wellness theories

Amanda Chantal Bacon Knows Wellness Is Privileged

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Chantal Bacon

Amanda Chantal Bacon — the founder behind Moon Juice, the destination for adaptogen-powered supplements and skin care — changed her approach to wellness during the pandemic. Forced to stay at home and communicate through Zoom, she recognized the toll that constant traveling was taking on her body. In that stillness, she was able to put the final touches on her second cookbook, The Moon Juice Manual: Adaptogenic Recipes for Natural Stress Relief (which is out now). It’s much more “approachable” than her first, Bacon promises. This time around, “the goal was easy, fun, comforting, yummy food — and at the heart of it, it was my job to worry about things like the recipes being low-glycemic (and secretly they’re all anti-inflammatory foods).” Expect recipes like Horny Goat Weed Brownies, Supershroom Pancakes and Waffles, and Eleuthero Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Below, Bacon spoke with the Cut about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed her approach to wellness, not working out, and what she does when she feels like “absolute shit.”

On how COVID-19 affected her wellness: I’ve really come to realize how much I hate airplanes and the whole experience of being in an airport. Maybe because I’m a little bit more of a sensitive person, the flying really takes a physical toll on me, and I don’t think I realized how much all of the domestic flights that I was taking for work regularly had on me. I’ve been taking inventory around the impacts of these trips — everything from the jet fuel, to the Ubers that I would take to the airport back and forth, to the disposable bottles and utensils on the road, to maybe staying a night in a hotel and those sheets being bleached. Everything really piles up, and I used to do 12 to 20 trips a year that I’ve come to realize could have just been a Zoom.

On coffee: I started drinking coffee when my baby was probably 4 months old, my husband was on tour, and I was back to work and not sleeping. I had a lot of fun with coffee for a good year and a half and then something started to happen where I was like, “I feel a little negative when I have coffee every day.” And it didn’t start off that way. When I became a regular, every-morning coffee drinker for the first time in my life, I really looked forward to it; I was finding God. Now I try to limit my intake, and when it’s my special coffee day, I do a shot of espresso, and I will add some Sex Dust, some Spirit Dust, sometimes Collagen Protect, and steamed almond milk if I’m not intermittent fasting.

On exercise: In my fantasy world, I’m dabbling in Gyrotonics, but my reality is that I’m so slammed. I was very athletic growing up, and I was always on sports teams, and that kind of transitioned into this very regimented workout situation. But I found that high-impact movement combined with working the amount that I did and the amount of travel that I had on my plate and single parenting at the time raised my cortisol to the point that I felt inflamed and puffy, and my hormones were a little wonky.

When I stopped working out, I noticed that anything I was hoping to get from a workout actually came from not exercising. Since then, I’ve tried to get more into functional movements throughout the day. That means walking somewhere instead of driving, hitting the stairs instead of the elevator, and getting on a phone call and walking around.

On feeling like “absolute shit” — and how she pulls herself out of it: I’ve come to realize that shitty, for me, feels like brain fog, not loving work and just slogging through it, not having the energy to meet life, my children, or my relationship in a curious, passionate, and positive way. I actually take these signs to mean more than “Oh, you’re in a bad mood.” When these feelings suddenly cast themselves in all aspects of life, I’m physically exhausted and depleted and then inflammation comes in and takes over. So I book appointments with my people.

There’s an acupuncturist that I have worked with since I was in my early 20s: Dr. Shiao-Ting Jing from Traditional Chinese Medicine Healing Center. She has seen me through autoimmune stuff, fertility, two pregnancies, two births, two postpartum ones, and I’ll be with her for perimenopause.

Just one session of cryo at Pause Studio really makes a huge difference with my inflammation.

I’ll book a session for an infrared sauna to get myself sweating. I have MTHFR, a gene mutation that essentially makes it harder for my body to detox on its own and that can trigger chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions. This may ring true for some people, where you just feel bloated and achy and inflamed and tired, and part of that can be that you just need to move your lymph through sweat.

I also do manual lymphatic stimulation. There’s a machine at Ricari Studios that works off the same principles as Endermologie, but rather than going really hard to break down the fascia, it goes really light. It doesn’t engage the blood, and it just goes on the surface and does lymph.

I also work with Dr. Taisuke Jo. He is a kinesiologist, and he does muscle testing but also calls himself a healer. I will go to him for something that feels like an electrical tune-up. It’s quite similar to maybe acupuncture or Reiki, where they go in and move energy around.

I don’t employ all of those things at the same time, but what I find is that three of these things will drastically pull me back into my body.

On the privilege surrounding wellness: I don’t talk a lot about my wellness practices because it seems to make people angry. I recently was feeling pretty shitty, so I pulled all the levers. I went to a place in L.A. where you could sweat for $18, and in that sweating room, you could jump into a cold plunge pool. I did a cryo session a day later. I got a B12 shot, and that was probably 20 bucks. I got acupuncture, which is covered by my insurance. I posted this on Instagram because I thought, Maybe this is helpful for someone, and I wound up on a couple of pages for how “obnoxious” I was and how “privileged” I was. And I agree. I hear the concerns of “Hey, this isn’t accessible to everybody.” That is 100 percent true. It is a privilege to be able to do this, but most of these people that have a cell phone and have social media and are yelling at me, they have expendable income. But if you go out, and you have cocktails, and you get your nails done, and you buy seasonal fashion — it’s about prioritizing. I don’t drink cocktails, and I don’t get my nails done, and I don’t know the last time I went shopping. There seems to be this idea of “You think you’re better than me,” but I think that they may actually be better off than me in certain ways because I’m actually so sensitive — like, something has happened to me that I need to prioritize these ways of going the extra mile to feel normal.

The Cookbook

Amanda Chantal Bacon Knows Wellness Is Privileged