This Week at OHI

Optimum Health Institute’s Weekly Blogs.
OHI offers a holistic healing program based on ancient spiritual disciplines that promotes healing of your body, mind, and spirit through all-natural, non-medical practices.

The Big Halloween 'Trick' is Sugar

Making Halloween costumes and carving pumpkins is a lot of fun. Dancing to the Monster Mash and telling scary ghost stories at parties are great, too. But gorging on Halloween candy? Not so great.

The Mayo Clinic reports that Americans buy about 600 million pounds of Halloween candy a year, and eat about 1.2 pounds on Trick or Treat night alone. The real trick, though, is the toll all that processed sugary junk food will take on your body, mind and spirit.

Sugar is a culprit in increasing the chances of developing obesity and Type 2 diabetes – once the domain of adults – but now epidemic in children. Less well-known negative impacts of sugar consumption include bringing on cold-like symptoms, like chronic runny noses, cough and symptoms of sinus infections.

Sugar overload produces acidity in the body, potentially starving out good bacteria and weakening the immune system. And opting for that chocolate bar or snack-pack of gummy worms probably means kids of all ages won’t be reaching for more healthy fruits and vegetables.

The addictive qualities of sugar mean that a Halloween binge can signal a slippery slope through the rest of the holidays this year, from Thanksgiving right through all the festivities around Christmas and Hanukkah up to a big food-and-alcohol filled New Year’s Eve celebration.

When you’re trying to monitor the family’s intake of sweets, it’s not enough to check nutrition labels to see if sugar is one of the ingredients. Sugar, by any other name, is just as bad for you. Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for:


Agave, corn, maple, and rice syrups are all commonly used ingredients in foods that pose as health food choices. Because their names are of vegetable and plant sources, it is often assumed that these sugars are better for your health than simple cane sugar. In reality, these types of sugar are just as fattening as table sugar, and they have none of the nutritional value of the plants they come from.


When you read food labels, it is rare that you will actually come across the word ‘sugar.’ Instead, you might see sucrose, which is the scientific name for the familiar white powder more commonly known as table sugar. Fructose and glucose are the components of sucrose, and these are more words to watch out for.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is one of the most deceptive forms of sugar, because it is assumed that the juice takes on the nutritional qualities of the fruit it comes from. However, fruit juice is mostly a source of sugar and not much else. Even if some vitamins remain present in the juice, it no longer contains the fiber found in whole fruit which can help digest the sugar properly. All kinds of juice—from concentrate, organic, and 100% juices—are big sugar sources that should be traded in for the whole raw fruit.

Evaporated Cane Juice

Prepackaged foods are carefully designed for trickery, and the use of the words, “evaporated cane juice,” is proof that labels can be deceiving. Evaporated cane juice is exactly the same as regular sugar, but it sneaks into many diets because of this misleading wording.

The whole family can learn how satisfying and delicious healthy eating can be with a one, two or three-week stay at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing while our caring team gives you the tools, encouragement and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit. The longer you stay, the deeper your healing experience. Visit our website at, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

The Up Side of Optimism

You steer your filled grocery cart towards the checkout line, and see there’s only one cashier on duty. Then you notice the line extends partway down the aisle. It’s going to be a long, long wait. What’s your reaction? Do you immediately feel your teeth clench and your face flush in anger, or do you take the opportunity to strike up a friendly conversation with the person behind you, and check your messages on your cell phone?

While either reaction isn’t going to shorten your waiting time, the more optimistic approach will definitely make it a much more pleasant and healthy experience in body, mind and spirit. Rather than being a simplistic “Pollyanna with rose-colored glasses” approach to life, optimism is realizing that things will have the significance we give to them, and then choosing the most positive, constructive meaning.

Some very good news to emerge from scientific studies recently is that optimism can be learned. Even people firmly entrenched in a pessimistic mode can consciously shift into a happier, healthier frame of mind. Here are a few exercises proven to raise your joy level:

  • Breathe! Any time we feel stressed, angry or overwhelmed, the first thing we unconsciously do is start shallow breathing. A brain starved for oxygen negatively impacts body, mind and spirit. The minute you realize you’re not breathing normally, just stop, and take several deep breaths. With restored clarity, you can more realistically observe the situation and choose the most appropriate positive resolution.
  • Start asking yourself at least one time daily, “How can it get any better than this?” It’s an effective way to reverse our culture’s preoccupation with the question, “What else can go wrong?” While it might seem awkward at first, you’ll soon start to develop a habit of pondering what the next good thing in your day will be – and it will begin to appear.
  • Healthy foods = a happy and healthy mind. When your body is struggling to digest processed foods and animal products, your mind can get as sluggish as your intestinal tract. Opt for live, raw, organic vegan vegetables and fruits as much as possible, and see how your happiness level immediately begins to rise.
  • Realize that choosing to give a positive meaning to things actually changes your body chemistry for the good. A negative mental state can potentially create more acidity in the body than poor food choices.
  • Train your brain to think optimistically. Psychologist Marty Seligman, one of the architects of the field of Positive Psychology, suggests that before we fall asleep, we take a moment to review the three most wonderful things that happened to us that day. Besides putting us in a positive frame of mind that sets us up for a night of peaceful, restorative sleep, the practice subtly rewires our brain. When we arise, we’re immediately starting to anticipate the first of the three most positive things we will experience that day. Of course negative things will still unfold – but now, instead of endlessly ruminating over them, we’ll acknowledge them, and then refocus on seeking out the positive. Doing this exercise for just one week results in measurably raising your level of optimism for a full six months.

Learn more about emotional and mental detoxification at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI). Your body, mind and spirit will be happy with a week, or two, or ideally three, at the OHI holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Visit our website at, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Squash: The Nutritional Superstar for Fall

Bursting with flavor, vitamins, minerals and fiber, all varieties of winter squash currently appearing in farmer’s markets and grocery store produce sections are true nutritional super foods.

Just one ½ cup serving delivers 100% of your daily vitamin A requirement and a mega dose of antioxidants at a skinny 37 calories.

There’s a huge selection to choose from. Old favorites like pumpkins, acorn, butternut and Hubbard squash are now joined by newer varieties like sweet mama, sweet dumpling and buttercup. Look for pumpkins and squash that feel heavy, and are free of cuts, mold or cracks. Protected by that hard, tough skin, most kinds of squash will stay fresh for up to three months when stored in a dry, cool place. Thoroughly wash skins before cutting squash to remove any possible bacteria or contaminants.

The yellow and deep orange color of the flesh of winter squash comes from the antioxidant beta carotene, which is credited with helping to prevent chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, and could also slow age-related macular degeneration. The vitamin A in squash supports a strong immune system, healthy skin, and good vision.

More good news about the nutritional benefits of squash – its high vitamin C content can help lower blood pressure, and even protect arteries from damage. Also, the Potassium in squash helps the heart, kidneys, muscles and digestive system function smoothly.

Buying this nutritional powerhouse in season, and locally, gives you the benefit of the freshest meals this fall, while you’re also supporting your local economy.

While raw squash is a delicious addition to soups, smoothies and juices, the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) even uses the seeds for an extra serving of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Guests love the savory Pumpkin Seed Crackers, which are easy to make at home:

Dehydrated Pumpkin Seed Crackers

Yield: 12 1-ounce servings


1 cup soaked pumpkin seeds, rinsed

½ cup soaked sesame seeds, rinsed

½ chopped red bell pepper

½ cup chopped yellow onion

½ chopped firm tomato

¾ cup chopped zucchini

¼ sprig fresh basil

¼ tbsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tbsp. tomato powder

Place half of the pumpkin seeds and half of the sesame seeds in mixing bowl. Blend remaining seeds in Vitamix with vegetables, herbs and spices until mixture is smooth. Add mixture to mixing bowl with whole seeds and stir well with spatula. Spoon onto dehydrator trays in ½ inch tall clumps; do not flatten. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for two days, turning crackers over after the first day.

Savor nutrient-rich squash dishes and other delicious raw, live, organic vegan meals during a stay at the Optimum Health Institute healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. You’ll enjoy a different lunch and dinner each day of our 21-day program when you choose to do all three weeks at once. While each week can be done separately, an extended stay deepens the healing experience. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing as our caring team helps you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

OHI Concepts Go Mainstream

When Optimum Health Institute (OHI) Founders Pam Nees, Raychel Solomon and Bob Nees, Sr., welcomed their first guests in 1976, they knew some of the holistic healing concepts at the heart of the program might seem unusual. For instance, having guests going vegan – cold turkey. Or devoting time daily to mindful meditation. Or drinking fresh squeezed wheatgrass juice several times a day.

How awareness about obtaining optimum health has changed! Now, 40 years later, all of these practices are recognized by western medicine and mainstream America as being beneficial for health and well-being.

Vegan diet

Research from the Mayo Clinic showed vegetarians have a nutritional advantage over people eating a combination of plant and animal foods. Lowered blood pressure and improved diabetes management were just two of the benefits of going vegetarian.

Meanwhile, the Harvard School of Public Health linked eating red meat to increased mortality. Forgoing animal products and switching to vegetarian proteins like legumes and nuts were associated with a longer lifespan.


The Center for Disease Control reports that less than a third of adult Americans consume the recommended nine daily servings of fresh vegetables and fruits. Making your own fresh juice can help you get those nine servings into your day.

Research into the health benefits of various juices has produced very positive results. For instance, studies have shown that kale juice can lower your risk of heart disease by improving your lipid levels and lowering your cholesterol. Citrus-based juices were also found to potentially improve heart health. The high levels of vitamin A and other nutrients in carrot juice are beneficial for eye health, and reducing the risks of various cancers.

Wheatgrass juice

In a study reported in the April 2002 issue of Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, breast cancer patients who were given wheatgrass juice while they were receiving chemotherapy seemed to experience a smaller decrease in the cells responsible for delivering oxygen, immunity and blood clotting. The condition, which is called myelotoxicity, suppresses bone marrow, and is potentially life-threatening.

Mindfulness Meditation

More and more schools and universities are adding meditation rooms and mindfulness instruction to the curriculum with remarkable results.

One example is an elementary school in Baltimore that decided to replace detention with a purple Mindful Meditation Room, where misbehaving students learn conscious breathing exercises and meditation. Mindfulness instructors at the school also work with youngsters dealing with anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, and stress. Not a single student has been suspended since the program was introduced.

Police, firefighters and military personnel are also more frequently being instructed in mindfulness meditation to lower stress levels, make better decisions, improve reaction time and resilience, and help handle PTSD.

Get refresher classes in creating a healthier lifestyle at the OHI missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas, and help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Visit our website at, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

OHI for lifeĀ® - "Food for the Skin"

When actress and model Barbara Logan first visited the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) San Diego in 2000 at the suggestion of family friend Ben Vereen, she felt like she’d come “home.” As the daughter of a minister, she’d been involved in spiritual disciplines and fellowship since childhood. She’d also studied health and nutrition for years, so immediately embraced the vegan meals.

In her decades in front of the camera, she learned the importance of using pure, gentle ingredients to cleanse, nourish and protect her skin. Barbara had already worked for many years developing and manufacturing private label products with exclusive formulations for clients internationally as well as her own product line. She offered to assist OHI in creating every part of an exclusive skin care line that incorporated an essential element of the healing OHI program – wheatgrass juice. The antioxidant properties of the juice, said Barbara, would assist the body in detoxification.

When Barbara got the green light to create an OHI for life® skin care line, her marching orders were very specific. Every ingredient had to meet the strict guidelines of the EWG – the Environmental Working Group. The organization rates ingredients for safety, and sets the highest standards for industry-wide compliance. As many ingredients as possible had to be certified organic…and of course no harmful chemicals.

In the fall of 2009, OHI proudly unveiled its exclusive OHI for life® skin care line. Reaction from guests was immediate and enthusiastic. The facial cleanser, toner, separate moisturizers for morning and evening, and shower gel were created to aid guests in the detoxification process. Since toxins are excreted through the skin, OHI for life® cleanser has jojoba oil exfoliating beads to slough off dead skin cells and simultaneously revitalize the skin with the healing jojoba oil. The toner, which is alcohol-free, removes all traces of the cleanser while balancing the skin with antioxidant rich vitamins A, C, E and B and green tea.

The morning moisturizer helps hydrate the skin and protect it from free radicals encountered in certain foods, and even environmental pollutants. A nourishing ingredient is “Vineyard Extracts” – (the skin, stem and seeds of grapes from wine vineyards) rich in Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. It delivers a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory action that helps diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Specially formulated night moisturizer restores the skin. The skincare cleanser, toner and moisturizers are formulated for compatibility. When used as the ‘system,’ maximum benefits will be achieved. The OHI for life® skin care system is the ultimate “food for the skin”.

OHI for life® shampoo and conditioner were more recently added to the line, and work together to help cleanse, nourish and detoxify the scalp and hair. Both are also EWG compliant, and use soap nuts to generate a safe, natural lather without chemical additives. The OHI for life® products carry the OHI Seal of Approval, assuring you that:

  • All manufacturing facilities have been inspected and validated contaminant-free.
  • All products & containers are environmentally friendly to the maximum degree possible.
  • All ingredients are sourced from universally accepted Fair Trade countries, with no child labor involved.
  • All certified organic ingredients are verified & documented.

OHI guests receive sample-sized containers of the entire OHI for life® line and many continue using the products after they return home by using the OHI convenient home delivery Auto Ship Program. For just $79.99 for the OHI for life® Basic Skin Care System – you receive 3.3 oz. of Cleanser, Toner, Day Crème and Evening Crème – a 60 day supply delivered right to your door. (Regular price $100) Call (888) 643-7867 for details on how to lock in this and other savings on this special program.

By feeding and nourishing your skin, you’re also helping a deserving individual experience the healing benefits of OHI’s holistic healing program. All net proceeds after direct and indirect expenses benefit OHI’s Scholarship Fund.

Receive your own sample-sized OHI for life® complete skin care system when you stay at an Optimum Health Institute holistic health mission in San Diego or Austin, TX. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Visit our website at, and call us at
(800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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