Laura Bertocci/NastyGal

Since Amanda Chantal Bacon founded Moon Juice in 2011, it has evolved into one of the nation’s fastest growing wellness brands.

A world-traveling chef, mama, sustainable lifestyle leader, and passionate food educator, Moon Juice represents a holistic lifestyle that goes far beyond juices, milks, and snacks. It’s a “healing force, an etheric potion, a cosmic beacon for those seeking out beauty, wellness and longevity.”

If you’re not familiar with Moon Juice, that’s about to change!

With three retail locations in California, a partnership with Sephora recently announced, and her latest Moon Juice Cookbook, Bacon’s brand evolution and business innovation shows no signs of slowing down.

What’s the secret behind her success?

The answer to that may be as simple as trying one of her Moon Dust powders. Since our first-go, they’ve become smoothie staples. Containing healing properties with specific benefits (better skin, brain power and sex, oh my), we may not be able to spell some of their ingredients or tell you exactly how they work, but they do.

Precisely why we were excited to get the chance to probe Amanda with some questions about Moon Juice, the role of adaptogens and why culturing the gut is a must in today’s chronically stressed-out world.

Here’s part 1 of 2 of our Q&A:

What made you decide to start the Moon Juice brand?

In 2006, I began studying the power of raw, medicinal foods to heal the hypothyroid condition I had had since I was a teen, in addition to my severe allergies to wheat, sugar, and cow dairy. Although I was still working as a chef in fine dining, at this juncture my whole diet changed. I ate primarily vegetables and legumes from the farmer’s market, and foods that would serve as hormonal adaptogens.

Within a few months, I noticed a radical shift. My next round of blood work revealed that my thyroid hormone levels were back to normal. Working in fine dining was amazing, but my own transformative experience – backed up by extensive blood tests, the scrutiny of several physicians, renewed feelings of vitality, and a shift in my personality, immunity, appearance, and thought – inspired me to create Moon Juice.

These live, medicinal foods changed me from the inside out. I created Moon Juice for people interested in a new way of living. Not a way where you have to erase your past, but a way fueled by excitement to help yourself live better. Our only intention is to add goodness and beauty to your life.

Is your history and background in food? We’ve read you had quite the training!

I traveled a lot through Europe and South America – living in Italy, then Uruguay for awhile. These experiences stirred a love not only for the preparation of food but in tracing ingredients back to their purest forms. When I came back to the states, I went to study at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, working at local bakeries and dairies. When I landed in California, I was fortunate to cook under Suzanne Goin at Lucques for a number of years. I truly found a mentor in her. I then moved into food journalism, reporting for LA Times Magazine when it launched.

What is your favorite dust?

My favorite moon dust must be the sex dust! I use it as a buzzy feel good energy formula in place of coffee… and sometimes even in a coffee!

What is the overall takeaway of your cookbook that you really want readers to know?

You have perfect health, beauty, and bliss alive in you and there are very simple and practical kitchen moves that can unlock your own healing force. So much can be done with education and the will to try something new. You will find yourself living a new life experience if that’s what you desire.

Moon Juice is an advocate for cleanses and offers a variety of them. We’ve tried a few “cleanses” that left us mentally and physically exhausted. What advice would you give others?

I hear you on the mental and physical. I call fasting “feating.” if you’re going for a juice cleanse, think flooding your body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes vs starving yourself which will shut down organ function, brain activity and metabolism. Choose 100% organic, nutrient dense juices with lots of greens and veggies to avoid sugars highs and the inevitable crash. You also want to drink enough in one day, at Moon Juice we recommend at least 6 16oz bottles of juices and nut milks. If you start feeling spacey or week, add more juice. From this place of knowing, the body is being nourished and all systems are going. Spaciness and flu like systems are actually part of the cleanse process. There is light at the end of the tunnel on day 3!

Why is Culturing The Gut, or “Re-Wilding” important?

Culturing the gut, or as I like to call it, re-wilding, can be a game changer for your overall health, but especially for digestion, skin, immunity, and mood. Within the first weeks of re-wilding you’ll begin to experience improved digestion (from start to finish), a clearer and calmer mind, and your skin will begin to clear up and brighten, allergies will be put in check, and your immune system will strengthen.

For a chronic situation you’ll want to be mindful to eat probiotic-rich foods throughout the day, or take a good probiotic, while also minimizing sugar and starch, so that you can move into a lifetime of balance and maintenance. If you’re super intrigued by the science on how a fermented vegetable or coconut yoghurt can make a huge impact on health and happiness, there is a ton of research being done on two major systems of the body: the GALT (gut-associated-lymphoid-tissue) and the gut-brain axis.

What is an adaptogen? What benefits can you expect from incorporating adaptogens into your regimen?

Adaptogens are herbs, mushrooms, and minerals that help our body better respond to stress. These potent allies work by reducing stress-hormone (cortisol) induced cellular damage— improving mood, boosting immunity, and reducing fatigue. I highly suggest making them a daily practice for profound benefit, which is easy and delicious when you set yourself up for it.

I spike my food and drinks with adaptogens all day long, a teaspoon of ashwagandha in my tea, a teaspoon of cordyceps in my shake. The Moon Dust Latte program at our Melrose shop is based off this concept. You can get a Brain Dust Latte that includes rhodiola, a well-known energizing adaptogen, or a Spirit Dust Latte, which includes calming and heart opening reishi mushroom.

What foods offer the best good fats? Why are they essential and what should you look for when selecting a “good fat” food?

We need adequate fats for brain function, hormone production, metabolism, energy, immune function, and taming inflammation. They’re also vital for the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins D and E, the latter of which is an essential beauty vitamin, important for a healthy inflammation response and skin health. Whether or not a fat is “good” or “bad” is a question about whether or not it nourishes. Brain cells are comprised of fatty acids, and the fats that make up the brain come from the fats that are in your diet.

Raw plant fats like avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, olive oil, almond butter, and even green juice (yes, green juice contains fat!) are anti-inflammatory, energizing, brain powering, nervous-system supporting, and beautifying fats that are easily incorporated into a healthy plant-based diet. Despite our cultural training of “fat is fattening,” proper use of fat can actually help reduce fat levels in the body! Depending on my energy requirements for the day, my diet is typically between 40 and 60% fat.

What are you most passionate about in the wellness world?

The inspiration was to provide the absolute best quality health products available in a setting that is aesthetically pleasing. On a personal level, being a part of a movement that is changing the way food is produced and consumed. I wanted to go to work every day and be excited to put the best stuff in my body and that of my child’s.

What’s the definition of wellness to you?

Feeling deeply comfortable and connected to source.

What is your top guilty pleasure(s)?

I can’t say I feel guilty about them but I don’t like to wear sunscreen (I don’t let myself burn), my son and I eat dark chocolate for breakfast some mornings, and I curse daily, these things bring me a lot of pleasure!

How do you relax & unwind daily/weekly?

I meditate daily, I make adaptogenic tonics multiple times a day and I really like kissing, hugging and loving.

And now for a quick fire of questions…

What was your first big opportunity?
I got asked to join the Olympic gymnastic pre-team when I was little… life had another plan for me though!

What are your must-have products of the moment?
Fertility app, power dust, and teflon free non-stick pan.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Jane Goodall.

What’s your best beauty tip?
Love and respect your vehicle in this life.

What makes you happy?
Being alone but also making out with my love.

What are you currently reading?

What vitamins do you take?
Vitamin d, krill oil, pregnenolone..

What are your favorite aromatherapy oils?

What tea do you drink?
Tulsi rose.

Where do you like to workout?
I actually really prefer to briskly walk for 45 minutes when I can.

Who’s your mentor and why?
I’ve been blessed with many in several different fields, but right now I’m really appreciating the mentorship from Greg Renkar and Michelle Taylor, who have become investors and board members… when it comes to scaling a business they’ve seen it all.

Skin care tip we would be surprised to know?
Not a tip, but a preference, to not wear sunscreen and get a comfortable dose of sunshine.

How do you look after yourself when you’re stressed?
Acupuncture, adaptogens, meditation, sleep and vitamin shots.

Favorite vacation spot?
Bolinas, CA.

What beauty products would you never be without when you travel?
The rose oil I wear, I’m a minimalist.

Favorite snack?
Warm protein shake loaded with adaptogens and maybe an avocado too.

Where do you go for facials?
It’s a mud mask in my bathroom once in a while.

Favorite mask?
Odacite’s blue mud one.

Do you diet?
No, but I will cut out sugars and grains when I feel foggy and icky.

Favorite exfoliator?
Drunk Elephant.

Moment in life that changed everything?
My son crawling out of me and looking me straight in the eye.

What is happiness to you?
Bliss found in stillness.

What do you value most in your friends?

Favorite smoothie?
Sex dust, warm coconut milk, protein, and cordyceps.

What inspires you?
Always nature.

Favorite coffee shop?

Where do you go to watch the world go by?
Italy is very good for that.

Where do you buy eco-conscious fashion?

Wellness prediction for 2017?
ADAPTOGENIC everything and endocrine rehabilitating.

What is your current state of mind?
Calm and expanded.

Favorite flower?

Favorite fashion icon?
Linda McCartney.

Favorite athleisure brand
Outdoor voices.

What does style mean to you?
Natural instincts.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Listen for the birds.

What is the one thing you do every day without fail?
Say goodnight to the sky.

Three women you’d invite over to dinner, from any point in history?
Ina may gaskin, Ananda Mai Ma, Boudicca.

If you had a spare hour today, how would you spend it?
Sitting still enjoying sunshine in the garden.