I’m not the busiest mum in the world. There are millions of women who are heroes, plain and simple. I’m humbled every time I even think of what my sisters throughout the world are going through every.day. Still, we all experience our own realities through our own perspectives. Just like the air completely coats wherever it enters, regardless of the size of the space, our own responsibilities can get overwhelming, regardless of the type of life we live. We all do our best. So while I try to work out this motherhood thing while studying Ayurvedic Nutrition and Yoga Therapy in a 4-year school, and trying to keep up with my older responsibilities like reading groups and translation work and whatnot, I have got to tell you: there are times I want to hide in a closet so nobody can find me!
Thankfully, I have help. Besides my incredible husband, there are 5 names that are making life easier for me, in different ways. These are brand-names, though so I can totally share them with you! Today I want to talk a little bit about them, in case they might help you, too.
I have always loved to cook. I am coming from a culture which, especially back when I was still there, home-made meals were a given. Even when I was a university student, we didn’t go to restaurants but cooked for each other. BUT I am totally, utterly in love with Sakara Life Signature Program, and I could actually quit cooking to be able to have that food, every day. I used to get Sakara in New York. I was the fanciest poor adjunct teacher. I felt utterly uncomfortable paying for such an expensive delivery service (and I could only afford it only a certain number of times). But, folks, there is nothing like Sakara. It’s not only the psychological factor- although there is that: I totally become a different person when I have Sakara that week. I obviously eat healthy, I don’t snack, I always sit down to eat (even when the baby is pulling my skirt, I have my napkin on my lap!). I even behave more calmly, I’m more “mindful”, I mean, it’s utterly ridiculous how Sakara changes me!:)
But no, it’s not only that. First of all, it really is healthy- It is THE healthiest meal delivery programme I have tried. Check out their pillars of nutrition: There’s no calorie counting. Instead, they focus on providing plant protein, eating your water (I have SO much to say about this, so dm me if you are curious), greens, good fats, sulfur-rich foods, and so on. All of this is crucial for skin health, inflammation-prevention, immunity, as well as hormone health.
Whenever I truly stuck to their meal plans, I saw a decreased bloat, clearer/hydrated skin, just a general sense of wellbeing.
[Edit: I have recently tried the Level II detox, and I am definitely doing that once a month. I was able to lose the few pounds I had put on during Covid, my energy is back, no cravings. The best $$ I have spent in a long while. ]
Second of all, their meals are unbelievably delicious. I have no idea how they do this, but every single bite is yummy. I know myself- I will not commit to anything unless it’s fun and/or delicious. After the baby, I was gifted two weeks of meal delivery AND their complete supplements (including a vegan omega 3 and vitamin B complex) and I swear to you I never felt that energetic, that light, that healthy. For those of us worrying about not counting calories- I lost the baby weight in two weeks with these Sakara meals. I don’t know, every body is different, of course, and this body, shamelessly, loves Sakara. Check out their social media, their podcast- they invite good folks, have informative talks, compassionate content on the social. Because I have a big appetite (which grew even bigger while breastfeeding!), I used a trick with my Sakara meals: As a base, I added steamed red cabbage, or steamed kale, spinach, or butter lettuce. I poured the meals on top of this “base” to make sure I was getting even more greens- micronutrients and fiber- to keep me full. Now that I am almost done weaning, I rarely need to “supplement” the meals this way.
Finally, and I never thought of this before, it might even make sense, financially, for some people. My bff is an incredibly busy person. I don’t know anyone who is as busy as she is- and at some point in my life, I had three jobs, one at a restaurant, and I was doing my Ph.D. So. Anyway, she was telling me the other day that she goes to the grocery store every weekend, buys things in bulk, hoping she can cook, prep her lunches to eat at work, and so on. It never works out. Not only does she end up wasting a good amount of that produce (yes, it totally broke my heart when I heard this), but she also ends up spending money on lunch every day. On top of that, whatever she ends up eating is NOT as yummy and healthy as Sakara. So, all I’m saying is check it out. Besides, this:
Discount alert! I can’t believe this happened, but I do have a discount code for you: If you are new to Sakara, you can get 20% off any meal program, 10-day reset, or “clean boutique” products (like probiotics, complete vitamins, healthy snacks etc.) at Sakara.com by typing XOIVY.
Now, is meal delivery, in general, ideal for the environment? No. But they use eco-friendly boxes designed to use less ink, made from post-consumer recycled materials, and are also curbside recyclable. The liners are made from recycled paper and corn starch and are now certified 100% curbside recyclable by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Unlike oil-based plastic liners, they use 65% less energy to produce than a styrofoam cooler. Their food containers, at the very least, are biodegradable, and they are working on a protocol on how to recycle everything. The extra food from Sakara’s operations goes to good use, too. Their New York kitchen donates any food waste to City Harvest, and the LA kitchen donates to Lunch on Me.
Sakara is all plant-based and all organic. They have three main meal plans. You do NOT have to subscribe, but if you do, you get a discount, and you can cancel, or skip ANY TIME. I know how easy it is to do all this because I have done it many times. They also have an incredibly helpful customer service. Email them at midnight, they get back to you tomorrow morning. They also have nationwide flexibility, which means that you can edit your plans: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just lunch and dinner, etc. I know a lot of folks skip breakfast, but, Sakara breakfasts are out of this world, too, so, think twice. Email me any time if you have a question about how Sakara works- food is my favourite subject to talk about!
Again, I have always made my own sauce. Turkish cuisine (ethnically I am Turkish) uses a lot of tomato base so it’s not a matter of inability or lack of familiarity. But Otamot (yea, it’s tomato spelled backward) is delicious. It comes in a glass jar, has only a handful of ingredients, full of vegetables, and has various flavours to choose from. The only one I have not tried is the spicy one because we don’t do well with spicy food, but the others were (no exaggeration) extremely satisfying. I made soups with it, a traditional okra dish with olive oil, pasta with mushrooms- we even used it as a spread on toast. Yummy.
This is a small company and they kindly provided me a coupon code if you want to try their delicious products:
Type SHAKINGMYTOFU10 before your purchase for your discount!
Joi is a plant milk BASE. Full disclosure: I did not think I would use Joi this much. I stopped eating animals in 1998, a few years after that I started to make my own milk (we did not even have soy milk back home until very recently). Sigh. So anyway, I am totally fine with using my Vitamix for that, as it makes a great job blending the nuts/grains. BUT here is why I do NOT love that process:
- I have to prep the nuts (soak them) overnight. And sometimes I forget to do that, and I’m milk-free the following morning. I NEED my milk in the morning.
- I really dislike using cheesecloth/ any other mesh strainer. Again, I’m used to it, so it’s fine, but I don’t like it.
- After the entire process, I’m either with like 2 gallons of homemade cashew milk, because I don’t want to do this again in two days, but then I worry that it will get bad/taste bad in a couple of days. OR I make so little amount (because of that worry) that I have to soak, cheesecloth, clean etc the very next day. After all these years, I still don’t seem to find the perfect amount.
- Talk about taste: I like the milk I make. Especially the oat milk? Yummy. But even my delicious homemade almond milk is like a tea of almonds. Do you know what I mean? Joi actually tastes better than my own almond milk, and I don’t hate them for it. (I still love my oat milk better anyway!).
The ingredient? Just the nuts. They have various kinds, whichever you like. I tasted cashews and almonds, both were yummy, creamy, and because they are actual nuts, and not a watered-down version of them, much more nutritious than store-bought one.
Now, if you compare the cost per cup, to a store-bought one, Joi seems expensive. But because you water Joi down so it has an equal amount of calories or almond content as the boxed, Joi is actually much more economic. And you have absolute control as to how much water you want to mix it with.
Here is how I use it: I have this Hamilton Beach hand blender. I blend Joi base with some water in it. Adjust the water amount depending on your own taste. I like my milk creamy. It gets FOAMY.
Use the code SHAKINGMYTOFU for a discount if you like to try them out.
I have had this green smoothie almost every day, for years:
- One cup of water (or coconut water).
- A few stalks of celery.
- A small piece of ginger.
- A handful of mint or rosemary.
- Juice of half a lime.
- A tablespoon of my green mix (My mix -to my taste- of spirulina, chlorella, amla powder, hemp seeds, and mesquite powder).
- A tsp shatavari powder.
- Two cups of mangoes (If I want sweeter, I add a banana or an orange, whichever is in the season. If you’re counting carbs for a low-carb diet or watching to manage your blood sugar, I suggest subbing for peaches instead).
I love this so much that I look forward to having it in the morning!
Depending on my particular situation like my current dosha imbalance, or the time of the year, inflammation, respiratory condition, and so on, I add the following:
He shou wu, and/or Gotu kola, and/or ashwagandha/licorice/boswellia/ brahmi (bacopa monnieri) (you should see my cupboards!).
Since you look like nice people, I want to repeat here my favourite berry smoothie recipe which I “borrowed” and from the Yoursuper folks, and adjusted it to my taste. I sometimes have this instead of dinner, while detoxing, or before dinner, when I want an afternoon pick me up:
- 1 tbsp Forever Beautiful.
- 1 cup of cooked beet.
- 1 cup of mixed berries.
- 1 banana.
- 1 cup of coconut water.
I was having one of those days. We had just started weaning, so my hormones were all over the place. I had two exams, two papers, and a presentation due that week. We had just moved into this place (gorgeous view but a LONG staircase) we are subletting for a few months, so I was unpacking, organizing, cleaning, nonstop. My toddler is already a handful, but with the new place, and weaning, he was having a tough time, the poor thing. Because of Covid, I had to cancel our plans to go back home to see my family, and this was going to be the first summer since forever when I was not swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean, enjoying its delicious food and the yummiest watermelon you can ever have. So I had a lot on my mental plate, but not enough on the actual plate:) On that particular morning, I tried the oven in this new place the very first time, and I burnt whatever it was completely.
We were expecting groceries to be delivered by Goodeggs, this company that was supposed to have “absurdly fresh” groceries. My husband was not home, so I was wondering how on earth I was going to carry the baby all the way up those stairs, and bring back the grocery boxes so nothing would melt/get bad. I took the burnt thing out of the oven, put it in the sink, for now, turned on the fan because now the entire house stank like burnt cake, hugged the crying baby, fed the hungry cats, put on my hat to protect me from the burning sun, prepared myself for those thousands of steps, opened the house door and there it was: The Good Eggs boxes. The delivery person actually brought the boxes all the way down. For me. I kid you not: At that moment, he was my hero. He saved my day. Sometimes it really IS the little thing.
So I wrote an email to them. I openly described to them my morning so far, and how they saved my day. I told them that their labour was appreciated- that they really WERE “essential” to me. Their response was even more wonderful:
Words can’t express how much this message brightened our team’s morning. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I teared up when reading your email, and not just because we’re collectively on an emotional roller coaster during this historical time.
It is vital, now more than ever, that we help take care of each other and I’m ecstatic to hear that your delivery driver Tomas did just that. Please know your words will be shared with the rest of our team, as well as with Tomas directly.
I truly hope your morning only continues to improve, and if it gets hard again, remember, we’re here for you.
Thank you again and stay safe,
Alyssa and The Good Eggs Team
Since that day, I am hooked. Not only are they good people, their vegetables and fruits really ARE absurdly fresh. The watermelon we have bought so far (those big kinds) are the best I have had in the US. I also happen to know that they treat their workers well and they work with local farmers. Win-win. Thank you, Good Eggs.
I am sorry to tell non-Bay Area folks that Good Eggs only deliver within the Bay Area. You might want to have a look at my resources page for other meal and grocery delivery services?
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Editor’s note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programme.