A Skeptical, (Mostly) Non-Mocking Look at Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Diet

Internet wags and pseudoscience watchers alike went nuts when an Elle magazine article about the daily eating regimen of one Amanda Chantal Bacon went viral. Ms. Bacon is a resident of Venice, California and the owner of Moon Juice, which is “a cold pressed, 100% organic, juice and nut milk shop.” She also appears to be someone whose eating habits Elle felt it would be illuminating to write about. Her food diary is a doozy, as she appears to live entirely off juice, homemade yogurt and chocolate, and the occasional salad. And herbs. A lot of herbs.

Green juice. Full of green things.

Green juice. Full of green things.

The piece is actually from May 2015, but it went viral on February 5th, 2016 after feminist blog Jezebel wrote about it with the headline “I Have Never Heard Of, Much Less Eaten, Any of the Foods in This Juice Lady’s Food Diary.” Other outlets picked it up after that, using similarly mocking headlines, and by the end of the day the Internet was replete with thinkpieces and videos mocking Ms. Bacon’s diet, the bizarre things in it, and how laughably out of touch rich white people are.

While mocking people’s food choices simply because they’re unusual isn’t particularly skeptical, examining a diet held up as aspirational, when it’s actually ludicrously expensive, woo-laden, and quite possibly disordered, is. In fact, it’s likely that eating the way Ms. Bacon does will leave Elle readers broke, exhausted, and non-functional – even if she herself isn’t.

Ms. Bacon starts her first-person food diary with a little tea and solitude:

“I usually wake up at 6:30am, and start with some Kundalini meditation and a 23-minute breath set—along with a copper cup of silver needle and calendula tea—before my son Rohan wakes.”

So far so good, right. Her copper tea cup sells for $12.95, which isn’t much for a cup you use every day. Her tea is available in a box of 90 bags for $49 – a lot to pay for tea, but only about 55 cents per bag. Incidentally, the FDA recommends against drinking hot liquids out of copper cups, but they’re just in bed with Big Food and want us all to be fat and sick, right?

She goes on to a pre-breakfast drink, and we crash hard upon the shoals of woo:

“At 8am, I had a warm, morning chi drink on my way to the school drop off, drunk in the car! It contains more than 25 grams of plant protein, thanks to vanilla mushroom protein and stone ground almond butter, and also has the super endocrine, brain, immunity, and libido- boosting powers of Brain Dust, cordyceps, reishi, maca, and Shilajit resin. I throw ho shou wu and pearl in as part of my beauty regime. I chase it with three quinton shots for mineralization and two lipospheric vitamin B-complex packets for energy.”

Shilajit resin - also known as "tar"

Shilajit resin – also known as “tar”

Wow. Okay. That’s a lot to digest (or not) so let’s start with cost. Vanilla mushroom protein costs $35 for a 20 ounce jar with a serving of one ounce. Almond butter is $19 for jar with a 2 tbsp serving and 8 servings in a jar. The Brain Dust is a staggering $55 for a 2 oz jar containing 25 servings, while Cordyceps runs $35 for 3.1 ounce jar, and Reishi is $48 for a 2.8 ounce container.

Maca will lighten your wallet by $25 for an 11 ounce jar with a 1 tsp serving, while Shilajit resin is $7 per serving, and ho shou wu runs $18 for a 2.8 ounce jar. Pearl is $35 for a 3 ounce jar. The three quinton shots come for $60 in a box containing 30 shots, and those two lipospheric vitamin B-complex packets run $32.95 box in a 30 packets.

Added all together, that’s a staggering amount of money – $370 before taxes. But keep in mind you don’t eat all this stuff every day. I tried to amortize the cost of the chi drink/quinton/vitamin combo based on what one morning’s worth costs, using one serving of each and 1 teaspoon as a serving size for supplements that don’t have a serving size (because the FDA probably has never heard of them), and came up with $28.26.

For that much money, all these supplements and herbs must do some pretty amazing things, right? Likely, no. The Moon Juice website extols Brain Dust as “[an] enlightening mental potion alchemized with elite herbs used traditionally by great thinkers and meditators. An elixir to maintain healthy systems for superior states of cognitive flow.”

As Skeptoid has discussed many times, anything that uses science-sounding driven to sell you brain, libido, and immune boosting properties is probably somewhere between useless and harmful. Speaking of harmful, Cordyceps mushrooms are known to have toxic properties that can cause paralysis, while Shilajit resin is the black tar extract of a rock, sold in a tonic that contains fulvic acid, a pollutant thought to cause bone disorder. None of the things she lists have been studied in any kind of major trials, and none are approved by the FDA to treat anything. And remember, immune system boosting is bad.

As for the Quinton, it’s a supplement containing “100% raw pure marine plasma, enriched by the vortex plankton bloom environment.” The “mineralization” she speaks of is an actual scientific term, meaning impregnating an organic substance with an inorganic one. What that has to do with “pure marine plasma” is anyone’s guess. The vitamin B she takes can be purchased in much larger quantities for much less money.

And by “drunk in the car” I sincerely hope Ms. Bacon means she drinks her drink in the car, not that she’s drunk in her car. She goes on, describing phase two of her liquid breakfast:

“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. […] I also take three tablespoons of bee pollen. I love Moon Juice’s soft and chewy bee pollen—it’s a creamy, candy-like treat that gives me my daily B-vitamin blast. I’ll also grab a handful of activated cashews. I try to get these in every day for their brain chemistry magic. I chase this with a shot of pressed turmeric root in freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.”

Again, a double barreled blast of nonsense. In case you’re scoring at home, green juice runs $8 per bottle, while three tablespoons of bee pollen will denude your bank account of $15. The “activated cashews” – “activating” being a fancy way to describe being soaked in salt water and baked – are $21 for a 16 ounce bag, and a shot of pressed turmeric root can be had at most juice bars for $3. Second breakfast runs about $26, assuming one ounce of cashews and without the grapefruit juice, which you can make pretty cheaply at home.

I will do no such thing.

I will do no such thing.

What does any of this stuff do? Beats me. Woo peddlers make a lot of money off goofy concepts like alkalizing blood and balancing mood, and if you know what “brain chemistry magic” is, then you’re probably making money off it already. Also, why does she need a “B-vitamin blast” if she’s already hammered down two B-complex packets? Hopefully Ms. Bacon knows that overdosing on vitamin B can cause liver damage, jaundice, and nerve damage. That’s not great for the skin.

On to lunch we go, and at last, real food appears:

“For lunch, I had zucchini ribbons with basil, pine nuts, sun-cured olives, and lemon. […] I often alternate this with my other lunch staple: a nori roll with umeboshi paste, avocado, cultured sea vegetables, and pea sprouts. […] These ingredients are all pantry staples, so I eat some version of this everyday. It’s probiotic-rich […], and deeply mineralizing thanks to the sea vegetables, and the avocado nourishes the brain and hormones. […] I usually make this while standing, working with someone, simultaneously emailing and definitely texting. I know the right answer would be to sit down and take 10 minutes to eat, but that doesn’t happen for lunch, ever.”

Putting aside the woo terms like “mineralizing” and “nourish the brain,” it’s hard to fault someone for basically eating vegetables. Though you might want to ask yourself where the protein and fiber are in this lunch? I can’t find it in anything other than small amounts. Ms. Bacon is likely too busy to ask herself this, inhaling her food while multi-tasking. Balance!

PS: the “pantry staple” of umeboshi paste runs $9.45 for a 7 ounce tray.

“If I’m home around 3pm, I always reach for coconut yogurt with cardamom, dried figs, walnuts, and apricots from a weekend farm visit—and a chunk of raw dark chocolate. I ferment big batches of coconut yogurt and make big batches of raw chocolate spiked with maca and any other medicinal herb I’m focusing on. It’s easy to do, and makes for potent, fast snack food throughout the month.”

All kidding aside, the yogurt with figs and walnuts sounds pretty good, and like an actual food that a person would eat. Why she has to go ahead and ruin it by “spiking” it full of herbs is beyond me.

Incidental question – it’s literally impossible for her to sit down and spend ten minutes eating, but it’s “easy” to make huge batches of yogurt and chocolate, both of which can be found in any respectable grocery store?

“Today I also called into Moon Juice and got some ‘drive through.’ […] I grabbed a mint chip hemp milk with double servings of maca and sprouted brown rice protein, sweetened with stevia, as well as two Goodness Greens juices.”

There's protein in sesame seeds, right?

There’s protein in sesame seeds, right?

Mint chip hemp milk runs $10 and two Goodness Greens juices set you back $9 per bottle. Ms. Bacon owns the store and probably gets it all for free, but for those of you playing at home (assuming you haven’t given up and hit In-N-Out Burger) that’s about $30 more down the drain.

“I had an early, pre-yoga dinner at Shima in Abbot Kinney, which is my 3-year-old’s favorite restaurant. I had a seaweed salad with micro cilantro and daikon, and a delicate broth of mushrooms and herbs.”

I couldn’t find the menu for Shima online, but Yelp lists it as $$$, meaning a meal there will run between $30-60. Of course, Ms. Bacon isn’t eating a meal – she’s having seaweed salad and miso soup, essentially. It’s actual food, in the sense that some of it involves chewing, but where’s the protein?

[…]

“At 11pm, I had a nightcap of heart tonic and raw chocolate made from one of my big batches—this one was made with our Moon Pantry heirloom raw cacao, reishi and Chaga mushroom, sprouted brown rice protein, and coconut oil.”

A bottle of Moon Juice heart tonic is $18 for four ounces, with a serving of 2 tsp. That heirloom raw cacao is $15 for 16 ounces, the chaga mushroom is $35 for a 1.6 ounce jar, and the sprouted brown rice protein is $30 for a 21 ounce container – about $7-10 for a nightcap, depending on how much chocolate she eats. Not that expensive, given everything else she’s splashed her cash on – again, assuming one serving is one tsp.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us having spent over $90 on food that’s either juice or supplements. It’s not a crazy guess to think that eating like this, including organic fruit and vegetables, the makings of coconut yogurt and raw chocolate, and going out to dinner could easily run $150 for a day’s worth of food. Per week, this is close to $1,000 – or over $50,000 for a year. Just for comparison, the median household income for the average Elle reader is $69,973, as of 2007.

One factor here is something I mentioned above – Ms. Bacon owns Moon Juice, which happens to sell most of the supplements and juices she ingests in lieu of food. So she’s likely getting either a major discount or just snagging it all for free. Obviously, this would cut down on the cost of eating like Ms. Bacon. Neither she nor the article ever mention this.

I want to make it clear that Ms. Bacon can eat in the fashion she chooses. It’s her right to spend whatever she wants on whatever she wants, whether it’s McDonalds or activated nuts and liquefied rock tar. Her health is her business.

But for most women, this diet doesn’t and can’t work. It’s ludicrously expensive, dangerously low in calories, stuffed full of dodgy herbs and sugar-packed juices, dependent on non-existent or unproven magical benefits, and involves spending far more time obsessively preparing food than actually enjoying it. Some of these traits are warning signs of orthorexia or disordered eating. I’m not diagnosing Ms. Bacon with anything, but for her diet to held up as an aspirational model to Elle readers is insane.

As I was finishing up this piece, I found another quote from Ms. Bacon, this from a 2013 interview, and it confirms everything I already figured out already –

“Here’s my dirty little secret—living in Southern California, I’m in the sun everyday and I don’t wear sunscreen. I don’t know why I don’t wear it, It’s not like I’m unaware of the dangers; I’m a fanatic about my son wearing it. But it just feels so good to be in the sun.”

About Mike Rothschild

Mike Rothschild is a writer and editor based in Pasadena. He writes about scams, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and pop culture fads. He's also a playwright and screenwriter. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rothschildmd.
This entry was posted in Alternative Medicine, Food, New Age, Pseudoscience and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to A Skeptical, (Mostly) Non-Mocking Look at Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Diet

  1. NoseyNick says:

    I came here expecting a BACON DIET, and thinking “wow, that’s a thing? Sign me up!”.
    Imagine my disappointment, Skeptoid! 🙁 😉

    • Swampwitch7 says:

      Dear Nosey Nick: Tactical Bacon is the thing for you. OK, it’s a little pricey, but its REAL BACON. Have it some buttered toast, a cup of coffee with sugar, and twice fried potatoes.

      It will do you more good than chewing rocks with hemp milk.

      • C Nault says:

        More good? Only if the rocks aren’t magnetic & if the hemp milk isn’t ionized ( or is it de-ionized? lemme check if today’s date is a prime number or not…)

    • Troutman says:

      NoseyNick…I couldn’t agree more with your disappointment! Saw the headline, thought Bacon Diet, got really excited, and then was crushed when I saw it was her name.

  2. Donkey Option says:

    A couple of things. First, what are sea vegetables? I mean, I like vegetables, but other than seaweed, I can’t think of any that are grown in the sea. Second, what is it about crazy natural people who won’t eat any “processed” food, but will eat Stevia and tar? How does that even make sense? And third, what is it about these people who are obsessed with not eating anything unhealthy because those processed, non-organic, GMO foods cause cancer and going out in the sun all the time and basically ensuring that they get skin cancer? It just seems really counter-intuitive. Ugh. And fourth, don’t a number of things she’s recommended linked to some really concerning side-effects. I feel like maca in particular causing strange things. But maybe I’m remembering wrong.

  3. Michelle M says:

    I am really tired of people who know nothing about nutrition trying to push woo-woo diets on others. My daughter falls for these on a fairly regular basis, so at least one month a year is spent on some fad or another. When she told me she was lactose intolerant, I laughed. Since when? Then it was gluten. I told her she didn’t have celiac disease and there was nothing wrong with gluten, it is a kind of protein. I later served her a pizza with extra cheese, to which she had no ill reactions. Right now my daughter is an ostro-vegan, which means she can eat mussels. I think she chose that diet because she likes mussels. She seems to do fine with gluten now. I wish someone would push a woo-woo diet in which alcohol is the bad guy. Now that would really help a lot of people.

    • ausGeoff says:

      “I am really tired of people who know nothing about nutrition trying to push woo-woo diets on others”.

      —Bacon says that “I was sickly as a very young child and an Ayurvedic doctor SAVED MY LIFE”. Apparently she spent her childhood years suffering from pervasive respiratory complications that no amount of antibiotics, conventional medicine, or hospital procedures could alleviate. “He diagnosed me on the spot and recommended that I remove dairy, sugar, and wheat from my diet. He cured me in three days”.

      And thank you Mr Chopra; who needs real doctors?

      • Jaap says:

        Yes, anecdotal evidence is decisive evidence.

        • Mudguts says:

          You get a lot of it in the woo sphere. Its just their way of communicating in an endless round of “I was sicker than YOU!”.

          Of course then they pipe up as being some sort of healer because what they did was coincidental to them getting better.

          “Don’t try social hypochondria, its a gateway condition.. it leads to harder things like quackery and fraud”

  4. anne cameron says:

    Four out of five children under the age of twelve go to bed hungry each night. Ethiopia is again dying of famine. The Middle East is becoming a pile of rubble, the people are starving… and this woman is making profit from her obsession with woo-woo crap! It’s obscene.
    Kind’a proves P.T. Barnum was right when he said There’s a sucker born every day.

  5. Catherine Atherton says:

    Isn’t her name just a wonderful touch of irony by the cosmic jokester? But then it struck me that maybe “Brain Dust” is actually made from the brains of the people who eat/drink/recommend diets like this, cos, obviously, they don’t need them, or at any rate the front bits we need for reasoning with. Somehow, though, ‘Double the chocolate or add Bacon’ is less appealing than the original culinary advice.

    Disclaimer: I live in Southern California, I wear sunscreen, and I eat bacon (not Bacon) and chocolate regularly, albeit not at the same time.

  6. ausGeoff says:

    I note that fellow wellness influencer (?) Gwyneth Paltrow told her Goop readers that Bacon “literally grows from within, making any encounter with her an ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ moment”.

    That endorsement alone is more than enough to put me off a green diet [sic] for life!

    • NoseyNick says:

      “Grows from within”? Perhaps she means she has cancer already? :-/

    • Mudguts says:

      I suppose that almost classifies as Gwynneth feeling “creepy on the inside” unless she is a five pack a day smoker..

      With a diet that costs as much as Mike suggests.. you could go to tech for two years and really learn how to cook.. and walk of with a cert iv certificate (always hinting towards education for the young and old)

    • Lazer says:

      Exactly.

  7. anne cameron says:

    “literally grows from within”………what, she has a tapeworm?
    There’s medicine for that….

  8. Walter Clark says:

    One lesson from extreme-a-philes like Ms Bacon and flat earthers is their primary joy is in making water-tight arguments about the most outrageous of claims. It reminds me of what Thomas Sowell once said; “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

  9. Darth Pseudonym says:

    Even aside from all the bizarre supplements and herbs, I see a diet like this, and all I can do is flash back to elementary school when we covered the food pyramid. Lots of carbohydrates (they’re fuel!), lots of fruit and vegetables (fiber and vitamins), a solid dose of protein (construction and repair materials), a little fat and a little sugar.

    Her whole diet is upside down. It’s mostly sugar, barely any protein, and a few handfuls of carbs. I mean, at least she’s eating fruit and vegetables, but even then they’re mostly juiced, which means she’s missing a lot of the actual benefit of them.

    Honestly, it’s no wonder she has to eat eight times a day; almost all her energy must be coming from raw sugars, which gives short bursts of energy that she balances by just grazing constantly. If she’d down some decent carbs — like maybe toss a baked potato in there with dinner or eat some bread? — she wouldn’t get hungry every ninety minutes.

    Humanity has survived for two hundred thousand years and spread to virtually every biome on this planet, largely thanks to being able to live on any food sources that are available around us. Yes, you can subsist primarily on fruit juice and nuts if you have to, just like you can live on fish and taro root or potatoes and turnips or berries and seal blubber. That doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to do so.

    What it does mean is that it doesn’t matter all that much what you eat, because human bodies are very, very good at tearing apart almost anything you put in them and using it (except for cellulose). A balanced diet is about making things easier on your system by giving it what it needs and not too much that it doesn’t.

    • Mudguts says:

      come to think of it.. we dont survive well without cooking food.. so you may adjust;

      “Humanity has survived for two hundred thousand years and spread to virtually every biome on this planet, largely thanks to being able to live on any food sources that are available around (and two rocks with straw).”.

      BTW.. I am sorry to say “Biome” has been nicked as well

    • Graham says:

      She’s turned herself into a hummingbird and the irony is that she probably consumes more sugar from all the fruit juice than she would with a balanced fresh food diet.

      • Novay Jose says:

        MANY people seem to think “real” fruit juice is “sugar free”. I don’t think they know what sugar is, or what fruit is, but it seems to be a very popularly held (but wrong) belief.

        It’s interesting to compare the nutrition labels of a can of coke and a glass of apple juice. They’re remarkably similar nutritionally, and in sugar level, and acidity, but there’s few who would believe it, even after seeing the numbers side-by-side.

        Even after seeing the numbers, they usually come up with some surreal argument about “natural sugar” vs whatever other “unnatural” sugar, as if glucose and fructose from an apple are somehow different to glucose and fructose from anywhere else – a surreal, almost homeopathic belief.

        • ausGeoff says:

          Refined sugar, as added to soft drinks, is more readily absorbed into the blood stream—spiking insulin and blood sugar levels—than fructose from fresh fruit, which is broken down by the fruit’s fibre and absorbed more slowly. And the same goes for fruit juices, providing that they’ve not been sweetened with sugar. This argument is certainly not “surreal”; it’s pure science.

  10. Harry V Derci says:

    It’s interesting to the newcomer that this thread is largely free of illiterate misuse of words, misplaced apostrophes, horrible grammar and assorted howlers. It musss meen that evrywun is pretty well educated and not very representative of the populashun at large, which seems to love its woo-woo.Just a thought

    • Ray Butlers says:

      I don’t agree with you. People who buy woo are not stupid. They tend to be prosperous and educated and ….frankly….vain and bored. They have too much money and they are trying to buy some happiness. This eating disorder lifestyle is perfect for them.

  11. Torchwood says:

    I wonder if Ms. Bacon would eat aspergillus ? It’s green, 100% natural, 100% organic, never processed, non-GMO…..what’s not to love?

  12. Kyle N says:

    Tax the rich.

  13. Leslee Soudrette says:

    Her wild overdosing on vitamins coupled with very sugary juices and little to no protein is dangerously unhealthy. This is probably why she’s 31 but looks 45. I’ll keep eating some salads, good fats, and the occasional burger, thank you very much.

  14. kurtdriver says:

    Darn, the vegetarians say that Bacon is stupid, turns out they’re right.

  15. Rob Aldridge says:

    Dear Mr. Rothschild – Would you do me the favour re-evaluting your solution to the Daytlov Affair? To qualify I am in no way shape or form a New Ager. I know that’s seems like a good solution to what happened to those kids but that solution was thrown out in 59′ and any number of times in the years since. I won’t go into all the items like the equiment photos before and after and the analysis of the kids initial departure from the tent and their unusual and rather leisurely desent down the slope which doesn’t match what should have been a panicked race had they thought an avalanche was coming down. And there are many other items that eliminate the avalanche theory (i tried to make that work myself until, among other things, reading the following trekking groups reports that did that route in the years after the Dyatlov group and that put the kibaush to that idea).
    Anyway I enjoy Skeptoid very much but we need to clone a hundred more of you then maybe we can make a dent in all the silly and crazy ideas being spewed onto the internet now days.

  16. En. says:

    She is a “health elitist” delusional pseudo hippie who always had a privileged life and has found a way to scam other privileged pseudo hippies.

    I am all for eating healthy, but this is unbelievably ridiculous. No nation, culture, or tribe throughout history ate all that, in those doses. All these ingredients are not offered in the same location. She had to import all these ingredients from several locations world wide, labelled them with mumbo jumbo descriptions and utterly useless scientific words (in her context – such mineralization).

    Did she consider the environmental impact of having such product?
    What are the methods of extracting, or harvesting some of those ingredients?
    What are the labor conditions in these countries?

    Most of the ingredients she uses in her products are not FDA approved, and very little research has been done on them. Some of them have negative side effects too. Even a lot of a good thing (e.g. Vitamin B12) can be very bad for you. With so many options to get her dose of VB12 she chose Bee Pollen (collection process of bee pollen is horrible for the bees).

    She is either unbelievably smart and this is a way for her to scam people and create her empire,
    or she is completely delusional and an unbelievably ignorant.

    Either way – all that “brain dust” she is consuming is clearly uneffective.

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