Just in time for the new year, Uproxx presented me with a mission: I was to eat and drink exclusively from Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Moon Juice Cookbook for a month, then report my findings. Moon Juice, if you don’t know, is an uber-trendy store in Los Angeles, filled with expensive juices and bespoke products, regularly frequented by crystal-stealing celebrities.
The shop’s founder, the aforementioned Amanda Chantal Bacon, is beautiful by any standard. She is thin and has a kind but powerful look about her — like she’s used to taking a lot of shit but has learned to let it slide off her back where it collects into a rose-scented pool of dew. This is why she inspires so much ire in addition to admiration. Google her and you’ll quickly find a slew of criticism for her esoteric health brand.
My interest, along with that of many others’, was sparked by a “food diary” which appeared in Elle Magazine in May of 2015. Bacon cited silver nettle and calendula tea, Shilajit resin, bee pollen, and zucchini ribbons as a few of the foods she consumes on a daily basis. Social media went wild. Zero carbs, zero dairy, zero meat? She must be evil, nay, the very devil.
As a result of that article, she was roundly mocked for being out of touch. There was even a video of a man doing yoga while quoting the piece, as the dollars racked up each time he mentioned another tincture or tea. Amanda Chantal Bacon is the result of self-mastery and self-care, extreme self-control and making one’s own chocolate from raw cacao on a regular basis, and because she looks like the model ideal, people couldn’t help but freak out.
I’m certain I’m not alone, but for my part, I was both fascinated and revolted. Give up all the things I love and subsist on seaweed rolls, juices, and avocados? Would I, could I do that for clean physical energy and a killer body? This I wondered as I ate a chocolate ganache brownie. The part of me that lives on cheese and bread was outraged at the suggestion. The part of me that indulges in steak and French fries hated the whole concept.
As soon as I had these unkind, judgmental thoughts, I was hit with a wave of guilt and made myself buy a few of her products to ward off any spiritual debt. Although I was curious, I never used them and they sat in my cupboard until I got the call for this article.
I believe things come around, karma-style. Raised in a hippie town where I attended bonfires and witnessed interpretive dance on the regular, the ethereal girls I grew up with have haunted me my whole life. I both admire and revile them, so something about Amanda Chantal Bacon triggered a deep bruise. It’s that I can never be that. It’s that I could not possibly wind my body into a corkscrew and howl at the moon with any seriousness.
Being presented with the Moon Juice Cookbook challenge after I’ve been secretly a little obsessed with Amanda Chantal Bacon while also resenting what looks like her easy relationship to both food and herself (a woman who is promoted by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, another willowy goddess type who enjoys vagina steamings) well, this was fate, a chance for me to look deeper at what I’m capable of in terms of personal growth and the release of old judgments. Maybe, I thought, I’d been cheating myself and my body, eating the way I did. Maybe with a little more commitment and creativity, I too, could become the perfect being.
In reality I’m basically a single mom, plus I work two jobs I love which add up to 12 hour days and workaholic tendencies. I have chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, and ulcers. Also, zero self-control when it comes to food. I’m neither overweight nor skinny, I love a good salad, and I’m pretty good at taking care of myself in a noncommittal treadmill/walk the dog kind of way, but I’m easily bored and I don’t have much time.
Okay, now to the part where (after working roughly a thousand hours consecutively) I opened the cookbook. Phrases like “inflammation tamer” and “brain activator” floated before my eyes. I was mesmerized by pictures — delicately, thoughtfully designed pictures — of food and Chantal herself, who is stylish in a way that makes me think of Jackie O making a baby with a sixties commune. There’s lots of cotton and flowing involved and rather a sexual relationship to the food itself. Like, how do you make milk dripping over hands hot? I was also utterly seduced by a map of adaptogenics to pick and choose from, each with a purpose and its own special health benefit.
From where I sat that first night, it looked relaxing and heavenly, like a hot spring made of intricately crafted food (that would be gross, but you know what I mean). I read the book from cover to cover, riveted. The recipes were enticing, if a little hard to conceptualize. Strawberry geranium bars, homemade probiotic drinks, and ten different kinds of nut milks were among the simpler ones. I fell under a spell, and after reading about how my skin and hair would improve via various tonics and concoctions, I wanted to take a bath in a stream and wear a crown of daisies on my head while someone nearby played me music on a harp or a lyre or something.
I tingled with this imagined well-being, this glorious health, an end to pain, everything in my life in its purest form, nourishing and calm. There was also a little voice inside, warning me that Italian grandmothers everywhere were sensing a disturbance in the force, having seizures while their sausages and peppers sizzled away.
“You make your sauce for cake with dates?” they would gasp.
This image helped me remember that while I was deeply enjoying my early hours with the unicorns and water sprites, I needed to bring the whole thing down to earth, where I and the majority of the country live, in a place where many people don’t have discretionary income and are worried about things like taxes and racism and car payments. I don’t know how much young coconuts are in your neck of the woods, but here in New Mexico they’re expensive. Including the dehydrator necessary for many of the recipes, I spent nearly $400 simply assembling what I needed, as well as a few extra products from the Moon Juice store. I decided to cap my investment there, and if I ran out of food, that would be the end of it.
Once I had everything I needed, I set about blending, soaking and, as Ms. Bacon suggests, being my own alchemist.
View this post on Instagram
MORNIN’ PUDDIN’// Bloomed chia seeds, blended with strawberries and dolloped with coconut yogurt create a luxury perfect for the morning palate. Potent probiotics in the yogurt aid in digestion and beautify, while chia seeds provide a nutritional treasure chest of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. #plantprotein #beautyfood #availableatmoonshops #FancyLazy
I’m going to call the experiment itself a failure. One, I couldn’t keep it together on a food level. I was hungry, gassy, cranky, and discovered I don’t really like nuts and seeds which are the basis for most of these recipes.
Also, let’s take the almond milk for an example: After soaking the nuts for 24 hours, blending and feeding the concoction through a cheese cloth, I had milk running down my hands, yes, but I would hardly call the experience erotic, as the milk was also all over my shirt, my counter and my floor. Not. Hot.
Anyway, in the end I want the freedom to eat eggs and sourdough toast, not seaweed wraps and seed crackers to the exclusion of everything else. And I don’t have the time. I tried. I really did. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish. I’m pretty good at almond milk now. I made vinegar almonds my friends devoured. In fact, every recipe I tried was pretty phenomenal, taste-wise. Some of the stars included a date shake that I make almost every day now and sea vegetable bone broth, which is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t get down with the nut cheese curd, and every time I tried to do something more advanced my kitchen exploded into a monumental disaster, so I took it as a sign and eventually I stuck to what felt accessible.
What was most successful was exposure to the food philosophy. You can say what you will about Moon Juice and its branding, but there’s something important about injecting this kind of specific food antidote into our system. Each mixture of this or that features a different outcome and I learned/am still learning how to support a steadier, more energetic version of myself.
So far I’ve discovered that adding in Reishi and Power Dust one day and Sex Dust another, produce slightly different and very interesting results. I have no idea how they compare to other products in the same vein, but the Moon Juice Reishi mushroom is like valium, the Power Dust gives me perfect energy, the vanilla protein with some banana and almond milk stabilizes my blood sugar and leaves me feeling clear headed. I still have pain, but something has shifted.
Not only that, but I think Bacon’s products make a great gift. If you have the cash, they’re aesthetically pleasing and if you actually use them, they can be kind of amazing, too. I’m sorry I let mine sit on the shelf for so long. I use them every day in one way or another now, and I don’t plan on stopping.
I didn’t actually eat a la Amanda Chantal Bacon for a month. Learning to manage a kitchen in the way she suggests where you constantly have things percolating and dehydrating and fermenting — it’s a great idea, but not for me. We all have to know where we land as individuals and I land squarely in the middle.
For someone like me, this was enough of an experiment to gather that this type of eating takes more commitment than I can offer. Eating is a sensual experience and I don’t want it limited. I also can’t support the ingredient habit financially and I think that would be the case for most, especially those with families. Taking everything out of my diet but the Moon Juice recipes didn’t work (and BTW I don’t think that’s the intention behind the book), but adding some of them into my diet did, and to great effect.
I’m not bitter at Amanda Chantal Bacon for eating the way she does and I did sort of come to a place of peace with the waify types through this experiment. As far as Moon Juice goes, I think Amanda Chantal Bacon is trying to do a good thing. She’s like Queen Elizabeth II, except instead of being a role model of British high standards she’s an LA-style figurehead for well-being. If she can really manage her life, her kid, run a business, make everything from scratch and still has time for yoga, I have no choice but to stand in admiration.
All hail the queen and bow before the moon.
View this post on Instagram
ADAPTOGENIC BEAUTY// “A potion that can literally make you more beautiful is pretty much too good to be true — except it's not.” Although they may seem like magic, adaptogens are plant extracts that have life-changing effects. ACB explains to @bustle how our targeted superherb blends work from the inside out. Link in bio! Sign up for the MJ newsletter on moonjuiceshop.com before Midnight on NYE and you'll be entered to win boxes of Beauty, Brain, and Sex Dust sachets! If you're already subscribed email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure you're entered! #adaptogens #moondusted #cosmicinacup 📸@jamestheodore @christydawn