Banishing the impending winter blues calls for an eclectic prescription that includes vitamin supplements, regular exercise, and even light therapy for those suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But what if there was an elixir that could assist in elevating our spirits when the mercury drops?
We posed that question to Amanda Chantal Bacon. The Venice, Calif.-based founder of Moon Juice, who’s preparing to open a spate of New York locations next year, has crafted a mini empire by offering tonics that purport to boost skin radiance, regulate hormones, alleviate stress, and stave off contagion.
Bacon, a former fine dining chef turned juice queen, suggested the accompanying recipe as an antidote to seasonal malaise. Not only is the cheerfully named Walnut Mucuna Merry Milk designed to turn that frown upside down, it’s also supposed to enhance brain chemistry. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while coconut aids in jump-starting the metabolism, but the star ingredient is mucuna pruriens. This bean-like plant grows wild in the tropics and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for generations. It contains L-dopa, which is believed to convert into dopamine, a brain chemical involved in mood, sexual desire, and energy levels. “This milk is excellent for uplifting your mood but it also helps regulate your sleeping patterns, boost the immune system, and increase sexual capacity for men and woman,” she says.
Bacon recommends imbibing merry milk in the mornings or the afternoons instead of a Starbucks run.
Walnut Mucuna Merry Milk
1/2 cup activated walnuts (see below)
1/4 cup young Thai coconut meat
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp mucuna pruriens ($25; moonjuice.com)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups alkaline water
To activate the walnuts, submerge them in water and soak for 12 hrs. Rinse the nuts with water. If not used in recipe immediately, store in the refrigerator. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender on high speed until everything is completely smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag, cheese cloth, or a mesh strainer. This milk will last up to five days in the refrigerator.