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Welcome to Pret-a-Reporter’s second installment of Bites, our new column that highlights the edible consumption habits of Hollywood and music’s biggest tastemakers. Bon appetit.
It’s a no-brainer that eating low-sugar, wholesome foods are good for your health and wellness, but what about eating specifically to rev up your brain power, balance your gut microbiome and manage hormone levels?
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably just as confused as to the type of foods and liquids that give you glowing skin and a flatter tummy. Fret not, because we chatted with Amanda Chantal Bacon, founder of juice bar and health food shop Moon Juice, of which Gwyneth Paltrow, Shailene Woodley and Lena Dunham are fans, to find out the science behind adaptogenic potions for breakfast, why eating fat is good for your brain, and how to make mind-altering cocktails (sans alcohol!).
On daily food and drink rituals:
I begin my day, always, with a wild and crazy Moon drink, which consists of adaptogenic herbs. It’s a pretty steady regime that I drink every day, but I do switch it up in response to the times and the seasons and biological needs. I have a little shelf that’s fully stocked and looks exactly like the little shelf in Moon Juice, which is called the Moon Pantry in the hopes that other people can start exploring. The packaging is really informative and educational, so you can just pick it up off the shelf and start to explore.
I really indulge in the alchemist vibe in the morning, which is usually a warm drink based in sprouted almond butter and water that makes the perfect almond milk, or I’ll do hemp hearts and water. And sometimes I just go crazy and do cultured ghee and water. Ghee and water mixed with adaptogenic herbs and yummy things makes a really nice milk when it’s warm. I decide upon one of those for the day, and I always add our protein, which is a sprouted raw hypoallergenic plant protein that is 98 percent similar to the amino acid profile in breast milk.
I don’t eat a lot of animal products. I have ghee and honey, or once in a while I’ll have an egg, so having that plant protein is very important to make sure you’re satiated. And not doing the vegetarian thing where you’re smoking cigarettes, eating French fries and on a good day having half an avocado.
One thing that is an internal/external beauty thing all in one jar is pearl. It’s part of fortifying my body in the practice of eating mostly plants because the amino acid profile in that pearl in incredible for the body. The nice thing about the pearl dust is I also put it on my face at night. Just dust some on with a little brush and let it soak into your skin.
So the protein and the pearl, I put maca in it, which is a Peruvian root that sort of looks like a turnip. It has a vast root system that goes deep into the ground of the Andes and it pulls all of these prehistoric minerals because the root system is so vast it can get deep down into the mountains and pull that stuff out.
It’s one of the most powerful adaptogens and also an incredible aphrodisiac and energy builder. I have watched my blood chemistry change just by having a tablespoon of maca every day. I also add cordyceps — which are great for the adrenals, great for energy — reishi and chaga.
On an ideal day of eating:
Depends on the day. I’m a big snacker. I rarely eat meals anymore so it’s a nonstop flow of Moon Juices, cordyceps, reishi, maca, figs, raw chocolate — it’s a nonstop party!
I am always snacking on these adaptogenic herb mixes. You start your day with something that’s so heavy with these herbs that have so many minerals, aminos and adaptogens that really get into your system. The drink is loaded with good raw healthy fat, so you’re feeling great. You’re not feeling like you need to have that bagel and cream cheese or the crash after coffee. So it’s snacking but it’s a purposely potent snacking.
I eat fermented foods throughout the day, so I start with that then go into some green juices. Then mid-morning if I do some yoga or go for a little run, I’ll be a bit ravenous and want coconut yogurt, which is fermented like a regular yogurt and made with raw coconut meat. I love it and have it at least once a day. We sell it here but it’s so easy to make at home. Fermented foods are so good for culturing the gut, and you’ll immediately see the side effects in energy, brain fog, immunity and what people really like to see, which is glowing skin. They clean out your liver and your gut so you can better start to absorb other nutrients. Coconut yogurt is also loaded with good fat, which is another energy beauty vitality tool that I use.
I watched my life really change when I started to eat these healthy fats. Your brain is made of 65 percent fat, so if you start eating to that tune and you’re conscious of other things that you’re eating, I always say you can’t just start eating good fat and add that to the standard American diet because you will get fat. But you put that into a container and you will actually lose weight and have tons of energy. Your hormones are made of these fats, so when you start to think about the life experience you’re going to begin to have when your body is flush with all the hormones that it’s meant to have, your brain is fully functioning and your metabolism is on fire … I make that happen three times a day.
Also when you eat fermented foods, they kill cravings — sugar in particular.
Lunch — if I’m left to my own devices is usually a meeting of people at my house and I’m eating while standing and talking and working. Lunch usually consists of nori rolls with avocado and cultured vegetables and little spirulina crunchies and greens. Sometimes a baked sweet potato. People sometimes say, “Oh, that’s bunny food. I couldn’t eat that for lunch.” But I challenge somebody else to eat two avocados for lunch. With that I have more cultured vegetables, which help to digest that.
I also have business meetings where I go out to restaurants and I love to eat for art and entertainment and don’t abstain from that.
It’s so sad that AXE closed. They were the perfect restaurant. I go to Gjusta, Farmshop in Brentwood, I like Rawvolution in Santa Monica for dessert-y kind of things. If I’m in Hollywood I love Son of a Gun.
On cooking and food memories:
Growing up no one taught me how to cook. I grew up in New York where there was a lot of going out and eating at restaurants. My dad was a chef, but he didn’t teach me how to cook. I spent my childhood doing this alchemist thing where I was forever making potions in the kitchen that were inedible and included everything from the spice cabinet to my mom’s products in the bathroom. I was obsessive; there was no happier place, and now it’s what I do every morning. So before the cook came out, the alchemist came out. As far as cooking I had formal training and worked with a bunch of chefs, but Suzanne Goin was a true mentor.
On what to listen to while cooking:
I absolutely love listening to mantras when I cook because I find when I get around food and start to touch it and make little potions in the blender or I soak nuts to activate them, I slip into this moving mediation, and I’ve done it for so many years that it truly is a practice. I’m sure other people have that, like when they get on the yoga mat. With the mantras, I love mentally chanting along while I do kitchen work. It’s the greatest meditative practice in the world.
On favorite food-related movie scenes:
9 ½ weeks (laughs). Hey, that’s breakfast every morning. I play out that scene three times a day with no one around. I love the Beetlejuice scene when they’re around the dinner table with the shrimp on the fingers.
On what to eat for hydration:
Unsweetened green juice is incredible. I drink that all day long, all night long. I’m such a fan of heirloom stone fruit and heirloom melons. It’s a time when I try to be pretty judicious about having sweet things in my life, but when you have this heirloom, California, farmers market fruit, and it’s so juicy and hydrating and alive paired with all the good fiber in fruit, go for it. I have entire days where I’m just drinking green juice and gorging on all this ripe fruit and I feel so hydrated and energized. My skin is so glowy and polished the next day. It’s almost like an accidental cleanse. You keep eating berries, cherries and apricots and drinking more green juice and then you have some tea. It’s such a great way to reset.
On refrigerator staples:
Coconut yogurt, almond milk, arugula, Persian cucumbers, cultured vegetables, green juice, bee pollen and probiotics. Always and only all that stuff.
On favorite Moon Juice products:
They’re all my faves, but for the summer — the ones I use multiple times a day are the Goodness Greens, and this collaboration I did with Odacity. It’s a box set that comes with a little spray made of Bulgarian organic rose and fresh aloe that you spray on your face. And then I take two to three drops of the pressed wild carrot seed oil and I spread it with my fingertips on my face. It’s like juice for your face. It’s not cut with anything. It smells like a perfume-y dirt. I put this on three times a day and it just sinks in and is on par with my advocating for us to be eating good raw fat internally, we should also be putting pure essential oil onto our face. I think that we were all taught in the ‘90s if you eat fat you get fat and if you put fat on your face, you get pimples. Both of those things are incorrect. Part of doing this collaboration was to get the re-education of anointing ourselves with oil.
The other thing I drink all day long is Beauty Dust, which has schisandra, pearl and goji mixed with water. I just tap it into a water bottle, though you can do it hot or cold. I love it in the summer cold. I’ll make a big carafe in the morning. Skin and hair love it. I don’t brush my hair or put anything in it. I feed my hair from the inside and the Beauty Dust keeps it shiny and lustrous throughout the summer. It’s like drinking the new-age version of Snapple iced tea all day.
On dinner parties:
I set up a huge cheese board with a shallot and soft herb cheese, which is vegan and totally delicious. Rainbow crisps, fermented crisps, beautiful olives from Peru and big bowls of activated almonds with dulse and apple cider vinegar, which are super yummy. I’ll put out juices or a special cocktail like watermelon juice with a sprinkle of Beauty Dust. For those who like a shot of vodka, that goes in. I have a juicy cocktail zone where I spike things with mood-altering herbs rather than traditional booze. However, they can go hand in hand.
In the winter months, I’ll do a huge warming spiced pot of fermented beans, usually chickpeas with cinnamon, fennel and ginger. In the summer, I love to get fresh beans and shell them and do them very easily and gently with just olive oil and tons of fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice.
I have a salad bowl that is bigger than my child, so huge bowls of salad, and I go heavy on whatever is seasonal, so for summer: fresh fava beans, big ears of steamed corn, a big, beautiful tomato salad. It’s an overabundance of plants but because of my traditional fine-dining background, the way I treat, prepare and tease out the flavor is on par with any piece of meat. I hang out with a foodie crowd, not a bunch of raw foodists, and everyone is always over-the-moon satisfied, licking their fingers.
Then I get texts the next day going, “Thank you so much, what a lovely evening, everything was delicious and I feel great today.” Because they’re not hungover and they’re not filled with food that they’re still digesting two days later.
On new Moon Juice products:
The cookbook comes out May 2016 called In the Moon Kitchen. There is a chapter on juice, but the rest of it is on activating the live, thriving, delicious plant kitchen. It’s not a juice book. We have a bunch of products I’m testing and working with that are coming.
Moon Juice’s fresh pressed organic juices, nut milks, tonics, dusts and snacks are sold at the Venice (507 Rose Ave.) and Silver Lake (2839 Sunset Blvd.) locations.
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