Fall 2018 Newsletter

A note from Sue & Alex


We all make so many decisions every day. Sometimes we are so quickly multitasking our way through them, we forget how they impact all aspects of our lives. As the days grow shorter nature encourages us all to slow down. It is the perfect time to reflect on ourselves and how we impact the world around us. Our decisions big and small have a ripple effect. It is said that when we make many decisions they are like a stone thrown into the pond effecting at least 7 other people.

Alex and I are grateful this month (and every day) that we decided to follow our dream and found The Ranch 8 years ago. Happy Birthday to The Ranch and all those that make it possible. You touch our lives making it richer, fuller and healthier!!!!

Speaking of important decisions, don’t forget to vote!

Sending big healthy hugs and gratitude,

– Sue and Alex

The Ranch Turns 8!

It’s hard to believe that just 8 years ago The Ranch opened its gates to our first guests. Since 2010 we’ve looked for ways to enhance the experience, including expanding to offer 4 and 10 day programs, taking The Ranch to Italy, growing The Ranch campus with the Romper Room and Buddha Barn for afternoon fitness classes and introducing more medical services and cutting edge treatments like cryotherapy into our programming.

Even more incredible are the amazing accomplishments we have achieved together!

Thank you for inspiring us each week with your astonishing results!

The Ranch Turns 8

There are more than 8,000 Ranch Alums with almost 10,000 total visits!

You’ve enjoyed 157,032 plant-based meals which means together we’ve saved:
– 1.1 million lbs of CO2 Emissions
– Almost 61 million gallons of water
– Tens of thousands of animals

You’ve hiked 436,530 total miles!
– That’s more than 17.5 times around the world and by the end of this month, our guests will have hiked to the moon and back!

You’ve lost:
– 54,939 pounds
– 78,906 inches

The Ranch Turns 8

News & Notes

Congratulations Ranch Program Guide Ann Ongena!

We are so proud of Ranch Program Guide Ann Ongena! At 54 years old and following recovery from a stress fracture in her hip, amazing Ann competed in Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc, placing 7th in her age bracket! As the most prestigious trail running competition in the world, this 107 mile race features a total elevation gain of 33,000 feet – for reference Mt. Everest is about 29,000 feet high – and goes through France, Italy and Switzerland.

“To be able to run this race, you need qualifying points you earn through running other major races. Once you have the points you have to go through a lottery. So it’s very special to get to run this. I’m very thankful I’m still healthy and fit enough so I can do this. ( Yes on a 99% vegan diet! )”

With 2560 competitors (only 9% of which were women!) just 1778 completed the 3 day race. Ann finished in 42 hours and 14 minutes – 2 sunsets, 2 sunrises and no sleep – with a smile on her face the entire time!

The 4.0 and 10.0 Return to California!

After 6 wonderful weeks in the Italian Dolomites, we were thrilled to welcome our Ranch 4.0 team back to California earlier this month! Book your post-summer reset or pre-holiday jumpstart now to enjoy 4 days of hiking, fitness classes, massages and delicious healthy cuisine to finish 2018 at optimal health. For those wishing to stay longer our signature 7 day stay in Malibu is always available or kick it up a notch and try The Ranch 10.0!

For availability please contact inquiry@theranchmalibu.com

Shipping’s on Us!

We’re excited to announce complimentary shipping on all orders from The Ranch Store over $100! Shop now and stock up on your favorite treats such as Granola, Greens or Energy Bites or pamper your skin with our new Bee’s Milk Facial Scrub, Sun Soaked Sage Face & Body Mist or signature Plant Bars. When you spend $100 or more at the store during your visit or online, shipping is now included!

Shop our store

Six Almonds Later…

Stories from our alums about the incredible lifestyle changes
they have made since a visit to The Ranch!

Monica Maslia
Atlanta, GA
43 years old

I went to The Ranch 4.0 in March of 2018 with my bestie who was asking me about a trip she could take to lose weight. We were super scared because it was completely out of our comfort zones. I don’t think I ever hiked in my life. I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to do it, but I learned it wasn’t about how many miles we hiked or how fast we walked. It was about focusing on how I would feel my best, and doing this with one of my best friends was super fun! When I returned home, my results were made of metrics I didn’t even think I would care about. Now, they’re my focus. Weight loss isn’t even in my vocabulary anymore. Strong is the new skinny…

Monica Maslia

What I learned about most was what my body liked and didn’t like. I never knew before because my body was so accustomed to the “bad” stuff I was consuming – like a daily venti carmel macchiato. Little by little, I re-introduced the foods and products that we cut out (like dairy, alcohol, fish) but not all of them simply because I didn’t want them.

To this day, I don’t consume refined sugars or flours, or meats (I do eat wild caught fish). I read EVERY label I come across at the grocery store. If it’s not “real” I don’t buy it. I am selective in the oils I use, the cheese I buy and actually love vegetables. I crave water now. My body was soaking up so much coffee and soda in years’ past that it kept wanting more. And that was the case with cookies and cakes, too. Haven’t had a cookie or piece of cake either but I also haven’t wanted it.

You may be asking why do I care so much about the ingredients we consume. Didn’t you go to lose weight? I don’t even get on the scale anymore unless I am at a doctor’s appointment and then I don’t even want to know what it is because it doesn’t matter. My size 6 dresses fit me now not because of weight I’ve lost but because of what I am eating and avoiding as well as 60 minutes of Orange Theory three times a week. It’s because I lost almost 20 inches overall. But the best part? I FEEL better than I ever have before.

Learning my “real age” was something I loved about the program. Going into the program at 43 and being told my body was really age 48 after a test they administered did not sit well with me. How could I have lost five years of my life by not exercising as much as I should, and consuming “chemicals” and junk. Knowing this age of 48, it makes me work harder because I can earn it back. That’s five less years with my husband and kids. That’s five less years traveling the world. That’s five less years with my future grandchildren. This has been my motivation and has kept me going.

The Ranch 4.0 truly changed my life. I tell my kids, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet when they ask why I look at food labels, or only buy wild-caught fish and grass fed meats for them. And I am loving this new lifestyle!

Lauren LaCour
Naples, FL
42 years old

I attended the The Ranch 4.0 in September 2016. A lifelong athlete, my time at The Ranch changed my perspective on fitness and altered my daily routine. I spent 18 years working in the financial services industry and often sought out wellness programs for much needed de-stressing and recharging of the mind, body & soul.

What I liked about The Ranch was the 30-day preparation program to help you get in the mindset. Also the body metrics testing (Vo2 and body composition) results were eye opening. I remember thinking I was in shape until I came to The Ranch…I could kayak 15 miles or run 5 miles, but had no strength to lift weights and hiking the inclines of the Santa Monica mountains was intense!

The Ranch also opened my mind on nutrition, for me the most resounding impact was in regards to what snacks I needed for energy when exercising. 6 almonds with pink Himalayan salt seemed shockingly little during our morning hike but it did the trick. I’m an outdoors person and used to dread going to the gym. My time with the personal trainers at The Ranch gave me a new approach to strength training and I’ve hit gyms all around the world every other day these past two years.

I loved the practical tips provided which I could take on the road as I travel frequently. Within 6 months after the program, I lost weight, dropped several sizes and dramatically improved my body composition results. I am forever grateful for my experience, the staff’s knowledge & insight and of course, the time spent hiking in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains. I’m tremendously passionate about The Ranch. 4 short days has made a lasting impact.

If you’d like to share your 6 Almonds Later story in our Winter Newsletter please email Melissaa@threranchmalibu.com

You can also follow us on Instagram to see more or share yours using the hashtag #sixalmondslater for a chance to be featured on our feed!

Staff Chat

Mel Caradine
The Ranch Malibu Program Guide

With a kind presence and endless knowledge of the Southern California landscape, Mel is always the first to share a fun fact about the terrain and vegetation on morning hikes. Prior to joining The Ranch, Mel worked as an engineer for 33 years with an aerospace company that made rocket engines (mainly for NASA). During this time he also started to volunteer with the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains where he developed a passion for learning about the mountains. His love of hiking and the environment, along with the care he gives to each guest, makes for the perfect hiking buddy during the 4 hour morning treks and one of our most loved staff members.

Check out this Q&A to learn more about our resident naturalist.

What are you grateful for?
– Good health and the ability to be active.

What has been your most rewarding moment since joining The Ranch?
– Seeing the growth in confidence from Sunday through Friday, of the guests in their ability to complete the program each week.

Best/Funniest thing a guest has said to you?
– I was hiking with the group one day and one guest asked with an expression of indignation (we were climbing a hill at the time) why we make the hikes so difficult. I explained that to improve your fitness you have to push your physical limits. I stifled a laugh because this didn’t event rank as one of our tough hikes. I also explained that if laying around, being inactive improved your fitness then the whole world would be healthy.

Most asked question from guests?
– How much time is left in the hike?

First thing you do when you wake up?
– Turn on the TV to get the local weather report since we hike 365 days a year, rain or shine.

Favorite Ranch Meal or Snack?
– Kale Chips – I love them!

Where can we find you when you aren’t at The Ranch?
– Working on home projects, volunteering with the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains and other volunteer activities.

Your favorite hike/place to walk in Los Angeles?
– Stunt High Trail (the views at the top of Saddle Peak are spectacular on a clear day)

Do you have a personal mantra or favorite quote?
– “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean” – Isaac Newton

Last book you read?
– Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People of Southern California by Jam Timbrook.

From the Garden

Did you know the US tosses approximately 40% of our food in the trash, which then ends up in a landfill? Because it can’t decompose, greenhouse gas (methane) is created and emitted into the atmosphere. The amount is equal to 35 million automobiles on the road. At The Ranch the health of our planet comes first and so we practice a closed system, in which our food waste from the kitchen is fed to our chickens and goats, which then gets turned into compost for our soil.

While you may not have chickens or goats to help with composting, there are several ways you can apply the principles of composting and organic farming to your own garden for healthier harvests and a healthier planet.

Read on for tips from our garden.


It can be as easy as digging a hole in your yard, and burying your scraps – think natural waste like fruit and vegetable peels and leftovers, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard trimmings, etc. In about 4 weeks you will notice soft, dark soil when you scratch the surface. If you don’t want to bury scraps in the ground, get a compost bin.

Make sure to add leaves & wood chips (carbon) to your organic matter, otherwise it can get smelly. This means anaerobic conditions have occurred and there’s not enough of an air to water ratio. By adding wood fiber (carbon) and some soil, you create the perfect balance.


Fall is here which means shorter days and cooler temps. This is the perfect time to look at water saving tips. Add straw to the topsoil. It keeps moisture in while protecting onions, garlic and shallots for your fall planting.

Compost is another way to keep your soil moist. Adding it to the top of your soil will lock in the moisture while giving your soil needed nutrients as well as beneficial-microbes.

Try a drip system. They are easy and much cheaper on your water bill. Did you know that you can loose up to 50% water to evaporation when you over water? Try adding some drip tape to your garden. You will be pleased and so will your plants.


Fall is the time when pests are not as abundant due to the colder conditions. However, if you do find some problems, simple organic solutions are your best bet for the health of your plants and soil. Biodegradable soap is best. I like Dr. Bronner’s castile soap mixed with oil to help rid a variety of pests. Aphids can be simply sprayed off with a strong blast of water from the hose nozzle.

By keeping your plants healthy with organic matter/compost and healthy soil that is teaming with beneficial microbes, your plants will have a better chance fighting off pests and disease.


The soul of the garden. Most veggies prefer a sandy loam soil. Depending on your area, you may have to add different components to your soil to make it just right. The basic rule is this:

Dig down about 6 inches in your soil. Make sure it’s moist. Take a handful and squeeze it together like dough. It should be held together but not like a clump of clay. Then crumble it. If it crumbles like the consistency of cake flour you have the perfect sandy loam soil. If it stays together you have more of a clay soil. And if it falls apart like sand in an hourglass you have sandy soil.

If you need help on balancing your soil check out this link from The Rodale Institute, which is the best when it comes to science and organics. https://rodaleinstitute.org/the-latest-dirt-on-soil/

The Ranch Refresher!

For many, the hardest part of The Ranch is not the daily 4 hour hike, plant-based diet or afternoon fitness classes – it’s having to say goodbye. You’ve worked so hard during your stay to achieve those results that leaving this tranquil bubble can be a little scary. You’ve learned more than you think but just in case, Senior Program Guide Kasey Kelly is now offering an evening talk at The Ranch to help remind you of our key principles as you go back to every day life.

Read on for Kasey’s advice on reintegration and enjoy the process of taking your health into your hands!

– DIET –

It’s important to remember to keep your transition simple when it comes to dietary changes, either introducing new foods or eliminating foods. Here are some tips that may inspire you – incorporate one or all of them!

Tip 1: 80/20 Rule. Eat healthfully 80% of the time and enjoy yourself 20%.

Tip 2: Small Changes. Take control and make mindful decisions of what you are in-taking.

Tip 3: Tasty Temptations. Studies show you are more likely to eat whatever is readily at eye level in your fridge or pantry. So, plan and prep accordingly. When you get home from the market, wash and cut fruit and veggies to be ready for snacking. Store at eye level in your fridge instead of buried in the produce drawer. Same goes for what is in your pantry.

Tip 4: Focus on the Good. Don’t focus on what you are not eating. Focus on what you are! When you put enough good food into your body, you won’t feel deprived of what you are not having.

Tip 5: Do your best. Making healthy changes in your life is about celebration and vibrancy. It is not about shame or guilt. Use The Ranch Journal as a food journal to notice how you feel when you eat certain foods.

Eat less. Chew more and eat more whole foods. WATER…WATER…WATER.


Do something active every day, whether it’s a workout, or just taking a walk with a friend.

Tip 1: Move more. If you have the option to walk to the store or run an errand on foot – do it! If you drive somewhere, park further away, increasing the distance you walk. Get creative and think of ways you can up your movement in your daily routine. (e.g. take that class on your lunch break; play with your kids; walk with your dog; dance; do anything that will increase your overall movement throughout your day.) With each movement and each breath we take we are celebrating our lives.

Tip 2: Mix it up. A great way to combat boredom or plateaus and to stimulate different muscle groups is to mix up your workouts. Use The Ranch as inspiration on how you set up your week. (e.g. Monday I will get outside; Tuesday I will go to the gym; Wednesday I will do Yoga; Thursday is a plant based food day; etc.) Be creative!

Tip 3: Use a Stand Up Desk (also known as height-adjustable desks or sit-stand desks).  Although research is still in early stages, it does appear that using a standing desk can have impressive benefits for health including:

– Decreasing neck and back pain
– Increasing calories burned
– Decreasing sugar levels after lunch
– Decreasing risk of heart disease
– Improving mood and overall energy level
– Increasing productivity

Tip 4: Weights in the Office. During breaks grab the weights and do reps throughout the day. Or if you find yourself on a long phone conversation, stand and do some squats.

Tip 5: Stretch. Use it or lose it. Stretching has a calming effect on your mind and body, and can help not only combat stress, but also lower your risk of injury and encourage fast recovery.

What is the best workout? The one that you will do! Find an activity that inspires you to keep moving your body in the direction towards your health goals. Don’t be afraid to try something new!


As it is important to train our bodies, it is important to also be aware of how our minds are “trained”. It is pivotal that we are constantly checking in with ourselves on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Our overall health and wellness depends on many factors and only we can find the right solution that works for our life.

Tip 1: Practice Mindfulness. The next time you sit down to eat a meal, take a moment to reflect on how the food came to be in front of you. (e.g. Where was it grown? How was it transported? Who prepared the meal?) Then as you begin eating savor each bite and really focus on the flavor. Chew a little longer to ease digestion and as you continue to eat notice if you can taste the flavors more or if the experience of eating changes for you. Other ways to practice mindfulness are to take a little more time to be aware of whatever action you are doing. (e.g. walking on the grass barefoot noticing how it feels on your feet; feeling your heart beating inside of your chest; closing your eyes and experiencing your breath, etc.)

Tip 2: Incorporate stress management tools into your daily routine. High cortisol levels in the body can lead to many adverse and negative effects. It can also lead to our bodies holding on to unwanted weight. Journal. The act of journaling is a technique to help alleviate stress and help identify common themes in our lives that we may otherwise have not been aware of. Mediate. Taking a few moments to sit quietly each day. Yale University conducted a study that found mindfulness meditation actually decreases the activity in the default mode network (DMN) part of the brain responsible for mind wandering aka ”monkey brain” (ruminating, worrying about past or future, etc.)

Tip 3: Practice Gratitude. This simple act alone can really increase your sense of contentment and in turn, increase your sense of joy and happiness. (e.g. use The Ranch Journal as a gratitude journal; create a gratitude jar; write thank you notes, etc.).

Tip 4: Limit Use of Electronic Devices. Technology is great, however it can interfere with the overall connectedness we feel to ourselves, our life and those that are in our lives. There are multiple benefits of putting the phone down and choosing to connect with the present moment. Start with small breaks, at dinner with the family, phones go into a basket, or you make Sundays a tech free day. Make some time to disconnect from the world at large and connect with your life at this very moment.

Tip 5: Sleep. Quality of sleep is vital for our overall body’s ability to function at its most optimal state. Getting enough quality sleep is not only prioritizing yourself and your well being as important, but it also helps in numerous other ways:
-Building immunity
-Enhancing recovery and curbing inflammation (*inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.)
-Better decision-making
-Reducing stress
-Improving overall mood
-Helping maintain a healthier weight

Don’t forget to enjoy the process of getting to know yourself a little bit better.

Chef’s Corner

Inspired by Italy!

After 6 blissful weeks in the Italian Dolomites, Chef Meredith Haaz returns to The Ranch 4.0 kitchen inspired by the local flavors and ingredients she cooked with over the summer. For Fall she’s serving veggie-packed minestrone soup which was offered at lunch with a vegetable tart featuring a sunflower seed crust. Not only does your body benefit from the major dose of greens, but the sunflower seed crust supports your adrenals.

And of course there’s always room for Tiramisu! Her vegan version will satisfy your sweet tooth with a deliciously nutty interpretation that is heart healthy and palate pleasing!

Buon appetito!

Minestrone Soup

Serves 6

1 yellow onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 Tbsp oil
2 zucchini, diced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans or garbanzo beans
2 cups chopped fresh kale, Swiss chard or cabbage
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, carrots and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until softened. Add in zucchini, garlic, red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute longer.

Add in vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, water, dried herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and allow soup to simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes until all of the veggies are soft.

Add cannellini beans (or garbanzo beans), green beans, kale, nutritional yeast, parsley and lemon juice and cook, uncovered, until kale has wilted, about 5-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Vegetable Tart w/ Sunflower Seed Crust

Makes one 11-inch tart

Tart crust:

1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup brown rice flour
1⁄2 cup oat flour
1⁄2 cup almond meal or flour
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons oil
4 to 6 Tablespoons almond milk or water


1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
3⁄4 cup almond milk or water
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans or 1 14oz can, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon flax seed meal
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper


1 tablespoon oil
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups broccolini, ends thinly sliced and tops left intact
2 cups baby spinach
1⁄2 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly oil a 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom and set aside.
For the crust:
Add sunflower seeds to a food processor and blend until fine. Add brown rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, arrowroot, baking powder and a pinch of salt and pepper and blend again.
Drizzle in oil while the motor is running. Scrape sides and blend again. Drizzle in the almond milk and blend until mixture comes together when squeezed. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and up the sides.

Prick the bottom of crust with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside while making the filling.

For the filling:
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft and caramelized. Set aside to cool. When cool, transfer onion mixture to a blender and add almond milk, beans, nutritional yeast, flax, turmeric, dijon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until completely smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the vegetables:
In the same skillet warm the oil over medium heat, add leek and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in broccolini florets and sliced stems along with 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook for two minutes or until bright green and tender. Spread spinach over the top of the broccoli and then add peas, cover again for another minute and then stir to combine. Remove from heat as soon as the spinach is wilted. Carefully stir the cooked vegetables into filling.

Transfer to the pre baked crust, spread out evenly and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

Vegan Tiramisu

Makes about 24 small mini servings

Bottom Layer:
1 cup raw walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract
Pinch of salt

Chocolate Layer:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hrs or overnight
4 tbsp maple syrup
6 tbsp almond milk or water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract
1⁄2 tsp salt

Cream Layer:
1⁄2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hrs or overnight
1⁄4 cup almond milk or water
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract
Pinch of salt
Cacao powder for dusting over the tops

For the bottom layer, combine all of the ingredients, pulsing in a food processor until the mix holds together when pressed between your fingers. Fill a silicone mini muffin pan with about a Tablespoon in each cup and place in the freezer while working on the other layers.

For the chocolate layer, drain the cashews and puree all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and thick. Place about a Tablespoon of the mix into the molds over the crusts, making sure to leave room at the top for the final ‘cream’ layer. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place in the freezer.

For the final layer, puree the ingredients together in the blender until smooth and thick. Spoon evenly over the chocolate layer, again tapping the pan on the counter to remove bubbles. Cover pan and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

When completely frozen, un-mold the mini tiramisu and dust the tops with cacao powder. Keep frozen until serving.

In Our Library

Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook 
By Ella Mills Woodward

By Sara-Chana Silverstein  

Find Your Why
By Simon Sinek

The Spirit Almanac
By Emma Loewe and Lindsay Kellner

Why We Sleep
By Matthew Walker PhD