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Sakara's 9 Nutrition Pillars

From "No Calorie Counting" to "Eat the Rainbow"

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Sakara is based on a whole food, plant-rich diet, and our nutrition programs and products are backed by cutting-edge science, innovation, and traditional healing wisdom to give your body what it needs to thrive.


Sep 21, 2023

We know that food can’t be simplified into a macronutrient like a fat, carb, or calorie. Food is information; it tells our body how to function, and which genes to turn on and off. Each bite has the ability to promote health, beauty, and so much more.

Our plant-rich nutrition programs are created with this in mind, using a set of nine nutritional pillars to guide us. This guidance, in combination with our uncompromising quality standards, ensures that every meal delivered to your door nourishes the intricacies of the mind, body, and spirit—and delivers results, deliciousness, and joy.

Below, explore the Sakara Pillars of Nutrition, then feel empowered to infuse them into your own daily rituals.

No Calorie Counting

The standard “calories in versus calories out” idea has oversimplified what it means to fuel and nourish our bodies—boiling our health down to a set of numbers rather than the complex, brilliant ecosystem that it is. Science has debunked this outdated and limited way of thinking about food and the body, illustrating that not all calories are created equal. Rather than simply using calories as a tool to measure health, we encourage our Sakaralites to count nutrients rather than calories to understand the impact food has on our health.

At its core, a caloric unit simply explains the amount of energy within a food—and doesn’t tell us anything about the quality of the food, which is essential as quality impacts our health and well-being. Our gut microbiome (the collection of symbiotic bacteria and microbes in your gut), metabolism, hormones, and genes influence the calories we actually absorb and utilize, meaning that the way we take in calories is actually unique to each of us. 

The food we eat can also upregulate or downregulate the aforementioned parts of our bodies that influence our health and vitality. Yes, the food we eat can actually boost our metabolisms! Consider this: 100 calories of broccoli is going to impact our bodies and health very differently than 100 calories of candy, even though the calorie content is the same. The nutrients we take in speak to our bodies and impact how our immune systems function, hormones work, guts operate, and more. 

Calorie counting takes away from our unique biological complexity and ties us to a simplified number, whereas counting nutrients—and flooding our bodies with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and colors—allows us to discover what truly makes us feel like our brightest, most energized selves.

Include Plant Protein

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and there are nine amino acids that are considered "essential," as our bodies don't make them, so we must get them from our food. A protein source with all nine essential amino acids is considered a complete protein. That said, you don't need to get them all from a single source. What matters is that you’re getting a full spectrum of amino acids (including the essential nine) that your body can use to make the proteins it needs to structure cells, repair organ tissues, build muscle, and more—and you can get that full spectrum by nourishing with a diversity of plants. Our meals are expertly designed with an abundance and variety of plants to ensure that you get all of the essential amino acids you need for a balanced gut and healthy life span based on traditional healing wisdom and our latest research, plus the benefits that come from eating a plant-rich diet (like smoother digestion, radiant skin, and promoted longevity).

Eat Your Water

Hydration is the most fundamental piece of supporting whole-body health, from flushing the body of toxins and regulating body temperature, to providing H2O to healthy cells. Staying sufficiently hydrated for whole-body health is about more than just drinking eight glasses of water a day (like we were all told): it’s about eating and absorbing your water!

When we eat water-rich veggies, we absorb the water that’s trapped within the fresh plant’s web of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This way, our bodies absorb more water more slowly, and further down in our digestive system, leaving us more hydrated for longer periods of time. For example, about five slices of a cucumber are made up of 96% water, which means that when you eat them, you’re taking in roughly the equivalent to drinking 1 ounce of water, but with even more benefits. Not only are you absorbing the water from the cucumber, you’re also saturating your body with key nutrients that support optimal cellular function for building and regenerating. When you’re nourishing with Sakara, you’re receiving a constant flow of hydration and nutrients, thanks to our water-rich organic, fresh ingredients. A hydrated body functions better—and looks healthier!

Get Your Greens

If we could have it our way, greens are the one thing we’d include on every nutrition fact label. Here’s why: Greens are one of the least-consumed foods in the Standard American Diet, and yet the most impactful to inner and outer health. Rich in water, micronutrients, and phytochemicals, they impart a host of body benefits, from improving gut health and boosting energy, to fending off chronic diseases, strengthening immunity, and aiding weight loss.

Their green pigment comes from chlorophyll, a powerful phytonutrient that supports the body’s natural cleansing and detoxification pathways. What else? Greens are super-hydrators—releasing a steady, soothing dose of water, vitamins, and minerals as their phytonutrient-rich, fibrous cells break down in our bodies during the digestion process. This is why every Sakara plate starts with green plants, and why they’re the main ingredient behind our best-selling Protein + Greens Super Powder and Detox Water Drops.

Incorporate Good Fats

Fat gets a bad rap, but not all fat is bad fat—some fats are good and essential to a healthy, functioning body. Healthy fatty acids (especially those derived from foods like avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, nuts, and seeds) are one of our bodies’ most basic building blocks, supporting everything from our cell walls to our brain and skin.

Fat is also an essential conduit for absorbing a rainbow’s worth of nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. And, importantly, it keeps our bodies feeling satisfied and energized far longer than if we’d skimped on it. At Sakara, we use the highest quality, organic, cold-pressed oils in our meals (and in our rave-reviewed dressings). We focus on healthy fats that help activate PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways in the body, helping you to burn fat and keeping you feeling satiated on a plant-rich diet.

Out in the world, we encourage you to choose high-quality oils. Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for oil that’s in a dark bottle, and that’s labeled organic and cold-pressed. At restaurants, you can ask about the types of oils used in preparing your meal (and don’t be shy about asking to swap industrial seed oils for higher quality olive oil!).

Eat the Rainbow

At Sakara, we curate our meals with the support of health professionals and nutrition experts to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs—and then some. What’s to note, on a typical day of Sakara, you will eat over 75 distinct plant species, in a full spectrum of rainbow hues. Each plant is a different color because it has a different nutrition profile: red veggies tend to be high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and lycopene; while oranges are higher in vitamin K, potassium, and beta carotene. By getting a large variety of plants into your diet, you get a wide variety of nutrients into your body, which provide everything it needs to function properly, from aging gracefully to helping fight disease.

Dietary diversity (a.k.a. eating a variety of bold-hued plants, rather than the same avocado toast every day) is also essential to nourishing a diverse microbiome, the epicenter of our health. By having a large number of plants in your diet, you’re getting a variety of fiber that nourishes and fuels your gut microbiome and makes it more adaptable—which then helps your body with everything from immunity to skin health. Decreased microbiome diversity is considered an indicator of an unhealthy microbiome, and has been linked to several chronic conditions, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes. It’s essential to build a diverse microbiome for your overall health, and each Sakara meal is specifically designed to do just that.

Revel in Nutrient Density

Life is busy, we get it! These days we hardly have the time to sit down to eat, so when we do, we make sure that our meal is filled with nutrients that are going to deeply nourish our bodies, boost our energy, and enhance our health.

Our food is the raw material that builds our bodies. From generating strong muscles and new tissues to making hormones and new cell walls, the nutrients we consume are our building blocks, so we want our food to work for us, not against us. This is why we include superfoods in every meal: Special ingredients that are nutrient-dense, or have been shown to have medicinal properties. We also source the highest-quality plant ingredients from local farms who care for their soil. Healthier soil makes for more nutrient-rich produce, delivering a full spectrum of essential nutrients your body (and mind) needs to thrive.

Sulfur-Rich Veggies

Sulfur may have a less-than-pretty reputation thanks to its potent rotten egg smell, but it’s a vital and key nutrient, especially when it comes to beauty. The nutrition benefits of sulfur-rich veggies are infinite—from being a precursor to the body’s major antioxidant, glutathione, and nourishing the cells and mitochondria that help our body rid itself of toxins, to synthesizing the proteins and collagen that strengthen joints and beautify hair, skin, and nails (hello radiant skin!). A typical day on Sakara includes at least two sulfurous vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, and Brussels sprouts.

Cultivate Body Intelligence

Body intelligence is about building a body you can trust and listen to. Our bodies are innately brilliant, constantly communicating when we need more or less of certain nutrients, when you’re thirsty, hungry or sleepy, and more—but sometimes these natural signals can get thrown off. There are thousands of environmental and nutritional toxins that can disrupt the way your body maintains balance to communicate effectively. The good news is that when we’re aware of these inputs, we can avoid those that don’t serve us, and fill our bodies with positive thoughts and nourishing ingredients that enhance our communication pathways—creating harmony within mind, body and spirit.

Another essential piece of cultivating body intelligence? The gut. “Listen to your gut” is more than just an expression, as your gut is your second brain. It houses 100 million neurons and works closely with your brain in making every single decision you face daily. This is why a healthy gut is linked to intuition and feeling connected. Our plant-rich meals are optimally balanced to nourish and optimize your innate internal communication systems, so you can trust the signals that your body is sending you, and crowd out the toxic noise. By building a healthy gut and supporting your internal communication signals, you can enhance self-trust and confidence to guide joyful, healthful choices for seasons to come.

Next time you go to craft a meal for yourself, consider how you can incorporate a few of our nutritional pillars—like adding an extra vibrant veggie or a sprinkle of hemp seeds, or sitting down to mindfully eat and listen to your body’s internal cues. (Or, let us do the cooking for you with our nutritionally designed, ready-to-eat meals.)