Personal trainer and cannabis advocate Jamel Ramiro’s upbringing did not point to a career in helping people succeed in fitness via cannabis, let alone co-found an edible company on the Left Coast in liberal California.
“Not only do I come from a very conservative Midwestern family, but, in sixth grade, I was also in the very first graduating class of the D.A.R.E. program in Chicago, Illinois,” says Ramiro, whose nickname is MoonMan. “That said, I stayed away from drugs and didn’t really care for alcohol.”
The first time Ramiro says he tried cannabis was as a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago, where he majored in mass communications with an emphasis on journalism. He didn’t use the beneficial herb as remedy, though, until he began Muay Thai training in 2008.
“At that time, I had limited knowledge with cannabis as medicine, but I was training hard and it helped numb the pain after being punched, kicked, kneed, and elbowed from Muay Thai,” he explains. “Because I have a reputation for training hard and doing crazy fitness feats like doing a mile of burpees and bear crawling the Golden Gate bridge, I discovered that cannabis really helped with the inflammation better than any other natural supplements I had used prior.”
Since combining cannabis with his fitness regimen, ClassPass voted Ramiro one of San Francisco’s most athletic trainers in 2014 and one of the city’s top boot camp instructors in 2017, while Inside Hook magazine named him one of San Fran’s toughest trainers in 2016. So much for the lazy, non-productive stoner stereotype.
“Unlike other cannabis brands and fitness influencers in the cannabis space, I only promote the way I use cannabis, especially when it comes to the cannabis-positive fitness events we host,” Ramiro says. “It doesn’t take much for me to get high, and I’ll always prefer micro-dosing—taken for the aftermath of an intense workout. The only time I’ll dose with cannabis before a workout is to decrease anxiety.”
As an example, Ramiro says if the waves are exceptionally big on days he’s surfing, he’ll ingest cannabidiol (CBD) to help calm his nerves. Again, though, he’s more likely to take CBD after a strenuous workout. “No other supplement has helped me as much as CBD for the self-inflicted stress I place on my own body, due to my extreme level of performance,” he says.
Via his training company, Jamel Ramiro Performance Movement, Ramiro says he has trained everyone from soccer moms to high-level pro-athletes, including law enforcement, firefighters, military, and martial artists. And though many of these law enforcement officials and firefighters seem interested when the conversation of cannabis comes up, Ramiro says their professions get in the way.
“Conversations are becoming easier now that California has legalized,” he says. “However, I had to be strategic when I first started coming out of the closet regarding my own use. Many people would say, ‘You do that? But you’re a professional?’ Once I begin educating them during a training session, their interest piques.”
Military veterans, on the other hand, are a different story. Ramiro says veterans are often looking for better solutions for help with PTSD and to replace opiates, and they’ve inspired MoonMan’s Mistress to sponsor Educating Veterans Around Cannabis (EVAC) by donating edibles.
Cannabis and a paleo diet
Born in North Carolina, Liz Rudner earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and studio art, and a Master of Fine Arts in commercial design. Her certification in functional nutrition, however, came after nearly a lifetime of digestive issues, combined with chronic fatigue, depression, and an eventual diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and celiac disease in her 20s.
“Unfortunately, I had been misdiagnosed by the time I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and celiac,” she explains. “Even with these diagnoses, my ailments became challenging to manage because no one spoke to me about what an integral part food plays in living with auto-immune disease.”
While on a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, Rudner met a naturopathic massage therapist, who taught her the benefits of healing the body with food and whole plant cannabis.
“I had been a cannabis user for many years and found relief from many of my auto-immune symptoms,” Rudner says. “But it wasn’t until I really changed my diet and became paleo that everything changed for me. My quality of life improved, my depression subsided, my hair grew back, my thyroid levels balanced out; I slept more than three hours a night and had energy to do activities I loved, like yoga and surfing.” After being told for years she’d have to live with the status quo, the improvement was remarkable.
But then she faced another hurdle: finding whole foods within the cannabis market.
“Having so many allergies and finding that consuming cannabis helped subside a lot of my ailments, I then discovered that there weren’t a lot of products in the current cannabis space I could consume,” she says.
Cannabis and functional food
Ramiro met Rudner after she helped some of his clients with nutritional guidance, and they’ve been friends ever since. Together, their knowledge of fitness and health is filling the gap of healthful eating within the cannabis marketplace and led to them creating the edible company MoonMan’s Mistress.
When it comes to health foods, transparency is everything. Many food manufacturers claim to create healthy or natural products, but consumers find fillers, or worse, within the fine print on the label. Likewise, unless the product label states otherwise, chances are that flour in the mix is from genetically modified wheat and is not gluten free. For cannabis edibles, transparency also means sharing where the plant material came from, how clean its life was before harvest, and how big a footprint was made in its journey from seed to shelf.
Rudner believes education on nutrition is sorely needed in the cannabis industry, because even though there’s weed in the mix, it doesn’t mean the product has been made with whole ingredients—or whole plant compounds, for that matter.
“Many companies cut corners and use ingredients that are actually harmful for the body,” Rudner says. “We believe in using whole-plant (cannabis) and organic, non-GMO ingredients; creating a synergistic, full-spectrum, whole-plant component. The benefits are reflected in the taste as well as the efficacy of the remedy.”
Together, Ramiro and Rudner are proving marijuana can do a lot more for people than just offer the status quo. They’re proving the cannabis plant, combined with a healthy mindset and positive attitude, can help lift people to a higher state of health.