In recent years, juice bars have cropped up across the U.S. and indeed the world. Once thought to be reserved for only the most nutritionally devoted, green juice is now as ubiquitous as espresso in the beverage world. While juice might be a new component in many diets, it's far from a flash in the pan for Los Angeles-based chef and founder of Moon Juice Amanda Chantal Bacon. Juice is just a fraction of Bacon's concept of what it means to eat well, and you won't find any extreme cleanses in her repertoire of recipes for wellness. Created in partnership with Panera, The Nourished Life delves into the lives and work of those dedicated to healthy, sustainable eating to gain new insights into what "good food" really is.
When developing a new elixir, Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon draws on more than her vast kitchen stores of spices, tonics, herbs, and a constant supply of fresh vegetables. A mother, chef, sustainability maven, and food educator Bacon has an extensive and global knowledge of food.
She got her start in fine dining, working as a chef alongside the likes of Alice Waters, a pioneer of farm-to-table cuisine and advocate for cooking locally. Cooking then took her around the world, from Europe to South America to the Middle East. Eventually, all of these influences would culminate in the wellness products that have made Moon Juice a standout source for healthy living.
Many of the flavors Bacon encountered on her travels have found their way into Moon Juice recipes. However, most importantly Bacon discovered a devoted process that she brings into her home and professional kitchen. "More than anything what I picked up abroad was the simplicity of ingredients and the immense amount of love and energy that goes into preparing food at home," she said.
"We've become a beacon to a growing community."
Prior to opening the first Moon Juice in 2011, Bacon had long been on an active journey to optimizing her own health. From remedies she picked up on the road to treatments from Ayurvedic doctors and herbalists, Bacon has always taken a holistic approach. While many might first think of the positive impact such informed and fresh eating habits will have on the physical body, Bacon has found there are more meaningful consequences.
"I've gotten to know so many people," Bacon said of not only running a successful business, but establishing that business as an authority for healthy, sustainable living. "But I also got to know another part of myself which was unexpected," she added.
"There are great things that comes about in the physical body when eating this way, but there is also a really profound emotional consciousness that comes about from eating these foods," Bacon said. And she's not the only one. According to Bacon, many who embark on informed, healthy eating paths come back with the same feelings.
"Essentially, good food fills you with love in a sustainable way."
Food as medicine is one of Moon Juice's core philosophies. "Essentially, good food is that that fills you with love in a sustainable way," Bacon said. Bacon applies the idea of sustainability to both one's body and the planet, as she sees them as co-dependent. With this in mind, many foods on Bacon's list are plant-based. They're often green, suggesting they alkalize the body and provide balance. Further, they're low in sugar and high in healthy fats. However Bacon's training as a chef mean's no matter how healthy a food is, it should still have flavor.
"I'm really interested in how we make those things taste really good," Bacon said. "How do we make eating those foods a really joyful, abundant experience, and not feel like you're starving and you're on a diet? It's not about that. You should be feasting as if you were eating your grandmother's food."
Adopting a healthy diet shouldn't feel overly regimented or strict, according to Bacon. Instead, adding in healthy options on top on existing eating habits is a great way to see the benefit they can have. "If you want to have pizza, then have pizza, and also have green juice on the same day," Bacon said. "If you keep putting the layers and layers of these good foods that help you thrive, you're going to delineate naturally over time toward that foods help you sustain yourself."