At the time Optimum Health Institute (OHI) opened its doors, one of the
key healing lifestyle program elements – a live, raw, organic vegan
diet – was not widely embraced by mainstream America. Now, 40 years later, OHI is going strong, and the number of people choosing
a vegetarian or largely meat-free lifestyle in the U.S. is near 30 million.
Raw food restaurants are sprouting up everywhere. Even conventional supermarkets
and big box stores are jumping on the organic produce bandwagon.
While choosing live, raw, organic vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts over
animal proteins might seem like a relatively recent trend, the practice
has very deep roots. Biblical scripture and the ancient Essene gospels
both advise the divine wisdom of maintaining a strict raw vegan diet for
optimum health of body, mind and spirit.
Throughout history, brilliant people have touted the benefits of a vegetarian
lifestyle -- Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Buddha, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin
Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, and Steve Jobs, to name a few.
Even traditional western medicine is warming to the idea. The Mayo Clinic
and Harvard Medical School are among the groups advising that a well-planned
vegetarian diet can help you stay healthy, and reduce your risk of heart
disease, diabetes and some cancers.
The growth in popularity of raw vegan foods is closely tied to the history
of OHI. When a Boston-area woman was diagnosed with colon cancer in the
early 1950’s, she chose to follow her Lithuanian grandmother’s
approach to healing – using weeds and wheatgrass – and went
into complete remission. The woman, Ann Wigmore, devoted the next 35 years
of her life to studying and teaching others about the healing benefits
of live, raw, organic vegan foods. In 1956 she founded the “Red
Schoolhouse,” which would evolve into Hippocrates Health Institute.
In 1976, two of OHI’s founders, Raychel Solomon and Pam Nees, attended
a lecture by the author of the book,
How I Conquered Cancer Naturally
. Eydie Mae Hunsberger switched to Ann Wigmore’s raw vegan food plan
after her breast cancer diagnosis, and also went into complete remission.
She was eager to answer Raychel and Pam’s questions at her presentation.
After meeting Eydie Mae, Raychel studied with Ann Wigmore at Hippocrates,
and experienced for herself the healing power of a strict live, raw organic
vegan lifestyle. Later that same year, Raychel, Pam and Pam’s husband
Bob Nees, Sr., opened Hippocrates West in San Diego County, California.
The groundbreaking concept at the heart of Hippocrates and Hippocrates
West was deceptively simple. Recreate your lifestyle, starting with switching
to a primarily raw foods diet, and let the healing begin. Fueled by the
healthiest, freshest vegan nutrients, people could more easily defog and
quiet their minds, and feel a renewed, heart-centered connection to God.
Hippocrates West soon evolved into The Optimum Health Institute, and became
a healing ministry of the Free Sacred Trinity Church.
The parallel growth of both the raw foods movement and OHI became deeply
personal in 1997. Bob’s sister-in-law, Mary Helon Nees, was diagnosed
with terminal lung cancer. She and Bob’s brother, the Rev. Russell
Nees, refused to accept her doctor’s grim prognosis, and instead
strictly followed OHI’s raw vegan food plan, with lots of wheatgrass
juice. Mary Helon went into remission, and became a strong advocate of
adopting a plant-based diet.
As the raw foods movement continues to gain new adherents nationwide, OHI
is more than keeping up with the growing interest. OHI has enhanced its
dining experience by creating a new 21-day menu, offering delicious, gourmet
restaurant caliber live, raw, organic vegan dishes at each lunch and dinner
for the entire three weeks of the holistic healing program.
Come experience what “healthy” tastes like with a one, two
or three week stay at our healing missions, OHI San Diego and OHI Austin
in Texas. Our caring staff is eager to give you the unconditional support,
inspiration and transformational tools you require to bring your body,
mind and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Help
us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Visit our website at
www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at
(800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.