Maintenance Phase

Moon Juice

November 10, 2020 Aubrey Gordon & Michael Hobbes
Maintenance Phase
Moon Juice
Show Notes Transcript

What's that Gwyneth Paltrow's drinking? It's MOON JUICE! This week, we're talking adaptogens, brain dust, hot sex milk and the wellness company that's taken L.A. by storm. Be sure to take your quinton shots before you listen to this one.

Thanks to Ashley Smith for editing assistance and Doctor Dreamchip for our lovely theme song!

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Aubrey: Hey, Maintenance Phase buds, today's episode is a real treat. It's one that we're really excited to bring to you. And also, it is important that you know that I fully fucked up the sound.


[laughter] 


Aubrey: Mike is an audio MacGyver and did a bunch of neat tricks to save it. But just know that the audio quality for this one is a little downgraded from our usual. We'll be back up and running the next time, but this one's on me.


Michael: [laughs] That is not how I would frame it. I wasn't going to blame you for this. This is a very strange and technical process. We had to use Aubrey's Skype recording rather than her microphone recording because there are knobs and dials on the microphone that were in the wrong place I guess.


Aubrey: And I'm just a very loud person. So, the place-


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: -they all need to be is the lowest setting. [laughs] 


Michael: We're both bellowers. 


Aubrey: Yes.


Michael: We both have a bellowing issue. And so, sometimes, that fries our microphones, and it was Aubrey's turn to fry hers last week.


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: So, we are sorry. There're a couple places where the audio cuts out. It sounds little tinny. We're working on it, we think we fixed it. So, please bear with us and enjoy.


[Maintenance Phase theme]


Michael: Hello, welcome to Maintenance Phase, the podcast about health, and wellness, and energy drinks, I guess, or something.


Aubrey: [laughs] Yes, sort of.


Michael: I am Aubrey Gordon. I'm a columnist for Self Magazine. 


Aubrey: [laughs] I'm Michael Hobbes. I work for Huffington Post. 


Michael: Awesome. [laughs] 


Aubrey: Yeah, look at that. We did it. 


Michael: And today, we're talking about Moon Juice, which I literally have no clue what this is.


Aubrey: This has not crossed your path at all.


Michael: Literally, these are just random syllables to me. The only thing I know which I think I heard from you is that this is somehow in the Gwyneth Paltrow Extended Universe.


Aubrey: If we're thinking about Oprah and who are the people that Oprah introduced us to-


Michael: Oh, no. They're all bad. 


Aubrey: The first big one that Oprah introduced us to was Dr. Phil.


Michael: Yes. 


Aubrey: And Moon Juice is like goops Dr. Phil. This is her first big endorsement of another company. 


Michael: So, Moon Juice is a company, not a substance.


Aubrey: Correct. 


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: Moon Juice, so, we might as well dig in. I was going to dig in more on like, "What else do you know?" And you are just like, "Nothing." Great.


Michael: [laughs] Literally. There's no-- You have mined as deep as you're going to get this is it.


Aubrey: [laughs]


Michael: We are out of ore.


Aubrey: It started out as an LA Juice Bar. I don't know if you know LA much, but its first location was in Venice.


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: Second and third locations were on Melrose and in Silverlake. So, it's really and truly just like where are the crunchiest hipsters.


Michael: Ooh. Give it to me in retail brands. Are these neighborhoods like Prada? Are they Banana Republic? Are they All Saints, Hot Topic?


Aubrey: They're seven for all mankind.


Michael: Ooh, okay. I know exactly what you mean now. Yeah.


Aubrey: Do you see what I'm saying? 


Michael: Boom. Yes. It's like the wine moms who do yoga and they're just on the border with anti-vaxxers.


Aubrey: Yeah.


Michael: They haven't quite crossed over. [laughs] 


Aubrey: Yes. There is a lot, a lot, a lot of skepticism about Western medicine [crosstalk]. They started as like one of many cold-pressed juiceries in a way there are a lot of those. That's all-green juice, and wheatgrass, and the whole bit.


Michael: Can I ask you a really dumb question? 


Aubrey: Yes. 


Michael: What is cold pressed mean? What is the cold adding to this?


Aubrey: There are different kinds of juicers. I learned this, I read the entire Moon Juice Cookbook. So, ask me anything about juicers. 


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: There are several different kinds of juicers. The idea behind cold-pressed juicers is that you are not oxidizing the juice. 


Michael: Okay. 


Aubrey: Normally, if you bought a juicer like a juice man juicer or whatever, it would look like a food processor and you would use this kind of plunger thing to push in fruits and vegetables that go down into this basket that's spinning really fast, and then shoots juice out of a little spout, and there's your juice, right? 


Michael: Right. It's the woodchipper from Fargo.


Aubrey: Yes, correct, correct. The challenge is that that juice then oxidizes more easily. Which means that it turns brown within 15, or 20, or 30 minutes. It doesn't look great in a bottle on a shelf. So, cold-pressed juice does two things. One, it keeps the juice from heating up, so it doesn't oxidize, but it also keeps the juice from heating up, so that for people who are committed raw foodists.


Aubrey: Ah, right.


Aubrey: Raw food is a big part of the Moon Juice aesthetic.


Michael: The cold pressed just basically means you just squeeze a carrot at high pressure. You run over it with your car and then a bunch of juice comes out.


Aubrey: [laughs] Yeah, you scrape up the juice from the pavement. 


Michael: Yes. 


Aubrey: They started out as a juice bar. They have since expanded quite a bit. Their whole thing is like food is the best medicine. 


Michael: Ooh, okay.


Aubrey: They now sell snacks, which they call cosmic provisions. 


Michael: Nice.


Aubrey: They sell capsule supplements and they've actually gotten into beauty supplements that are now in like Sephora and Urban Outfitters. So, they're getting out there.


Michael: This is the lifecycle of the American lifestyle brand. You start with one thing, and then once people are bought into the brand, then you extend the brand to all this other random stuff.


Aubrey: Yes, absolutely. They've also released a Cookbook, they still have their juices, and they've got these things called Dusts.


Michael: Oh no. 


Aubrey: Oh, yeah. 


[laughter] 


Aubrey: Which are powdery supplements that are a mixture of usually like mushrooms, and herbs, and a lot of ingredients that are borrowed really heavily from Chinese medicine, from Ayurveda, from herbalist, and a wide range of Eastern/alternative medicines.


Michael: I can see why Gwyneth Paltrow likes this.


Aubrey: Right up her alley. 


Michael: It's interesting. Gwyneth Paltrow calls her website goop. It's like a satire of people who are promising to fix your life with some sort of goop. 


Aubrey: Yeah.


Michael: Like, "LOL, everybody has a goop they're selling. Ours is just going to be called goop." It feels they're doing the same thing here by calling it Dust, where Dust is associated with dirt and filth. They're tongue in cheek referencing how much fucking snake oil there is in this field.


Aubrey: Potentially, that's the case I will say. I did read one review of the Dusts that was like, "I really liked that it was Dust and not powder, because powder sounds synthetic and Sust sounds natural." I was like, "This is bizarre."


Michael: Ah. Yeah, that's probably going on, too. Yeah, this idea that everything has to be "natural." 


Aubrey: Moon Juice is also big on adaptogens. 


Michael: Oh, fuck. [laughs] It's like Chevron with TechRon.


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: It's just a made-up word.


Aubrey: Yeah. Do you know anything about adaptogens? Does that come across your--


Michael: Is that a real word?


Aubrey: Oh, yeah. It's a real word.


Michael: What? Okay. 


Aubrey: [laughs] It's totally a real word and it's totally Chevron with Techron. Here's it. There's a quote from the New York Times did a whole piece called "What are adaptogens?" 


Michael: Oh, God.


Aubrey: Because if you are, like me, a white woman in your 30s, adaptogens are everywhere on Sephora, they're everywhere in juice bars, they're everywhere in all kinds of stuff.


Michael: Wow. 


Aubrey: This is the definition and little explanation from the New York Times. "Coined in 1947, the term "adaptogen" refers to substances that theoretically "adapt" to what your body needs and help protect against various stressors."


Michael: Oh, for fuck sake.


Aubrey: "Although the science is as murky as a mushroom drink looks and these supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, that hasn't stopped trendsetters from sharing their purported benefits, which includes supporting the body's adrenal glands, reducing stress levels, and regulating hormone responses for an overall sense of homeostasis or balance."


Michael: Oh, God, it's just classic marketing stuff.


Aubrey: There's a little bit of science that shows that there might be some benefits. Those studies have all been done in rats. 


Michael: Nice. Wait, what are they, though? Are they a pill or are they found in broccoli or something? Where are we getting these adaptogens?


Aubrey: They're found mostly in mushrooms.


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: Everything in the Moon Dusts, so, there's Brain Dust, and Power Dust and Spirit Dust, and something called Sex Dust. 


Michael: Yes. 


[laughter] 


Michael: That's called cocaine. 


[laughter] 


Aubrey: But also just like, if your sex is dusty--


[laughter] 


Aubrey: That's not sex I want to be having.


Michael: I had the dustiest sex yesterday. [laughs]


Aubrey: All of these dusts are just made up of, basically, ground up ingredients like ashwagandha, He Shou Wu, pearl has a bunch of adaptogens in it.


Michael: The idea is that these adaptogens are naturally occurring. What Moon Juice has done is they've taken these exotic mushrooms or whatever, and they've boiled them down only to the adaptogens, and now, you can get pure adaptogens in a pill or whatever.


Aubrey: That's right.


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: They're finding the most concentrated natural sources of adaptogens, a thing that is pretty ill-defined, right?


Michael: Right. And there's also the big step of even if-- Because we see this with vitamins quite often that even when we see the benefits of vitamins in broccoli, or whatever fruit or vegetable that you're eating, oftentimes, those benefits don't actually appear once you take out the vitamin and put it in pill form. Even if adaptogens are this amazing, great thing in mushrooms, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will get the same effect if you take them in a pill.


Aubrey: And just because it works in rats doesn't mean it works in people.


Michael: Yes. [crosstalk]


Aubrey: Sure. There's just a lot, a lot, a lot of layers of stuff we don't know yet. I'm not going to say like, "Let's never try adaptogens, or they shouldn't be sold, or what have you." But I am going to say, "Hey, maybe cool it on your big sweeping claims about what adaptogens are capable of doing." 


Michael: Yes. 


Aubrey: And Moon Juice's founder, Amanda Chantal Bacon is her name, has very big, very sweeping claims about what adaptogens can do.


Michael: Nice.


Aubrey: But basically, because this science is both really underdeveloped and also really highly contested, if you like me are not a medical researcher or a healthcare provider, adaptogens and the whole Moon Juice thing becomes a screen that we can project our own worldviews onto. If you don't tend to buy into alternative medicine treatments, you are probably going to dislike Moon Juice and you're probably going to relish disliking Moon Juice.


Michael: [laughs] This is me right now. Yes, I am raising my hand.


Aubrey: It is me often. [laughs] If you are down to trying a lot of things, if you have tried colonics, and enemas, and acupuncture, and acupressure, and cupping, and Reiki, and all of that kind of stuff, then you're probably down for Moon Juice, right? 


Michael: Sure. 


Aubrey: The only thing that's important to know about Moon Juice before we get into Amanda Chantal Bacon is that it has an incredibly high price point. One of their "cosmic provisions" from their snack line is a bag of activated cashews. In The Moon Juice Cookbook, she tells you how to activate cashews. 


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: Here's how you activate cashews. You take raw cashews and you soak them in salt and water.


Michael: Tired of these dead, unactivated cashews. Tired of these inert cashews, man.


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: Bullshit ass.


Aubrey: Basically, they're sprouted cashews, but she explains in the Cookbook, "We don't call them sprouted, because you don't see a sprout coming out of them" and I was just like, "Whatever.'


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: You can get a bag of activated cashews. It's like a normal size. They don't list the number of ounces on the website, but it looks like I don't know, eight or 12 ounces of cashews. That bag of activated cashews will set you back $30.


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: You can get a 30-day supply of their super beauty supplement, where you take two capsules a day. That is $60.


Michael: Oh, fuck.


Aubrey: And a year's supply of Sex Dust which by the way, their owner, Amanda Chantal Bacon strongly suggests taking Sex Dust before work. 


Michael: What?


Aubrey: Because she says that "Creative energy is linked to libidinal energy."


Michael: Ah. If you're R Kelly, I feel for normal fucking people, it's not.


Aubrey: [laughs] A year's supply of Sex Dust would cost over $1,500.


Michael: [laughs] That's a used car.


Aubrey: Yeah, that's right. That's right.


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: Most folks will know Moon Juice not because of the brand itself or because of the products, but because of its owner, Amanda Chantal Bacon. She is a young white woman. She's in her mid-30s. She's regularly photographed in gauzy white clothing, and big floppy hats, and turquoise like statement necklaces.


Michael: Should I google image search her right now? 


Aubrey: Oh, my God, you totally should.


Michael: Amanda-- You said Chantal Bacon?


Aubrey: Yeah. 


Michael: Ooh, wow. Okay. Wow. She's extremely pretty. She's very conventionally pretty. 


Aubrey: Yeah. She's beautiful. 


Michael: In a lot of the photos that are coming up, she's wearing these Daenerys Targaryen white linen flowing dresses. It's just like yard after yard of fabric.


Aubrey: Yeah.


Michael: Yeah. She's a conventionally attractive white woman. I can see why people find her messages appealing.


Aubrey: Totally. She also gets asked a lot about her beauty regimen and every time her response is like, "I don't really wear makeup and real beauty comes when your body is in its right state when you are in tune with your body." So, she's really able to bring that back to Moon Juice foods, and supplements, and the whole thing.


Michael: Which always bothers me, because it's someone who won the lottery giving you money advice. The key is, "Just to not care, and don't wear makeup, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables or the key is to be born with genetics that make you not store body fat, that make you not have acne, that make you have nice hair and nice skin." So much of this is totally out of her control.


Aubrey: Totally. It's both genetic advantage plus having astronomical amounts of disposable income. 


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: You mentioned in the Google image search, you said the first thing that came up was a food diary. 


Michael: Yes. 


Aubrey: And that is actually how I came to know of Moon Juice.


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: Because of what was in the food diary. ELLE magazine does this thing from time to time, where they say like, "Tell us everything you eat."


Michael: Oh, we're like they invite celebrities to lie about it, basically. [laughs] 


Aubrey: Yeah, totally. Amanda Chantal Bacon wrote her own food diary and I'm just going to give you a couple of quotes from it. We're not going to lead up. We're just going to do quotes. 


Michael: All right, do it.


Aubrey: "At 8 AM, 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.


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: I throw He Shou Wu and pearl in as part of my beauty regime and I chase it with three Quinton shots for mineralization, and two Lypo-Spheric vitamin B Complex packets for energy." 


Michael: You are fucking making this up, Aubrey. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: This is not real. All of these words are made up. She's having fucking, what was it, cordyceps powder?


Aubrey: Cordyceps.


Michael: Cordyceps.


Aubrey: Listen, don't pretend like you don't know about cordyceps. I see you with your Quinton shots in the morning. 


Michael: Jesus Christ. 


Aubrey: Initially, I was picking out quotes and I just picked out every paragraph-


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: -because everyone [crosstalk] is this level. Here's her lunch. "For lunch, I had zucchini ribbons with basil, pine nuts, sun-cured olives and lemon with green tea on the side."


Michael: That's almost a normal meal. Let's pause and appreciate.


Aubrey: It sounds good to me, honestly.


Michael: Yeah. Amanda, congratulations. 


Aubrey: [laughs] She says, "This is such an easy, elegant, and light meal. I made this while on a phone meeting before heading out for the rest of the work day. I often alternate this with my other lunch staple. a nori roll with umeboshi paste, avocado, cultured sea vegetables, and pea sprouts."


Michael: Where the fuck is she getting these ingredients? I wouldn't even know where to begin getting pea sprouts or whatever.


Aubrey: Yeah. So much of her food is dependent on you take a day each week to make your nut milks from scratch to do bubb-- But really to do all this stuff, to ferment things, to do all of that and I would say all of this does sound tasty. It sounds tasty to me as a snack and it's really hard to me to imagine being my whole lunch was roasted seaweed, fermented plum paste, avocado, fresh seaweed, and pea sprouts. I'm just like, "That sounds great. What is lunch?" 


Michael: Yeah. [laughs] What is the real lunch get here? Yeah.


Aubrey: I'm totally down to eat these foods and come on, lady.


Michael: It's also interesting how this has wrapped up with her work schedule that she's mentioning with the breakfast that she's dropping off her kids, and she's mentioning with the lunch that, "Oh, I'm doing this on a meeting and then I rush off to work." The fantasy is that we can all eat like this and deal with all of our other obligations. Like, "Oh, I just whip together a bunch of zucchini ribbons and a couple sprays of basil, I tore them up." And it's like, no, the amount of preparation that goes into these kinds of meals and this kind of eating, unless you're a stay-at-home person, or you have a live-in chef, or personal assistant who's doing all the shopping for you, it's not attainable for most people.


Aubrey: One of the things that happened is fallout from this on that note. First of all, I should say, this blew up on the internet. 


Michael: Oh yeah. 


Aubrey: You can imagine the heyday that people had, there were snarky pieces on Jessa Bell, and in the New Yorker, and everybody went to town.


Michael: I am all for just like heaping scorn on clueless rich people, who do shit like this. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: I think we always have to temper this with like, sometimes, it's like shot through with misogyny. There're other things that we need to be wary of and we don't want to go overboard. But I also think that like clueless rich people are the most fucking infuriating thing, especially now. And salty articles about them, I think are completely fine. 


Aubrey: Oh, there were two headlines that were outstanding. One was Jia Tolentino's headline which was, "I've never heard of any of the things this white woman eats."


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: The other one was from New York Magazine and it just said, "This woman makes Gwyneth Paltrow look like Guy Fieri."


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: It's partly, folks are, there's backlash to the incredible, weird, wealthy name dropiness of it all. And some of it is also this incredibly curated life that people are like, "That's not actually how people live."


Michael: There's also the thing that usually these clueless celebrity look-at-my-life type articles. There's usually also a through line of couching this as like sustainability or couching this as like, "Oh, look how good I am for the planet?" All this other fake virtue about eating like this and living like this. Oftentimes, it comes with this implicit or explicit social message about how, "If everybody lived like this, wouldn't the world be better?' It's like, "No, all the data indicates that we cannot live like this and this is not remotely sustainable." But you're telling yourself that you're a good person, even wow, you're baking the planet with this shit.


Aubrey: Totally. There's continual refrain throughout The Moon Juice Cookbook is that you can heal your body and heal the planet. 


Michael: Oh, God. 


Aubrey: The other thing that I will say that was part of the backlash to this piece is that as all of these news outlets started writing about it, a number of them started estimating the cost of these [audio cut].


Michael: Nice.


Aubrey: One website came up with the low-end cost and that was about $700 a week. 


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: That's the low end. The high-end estimate that I found was about $1,200 a week.


Michael: Jesus Christ. 


Aubrey: This is a diet that is straight up for wealthy people.


Michael: I feel we should also mention, I really have no problem with rich people eating rich people shit and doing rich people shit. If you've made a ton of money and this is what you want to spend your money on, morally speaking, I don't particularly care. I think what is offensive to me, anyway, is the influencerness of this in the literal sense. They are trying to influence people to live this way and they are implying both that everybody can live this way and that everybody should live this way.


Aubrey: Right. I think that's part of what's really interesting to me about Moon Juice is that it is this encapsulation of a lot of the most insidious parts of wellness culture. That's like, "It's natural. So, it's better. You are doing this incredibly self-focused and self-centered thing that also gets painted as somehow altruistic or somehow benefiting other people," right? 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: Lets you be a consumer. You're buying things, which is fun and feels good. I like to buy things and makes you feel that is somehow for your health and for the benefit of others. It's just collapsing all of these opposing concepts or at least concepts where there's tension between the two. It's collapsing them all into the same bucket and that bucket is full of Brain Dust.


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: A lot of this is self-improvement, but it's couching the self-improvement as, "No, no, I'm doing what everybody should be doing."


Aubrey: Amanda Chantal Bacon become this lightning rod. Some through her own doing and some through just being at the right place at the right time to capture a bunch of backlash to the wealthy wellness stuff that's been on the rise for a while, to the influencer stuff that's been on the rise for a while, and she's particularly invested in, and Moon Juice is particularly invested in this clientele of predominantly wealthy and predominantly white women, who become fixated on their own wellness. And they're all united by, they've got the space to wonder what's wrong with them. 


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: And because they have the resources to try a bunch of stuff to fix the ill-defined mystery problems. It's really hard to talk about Moon Juice without talking about the history and women's wellness. I would say some early examples that I would reach back to are, in the 1800s we start to see this wellness stuff get really medicalized and particularly focused on women. There are a couple of diagnoses in the 1800s that became very popular. One is neurasthenia, the other is hysteria.


Michael: Which is basically just like women be crazy. There's not much else to it is my understanding.


Aubrey: Totally. There were symptoms from hysteria. Those symptoms included unusual behavior, failure to marry, and they described as having a wandering uterus.


[laughter]


Aubrey: Oh, buddy.]


Michael: That's how octopuses eat.


Aubrey: [laughs] With a wandering uterus?


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: The idea was that your uterus essentially becomes detached from your vulva.


Michael: So, totally biological concepts that aren't socially determined at all. 


Aubrey: Neurasthenia is a twin diagnosis to hysteria. It was this purported nervous system condition in which people had depleted energy. And that depleted energy are weak nerves is the other way that neurasthenia gets described is seen as a natural consequence of modern civilization- 


Michael: Ooh.


Aubrey: -which feels very wellnessy now, right?


Michael: Yeah, and very similar to what we saw in our other episodes about this idea that we're this fallen species who has been degraded from our pure hunter-gatherer selves. These are anxieties that seem to cross country and time barriers.


Aubrey: Absolutely. I would say, symptoms on this one are a little cloudier. When scientologists will recruit people and they'll be like, "Do you ever feel sad?"


Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Aubrey: That's what these symptoms are like to me. Its symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, headache, depression, heart palpitations, just sort of like, "Do you ever feel bad?"


Michael: Yeah, it's adulthood. That is adulthood. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: You are just being tired and having a fucking headache.


Aubrey: This was diagnosed disproportionately in veterans actually. Essentially, it seems what we would now call PTSD was that being called neurasthenia. It's diagnosed much more in Americans, so much so that it has the nickname of being Americanitis and it's overwhelmingly diagnosed in women, Virginia Woolf writes about her neurasthenia experience and being prescribed a "rescuer," which is just like, you have to be away from the world. I think it's also worth noting that in the 1800s because of the way that white women were situated in the world that almost all of these diagnoses came at the behest of men. It would be, again, husbands or fathers complaining about their wives' behaviors and deciding to call a doctor who would go, "Yep, you got it. Her uterus is detached."


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: And this is also a time when men's bodies are being studied as the default and women's bodies are not being studied at all, which just seen like defective versions of men's bodies. So, it's really, really steeped in these kinds of social values. 


Michael: But it is interesting how a lot of the kinds of vague symptoms that they were identifying back then are still being diagnosed today. So much of the stuff that like cleanses, and toxins, and purity, it sounds like word for word, the same stuff as we were doing back then.


Aubrey: Absolutely. It maps on really, really cleanly. I would say, inflammation also goes in that bucket of stuff that's like, "Why don't I feel good?" The answer is, "Here's a bunch of stuff that might be why I don't feel good." And also, you might just not feel good, because sometimes life doesn't feel good, because we all have off days and also, sometimes things are just wrong and bad. But it keeps these wealthier white women in this loop of trying to solve the mystery that they haven't even defined what happened. The way that you solve the mystery is by buying a bunch of stuff.


Michael: Yeah, and it's always one thing, right? It's always like, "Oh, it's going to be adaptogens. Once I take the adaptogens, I don't have to change anything else. Everything else is going to be fine."


Aubrey: Yeah, yeah, that's right. All of this is happening, hysteria, neurasthenia, all this kind of stuff is happening. Shortly thereafter, we start to see this boon of better living products which are what we would now call wellness. That's when Coca-Cola is founded as extensively a health beverage.


Michael: Really?


Aubrey: Do you not know this about Coca-Cola?


Michael: No. I mean, I know that it used to have cocaine in it, but I didn't know that it was a tonic at first.


Aubrey: Well, that was the tonic was the cocaine. [laughs] 


Michael: I'll fucking bet it was.


Aubrey: Yeah.


Michael: Sex Dust.


Aubrey: It's also around the same time that Kellogg's is founded, Kellogg's cornflakes, which were invented by John Harvey Kellogg, who was a doctor who ran a sanitarium. The sanitarium was, it sounds a little spa like and he came up with this recipe for toasted cornflakes, and his brother bought the rights and started Kellogg's cereal, and it was marketed as a health food.


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: Some of these products were also specifically marketed to women, including one that was advertised in a 1902 Sears and Roebuck catalog. Here is the text of that ad. 


Michael: Ooh, ooh, ooh. 


Aubrey: "Ladies, you can be beautiful. No matter who you are, what your disfigurements may be, you can make yourself as handsome as any lady in the land by the use of our French arsenic wafers."


Michael: [laughs] Arsenic is the only thing standing between you and true beauty. That's awesome. 


Aubrey: Totally. They say, it will take care of your freckles, it'll take care of like any skin breakouts or redness, or jaundice, or rough skin. They say it will make you more beautiful than anyone. Just eat arsenic. 


Michael: Small doses of poison. Yeah.


Aubrey: As you've noted, there's a lot of this. It'd be like, we hear echoes of this today. And as close as we get in the Moon Juice world and then contemporary wellness in terms of a definition of being well is just like, "Is your whole life going the way you want it to? Are you happy every day, are you having great sex every day, are you alert every time you're awake?"


Michael: God is anybody?


Aubrey: Right.


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: But again, this is just being a person in the world. 


Michael: Yeah. It's hard to talk about this without sounding judgy because people do struggle with fatigue, people do struggle with sleep. General aches and pains, people get lower back pain as they get older. Their knees hurt. There's just a lot of hurt going around. You don't want to in any way invalidate that or act to people to like, "Oh, just you complaining," which it objectively isn't. People are hurting mentally and physically, but also, what is gross about stuff like Moon Juice is that then you get these fucking vampires coming in and using those real problems as an opportunity to sell you bullshit that does not help you and enriches them.


Aubrey: Right. And as any person who is disabled or who has a chronic illness will tell you, you will hear about this shit, but this Moon Juice style nonsense all the time as a prescriptive thing.


Michael: Right.


Aubrey: People who are disabled will get like, "Hey, you just need to try this mushroom powder, or you just need to eat more vegetables, or you just need to exercise more, or you just need to blah, blah, blah." It also like not only does it not help people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, it also feeds into this weird concern trolling, abled people saying, "I know better than you," disabled person kind of vibe, that's really creepy.


Michael: Yeah. It reinforces this idea that if you have a real illness, it must be, because you're not eating enough probiotics or there's something you're doing wrong as opposed to just trying to connect with that person and trying to find out what their experience is like. It's like you're constantly looking for a reason that they've done it to themselves.


Aubrey: Totally.


Michael: If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, which is a real thing that people have thought is fake for decades. It's like, "Oh, no, no, it must be a food allergy. It must be because you did this wrong. It must be because you're not getting enough fresh air." The explanations change over the decades, but there's always some reason why you don't have a real ailment.


Aubrey: It's really gross. [laughs] It's just really gross from every angle. To bring us back to Moon Juice land in particular, Moon Juice is almost synonymous with Amanda Chantal Bacon. She's the face of the brand, she's the only Moon Juice employee who's really quoted anywhere. That said, it's really difficult to dig in on her because the only things we know about Amanda Chantal Bacon are what she has told us, which is not much. There is not a Wikipedia page for her or for Moon Juice, which is super strange. All we have are these tales that she tells about her own wellness or lack of wellness. I should think in fairness all anybody knows about me is what I've told them.


Michael: Yeah. Being a semipublic figure. Yeah.


Aubrey: Yes. There are a couple of stories that she tells about her own wellness or lack thereof that are really important to the mythology of Moon Juice. She grew up in New York City and she had this bronchiole issue as a small child. She's four or five when this is happening. She's coughing at night, can't figure out what it is. Western doctors, she says, "Repeatedly are of no help." Sometimes, they say, she will outgrow it or whatever. She's just living with this miserable condition until she and her parents are grocery shopping in a health food store. When a stranger hears her hacking cough, and comes over, and says that she should stick out her tongue, he takes her pulse, he asks her a couple of questions, and it turns out that he is an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner from India. 


Michael: Oh, I thought he was going to turn out to be L. Ron Hubbard. Okay. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: That'd be great. 


Aubrey: She says within just a few minutes that he makes this diagnosis and tells her everything she needs to do, which includes avoiding wheat, dairy, and sugar.


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: But she also says that within a week of doing it that all of her symptoms are gone. Here's a quote from her about the effects of eating this way. "As I grew, my immune system also became stronger. I was able to have moments of flexibility. Even then, I always felt it the next day and I was susceptible to bronchitis, chronic sinusitis, and terrible allergies. As I moved into my teens, I began to receive warnings from Western medical practitioners, which became diagnoses of exhaustion, hormonal imbalance, and emotional distress ranging from ADD, autoimmune disorders, depression, prediabetes, and a whole range of other maladies. All of these diagnoses came with the message that it was a lifelong sentence that can only be addressed with synthetic drugs and that failing to take those drugs would ultimately be life threatening."


Michael: Oh, God.


Aubrey: I really love how much you hate this. [laughs] 


Michael: Oh, my God, it's just such a human story and it could be such an inspiring and nice story of somebody who found happiness in this unconventional way. But instead of using it as a platform to show curiosity about what's going on with other people, she uses it as a platform to be like, "Well, everybody else's body must be just like mine."


Aubrey: Totally.


Michael: Oh, we just hear this so often. These nice inspirational stories that just become gross marketing bullshit.


Aubrey: So, she's doing all of this. Later on, she also goes on a juice cleanse to cure her own sugar addiction.


Michael: Of course, juice cleanses are involved in this.


Aubrey: Here's another quote from the effects of going on this juice cleanse. "The changes weren't all physical. I noticed that the inclusion of green juices and live plant foods in my diet incited a personality shift. Thought patterns and roles I had assumed were part of my "personality" dissolved. These apparently deep-seated traits of mine were disappearing just as my cough had vanished in the absence of sugar, wheat, and dairy."


Michael: Oh, my God.


Aubrey: "The foods I was choosing we're changing the nature of the thoughts that were creating my reality."


Michael: Oh, no. She's a kid who studied abroad, and then they come home, and they're like, "Actually, in Belgium, the way that they do things is mm, ah."


Aubrey: [laughs] Michael, she did this juice cleanse in Italy. 


Michael: Of course.


[laughter] 


Michael: Damn, I'm good.


Aubrey: This is happening during a chapter of her life when she is spending her teens and 20s traveling the world.


Michael: It hurts me so much, because I fucking was that kid. I studied abroad when I was 19 and I was so insufferable when I got back.


Aubrey: [laughs] I didn't study abroad, but I had the air of someone--


[laughter] 


Aubrey: I had the undue certainty of [unintelligible [00:36:22] 


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: Here's Part 2. She says, "I began to react to life triggers differently. The live plant foods and medicinal herbs I fed myself gave me a new sensitivity and access to a subtle, yet powerful energy force."


Michael: Oh, whatever.


Aubrey: "This is what ultimately led to the birth of Moon Juice as I became aware that there could be nothing better for me to do with my days than share this new wealth with others."


Michael: Oh, no. But then if your goal on this planet is to share your knowledge and your wellness with other people, why do you charge so fucking much for it?


Aubrey: This is almost exactly what a reporter with marketplace asks her at one point. 


Michael: Oh, yeah.


Aubrey: She does an interview and she's like, "Look, the point of this isn't so that I can retire in Kuai and make bunch of money. The point of this is to bring it to the people." And the reporter says, "Right, but the juice that I just had was $14. Do you think that's bringing it to the people?" 


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: It's very point. It's the only interview that I've heard with Amanda Chantal Bacon that is holds her feet to the fire a little bit and it's so gentle. Do you know what I mean?


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: But the idea underlying this my whole emotional world shifted stuff, it feels very much the secret to me. 


Michael: Oh, totally. Yeah.


Aubrey: Any flaws in your personality, any relationship struggles you have, any trauma you might have, are all a result of like something is wrong in your body.


Michael: And everything can be fixed by diet too that it's this one relatively superficial change about my lifestyle will solve all of these completely unrelated problems.


Aubrey: Right. It's similar to the anti-psychiatry thread of Scientology, which not only is there one way to fix this, but also you should mistrust people who are telling you there are other solutions. 


Michael: Right. 


Aubrey: I want to dig into The Moon Juice Cookbook.


Michael: Ooh, okay.


Aubrey: I got this from the library. I read the whole thing. I thought it was just going to be a bunch of wacky recipes and there's plenty of that. But it also lays out the Moon Juice way of life.


Michael: Oh, it's like the 10 Moon Juice commandments?


Aubrey: Totally. And there are actually 10 things that you're supposed to do.


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: There's like, "Go organic, and eat adaptogens, and blah, blah, blah," all of that stuff. But the things that really stood out to me about The Moon Juice Cookbook were a few things. One, the number of contradictions and tensions here that she just never really resolves. She says like, "This isn't about restricting your diet. It's about additions to your diet. But also, when you add those things to your diet, you should meet more than this amount of sugar." She says, "This isn't about weight loss and that healthy is a different size and shape for everyone. But if you do this, it will lead to weight loss."


Michael: This is like the new rhetoric around weight because now that people are finally acknowledging the fact that fat phobia exists. There's now this move to be like, "We're not telling you to lose weight, but you're going to lose weight if you do this."


Aubrey: Right. She also says like, "This is about health. It's not about beauty. I'm not telling you to look a certain way. But when you're healthy, you will have this glow-- " [crosstalk] 


Michael: You will have a glow.


Aubrey: You know what I mean like all of this stuff. 


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: She also says because she doesn't believe in restriction, she's not vegan, but she doesn't eat animal products. I'm like, "I don’t know."


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: Then you're calling it a different thing.


Michael: I'm not a Christian, but I just believe that Jesus was killed on the cross and He was resurrected three days later. But I'm not a Christian. 


Aubrey: She seems to know that her customers will bristle at that prescriptive stuff, but that they will accept it if it's a byproduct of a loftier enterprise. 


Michael: Right. 


Aubrey: I think it's also worth noting like, this is the logic of weight loss. If you get your body right, your whole life will fall into place. What she's selling here essentially is the idea that she's saying like, "I stopped eating wheat, and I started doing juice cleanses, and my whole personality changed, and I felt happy all the time." Do you know what I mean? All of these things changed and it is this idea that very tempting magical thinking that if you can just address this one thing, that's a mechanical that you don't actually have to do the messy work of fixing your relationships, you don't have to worry about uncertainty, or heartbreak, or sickness, or any of the things that makes life uncomfortable or uncertain.


Michael: That is a very insightful way that you just put it that the rhetoric has shifted from, you need to lose weight to, you need to eat a more pure diet and as a side effect, by the way, you will also lose weight.


Aubrey: Right.


Michael: But you're couching it as this loftier goal like, "Oh, I'm becoming a better person. Oh, and by the way, I'm finally going to have abs."


Aubrey: [laughs] Totally. But it's not superficial. If you think it's superficial, then that's actually your stuff. 


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: Oh, my God.


Michael: [laughs] Yeah. 


Aubrey: Part of what I sat with while reading The Moon Juice Cookbook and working overtime to set aside my skepticism to just be like, "I really do want to consume this on its own terms." It doesn't seem ill intended. 


Michael: Oh, yeah. 


Aubrey: This just feels like a very insulated, very wealthy white woman who does not imagine. I think she thinks this as like only a net game. 


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: [audio cut] and doesn't really think about like, "Who could this hurt? Okay."


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: She doesn't think about all that stuff. And I also don't think she's necessarily, cynically profiteering off of it. I think she's just wealthy and has always had money. It doesn't occur to her that a $14 juice is not an option.


Michael: I also think that as adults we should all be cognizant enough of history to know that some of the worst things that have ever been done have been done with genuine good intentions.


Aubrey: Yeah, the road to hell.


Michael: Exactly. There's oftentimes, especially in the media, how we give people like Gwyneth Paltrow a pass, because it is very obvious that they believe what they're saying. They think that they are helping the world. They are doing this out of genuine philanthropic instincts. But oftentimes, regardless of the intention, the effect of their advice can be really pernicious. And at a certain point, if you are one of the people in an industry where you are giving this advice, and that is having documented pernicious negative effects over and over and over again, at a certain point, it is negligent to not change what you are doing.


Aubrey: Totally. I would say there has not necessarily been a lot of documented pernicious effect with Moon Juice.


Michael: It's not Fen-Phen. People are not overdosing on it, I guess. [laughs] 


Aubrey: Totally. It feels the wellness version of the college admission scandal. 


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: Where you're like, "Oh, it's just like rich people doing rich people things" and it's all happening in that closed world. And the rest of us can see into it, but we can't. I'm not negatively affected by anyone else taking Moon Juice, or believing in it, or whatever.


Michael: Yeah. On some level, meaning you can just not buy Moon Juice and continue to live our lives and it's fine. 


Aubrey: That's right. I will say I do think it feeds rhetoric that's unhelpful and is feeding into a culture like a sea change culturally that I find unhelpful. But I don't think Amanda Chantal Bacon, at least I haven't come across anything that's like I was personally harmed by Moon Juice.


Michael: Right. I don't want to put her in the gulag. I have no--


Aubrey: [laughs] Totally, same thing.


Michael: She's not Sauron.


Aubrey: This is actually another thing about The Moon Juice Cookbook that I find really interesting. She talks about like, "I'm not a doctor, but I have studied under all of these herbalists, and alternative medicine practitioners, and all this stuff, and I want to bring the lessons that I've learned to you." She doesn't cite the sources. There's no footnotes in The Moon Juice Cookbook. There're no citations.


Michael: That's because they're all queuing on Facebook groups. 


Aubrey: [laughs] But in addition to not citing her sources and not saying, "Hey, this came from this study at this point," she also flows pretty freely back and forth between her own experience and her own worldview. And these findings that she says exists and she doesn't really announce when she's changing. 


Michael: Oh, right. 


Aubrey: As a reader, it becomes really difficult to pull apart what is a widely accepted scientific claim, what is a disputed scientific claim, what is her own worldview, what is my wishful thinking as a reader that I want to believe? It's really hard to pinpoint what is coming from where. She talks a lot about purging fat soluble toxins, but doesn't say what those toxins are.


Michael: Oh, no, toxins. That's such a red flag for me because it's such a poorly defined term. 


Aubrey: Well, also, every healthcare provider I know including alternative medicine providers are all like, "That's why you have a liver."


Michael: So, did you make any of the recipes in the book? 


Aubrey: I did not. There are some that look actually really good to me. She has a recipe for cherry and black pepper jam. 


Michael: Oh, that actually sounds really good. 


Aubrey: Doesn't that sounds so good?


Michael: Yeah. 


Aubrey: She says, it's a low glycemic. 


Michael: Oh, shut up, Amanda. It's just a good jam, God, God.


Aubrey: [laughs] Well, also, as someone who's like one of my best friends is a type 1 diabetic. She's like, "What's in it?" I was like, "Oh, she puts in agave, or maple syrup, or whatever." My friend, Lisa is like, "Cool. So, I can't have that, because that's still just sugar."


Michael: Yeah. It's fucking sugar. It's fine to eat sweets.


Aubrey: It's not white sugar. I think there's some belief that because white sugar is more processed that it is less natural, and therefore, worse.


Michael: Which is not true, by the way. We will do an entire episode on this eventually. 


Aubrey: It's just not true. 


Michael: It's just not true.


Aubrey: But your body receives honey, and maple syrup, and agave, and all of that stuff as sugar. If you look at the labels of all of those things, they just are sugar.


Michael: Yeah. It's fine to eat something that's bad for you sometimes. Brownies are fucking good. Eat a brownie. It's fine. 


Aubrey: Totally. There's this presumption that there is knowledge that we are not tapping into from other cultures, which is also totally true. 


Michael: Yes, sure. 


Aubrey: And also, it feels equally unhelpful to be like, "None of our stuff is the answer and all of this other stuff is the answer."


Michael: And to exoticize, foreign cultures of like, "They have hidden secrets that we don't have access to." Actually, we need to have processes to evaluate the truth of health claims. Whether it's coming from confusion medicine or a straight up lab in New Jersey, we need to have the same processes to determine, "Okay, we're going to test this concept and then we're going to decide if it's beneficial or not."


Aubrey: That's right. But on top of that, there's also really weird race dynamics happening here. 


Michael: Oh, no.


Aubrey: She is borrowing ingredients from centuries old traditions of Ayurveda, of herbalism, of traditional Chinese medicine and that it is talked about in such broad terms. She talks about Ayurveda only in the terms of being like, "This is an herb that's used in Ayurveda or this is an ingredient that's used in Chinese medicine." That's about it, right? 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: I talked to one Chinese medicine practitioner for this piece, who described it as being the trappings of Chinese medicine without any of the logic or treatment of it. A big part of Chinese medicine is, there is a whole paradigm about how energy flows through your body, all of these gears that get turned and she's just pulling out one of those gears and going, "This is the thing. You've got to eat this one thing." Similarly, Ayurveda has deep roots in Hinduism and diet is one small part of it. But the way that Amanda Chantal Bacon is presenting it, she's presenting it as her thing as a white woman. She's talks about her teachers in broad terms, but she never names those people, she's not lifting up those people. She's just personally profiting as a white woman from cherry picking parts of Eastern medicine to sell at really high prices. In very concrete terms, that is what's happening.


Michael: You're just juicing carrots. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: It's fine. [laughs] She's using it as a marketing thing. I think so much of this LA white people influencer thing drawing upon these other medical traditions. So much of it feels like a shield to me. You're like, "Oh, eat bee pollens, it's really good for you." And someone says, "Well, there's really no studies to back that up at all" and you're like, "It's Chinese."


Aubrey: Right.


Michael: That's not really defensive anything, and it's not clear that it is Chinese, and you're taking that out of context. It just feels a way of deflecting criticism of being like, "Oh, it's from "Eastern medicine," which century are we talking about, which country are we talking about. It's never quite specific.


Aubrey: If we're being honest, the people who are part of that conversation about like, "Is this not legit or overwhelmingly white people?" 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: It becomes a way for one white person to invoke race and freak out the other white person? 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: Part of that conversation is absolutely, no one knows what they're talking about. 


Michael: Yes. 


Aubrey: And it also erases contemporary Chinese medicine, right? 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: Again, taking ownership away from the communities that are still practicing this and talking about it as some like magical, historical thing.


Michael: I think any theory that depends on this idea that one society at a particular time and a particular place had it figured out. I just think that as a meta-analysis of world history. It's just never going to be correct, because at any time in history in any societal anything, there's going to be pros and cons. Ancient Chinese, anything, those societies had problems, just like our society has problems. There's no such thing as a good society in some unremembered past. That doesn't exist.


Aubrey: Just to be really clear, none of this is actually about Chinese medicine. 


Michael: Okay. [laughs] 


Aubrey: This is actually about Ayurveda. 


Michael: Good point. [laughs] 


Aubrey: None of this, like, there is no primer in The Moon Juice Cookbook on Ayurveda, and what it does, and how it works.


Michael: Right.


Aubrey: There is no primer on Chinese medicine, and chi, and how energy flow through the body, and all of that kind of stuff. That none of that is covered. She essentially is just paying lip service to it. You're right like using it as a marketing tool. This is all very much shaped by the white gaze. This is a cookbook that is produced by a wealthy white person for other wealthy white people, who are not going to, like I said, who are not going to go to an herbalist in an immigrant community, but they will buy the same products when they are repackaged in minimalist jars sold to them by a young, conventionally, beautiful white woman in a storefront in Venice Beach. 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: She has a recipe for something called a Yam Julius.


Michael: Yam Julius? Is that like a sweet potato juice? 


Aubrey: She says, "This is an Orange Julius, but made with yam," where you are juicing raw yams. 


Michael: Okay.


Aubrey: And adding ground cinnamon and some other things. She's like, "It tastes just like an Orange Julius, but it's made with the yam juice."


Michael: Sure. 


Aubrey: She says, "She loves lemonade, but it's too sugary." So, instead, she makes beet-ade.


Michael: Beets are also really sugary. Most of the sugar that we get is actually processed from beets, not from sugarcane. 


Aubrey: She also has a recipe for something-- I already don't want us-- I put it in because I was like, "This is hilarious" and I'm like, "I don't want to say it." It's called hot sex milk.


Michael: [laughs] Ew. What the fuck is in it? 


Aubrey: We went from Sex Dust to hot sex milk and I don't want either one. 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: So, what is in hot sex milk is pumpkin seed milk, maca powder, He Shou Wu, coconut oil, cacao powder, Schisandra berries, cayenne, and bee pollen. 


Michael: Sure. I don't know. I feel some of this stuff is just, if something is unpleasant, then it must be good for you. [laughs] 


Aubrey: Totally, totally. I will say, she also includes the mission of Moon Juice.


Michael: Ooh, love missions. I fucking love rich lady products with missions.


Aubrey: It's just everything about this quote. This is maybe my favorite Moon Juice quote.


Michael: Ooh, tell me.


Aubrey: "People always ask if I knew Moon Juice would be so successful and to be honest, I did."


Michael: [laughs] 


Aubrey: "There's a cosmic calling and a powerful movement here to push us forward as a race."


Michael: Oh, my God. Holy shit.


Aubrey: "A big part of the movement is caring for our bodies as well as for the health of our planet."


Michael: Oh, for fuck sake.


Aubrey: "Any try we make a move towards supporting or joining that mission, we tune into the flow of other worldly success and abundance. That's what Moon Juice really is. Not just a product or a place, but rather a healing force, an etheric potion, and a cosmic beacon for the evolutionary movement of seeking beauty, happiness, and longevity."


Michael: She got one of the sets of refrigerator magnets with words on them?


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: And just put them in an order of just like, "Transcendent, harmony planet."


Aubrey: She got two sheets that just say, cosmic. 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: She genuinely seems to be pretty okay with people having fun at her expense. She's like, "Ah, I see that as an entry point."


Michael: Oh, gosh, she's going to listen to this and tweeted out with a winky face, isn't she? 


Aubrey: I don't know what's going to happen. 


Michael: Oh.


Aubrey: There's actually a great quote from another New York Times piece called "How Amanda Chantal Bacon perfected the celebrity wellness business-


Michael: Nice.


Aubrey: -which is like just like, "So, good job." The quote from that piece is this. "What goop and acolytes like Moon Juice sell is the notion that it's not only excusable, but worthy for a person to spend hours a day focused on her tiniest mood shifts, food choices, beauty rituals, exercise habits, bathing routines, and sleep schedule. What they sell is self-absorption as the ultimate luxury product."


Michael: Oh, that's good. 


Aubrey: The other thing that I would say about proof positive that Moon Juice has a very, very wealthy client base is that they actually say that many of their products, especially their sleep-related products, their sales have increased up to 70% during the COVID pandemic.


Michael: Ah, that's just because everyone in America is suffering from fucking clinical anxiety right now and none of us can fucking sleep. I haven't slept since March, man. Nobody's sleeping.


Aubrey: Totally. Nobody's sleeping, but also, who has $70 to drop on a magnesium supplement or whatever that says that it will help you sleep. 


Michael: It’s got magnesium, really?


Aubrey: Theirs is actually called Magnesi-Om.


Michael: That's actually pretty good, though. 


Aubrey: I know, I know.


Michael: You know?


Aubrey: The marketing is very good. 


Michael: I'll fucking bet it is. 


Aubrey: I think the more that I dug in on Moon Juice, the more I was like, "Oh, it is marketing."


Michael: Oh, yeah. Most of our buying decisions, like, the bottle of wine that you buy at the store is based on the font and the graphic design on the label. None of us know enough about most of the products we buy to make any informed judgment beyond this label looks attractive to me.


Aubrey: She really knows what she can sell and how she can sell it. She really knows that ultimately she is the product. 


Michael: Yeah.


Aubrey: Anyway, that's Moon Juice. 


Michael: That's Moon Juice. Now, I know what it is now. [chuckles] I wish I could go back and not know that anymore. [laughs] 


Aubrey: And you like me can get drunk at parties and yell at people about Moon Juice. [laughs] 


Michael: If I ever go to a party again, yes, that is what I will do. 


Aubrey: Yes, totally. Don't go to parties right now, but sometime in the mystical future.


Michael: I also think we somehow skipped over the fact that her entire origin story is based on her coughing in a store, and a random man coming up to her, and diagnosing her with an illness. 


Aubrey: [laughs] 


Michael: I still think the central advice to come out of this episode is, don't do that. A, don't go up to small children in stores and diagnose them with anything and B, probably, don't accept the diagnosis of random men who hear you coughing, and come up to you, and take your pulse.


Aubrey: Right. It's a medical meet-cute. [laughs] 


Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 


Aubrey: The whole thing is just odd and I struggle with a lot of elements of this, where I'm like, "Yes, of course. Do your thing. Go forth. God bless." Again, I'm not personally harmed by other people using Brain Dust and at the same time this really is feeding into weird race dynamics that happen in the wellness community. It really is an encapsulation of the strange attitude toward disability and wellness spaces. It really plays into classism. It's just a really fascinating little encapsulation of all that stuff, I think.


Michael: Yes. It's dark, and weird, and problematic, but if you like your sex milk, you can keep it.


Aubrey: This has been Maintenance Phase.


[laughter]


[music]