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Sex Dust and Beauty Lattes: What I Learned From The Moon Juice Cookbook

Culture
photo courtesy of Penguin/Random House

We repeat, Sex Dust

It all started with Sex Dust. There I was, doing what I often do in the mornings (namely, do what I do best aka procrastinating aka lazily checking email aka reading old editions of the GOOP newsletter that I never got around to reading when they were first sent) when I happened upon a group of recipes from Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of Los Angeles juice and wellness shops Moon Juice. The names of the recipes read a little bit like a Reductress send-up of the kind of recipes that would be featured on GOOP (think: Beauty Milk and Spirit Truffles), but because I am a sucker for exactly that kind of thing (why, yes, I do have a jar of bee pollen in my refrigerator, and, yes, I do sprinkle it liberally in my smoothies despite the fact that bee pollen's smell, texture, appearance, and taste are virtually identical to cat litter), I clicked on the article.

The recipes provided on GOOP were prefaced with a brief introduction of their creator by GP herself. Paltrow wrote that Bacon is "a bad-a$* [sic] entrepreneur and single mom who built her business from the ground up," "other-worldly," and that "she literally glows from within." Being that these are all ways in which I aspire to be described, I read on. And then the recipes themselves only furthered my interest, because they included ingredients like Brain Dust (in GP's Brain Activating Adaptogenic Drink) and Pearl (in Beauty Milk) and the aforementioned Sex Dust (in Sex Bark). I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. I wanted to make the Beauty Milk. I wanted to eat the Sex Bark. So it was with no small amount of excitement that I learned about the release of The Moon Juice Cookbook, and eagerly awaited its arrival.

But while my enthusiasm for this kind of thing (by which I mean participating in vaguely cultish behavior, all in an attempt to be "well") is possibly boundless, I should say that I do understand why other people might instantly be put off by recipes involving esoteric ingredients like maca or ho shou wu, particularly when those recipes are being peddled on a site like GOOP, which has also extolled the virtues of a $15,000 24k gold dildo. (Which, ha, I'd probably buy if I had enough disposable income??) Bacon herself has caused minor internet drama after doing things like having an Instagram feud with Father John Misty over a stolen crystal (no, really) and recording a food diary for Elle which included lines like, "at 9:30am, I drink 16 ounces of unsweetened, strong green juice, which is my alkalizer, hydrator, energizer, source of protein and calcium, and overall mood balancer. It's also my easy, 'lazy,' and delicious skin regime," leading many to mock her and feel that she is thus worthy of ridicule, in part because her lifestyle is wildly unfamiliar to so many people, her interests and knowledge base so far distant from their own, and in part because this kind of hippie-ish language is inherently amusing. Why is it so funny? Well, because the current concept of wellness carries with it connotations of immortality; as if the wellness practitioner believes that by alkalizing and hydrating and energizing their bodies, they will stave off death, perhaps indefinitely. And this is funny. Because we're all going to die—there's no avoiding that.

But, there's another bothersome aspect of the success that Bacon and people like her have found in today's wellness boom, one which isn't just based in snark. What upsets many people about the kind of diet and lifestyle that Bacon espouses is that, frankly, they take time and money to achieve. The thing about Bacon citing her green juice regimen as being a "lazy" fix for any skin problems is that it's fundamentally ironic: There's nothing lazy about sourcing the ingredients to make an effective green juice (to say nothing of a juicer, plus those things are a bitch to clean) or even buying a premade juice. And there's also nothing cheap about it. A constant supply of only the freshest produce and the Moon Juice-approved supplements is expensive. (Again, I keep myself well-stocked in bee pollen and spirulina, so I know.) There's plenty of people who rightly recoil at the current wellness industry because its underlying message is that wellness—health, really—can only be attained via capital. Health is wealth, in other words. This is fucked up! Genuinely. Healthy living should not be the sole provenance of the elite. It's awful that people are told that the secret to longevity is prohibitively expensive. It's also not exactly true.

The reality is, while it isn't inexpensive to buy a jar of Bacon's Brain Dust, it's also expensive to go out drinking a few times a week. And Brain Dust—whatever its actual benefits (read more about that here)—is at least not going to kill any of your little gray cells. Plus, while many women are encouraged—and do—drop small fortunes on beauty and skin-care products, also part of the wellness industry, Bacon's beauty diet is remarkably spare. It's not that she's cavalier about money in general, she just, literally, wants to put her money where her mouth is. The disturbing truth is that while there are plenty of ways to spend a small fortune in the pursuit of "wellness," there's also plenty of ways to spend a small fortune while pursuing things that are nowhere near as good for you. But, you know, that's capitalism for you. It's disturbing. The idea that someone like Bacon would be raked over the coals for celebrating the simple delights of a nori taco, while other people in the public eye, many of them men, are practically deified for flying all over the world and gorging themselves on all manners of things is disturbing too. (And, hey, that's sexism for you. Which is also disturbing.) But this is the reality we live in, where someone like Anthony Bourdain (who, admittedly, I also love) is adored for his unapologetic attitude about his way of life, but Bacon gets called out as smug or affected for hers. 

Here's the thing, though: Read anything that Bacon writes about her own journey to wellness, and you'll quickly realize that she's the furthest thing from smug or affected. Earnest? Absolutely. In possession of a cohesive plan for how she feeds herself and treats her body? Yup! These traits, though, are not affects, they are hard-won realities. In the introduction to The Moon Juice Cookbook, Bacon details her chronic health problems, and her journey to discover a diet which would help her achieve balance. She's a trained chef with years of experience who has also consulted with "doctors, acupuncturists, and naturopaths," and has utilized all this information to develop recipes which fit into her wellness needs. Bacon explains how finding balance in her diet allowed her to have "a general expansion in all aspects of [her] life, inwardly and outwardly." This statement is the kind of thing which tends to inspire a raised eyebrow (at least) in the more cynical among us, but that's too bad. In my mind, any chance a person has to be centered and find some sense of peace in the world should not be seen as a bad thing. 

But so, about the cookbook. In some ways, by the time I actually got to reading the recipes, I had already come to terms with how much and why I liked Bacon's nutritional ethos. I was pretty sure I understood what everything was all about and wholeheartedly believed in the idea of using food to feed myself in more ways that just one. Who needed the recipes? Besides, wouldn't they probably be incredibly complicated with lots of hard-to-source ingredients? Turns out, no.

In fact, the cookbook, beyond being filled with gorgeous, color-saturated photographs (several have a sly humor to them, which I really liked), has many recipes that are actually quite easy to make. Sure, a lot of them call for the use of a dehydrator, which isn't a kitchen tool that I (or anyone I know) have, but you can use your oven instead. And then there's the cost of a juicer, which there isn't really any substitute for, so, I don't know, that's definitely a thing. Beyond that, though, all you really need is a powerful blender, and you're set to make all sorts of absurdly delicious and absurdly healthy and absurdly named Moon Juice treats, like Hot Sex Milk or Bliss Brain. On a practical level, Bacon's recipes for everything from muesli to vanilla pastry dough are simple enough to make and are the kind of things I can easily imagine making again and again, and feeling all the better for it. And if other people want to laugh at the inclusion of Sex Dust in a recipe for chocolate bark? Let them. That just means there's more for me.

For two recipes from The Moon Juice Cookbook click through below. And you can buy the book yourself here.

Golden Milk
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 ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric but it will have a distinctly different flavor.

Makes 16 ounces

12 ounces Almond Milk
¾ pound fresh turmeric, juiced
2 teaspoons raw honey or sweetener of choice
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 whole black peppercorns, or
3 drops of 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!


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

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes www.youtube.com

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Photo by Rich Polk/ Getty

Her hypocrisy would be mind-blowing if it weren't so predictable

It's been just over two years since Tomi Lahren appeared on ABC's The View to assert that, despite her ultra-conservative bona fides, she holds one position more normally associated with the left wing: She's pro-choice. In that talk show appearance, Lahren made clear then that her pro-choice views were consonant with her self-identification as a "constitutionalist," further explaining:

I am someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women should do with their bodies." I can sit here and say that as a Republican, and I can say, "You know what? I'm for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."

Back then, we noted the hypocrisy inherent to that position, since Lahren was an ardent supporter of President Trump—who made no secret of his desire to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and other judicial benches—and Vice-President Pence, whose anti-abortion views are even more ardent.

Since Lahren's appearance on The View, she has appeared in the anti-abortion film Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade, which co-starred fellow execrable conservative troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, and, um, Joey Lawrence. Though the film has not yet been released, it is alleged to contain "several graphic scenes depicting aborted fetuses," and also the acting styles of Jamie Kennedy, so we're not sure for whom it will really be appropriate.

But while Lahren's role in that film would be enough to make anyone question just how committed she is to her alleged pro-choice stance, the recent news about de facto abortion bans in Alabama and Georgia has incited Lahren to speak out about her views once again.

On Twitter, Lahren opened herself up to "attack[s] by [her] fellow conservatives" and spoke out against the Alabama abortion ban as being "too restrictive." And, indeed, her "fellow conservatives" did quickly attack Lahren for not actually caring about human life, and for having too liberal a position on whether or not a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape. But then also, as Lahren must have known would happen, other people supported her for... not having one irredeemably monstrous position amongst her arsenal of irredeemably monstrous positions.

But, let's be clear: Tomi Lahren is not—no matter what she tweets—pro-choice, and neither is any supporter of the Republican Party. There is no doubt that there are Republicans who are in favor of safe access to abortion—particularly when it comes to themselves and their family members having said access. But by supporting the Republican Party, they are showing how little it actually matters to them, and showing what it is that they really prioritize over women's safety and freedom: namely, access to guns, bigoted immigration policies, the continued disenfranchisement of voters across the country. I could go on, but there's no need.

Lahren's tweet doesn't reveal in any way that she's an advocate for women's rights, all it reveals is her hypocrisy and that of anyone (Meghan McCain, hi), who would love to have a world created specifically for their needs, and who is willing to sacrifice the rights of the less privileged in order to secure their own. It is despicable and dangerous and incredibly predictable. But, at least, it might give Lahren something to talk about on the red carpet with her fellow anti-abortion movie costars, if that film ever gets more than a straight-to-video release.

If you want to find out how to help women have access to abortion, please visit here for information about donating and volunteering.

Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty also appear

Lil Nas X went all out with the visuals for his hit "Old Town Road," tapping all of his newfound collaborators and friends, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, to star. The movie travels from 1889 Wild Wild West to the modern-day city outskirts, so saddle up and come along for the ride.

As the visuals start, Nas and Cyrus gallop away with a bag of loot, obviously having pulled off a heist. The trio of men on horseback that were in pursuit of them come to a halt, unable to catch up, and Chris Rock—the leader of the group—states, "When you see a Black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let him fly." Just as Nas and Cyrus think they're able to relax in stranger's home, it turns out the homeowner isn't so friendly. Nas jumps into a hole to escape, only to end up hundreds of years in the future on the other side.

Forget trying to figure out the logistics of time travel, and just embrace the hilarity of Nas' horse also having wound up there, and in peak racing condition. He impresses the locals not only in the race (with Vince Staples losing money in a bet against him) but with his sweet square dancing skills. Once he and Cyrus (yes, he time traveled too) trade out their old-timey duds for some fresh, rhinestone-adorned outfits, they enter a room playing bingo with Rico Nasty in it. Diplo is playing the washboard, I feel like I'm losing my mind, and this is probably the best music video I've watched this year.

Watch the movie for "Old Town Road" again and again, below.

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus www.youtube.com

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Screenshot via YouTube

They really "don't care" about how this was edited, do they?

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber used the name of their song as inspiration for the "I Don't Care" music video, and have presented what is essentially a long blooper reel of the pair messing around with a green screen.

The visuals show how dedicated the two are to proving just how much they don't care, because I'm pretty sure they did the editing on this video as well. They dance around in costumes, as an ice cream cone, a panda, a teddy bear, and more. I have a clear vision of Bieber and Sheeran raiding a costume shop just an hour before setting up a tripod and going to town on this one. They also juxtapose their faces on top of a ballerina, a skydiver, and a corn inside the husk.

Blink, and you'll miss the funniest moment of all in the video: Ed Sheeran gets married to a cardboard cutout of a young Bieber with swoopy hair.

Watch the visuals for "I Don't Care" below.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - I Don't Care [Official Video] youtu.be

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Photo by Jena Cumbo

Her new LP, 'Take Me to the Disco,' is her most personal work yet

Meg Myers isn't afraid to admit she's still figuring out who she wants to be. Originally from Tennessee, Myers moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to dedicate her life to her music career. In 2012, she released her first EP, Daughter in the Choir, which set the groundwork for the releases of Sorry (2015) and Take Me to the Disco (2018). Well-known for her poetic lyrics, crude vocals, and cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the honest singer-songwriter makes a point to tell me that self-acceptance is a process. After listening to her deeply personal LP, Take Me to the Disco, I know she's not wrong.

In the middle of producing her new forthcoming music, the star opens up to NYLON: "I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art. Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free." It's clear that it is this fearlessness to self-reflect that not only makes her body of work so authentic but also what motivates her to continue to grow.

Below, we speak with Myers about her new music, self-love, and her ever-evolving relationship with creativity.

The Great Eros Pants, Chae New York top, Schutz shoes, and Via Saviene rings. Photos by Jena Cumbo

How did moving to Los Angeles influence the artist you are today?
I feel more safe here. I've been tapping more into my truth and expressing myself on a deeper level here. Growing up, my family was very chaotic, and I never knew what was about to happen. I have four brothers and a sister, and we grew up basically as best friends, making fun out of the chaos and always creating some type of art from it. I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art.

Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I think all the barbecue and shrimp and grits [in Tennessee] really adds a smokiness to my music.

My queerness gives me a lot of material to create with. It's allowing me to be more playful and not take every little thing so seriously.

Silk Laundry jumpsuit, Wild Vertigga T-shirt, and Nakamol earring.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Tell me about your new music. Why is it different than anything you've ever created?
This EP is going to have a lot of similar vibes to my last album, because I wrote it at the same time with the same producer about a lot of the same struggles and self-discoveries as my past music. I'll share more with you on my third album.

I'm such a fan of your cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Why did you gravitate toward that song to cover?
It's such a powerful song! Kate Bush is magic. It's almost like I've been being guided to cover that song for a long time. I don't know how to explain it in words, as they can feel so limiting, and this song is beyond words to me. It's just a deep inner knowing, and it makes my heart flutter.


Chae NewYork blazer; Saku top, The Great Eros bottoms, and Inch2 boots.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Are there any other songs you feel really connected to?
I would love to collaborate with Active Child. The songs "Hanging On" and "Johnny Belinda" are also otherworldly to me. I've been listening to this band called Walk the Moon a lot. I also love Phoebe Bridgers. I have a crush on her. I generally listen to instrumental music and classical. If you look up 432hz music, it's incredibly healing, and solfeggio frequencies have helped me with a lot.

What does self-love mean to you?
It's been a process for me. It's been quite the journey. Right now, I would say [self-love for me] is about accepting myself, and having love for all the experiences that have led me to where I am. It also means being grateful for growth. It's also been about learning to be in the present moment. It's been learning to trust myself and not listening to what others think I need to be doing. As I learn to do this, I also learn how to love others deeper. All this being said, it's a process.

Chae New York blazer and Saku top.Photo by Jena Cumbo

What advice do you have for someone struggling to find happiness right now?
Spend some time in solitude if you can, or with a really safe person who you feel you can express yourself freely with. Find someone who has no expectations of you and is supportive. In that present moment, ask yourself, What feels good to you? What do you feel like doing? Use your imagination. Daydream. Find what it is you enjoy doing. I promise you can unlock magic inside yourself. It just takes patience.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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