This post is brought to you by Bari Newman. Find her on Instagram @thegratefullplate. She’s amazing, inspiring…and my ex-boyfriend’s wife 😂.
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My Relationship with Sakara
Okay, friends, here it is – my review of the Sakara Level II Detox, from the perspective of a first time cleanser who promises to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But first, a little background for Jennifer’s readers who don’t know me. I’m a Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor who went plant-based (formerly pescetarian), gluten-free, and refined sugar-free when I was diagnosed in January of 2019. A firm believer that food is medicine, I committed hard core to ensuring everything I put into my body was nutritious. Cancer aside, my body felt way better when I made the serious lifestyle overhaul. However, over the past few months – having gone back to work in person, being more social since the beginning of Covid, AND with the onset of the holidays – I had become a bit lax, especially where hidden sugar was concerned. My body could feel it, and I knew the only way to reboot my engine was to give it a serious jump start.
Enter Sakara. I’m already a devout fan of their regular meal program, supplements, and snack offerings. Though I actually do love to cook and bake, I also love that Sakara offers a customizable meal program which takes some of the work off of me each week. It’s nice rushing out the door to work and knowing my breakfast and lunch are plant-based, gluten-free, organic, nutrient-dense, delicious, and best of all, prepared for me. So it seemed only appropriate to try Sakara’s Level II Detox when it was time for a real reboot.
A final thing to note – I’ve attempted one other well known, four-day detox in the past that consisted of only broths and smoothies. Important to know about me – I hate giving up. But as disappointed as I was, I stopped after two days because I felt really ill and knew it wasn’t the right approach for me.
Sakara Level II Detox – An Overview
The Sakara detox is five days long. Beforehand they send you prep instructions, and once you’re underway, a health coach checks in with you daily to offer tips and support. After the cleanse, you receive a transition out guide and a week’s worth of extra probiotic supplements.
Sakara provides everything you need for the magic to happen: meals, tea, various supplements and drops, and a dry brush to stimulate the lymphatic system. The first three days begin with a whole food breakfast and lunch. There’s a Coconut Kefir for an afternoon snack, and dinner is called Medicinal Broth. The fourth day is all liquids. The fifth day is a whole food breakfast, lunch, AND dinner, plus the kefir for an afternoon snack.
Finally, the Sakara Level II detox takes the regular Sakara food fundamentals even further. During the five days, there are no grains, nuts, nightshades, soy, or sugars of any kind, including fruit. In addition, you’re not to have any caffeine or alcohol.
So, with all that said… are you ready to dive in?
I’ll admit – I woke up oddly excited for someone who was about to give my system a complete shock. Since I always start my day with 16 ounces of lemon water, it was easy to just add the Beauty drops to that morning ritual. I’m not a daily coffee drinker, so that was no problem for me to skip right over (lucky me, right?). I typically start my day with a sweeter breakfast, such as a smoothie or oatmeal with fruit. However, my first Sakara breakfast was a veggie-packed Broccoli & Sweet Potato Hash, and though I was nervous about it, I found it to be surprisingly tasty (albeit unconventional for breakfast). It was also filling enough that I couldn’t finish it.
Lunch was a Cauliflower Sushi Bowl that looked beautiful but left something to be desired. I disliked the particular lettuce Sakara used so I left some behind, making sure to finish the avocado and beans to help keep me satiated until dinner. I longed for a Sakara Beauty Chocolate after, but alas, I stuck to the plan. To my delight, the afternoon snack of Coconut Kefir tasted fresh and delicious, like a piña colada.
I’ll be honest – the final “meal” of Medicinal Broth for dinner made me stop and pause at first taste. It takes some getting used to. That said, once it was heated up, frothed up a bit by an immersion blender, and squeezed with fresh lemon, it was tolerable. Not only that, but I think it actually helped soothe my stomach after all the bathroom trips caused by breakfast and lunch.
Day one reflections: though I had no immediate caffeine/sugar withdrawal or headaches, my stomach needed some serious time to acclimate. I was satisfied with the portions and never felt hungry, just tired and ready for a good night’s rest.
I woke up with a slight headache and a growling stomach, and I immediately knew the second day would be more challenging than the first. Breakfast was the Cinnamon Detox Parfait which was overall tasty, albeit a little bland. I added a little extra cinnamon and proceeded to finish the whole thing.
Unlike Day 1, I was absolutely starving by lunch time. The Cleansing Kelp Noodle salad looked good, except it had the same lettuce as the previous day. So, I went rogue and swapped it for fresh organic spinach from my fridge. I was too hungry to not eat the whole salad, and I enjoyed lunch once I made the change.
By 3:30pm my stomach was growling loud enough for anyone within 20 feet of me to hear it. Somehow I managed to make it through the rest of the day with the Coconut Kefir, Medicinal Broth, Digestive Tea, and LOTS of lemon water.
Day two musings: This was hands down my most difficult day. I was tired, low energy, hungry, still making frequent bathroom trips, and felt cranky. At one point my doorman dropped off a package and I didn’t even jump up with excitement to open it – gasp!
I slept like a rock straight through my alarm, but once awake, I felt oddly energized and renewed. I started the day with the usual Beauty water and didn’t even feel hungry right away.
Due to my teaching schedule, I ate breakfast late, around 9:30, and I was admittedly hesitant about the Cauliflower Congee before tasting it. However, it was DELICIOUS – so good I would eat it on the regular meal plan. Yes, it sent me to the bathroom rather quickly, but who cares? My taste buds were super happy, and cleaning out the system is all part of the grand plan.
I didn’t have time for lunch until around 2:30, so I switched things up and had the Coconut Kefir as a late morning snack followed by a late lunch. The Rainbow Kitchari was incredibly flavorful and like breakfast, it was good enough to eat with the regular meal deliveries. In fact, I was so full from it that I saved a few of the chia tortillas to accompany the Medicinal Broth for dinner. Shhh, don’t tell.
Day three takeaways: I felt absolutely fantastic all day – really energized, sharp and focused. The food was excellent and satisfying. The flavors tasted even more intense than usual, including the Coconut Kefir, which started to taste sweeter, probably due to the fact that I hadn’t consumed sugar of any kind for a few days.
Again, I woke up completely energized and ready to rock the day. I was actually looking forward to liquid day, in the hopes it would give me a reprieve from the bathroom (spoiler alert – it did!).
I expected to dislike the Greens Detox Smoothie because I typically use a little fruit when I make homemade green juice. Surprisingly, I LOVED it. The combination of lime and basil gave it a great flavor, and I was thrilled to have two of these to help get me through the day.
For lunch, I seriously did not like the Carrot Ginger soup – sorry, Sakara! It was my least favorite item of the week. I love ginger as much as the next gal, but this was way too intense for me. I only ate half of it, but happily grabbed my second green drink to get me through until pina colada time. Dinner was Cauliflower Parsnip soup, and in a stark contrast to lunch, this was my favorite item of the week. I licked the bowl clean and will be attempting to recreate this recipe at home.
Day four findings: I was a little hungry at a few points throughout the day, but it was never unbearable. I continued to feel really clear and energized. My stomach felt fantastic, and my skin looked fresh and bright – even my husband commented!
I MADE IT TO THE FINAL DAY! I woke up invigorated and excited to see this thing through to the end.
Breakfast was really tasty – a Squash Frittata with a side of spinach that was unusually delicious. Though it looked to be on the smaller side, I was full when I was finished, perhaps because of the previous day’s liquid diet. Lunch, a Cauliflower & White Bean Burger, was okay – not great, but decent enough. I was surprised by how sweet the accompanying sweet potatoes tasted, and the same thing happened later with the kefir drink. My taste buds had definitely adjusted to a lack of sugar over the course of the week. The final dinner, a Detox Macro Bowl, looked a little boring but ended up really surprising me. It was a totally delightful way to end all of the week’s hard work.
When all was said and done, I was really proud of the mental and physical effort I put in throughout the week to see the detox through completion. Yes, I made a few small adjustments – an extra dash of cinnamon, a chia tortilla late in the day – but I did it. Not only did I survive, but I felt GREAT. My priority going in was to cut back on added sugar that had crept its way into my diet. Not only did I do that, but my stomach felt great, I was sleeping really well and feeling fresh all day, my skin was glowing, and I lost a few pounds!
If you’ve never ordered from Sakara before, I recommend their regular meal plan to get your feet wet before attempting the Level II Detox. However, if you’re someone who is already familiar with plant-based eating and want to make things even cleaner for a week, give this a go! It’s definitely an undertaking, but it’s a positive, manageable one with a little determination. Though it has its ups and downs, I’ll definitely be incorporating this detox into my routine a couple times a year for a full body reset.
If you’d like to try the Sakara Level II Detox, use code XOJEN for 20% off your first Sakara order.