MoonMan’s Mistress founders Liz Rudner and Jamel Ramiro are tastefully disrupting the edibles industry.
What do you get when you mix a creative director/health-conscious baker who has overcome two debilitating autoimmune diseases and a personal trainer pushing the envelope to find fresh ways to rejuvenate himself and his clients after hardcore workouts?
You get MoonMan’s Mistress, an award-winning artisanal paleo-centric edibles company that produces tasty gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-glycemic snacks.
If that seems too much of a mouthful, company cofounder and kitchen magician Liz Rudner said MoonMan’s Mistress is on a mission to prove “eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless.” She and her business partner, Jamel Ramiro, founded the company three and a half years ago as a passion project they took on in addition to their day jobs. The company has taken off.
What’s eating you is what you’re eating.
In addition to working as a creative director and brand director for tech startups, Rudner studied holistic nutrition as part of her personal journey to health. She and boot camp fitness maestro Ramiro synced up at wellness retreats in Costa Rica.
“I’ve always been a pretty active cannabis user,” said Rudner. “But what we discovered is that through traveling and working with people to kind of reset their rhythms, we noticed there was a lack of people in the industry creating products around wellness.
“I have Hashimoto’s and celiac autoimmune diseases, so I’m really limited with food in general,” she continued. “And then in the cannabis space, if you have a soy/dairy/gluten allergy, you have to hang out with flowers and concentrates—edibles are not really available to you. So basically that’s where it sort of evolved. We saw there was a need in the market for products that were really about healing your body with food.”
Ramiro noted that before jumping into the cannabis space, the duo started a paleo baking company to answer his fitness clients’ need for healthy snacking alternatives. They quickly discovered that market was already saturated.
“That’s how we decided to take it a step further,” he said, “with Liz using cannabis to help heal herself, and me using it for athletic recovery as well as an anti-inflammatory, because of all of the intense fitness things that I do.”
Asked to compare a typical twenty-four hours when their business began with an average span of the same length now, they said the two situations are like night and day…and then half the night again. MoonMan’s Mistress has morphed rapidly from a small, pet project into a full-blown company.
Their “big launch moment” occurred in 2015 when they won Healthiest Edibles at the Edibles Awards. “That was kind of our launch,” said Rudner. “We never officially launched, because when you’re a company of two, every day is a launch.”
Things have changed dramatically since then. “I spent the past year fully 100-percent investing my time, no longer in corporate, and Jamel’s working full time,” Rudner continued. “It’s a lot. Our days don’t end. There’s not a beginning, middle, or end; it’s just a continuous flow. “Jamel’s day starts at 4:15 a.m. and goes to about 11 o’clock at night. My day starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes to about 2 a.m.”
So much for that whole “stoner slacker” stereotype.
Just two good
Citing Rudner’s design experience and his background in sales, marketing, and content writing, Ramiro said their meshed skill sets create synergy. “A lot of people look at our stuff, look at our branding, look at our packaging, and they can’t believe it’s just us two.”
Perhaps the dynamic duo is demonstrating a personal entourage effect, similar to the way using whole-plant cannabis is said to have a multiplier effect when THC, CDB, terpenes, and other organic compounds in marijuana all work in concert to amplify their medicinal benefits. Indeed, the power of whole-plant cannabis is central to MoonMan’s Mistress’s new CDB line, and it starts from the ground up.
Rudner said she and Ramiro purposely sourced from a simpatico “permaculturist organic grower from Sonoma County” who has been farming for fifteen-plus years and “really values the quality of whole-plant cannabis CDB. They’re beyond organic. Our values really aligned.”
“The whole idea with the CDB line was finding the right farmer and then developing cookies that were really a step above,” she said. “A lot of people have nut allergies, so we went with 100-percent seeds. There are a lot of beneficial elements when it comes to seeds for your body. So, we made the Star Cluster, which is all superfood seeds. Then we made the Solar Flare, which is a spin on a chocolate chip cookie: a sunflower cookie.
“We want healthy to be fun and flavorful,” she added. “And we’re really all about the entourage effect. Using the whole plant and our whole ingredients creates that whole entourage effect that’s really healing to the body.”
Surviving the coming market stampede
Electoral progress in California and elsewhere is spurring market influx of industrial hemp CDB products, but MoonMan’s Mistress remains true to their grassroots artisanal heritage. According to Rudner, “We really believe in whole-plant cannabis, CDB, and whole plant material, so because we source and keep everything pretty much in its whole form, we hope to stay in the differentiator lane, more on the disruptor side of the market.”
The comestibles market overall could use some major disruption, she said. “As a national concern, our food industry is really in pretty bad shape when it comes to eating healthy and wellness. I think there’s a huge disconnect around education on what it is to feel really good. If you have an illness, or if you start having a lot of inflammation in your body, how do you sustain yourself to live a really proactive life?
“We really want to focus on the preventative: Where can we change your habits now versus when you’re really sick?” she continued. “We really believe that our end-user is the most important person in the framework. Human beings aren’t scalable: You have one body, one life, and why not take care of it? Which is why we source only sustainable, organic, non-GMO, and pesticide free. We use the best ingredients because you only have one body.
“So, our biggest challenge is we’re going against people who have no problem cranking stuff out at a very low price-point because they don’t care.”
Not caring obviously is not an option for MoonMan’s Mistress’s owners. The company’s expanding product line is constantly evolving as California embraces full recreational legal status.
“The cannabis space is very saturated, so it’s important that we’re still one of those high-level brands that’s all about education,” Rudner said. “I think there’s still a knowledge deficit around ‘what is healthy,’ especially if you are very patient-centric. So, I think it’s important for us to still be advocates for the patients at the end of the day—and advocates for the wellness of the community.”
Amplifying his partner’s thoughts, Ramiro said, “I think ultimately what it comes down to is if you can eat well, you’ll move well. If you can move well, you can live life well. That’s what we’re really just pushing towards. We have one life, and like Liz said, the human body is not scalable, so we just want to make the most out of what you have. We want to be preventative, and we want to show there is a way to use real food as medicine; to use cannabis as a superfood and as a medicine.”
Liz Rudner’s Road to Wellness: Eating (and Feeding) Her Way to Health
“Honestly, the idea I was really able to heal my body with food is such a great soap box to be on—to show people that you can do it, and that small adjustments make all the difference.” So said MoonMan’s Mistress co-founder Liz Rudner, whose long, strange trip to health was a twenty-year battle with autoimmune diseases Hashimoto’s and celiac, which included an overmedicated childhood, adult obesity, and losing all her hair at 28. Over time, she established a healthy paleo diet with the help of a naturopathic doctor, medicated with cannabis, and learned efficient exercise techniques from business partner and fitness trainer Jamel Ramiro. Now, after surviving an ordeal, Rudner’s mission is all about giving back to others with goodwill, good food, and medical cannabis.
“To see people over the age of 75 who have been on compound medications and just feel like shit all the time, to see them feel better is amazing,” she said. “To work with Alzheimer’s patients who can’t remember your name, but they’re so excited that you’re the cookie lady. Or working with a teenager who’s been jacked on ADHD meds since they were seven, to see their quality of life improve… You can’t quantify that. It’s literally like a MasterCard moment: It’s priceless.
“To give people back the quality of life, it’s so important. To really see people heal their bodies and not have lower-back pain, not have joint pain. It’s really magical, almost. We’re healers, not dealers. That’s what I’m most excited about: the people.”