Within the past few years, my diet has changed drastically. My weekly menu is 90% vegetarian, 10% Chipotle steak-bean bowls (no rice, duh). If I had known this five years ago, I would have been horrified and promptly muffled my sorrow in a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger.
It’s hard to pinpoint the defining moment that prompted my shift toward healthier eating. (Although I ran out of excuses once I nixed all imbibing and smoking.)
Maybe it was my insane Seamless bill that forced the change. Perhaps it was the opening of a new, fancy Fairway supermarket down the street. More likely, it was started by my never-endling love for the Goop newsletter.
As always, I stand by my philosophy that the food you eat is as indicative of your personal style as the contents of your closet. There are plenty of trends, to be sure — locavore philosophy has spawned everything from rooftop bee hives to “concept” butcher shops that sell 20 different species of sustainable, clover-fed bacon.
There’s plenty to mock in the movement, and no facet of healthy eating is more misunderstood by the masses than juicing — the austere art of distilling your entire day’s nutrition into glasses of green gook.
A close cousin to juice mania is the “milkshake” craze, which is more sophisticated and healthy than anything churned out by the Smoothie King (or, horror, the 711 Slurpee machine). For one, there is no actual diary to be found in these shakes, with the eponymous milk being as nutty as its evangelists.
Last month, I ordered a fleet of powders and potions from Moon Juice, an LA juicery that’s gotten major press in Vogue and Eater, among others. (You can hear direct from Moon Juice’s creator, Amanda Chantal Bacon, on this episode of the Cherry Bombe podcast.)
Moon Juice exemplifies LA’s wacky healthy sub-culture, with its online shop selling “cosmic provisions” like seed-crusted crackers, nut-fermented cheeses and dehydrated seaweed snacks.
A month ago, when I was first attempting to cut caffeine from my diet, I knew I needed another morning “pick-me-up” to replace my daily extra-large hazelnut iced latte (extra milk, extra Splenda, extra chemicals that will one day kill me).
I opted for Moon Juice’s “Nourishment for the Mogul Package,” which gets you 5 different jars of powdered toxin-killers like dried mushroom, almond butter and lion’s mane.
The kit comes with a single recipe for what it calls a “brain-activating” drink and costs $140. ) The price may seem steep, but the Moon Juice retail locations routinely charge up to $12 for their nut milks. (I’ve already made a dozen for my husband and myself, so we’re rolling in pure ROI.)
At first, I followed Moon Juice’s recipe for the milk religiously, but found the given rations to be annoyingly insoluble. (Meaning some of the powders would stubbornly refuse to dissolve, no matter how long I whirred them in the Vitamix.)
Luckily, it’s easy to tweak the milk to your liking. For one thing, I use a mix of water and almond milk as the base — it’s creamier than plain water, and a little more flavorful.
Whenever I make the shakes, I customize the flavors by adding a spoonful of raw chocolate (hint: not really chocolate), Greek yogurt (adds pleasant thickness) and a handful of dried chia seeds. (Please note that you DON’T add the chia seeds until you are done blending.)
The recipe calls for stevia, but I prefer something subtler, like bee products. Honey is fantastic, but you can also use bee pollen, which I childishly enjoy for its tactile resemblance to goldfish food. (See photo above.)
After you blend everything together, I pour it into a travel-ready thermos, sprinkle in the dried chia seeds, shake and leave it in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds plump up overnight, lending a pleasant tapioca mouth-feel to the shake — and plenty of fiber, which supposedly makes you feel more full.
The Moon Juice ethos is filled with promises that devotees will glow from the inside-out and avoid common maladies, like the cold. I have yet to experience these miraculous results (and I’m pretty sure I’m getting ANOTHER flu), but I’ll wait until I reach the end of the jars to share my final results.
Let me know if you try this nut milk shake! Or do you think the juice and nut-milk craze is full of hooey? Sound off in the comments!