Announcing Fiesta De La Cocina Que Canta!

cooking class, la cocina que canta, rancho la puerta

A Food Enthusiast’s Special Week At Rancho La Puerta And Our Cooking School,
La Cocina Que Canta

September 28 – October 5, 2013

MadisonJoin famed cookbook author and chef Deborah Madison—along with esteemed chef/writers John AshMarie SimmonsNani Steele and our own Denise Roa—at our semi-annual Culinary Week this year!

In the future we’ll profile each of our chefs, but let’s talk a bit about Deborah Madison first. She evokes so much of what The Ranch “is about!”

First, have you ever been to GREENS in San Francisco’s Ft. Mason area for incredible vegetarian cuisine served literally “over the Bay?” Founding chef Deborah Madison has long since moved to a little town near Santa Fe, New Mexico, but her imprimatur—and creative genius—remains at Greens in force. It’s a don’t-miss experience in The City.

Deborah has been to the Ranch many times and her classes are thorough, intensely focused, and revolutionary for those of us who want a deeper command of delicious vegetarian cooking. Deborah’s latest book “Vegetable Literacy” delves into the most arcane and delicious secrets of vegetables. Did you know that kohlrabi leaves are edible? As well as broccoli leaves? Or that spinach is a “goosefoot?” This is an instant classic…deliciously so.

This year’s Culinary Week will feature hands-on classes with our guest chefs, plus a WINE COUNTRY TOUR, plus DINNER IN EL LUGAR DE NOS (Tecate’s hottest new restaurant), and more…

Culinary Week Package $495 per person + tax PLUS 10% off any available room*.

Call our experience planners
for more details.

*For this special discounted rate the Culinary Package & room must be booked by August 1, 2013. Space is limited.

Our New Summer Spa Package!


“Four for Three” 

Announcing The Ranch’s 

Summer Spa Package 

Four Treatments for only $329 + tax

June 15 – August 30, 2013

Enjoy four 50-minute or less treatments* of your choice this summer for approximately the price of THREE! (Actual savings vary, but can be up to $91 dollars)

Upgrade Option: Choose four treatments*, including all 80- and 90-minute treatments,  (TOTAL: $529+tax).

* Shorter treatments also eligible. This offer excludes Four Hand Massage, Cooking Classes, and Therapeutic Private Sessions (Watsu, Craniosacral, Chiropractic Service, Feldenkrais, and Acupuncture).

Spa services are limited to availability; guest will be guaranteed the number of treatments in their package, but not necessarily the specific treatments of their choosing. Spa package pricing is per person, for up to seven continuous days.

Some restrictions apply. Prices can change without notice. Mexican tax (11%) is not included in these prices.  

Origins of the Ranch, Part V

Fascinating techniques on everything from sleep and breathing to chewing foods…

The Professor continues his “breaking down” methods of eliminating disease and toxins from the body, as chronicled by Florence Mahon, a health refugee from England who, along with her friends and Purcell Weaver (the Professor’s translator), was at a retreat run by Szekely on the shores of Lake Elsinore, California, in 1935. The diet and exercise program was very strict…a daunting challenge, but she stuck to it. Ms. Mahon found it extreme at times, but the presence of her daughter helped a great deal. Professor Szekely was also encouraging, patting his guests on the back and (according to Mahon’s account) saying, “Bona!” whenever he noticed “the toxins coming out.” As mentioned before, please note that these methods have not been in use at Rancho La Puerta since its founding…they are of historical interest only, but some still seem intuitively valid today—the Professor’s methods continued to evolve, and by the time The Ranch began in 1940 the focus was mainly on healthy eating and exercise, not deprivation, to rebuild health.

[The following is from “Through the Cure with Professor Szekely” by Florence Mahon.  To read previous installments, see Origins of the Ranch:  Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV]

We experienced many unpleasant things when we were getting rid of our ailments, but these symptoms varied according to the nature of the disease we had. Very little could be done to ease the pain while the new cells were forming….emphasis was put on the fact that it wasn’t possible to cure one thing without cleaning up the whole organism—each organ must work for the good of the totality.

First the organism eliminated the toxins of last year, and then retrogressively back to the first year of our life, so we experienced again the symptoms of old illnesses which introduced toxins into us. It was explained that everyone is born twice—once when he is physically born, and again when he learned the laws of nature. When the process of disintoxication has got back to the condition of birth, it begins to eliminate the toxins our ancestors passed on, so bad heredity can be overcome. If we lead an unnatural life we constantly absorb more toxins than we can eliminate. If we live according to the laws of nature we introduce less toxins and eliminate more

We have now seen that the daily routine covered the needs of the physical and mental well-being of the patient. We will now turn our attention to sleep. During elimination, more sleep is needed. Before sleeping, it was necessary to clear all disturbing thoughts from the mind, for the quality and content of sleep is influenced by the thoughts and sentiments prior to sleep. If we sleep with harmonious thoughts, our sleep is a source of energy, harmony and knowledge. Inharmonious thoughts cause us to wake up tired instead of refreshed.

Having dealt with the procedures of the day, I will clear up one or two points that may have arisen in your mind.

On the question of breakfast. To begin with, we did feel hungry and wanted breakfast badly, but after some weeks of going without, the desire disappeared and never returned. It may have been the fact that we were already understanding that if no breakfast is taken then the organism is able to eliminate toxins during the morning, but if food is taken this process is stopped.

The question of thirst was a problem, for we were always thirsty during the first month or so. The various exercises in water, sun and air lead to deeper breathing, so therefore there was a greater burning up of toxins, and this caused thirst. The way to alleviate this without interfering with the process of burning up the toxins was to gargle, holding the head back as far as possible to allow fresh cold water to trickle down the back of the throat, then gently throwing up the head and ejecting the water. Thirst comes from the throat regions and not from the stomach.

Great importance was attached to mastication. When eating it was necessary to be in a good humour so as to allow the food to digest properly. Also, we found it was not wise to drink too much, for when the organism is digesting a great deal of liquid, it cannot eliminate. More than the right amount of food becomes ferment. We were told to “listen to the voice of our organism” and not to go on eating for the sake of eating. We were encouraged to leave the table feeling we could eat just a little more. Controversy or arguments were prohibited during meals on the grounds that they distract attention from the food and draw blood away from digestion.


We now come to the second part of the cure: that of the “building-up” stage. This was the most exciting period, for not only did we start to put on weight (for we had become very thin) but we began to feel good and take an interest in life once more. While the breaking-down period was very slow and gradual, the building-up did not take so long. It was fascinating to watch the changes come over one—in the texture of the skin, the colour of the eyes, the flexibility of the body, and the clearness of the mind. Our attitude to life was different, fear went, depression, bad feeling—in fact all the unpleasant things that make one ill—went for good, and day by day and every day there was a marked improvement in general health and well-being.

Next month: the joy of tasting bread again…and the mysteries of the “diet chart.”

Yoga Backbend Workshop with Hazel

hazelI’ve been coming to the ranch for almost a year now and surprisingly I have never taken one of Hazel’s classes before. Not because I didn’t want to, but we always seem to be here on different days. Anyway, I need to get with be program because she was great!

The class was more of a workshop on yoga backbends, something that I’ve been struggling with (we’ll get to that later), but it surprised me in many different ways. First I’ve always thought of backbends as the wheel pose, but actually there are a lot of many gentle ways to stretch the back.

With the help of the blocks there are options for those of us that may not have flexibility on our side.  For example the “supported fish” where you place one block under your upper back and another under your head and let your arms flow back which is an amazing stretch.  The next was the “supported backbend” with the block under your sacrum (between your tailbone and waist) which felt equally amazing (“like heaven” is what one person said in class). You can build up the intensity by adding another block to add more height.

Lastly, it was time for the wheel pose. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about it. I’ve attempted doing it before but number one it scares me and number two, I always feel like it hurts the middle of my back. Well, I learned a big lesson from Hazel. If you’re having any sort of pain in your back while you’re doing it, don’t push yourself. Focus on the beginner steps of squeezing your legs together as if there is a block in between them.  You will also need to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms which I think is my problem.  Without the flexibility, it’s really hard for your arms to be able to support your upper body.  So now I know why I’ve always had trouble with backbends!  But my goal is to do it, so I’m currently working on creating more flexibility in my shoulders. I’ll keep you all posted on when I finally get it down!

The Japanese Facial

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I have to say that my all time favorite treatments are facials. I’m always amazed at how my skin feels after a facial, so soft! One of the new treatments at the Ranch is the Japanese Facial that focuses on Japanese massage techniques and improving circulation, which is essential for glowing skin.

The facial took place at the Villas Health Center, a beautiful building where most of the Ranch’s spa treatments are done. The Villas Health Center features sunlit hallways with beautiful Mexican art, herb and lemon infused water to cool down from the warm weather and a sauna, steam room and hot tub along with a gorgeous outside deck  on the second floor. What a serene place to relax in and receive a treatment!

Mona was my aesthetician and started out by applying the Soothing Cleanser and Purifying Face Polish by Amala. All the products by Amala smelled divine! Mona did a wonderful job, taking the time to delicately massage my face, focusing on certain massage techniques that seemed to lift my skin and were stimulating yet relaxing at the same time. Not only did my skin feel soft and smooth afterwards, but my facial muscles seemed more toned as well. The facial emphasized Japanese massage techniques, which I loved – it was my favorite part!

By the end of the facial, I felt totally relaxed and my skin was super soft with a bright glow. Mona also applied Amala’s Purifying Moisturizer, Hydrating Eye Treatment, Coola Suncare SPF 30 and Soothing Lip Balm. I felt like a million bucks afterwards.

I had the 50 minute facial, but there is also an 80 minute option with extended facial massage, eye-area treatment experience and extractions (if needed.)  I highly recommend this facial for anyone who’s looking for a gentle way to plump up, lift and brighten their skin!