Since its inception in 2017, meal delivery service Soulara has been filling the gap in the market for plant based, ready-made meals. The brainchild of founder Yuki Thomas, Soulara was created to “challenge the conventional idea that plant-based diets are bland or un-inspiring.”
The menu utilises sustainable, locally sourced produce, and changes seasonally to utilise the freshest, in-season produce. All Soulara meals are vegan-friendly, with the option to select various nutritional benefit focused themes, such as brain power, anti-inflammatory, gut-health, detox and adaptogenic.
Below, founder Yuki Thomas explains how Soulara was formed.
BYO: How did you come up with the name 'Soulara'?
Yuki Thomas: It’s a play on the Latin word ‘Solara’, which means ‘the sun’. The name Soulara embodies my vision: food from the sun and the earth to nurture the soul.
BYO: What was the inspiration behind creating a healthy meal service?
YT: My own health journey was what led me to Soulara.
I grew up eating lots of fish, tofu and vegetables, and little meat because of my Japanese background. But when I started university, I was suddenly in a lab for 12 to 13 hours a day and the only options around were fast food. I relied heavily on this for three years to make it through my degree. By the time I started working, I couldn’t kick my unhealthy eating habits.
I’d get 13 hours of sleep a night and still wake up exhausted. I was moody often, dragging my feet behind me, was in a constant brain fog, and I knew that my diet and lifestyle were largely to blame.
My tipping point was when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism after university. On top of that my blood test results showed that I wasn’t eating right and wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. My doctor told me I had to do something about my diet.
I decided then and there to start my plant-based journey, and to eliminate all processed food that I knew wasn’t doing my body any good. I read all that I could about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and added meditation and exercising outside into my routine. I was determined to improve my health in the long-term with a plant-based diet.
I went from almost having to rely on medication to keep my thyroid health under control, to being able to manage it with a balanced, wholefood diet.
BYO: What is the process behind developing your meals - do you work with chefs and nutritionists?
YT: The original Soulara meals were born in my kitchen, inspired by the cultures experienced from my travels and with produce from my garden! Today, the meals are carefully designed by passionate nutritionists and dietitians to ensure they are nutritionally balanced, with as much colour and goodness packed in as possible. Our expert chefs then work their magic with the recipes in the Soulara kitchen, making sure the flavour and texture combinations are just right.
BYO: What kind of response have you received from the public thus far?
YT: The response has been incredible. All you have to do is go on our Instagram feed to meet our growing Soulara family. I love how diverse we are; one person’s wellness journey will always be different to the next persons. We aren’t just made up of hippies and yogis. You’ll meet professionals, university students and mums with their hands full who are doing Soulara because it’s healthy and easy. Soulara is for everyone, with more and more people experiencing the benefits - whether that’s physically, mentally or spiritually.
BYO: What's your favourite meal on the menu?
YT: The Ruby Sunrise Chia Pudding. I usually have it for breakfast with coconut yoghurt and a drizzle of almond butter and it keeps me going for hours. The Sunkissed Pesto is my go-to for lunch in the office, provided it hasn’t already been eaten by the Soulara staff! If I’m going to or have been to the gym, I like the Jungle Curry with tofu for a protein hit.