To explore the pages of Amanda Chantal Bacon’s The Moon Juice Cookbook is to embark on an odyssey through a brave new world of wellness and beauty. It’s a fantastical landscape filled with magic mushrooms, sex dust and cosmic connection. I’m not mocking. Paging through this sparkle-covered book, I was seduced by its promises of radiant skin, a robust immune system, an enlightened mind and spirit, energy for days and a cheerfully compliant digestive system. Who doesn’t want those things? Who doesn’t want this life?
I’m not too proud to admit I do. I sure as hell want that life.
In case you’re not already familiar, Chantal Bacon is the proprietor of the Moon Juice, a café and shop that sells beverages and powders made with plant-based ingredients, some of which are based in Asian alternative medicine. Her Los Angeles shop has a cult following. Remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s $200 morning smoothie? (I mean, that’s how much it costs to buy all the ingredients for it, not how much an individual serving of the smoothie costs.) That’s Moon Juice.
Now there’s a cookbook so those of us who don’t live in Los Angeles can discover what all the fuss is about, and discover you shall. I’m going to start with the largest barrier to participation, and that’s cost. Holy hell, the Moon Juice lifestyle is expensive. Here’s some of what’s recommended to get started:
I do not have these things. And I would love to stock my pantry with the likes of Schisandra berry, mucuna pruriens and tocotrienols and just skip this month’s mortgage payment. Surely the bank would understand, especially after I tell them about all the health benefits of my new Moon Juice lifestyle…? Ha-ha, surely not.
Having examined the book closely, though, and given it some thought, I’m pretty certain you can hack this lifestyle, and I’m going to tell you how.
How to hack The Moon Juice Cookbook
A guide for us regular slobs.
- Baby steps. Start with just one recipe. Pick one that sounds delicious to you and that has the most recognizable ingredients and the fewest what-the-hell-is-that? ingredients possible. I started with the golden milk, shared below.
- Don’t make your own milks yet. There are recipes for alternative milks, which you then use to make other recipes. Unless you’re already making your own, just buy almond or coconut milk from the store.
- Simplify the recipes when you can. For example, I’m thinking of making the immunity hot chocolate, which has reishi and chaga powders. I looked them both up in the book, and they have overlapping (though not identical) health benefits. So I decided to make it with just the reishi and leave out the chaga. These recipes are not gospel. You can tweak them to make them simpler or more affordable by making substitutions or dropping ingredients. This is not a zero-sum cookbook. You can still benefit from an almost recipe.
- Use the equipment you’ve already got. Did you know you can use your blender as a juicer? And you can use your oven as a dehydrator. See? No new equipment necessary after all.
- Search online for deals on those obscure ingredients. I ordered my whosie-whatsit ingredients from Amazon and used my Prime free shipping. Compare Terrasoul reishi ($15/5.5 ounces) with the reishi from Moon Juice ($48/2.43 ounces). But you may have other sources. Just be careful to research the brands to make sure they have a reputation for quality. Read the reviews. If you’re shelling out for this stuff, you don’t want to be ripped off with sawdust.
- Find your favorites. Maybe I’m crazy, but a cookbook is worth it to me if there are just a couple of recipes I love and use all the time. Well, this Moon life endeavor is going to be a lot less expensive if there are a couple of recipes you use — and buy ingredients for — on a regular basis, rather than trying to make everything in the book.
- Follow Bacon’s suggestions. The book includes tips for getting the most out of your ingredients and avoiding waste, so look for those.
Bottom line: I give away the vast majority of review cookbooks that come my way because I get so many. This one, I’m keeping.
Now let’s try this golden milk recipe. My Indian boyfriend grew up drinking turmeric-infused milk whenever he was sick, but his version wasn’t anywhere near this ambrosial. I love the funky, earthy scent of fresh turmeric if you can find it. See Bacon’s note on using powdered.
Golden milk recipe
Reprinted from The Moon Juice Cookbook by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books/Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright 2016 Amanda Bacon
Inflammation tamer | beauty food | detoxifier
Golden milk is the cult moon milk.
Years ago, unaware of its Ayurvedic roots, I naively conjured the idea of an ancient yogic recipe that added turmeric juice and spice into milk. This is a blend that really wants to be on the planet: From its resurrection in the Moon Juice kitchen to now being widely enjoyed by the masses, it is a luminous recipe that is equally healing and pleasurable.
Turmeric root has a thousand and one virtues, including inflammation-soothing properties that are as effective as a painkiller for me. I find it works within about twenty minutes to address joint pain.
This nourishing Moon Milk delivers lifetimes of pleasure and a multidimensional taste experience. It speaks to the magic of medicinal traditions that expand beyond time and space, recalling the ancient phenomena of Ayurveda. If you can’t get fresh turmeric, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric but it will have a distinctly different flavor.
Yields 16 ounces
- 12 ounces almond milk
- 3/4 pound fresh turmeric, juiced
- 2 teaspoons raw honey or sweetener of choice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 whole black peppercorns, or 3 drops black pepper oil
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until the peppercorns have fully broken down.
Moon Dusting: Enriching this golden potion with 1 teaspoon lucuma powder adds to the inflammation-taming benefits of the turmeric, and will help you cut down on the honey content, enhancing the inherent sweetness of the fresh turmeric root juice. Try halving your honey, or use none at all!
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.