactly as it should be in this very moment; everything happens for a reason. It means trusting. In my career and my personal life, unexpected things pop up, events turn out differently than I had planned and life is totally and completely unpredictable day-to-day. And most of us develop an instinct over time to fear this inability to predict. Living the process means you are choosing to trust and believe in your path and all the beautiful places it will take you.
Find more information about Sakara Life here.