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 Healing Power of Gratitude

Gratitude is such an important part of our culture that it has its own national day of observance. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November, after harvest, would be set aside as a time for "Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

While it’s a traditional time for families and friends to gather together and count their blessings, Thanksgiving is also such a powerfully healing experience for us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

When we experience gratitude, our bodies quickly respond in many positive ways. We immediately feel increased vitality and energy, while our blood pressure significantly decreases. Expressing thanks boosts our immune system. We experience less physical pain. We’re even able to fall into a deeper, longer, more restorative sleep more quickly.

On the mental level, giving thanks makes us more effective at our jobs. Our decision-making and productivity skills improve, we network more effectively, and we become better managers. A consistent ‘attitude of gratitude’ makes it much easier for us to get mentors and protégés, helping us achieve our career goals while simultaneously making our workplace a friendlier, more engaging place.

Emotionally speaking, when we feel gratitude, we feel less stress and depression. Keeping a gratitude journal, and writing just five minutes a day, boosts our long-term well-being by more than 10%. That’s the same jump we would get from a 100% pay raise! When we’re feeling thankful, we’re a lot more likable, which means we’ll deepen existing relationships and friendships, and make more new ones.

In a spiritual sense, gratitude enriches our personal connection to God while making us less self-centered and materialistic. We’re happier, much more optimistic, and more able to see the good in others, and the deeper divine meaning in all things.

Let’s all continue to cherish our nation’s traditional day of Thanksgiving, and also keep that healing spirit of gratitude going all year long. Start a gratitude journal. Thank others for specific things they’ve done that have made such a positive difference in your life. Write a note to a favorite teacher, or let an aunt know her gift of crayons decades ago was what launched you on a career in art. Expressing your gratitude not only benefits you, but reminds others that their kindness had great meaning and purpose. It’s a win-win situation that can easily become a year-long adventure in happiness for everyone involved.

Express gratitude for a healthier body, mind and spirit while spending a week, or two, or ideally three, at the Optimum Health Institute 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 www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Keeping the Peace During the Holidays

Ahhh, the holidays! The time for reconnecting multi-generations of families, sitting down together to enjoy a great meal and fellowship, reminiscing about the happy times, and – all too frequently – drama! No matter how independent and individually successful everyone may have become when family members gather once or twice a year, old conflicts, resentments, and injustices, real and imagined, can come back with a vengeance.

Here are some ideas for heading off any unpleasantness at the pass, before a hurtful word can be uttered:

1) Forgive everyone everything, and take back your power. This is definitely not about condoning any wrongdoing – but it is shifting your focus and lessening the emotional charge of whatever transpired years or decades ago. Choose instead to see the incident as a spiritual awareness opportunity – in retrospect, what did you learn from that event or behavior? Maybe you clearly saw how NOT to treat a child. Or you learned that you are stronger and more independent than you previously knew. Look for the lesson, and you lessen the hurt, and start to regain a healthier, more positive sense of self.

2) Mind your words. Rumi, the 13 th-century Persian poet, spoke about how our words must pass through three gates. The first gate; is it true? The second; is it necessary? And the third and final gate; is it kind? Mentally check to see if what you’re about to say to the group goes through all three gates before you share.

3) Take it outside. In other words, break up old unhealthy routines that end up with everyone parked in front of the TV by inviting the family to join you on a walk through the local park, or arboretum, or hiking trail. The change of scenery will be good for everyone, and scientific studies confirm being in nature, even for just 10 minutes a day, significantly decreases stress levels, lowers blood pressure, and boosts the immune system. Besides, it’s hard to argue when you’re enjoying the beautiful scenery.

4) Recreate a few old family photos. This will take some advance planning, but it’s a fantastic way to bring people together, reminisce about the good old days, and make some fun new family memories.

5) Volunteer. Find out in advance about opportunities to help others in your city through websites like volunteermatch.org. Volunteering doesn’t only help the people receiving assistance – those donating their time and enthusiasm also reap rewards in feeling good and doing something meaningful. Volunteering as a group could turn out to be a great new family tradition, too.

6) You can’t be angry and grateful at the same time. There are two main emotions in the world – love and fear. Because they are opposites, they cannot exist in the mind simultaneously. That means when you begin to experience an emotion coming from the “fear” part of the equation, like anger, worry, or being offended, you can quickly cancel it out by making yourself find something, ANYTHING, for which you can feel authentic gratitude. Even thinking, “I am grateful that I will soon be returning home” works beautifully, and immediately, to keep you mentally and spiritually in balance during the toughest of family reunions.

Start a new holiday tradition this year by spending a week, or two, or ideally three, at the Optimum Health Institute 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 www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Fermented Foods Are a Healthy Choice

Workers creating the Great Wall of China ate them. Ancient Greeks lauded their health benefits. They prevented scurvy for Captain Cook’s crew during the three years he sailed around the world. Fermented foods have been an important dietary staple for at least 8,000 years, and aptly illustrate Hippocrates’ teaching to, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”

By increasing the acidity of gastric juices, fermented foods help keep the stomach and intestinal lining healthy, and able to best absorb essential nutrients. They take the stress off our digestive system because they’re pre-digested, and an efficient energy booster. Fermented foods are packed with B vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates, which are essential for a healthy body. Their lactic acid content also destroys harmful bacteria in the intestines.

Fermented foods can be particularly beneficial for us as we age, and we naturally start producing fewer digestive enzymes. A small portion of sauerkraut, Rejuvelac, seed cheese or other fermented foods with our meals can compensate, and help keep our digestive system on track. They can aid in healthy elimination, and benefit people with diabetes by improving pancreatic function.

Besides keeping our bodies in healthy balance, fermented foods have been credited with being “nature’s antibiotic.” During an epidemic of typhoid fever in Europe in the 1950’s, fresh sauerkraut was credited with killing the bacteria for both typhoid and cholera. German scientists found a strain of lactic acid quickly killed super-bugs resistant to traditional antibiotics.

Despite all the proven health benefits of daily consuming fermented foods, the move in the past century towards preserving foods through freezing and canning caused a decrease in the availability of and interest in these probiotic superstars. The good news is they’re slowly starting to regain popularity, and it’s easy to make your own. Here’s the receipe for quinoa rejuvelac, a fermented drink with a healthy kick:

Quinoa Rejuvelac

Ingredients and equipment:

1 cup quinoa

1 gallon purified water

1 gallon glass jar with “breathable” covering

1 large spoon for stirring

Blender

1. Rinse grain. To rinse, place grain in a sieve with a fine mesh and rinse through the sieve until the water is clear.

2. Soak and sprout grain – about 4-6 hours. Rinse.

3. Process grain for 5-10 seconds on medium speed in blender.

4. Place blended grain in a gallon container.

5. Fill with purified water.

6. Cover with a dish towel or other “breathable” covering.

7. Stir the grain twice with a large spoon.

8. After 24 hours, pour the liquid, which is now rejuvelac, off the grain and store it in a covered container in your refrigerator.

9. The Rejuvelac will last for about 1 week in the refrigerator. If you are drinking 32 ounces per day, 1 gallon will last 4 days.

Taste how delicious fermented foods can be, and learn how to make them yourself, with an extended stay at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI). Your body, mind and spirit will be happy with a week, or two, or three, for the entire 21-day program, 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 www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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:

Syrup

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.

Sucrose

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 www.optimumhealth.org, 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 www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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