• Spring Newsletter, Sleep Article, Part 1


    This just in: Sleep can add years to your life—but it can also do the opposite if you’re experiencing irregular sleep patterns, according to a new March 2 study by the NIH. Sleep is so important to optimizing your health that we’re publishing two posts on the science of sleep. Read Part 1 this week scientific insights into how sleep restores your body, mind and spirit. Watch for Part 2 next week, where we’ll share 4 recommendations for getting more Zs . . .

    Sleep – What is it? Why is it so important? How do we get more of it? (Part 1 of 2)

    At OHI, we believe that God created humans as holistic beings with an integrated body, mind and spirit. We believe everyone can achieve optimum health when the body is purified, the mind is quieted and the spirit is renewed. From that place of total integration and wholeness, people are then able to strengthen their connection to God and are transformed to receive optimum health.

    So let’s start with the basics on your journey to receive optimum health. Everyone tends to focus on nutrition and exercise as the first steps to cleansing the body and quieting the mind, but one of the most overlooked pillars of good health is good sleep. You simply cannot achieve optimum health without taking care of your sleep.

    Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function. During sleep, your body heals itself, and restores its chemical balance. The fact is, sleep is absolutely essential to body, mind and spirit…

    Sleep plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair your blood vessels and heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Moving on to the endocrine system, hormone production is dependent on sleep. Not getting enough sleep or having interrupted sleep could affect hormone production, and is linked to increased inflammation. Sleep also affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night, and poor sleepers have an increased risk of weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage, and increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Sleep also directly impacts your immune system. While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness.

    Sleep allows your brain to forge new connections, and helps with memory retention. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things, and can also compromise decision-making processes and creativity. Without the proper amount of sleep, the signals your body sends to the brain may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and impacting speed, accuracy and reaction times.

    Sleep deprivation negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. Poor sleep is linked to depression and mood swings.

    Before you can improve your sleep, you have to understand what the qualities of good sleep are. While we often keep track of the quantity of sleep that we get, we rarely consider the quality of sleep that we get. The National Sleep Foundation published a first-of-its kind set of sleep-quality recommendations in the journal Sleep Health.



    “People Who Get the Best Sleep Have These 4 Things in Common” by Amanda MacMillan, health. com, January 23, 2017

    “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important” by Joe Leech, MS, healthline.com, June 29, 2018

    “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body” by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney, healthline. com, April 18, 2019

    National Institutes of Health, “Study finds  irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults”, 3/2/2020, <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-irregular-sleep-patterns-double-risk-cardiovascular-disease-older-adults>

    Join us next week for the second part of this article…

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Spring Newsletter, Bob’s Article, Part 2


    Purpose has the power transform lives. That’s why our chairman wrote a two-part guide in our Spring Newsletter to help you (re)discover yours. Part 1 last week covered five steps you can take to find your purpose and this week’s installment reveals the science behind purpose and how purpose guides OHI’s “5Ps to Optimum Health.” Read on to plug into your unique purpose today . . .

    Now is a Great Time to Re-Focus and Discover Your Purpose (Part 2 of 2)

    ‘The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.’ Proverbs 20:05

    Here at OHI, we can help you identify your unique gifts and purpose in a safe and sacred space. Through our Focus classes and spiritual activities, you will have many opportunities to focus on your unique and God-given gifts that bring you and others joy. Through prayer, alpha, and mindfulness practices, you’ll be able to discover what matters most in your life. We’ll then teach you how to keep what matters most fresh and alive in your mind.

    You do this by practicing the 5 Ps to Optimum Health: Purpose, Positive Mental Attitude, Persistence, Patience, and Prayer. It’s all part of our 21-day holistic healing program. When you are here at OHI, among our like-minded community members and new guests, you’ll have opportunities to quiet your mind, to focus your thoughts inward, to work on the mindfulness that will give you clarity, and help you define or refine your true purpose. What issues do you truly care about? What makes you feel fulfilled? What were you born to do? We will help you find the answers.

    Our philosophy is that God created humans as holistic beings with an integrated body, mind, and spirit. We call this “Wholeness”. We help you come into wholeness by purifying your body, quieting your mind, and renewing your spirit. Through the virtues of love, peace, forgiveness, self-reliance, accountability, and service, you will discover or renew your purpose in life.

    The Science Behind Purpose Driven Lives: People with Purpose are Healthier and Wealthier

    Having a purpose in life is much more important than most people think. Studies show that having purpose leads to a longer healthier, wealthier life. According to a 2010 study published in Applied Psychology people who have a purpose live longer. When Jeanne Louise Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122, she created the record for longest living human in history. Calment reached that old age because she had a purpose, it may not have been a noble one, but it was decidedly a purpose. In 1967, when she was 92 years old, attorney, François Raffray, age 47, offered to pay her $500 per month for the rest of her life, if she would leave her house to him in her will. Calment had no heirs, and she appeared to have nothing to live for. After accepting Raffray’s offer, she went on to live for 30 years, until Raffray died first. Five months later she passed away, too.

    According to Time Magazine, purposeful living has been linked to a lower risk of disease, better sleep, and other healthy behaviors.

    And, according to a study in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry, having a purpose in life helps aging people maintain their function and independence. People in the study, who reported having a sense of purpose were less likely to have weak grip strength and slow walking speeds, both of which are signs of declining physical ability and risk factors for disability. They also noted that people with purpose are more proactive in taking care of their health. Additional studies reported that purpose-driven people have lower levels of inflammation.

    And, if that is not enough, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Research and Personality found that “individuals who feel a sense of purpose make more money than individuals who feel as though their work lacks meaning.”

    God created mankind in his own image, and mankind is designed to be able to make plans, have purpose, and see them come to fruition. When you are a guest at OHI, you’ll have the space and time to practice the 24-ancient spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, prayer and meditation. This relieves the body and mind of stress, which will enhance your ability to visualize your purpose and make plans.

    And, Spring is a great time to come back to OHI because it is scientifically the healthiest time of year. The average temperature is the ideal for human comfort. There are more hours of sunlight which boosts people’s moods. The re-leafing of plants refreshes the air by removing 25% of man-made carbon emissions. Plus, just seeing flowers have proven to make people happy. The Spring also means the return of birds, and hearing bird song is also known to make people happier. Combine all of these factors: birdsong, blossoms, delightful temperatures, longer daylight hours, and fresh air, and we are more likely to take outdoor walks which can lower our heart rate and make us feel more relaxed. And, while we’re outside, we can get our daily vitamin D requirement from the sun in as little as ten minutes. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that being outdoors broadened people’s minds, making them more open to new information and creative thoughts. Now that’s the kind of stimulation that will really help you identify your purpose. Make your plans today to come and visit either our San Diego or Austin campus, and let’s get started on your purpose!

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed Spring season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Spring Newsletter, Bob’s Article, Part 1


    People with purpose don’t just live longer—they live better. That’s why our chairman wrote an inspiring guide in our Spring Newsletter to help you (re)discover yours! It’s so packed with how-to advice that we turned it into two posts. Part 1 shares five steps you can take to find your purpose and Part 2 reveals the science behind purpose and how purpose guides OHI’s “5Ps to Optimum Health,” the foundation of our 21 day holistic healing program. Watch for it next week. So let’s started on your purpose right away . . .

    Now is a Great Time to Re-Focus and Discover Your Purpose (Part 1 of 2)

    ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.’

    -Job 42:2

    A warm and heartfelt Spring greeting to our OHI community. As the beauty of Spring begins its annual reset with a burst of fresh new colors and textures, the sprouting of leaves and blossoms tells us that nature knows its Divine purpose. This Biblical verse tells us when we know our Divine purpose – we cannot be stopped. It is this concept of “purpose” that I wish to address in this newsletter.

    The change of seasons is very powerful. It can change our mood; it can change our perspective. There is also a great deal of symbology to each season. Spring, for example, is the time of our spiritual calling – the point in our life where we desire a more spiritual relationship between God, ourselves, and the world – our spiritual Spring is when we begin our spiritual life. Spring is also symbolically understood as a time of rebirthing – of transformation – which makes it a wonderful time to rediscover our purpose in life.

    So, what is the definition of your purpose? Simply put, it is the reason you were created and why you exist. But purpose by itself is useless without action and action is useless without

    purpose. Some people seem to know their life purpose from a very early age. I’ve met people who have told me they knew exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives as early as age 13, 10, and even eight. Believe me, this is rare. For the rest us, finding our purpose takes time. Sometimes decades. Many of us will search and change our purpose over time as we learn, mature, and experience more of life. However, just like physical growth, there are no shortcuts when finding our purpose. Specifically, without spiritual and emotional growth our efforts to find purpose will be thwarted.

    As I mentioned above, it is rare to know your purpose in life at an early age. That’s because we need life experiences to know our unique God-given gifts. Until we’ve had opportunities to find and use our gifts, we simply cannot know what brings us and others joy. Gaining self-awareness of our gifts is essential to spiritual and emotional growth and finding our purpose. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t identified your gifts let alone your purpose. I’ve met people in their 40s and 50s who still haven’t found theirs – men and women caught up in careers or habits they were guided toward or developed in their youth before they had a chance to live life on life’s terms. They are now struggling to find their purpose because their past is all they know. But it doesn’t have to remain this way. Remember, it only takes 21 days to change a habit.

    Here’s how you can find or rediscover your purpose in five steps:

    1. Commit to spending one hour a week for three weeks to identify your unique, God-given gifts.
    2. Select a “safe and sacred” space to do your work.
    3. Notice your gifts that bring you joy.
    4. Acknowledge the amount of time you spend each week using your gifts.
    5. Establish the road map to discover your purpose through your gifts.

    When you find activities that bring you and others joy, start devoting your time to it. When you feel joy, it is such a powerful emotion that it speaks the truth from your very soul. You should organize all your activities toward focusing on your gifts. The more you do this, the more you’ll discover help and compatriots that just seem to fortuitously appear. Or as, Chicken Soup for the Soul, author, Jack Canfield said, “Once you are clear about what you want and keep your mind constantly focused on it, the how will keep showing up – sometimes just when you need it and not a moment earlier.”

    Join us next week for the second part of my article…

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Take the Springtime 21-Day Detox Challenge

    Take the 21-Day Detox Challenge where you’ll learn how to relax, develop a positive attitude, and focus on what matters most to achieve a happy, fulfilling and healthy life. The results can be life changing!!

    Commit Today to the 21-Day Detox Challenge Where You’ll Experience:

    Weight Loss* – Women typically lose about 5-7 pounds the first week and 2-3 pounds each week after. Men typically lose about 7-10 pounds the first week and 5-7 pounds each week after.

    Increased Energy – Practice gentle exercise and walk every morning. Stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins, boost the immune system, and contribute to the healing process.

    More Radiant Skin – Eliminate toxins through juice fasting and eating our organic meals. Plus, you’ll make an organic face mask, apply it, relax, wash it off, and feel radiant!

    Sharper Mind – Learn alpha state meditation techniques that tap into your sub consciousness, access your creativity and intuition, visualize positive outcomes, and increase your awareness of God.

    Healthy Body – Practiced for many centuries around the world, detoxification is the process of cleansing the body to promote healing and longevity.

    Better Sense of Well-Being – Learn the spiritual disciplines related to breathing to release stress, control pain, increase emotional awareness, enhance concentration, and facilitate personal growth.

    During your detox journey at OHI, you’ll feel supported by our staff, missionaries, and other guests. Once you’ve completed the Detox Challenge you’ll look better, and you’ll feel like a new person. These changes are essential to a long-term healthy lifestyle.

    Don’t Miss Out on this Powerful Detox Opportunity! Plus, when you stay in any best-available, single-occupancy room, you’ll receive 10% off the entire 3-week program or 5% off a 2-week stay.

    *OHI is not a weight-loss program. Weight loss varies per individual.

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Benefits of Colon Cleansing

    At OHI, our three-week program teaches the importance of proper ingestion, digestion, and elimination as the basis of a healthy body, mind and spirit! It’s important to put an emphasis on a happy healthy colon and the role that colon cleansing plays in your overall health and well-being.

    Here are a few of the lesser-known benefits of colon cleansing:

    1. 1. Immune System

    As much as 70% of the immune system’s optimum function can be driven by how well the colon functions.

    1. 2. Increase Energy

    Colon cleansing clear toxins out of the body. This process can help naturally improve circulation in the bloodstream, which means better oxygen flow and increased energy levels.

    1. 3. Healthier Skin

    High levels of body toxins take a toll on your organs, including your skin. Many people report clearer, brighter, healthier-looking skin after colon cleansing treatments.

    1. 4. Weight Loss

    As your body strains to fight off toxins, your body’s other natural energy functions slow down. This includes your metabolism. Getting rid of burdensome toxins means allows your body to refocus that energy on boosting your metabolism and helping you burn off excess weight.

    1. 5. Reduced Acid Levels

    Regular colon cleansing will help restore the body’s natural alkaline levels and create a healthier balance.

    1. 6. Better concentration

    A study by the Harvard Medical School on the “Gut-Brain connection” found that an unhealthy intestine can send disruptive signals to the brain which can impair focus and hamper the ability to concentrate. Colon cleansing can help to clear up that fogginess and keep you a bit throughout the day.

    OHI promotes colon cleansing as one aspect of a healthy, well-balanced life. We invite you to book a retreat at OHI and experience the many benefits of being clean from the inside-out!

    Experience the energy and clarity of eating and living clean, all in an environment of encouragement, support and spiritual fellowship at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health.

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Sharon Peck’s Journey to Wellness

    Scholarship Recipient Battles Back from Lyme’s & Parkinson’s Diseases

    As a nurse, Sharon Peck understands how important it is to advocate for your own health. With years of experience as a burn/trauma nurse, a med/surg nurse, and a maternal newborn nurse, Sharon was also the mother to four children, one with special needs. After the birth of her last child, she started to notice personal health issues.

    “I’d always exercised a lot,” said Sharon, “but now I was struggling with chronic fatigue, canker sores (12 at a time), brain fog, etc. My doctor brushed off my complaints, and told me to take naps. Needless to say, I went in search of a doctor who would take my concerns more seriously. I spent years on and off antibiotics until I was finally correctly diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease.”

    In 2007, Sharon and her family moved from the East Coast to Kauai, HI. It was hard for her to leave her extended family, but she did so in the hope that her health would improve with the temperate weather. She started volunteering as a Special Olympics swim coach for her daughter, and was inspired to take a job at the high school as a special ed teacher. Sharon thought things were looking up…and then her marriage of 27 years ended. She was in shock, and her health took a nosedive.

    “I started to get tremoring in my right hand,” said Sharon. “It became difficult to write. I was having more trouble getting out of bed than my 86-year old mother. Eventually I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was completely overwhelmed.”

    Sharon’s brother suggested she look into to OHI. He had been a handful of times, and had great experiences. She did some research on the website, but was crushed to find the cost was out of her reach.

    “I saw that OHI offers scholarships to those in need,” said Sharon, “so I decided to apply. What could it hurt? I sent many prayers, and was elated to be offered the scholarship! I am so grateful to OHI to have had the privilege to stay at their San Diego campus. I learned new ways of eating to better care for my body that address both my Lyme’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. The stiffness I struggled with each morning is now gone. I strive to put into practice everything I learned at OHI, and hope to return soon to learn more. OHI has been a god-send!”

  • Missionary Spotlight: Meet One of OHI’s Newest Missionaries — Susan Manning!

    “You’re never going to believe this,” laughed Susan Manning, “but I first went to OHI to recover from show choir.”

    In June 2019, Susan had just finished a full season performing with her show choir, and she was completely exhausted. She was also working overtime as the CEO of Manning Pools. She was ready to transition the company over to the next generation, so she booked herself a week at OHI to consider her future. What she got was so much more…

    “I had such a revelatory experience in my one week at OHI, that I just knew I needed to spend more time there,” said Susan. “I was at a crossroads in my life, and I wanted uninterrupted time to figure out what my path needs to be for the next 30 years. The OHI Missionary Program seemed like the perfect opportunity to help others as I helped myself.”

    Susan dubbed her 13-week missionary stay “The Great Unwinding.” It started with changing her relationship with food. Susan tipped the scales at over 200lbs, and was addicted to salt. Embracing a juice cleanse and all-raw diet was a revelation to her.

    “When I came to OHI, I was taking 14 different medications,” said Susan. “After eating a raw diet for 13 weeks, I now take just 2 medications. My blood pressure is much improved. My blood sugar is completely under control. I’m down from a size 20 to a size 12. OHI showed me that I can be strong and healthy without pharmaceuticals, and has taught me how to use food as medicine. And I can honestly tell you that drinking 100oz of water a day sets the foundation to an entirely new body.”

    But it was the missionary program as a whole that opened her up to change. “During my stay, I read ‘The Gospel on Mary Magdalene’ by Jean-Yves Leloup,” said Susan. “It completely changed my life. There is a mantra I took from it that I have really focused on — ‘The human body is a journey through matter toward light.’ That was an enormous spiritual breakthrough for me. As a missionary, it was such a gift to help others on their personal journey toward light. Everyone took to calling me Miss Joy, because I was so happy to be present for whatever God wanted to reveal to me in each moment.”

    As a missionary, Susan also found profound joy in teaching classes. “I discovered that I love teaching exercise classes,” laughed Susan. “The exercise class is designed to focus on lymphatic movement. The gentle exercise movement cleanses the lymph system, and leaves you feeling fantastic. Beyond the exercise classes, I absolutely adored the vocal toning class. The group relaxes, the light is dim, and we sing 8 different tones each associated with a different energy center of the body. My spine felt more aligned after that class every time. And as a singer, I honestly believe that class healed my voice. It is much softer and deeper now. My old show choir friends wouldn’t recognize it if they heard me sing now.”

    Susan’s Bio

    So now that she’s healed her body, mind, and spirit, what’s next for Susan? “I want to start another business, a non-profit, and give back to the OHI Scholarship Program so more people can experience the breakthroughs I experienced,” smiled Susan. “I asked God for a group of women who want to find solutions for big problems, and I think I found that during my missionary stay. The friends I made while I was there will be my friends for life. We’re going to do great things together!”

  • Staff Spotlight: Introducing Danielle Demko, Senior Facilitator at OHI!

    The unique holistic healing program that OHI offers is based on ancient spiritual disciplines. It often takes new employees a couple of years to fully wrap their arms around all the different classes and activities we offer guests to facilitate their body-mind-spirit transformation to optimum health. But Danielle Demko is not your typical staff member. She spent over 14 years working at a local mega church with the last five years as their Director of Training & Development. With her master’s degree in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, she became a jack-of all-trades, giving her the ability to embrace multiple aspects of OHI in just one short year since she joined the team.

    “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Danielle. “Working as part of the team at OHI gives me that opportunity. As a Senior Facilitator, I oversee the Missionary Program, I teach an extensive menu of classes, and I work one-on-one with guests. I can see what a life-changing experience OHI offers people, and I am so proud to be a part of that evolution. The guest that checks in on Sunday is a very different person from the one that checks out at the end of their stay. It has changed my whole perspective on what it means to give back to another human being I love that my efforts help others to learn they don’t have to be a victim of their life. They are now empowered and inspired to succeed at ANYTHING!”

    Danielle knows many guests come thinking that OHI is a “diet program.” But that is not how she would quantify the OHI holistic healing program. “OHI is about helping people learn the deeper meaning behind how they got to where they are in life. They come hoping to recalibrate the current trajectory they are on or change a diagnosis, and they end up figuring out that they can take charge of their own outcomes in so many ways. I love that OHI explains the science behind the ‘mindset.’ That was really pivotal for me. I already have a great relationship with God. But learning the science behind the ‘mindset’ broadened the spectrum of how I think about God, and all the details He’s in.”

    Danielle really enjoys the long-term relationships she builds with those in the OHI Missionary Program. “It takes a special type of person to be in our Missionary Program,” said Danielle. “They are a unique hybrid between guest and staff. They live on the property for 90 days, working on their own spiritual transformation, while at the same time they help OHI guests make the most of their stay ensuring comfort and connection and assist staff with various weekly service hours.”

    At OHI, classes and activities are integral to helping quiet and focus your mind in an effort to renew and awaken your spirit. So what is Danielle’s favorite class to teach? It’s hard to choose a favorite,” laughed Danielle. “I love all of the classes at OHI. Each class connects to another regardless of the topic and helps our guest see how they are empowered to take part in their own healing. In choosing a favorite class, I don’t have one. My favorite ‘activity’ is seeing our guests transform in front of my eyes physically, mentally and spiritually. Each class contributes to this process. That being said, I love the evening classes – Alpha I, Emotional Detox and Toning. They are right in my emotional/spiritual ‘wheelhouse’ and directly aligned with my passion. Any class that facilitates the guest gaining deeper insights and peeling back the onion, so to speak…That’s my kinda class!”

    After being with OHI for a year, Danielle is still as enthusiastic as the first day she came on board. “I am humbled to be here,” said Danielle. “It is my honor to work at OHI. I love meeting guests, and going alongside them on their healing journey. I feel like I’ve been called to help others through OHI.”

  • Meet One of OHI’s Most Devoted Community Members — John Hagan!

    “I’m not big on hugs,” admits John. “The first time I walked through the doors at OHI and was greeted with hugs, I was a little uncomfortable. I wondered what I had gotten myself into, and thought maybe this wasn’t for me.”

    All hugging aside, John Hagan opted to stay for that first week at OHI, and it was such a positive experience for him that he subsequently came back for five additional 1-week stays, and then took part in the OHI Missionary program for 6 consecutive months. “OHI is one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” smiled John. “OHI is now a life-long habit and I plan to return again and again.”

    What prompted John to visit OHI in the first place? Prostate cancer.

    “I am a relatively quiet guy,” said John. “I have a passion for golf and motorcycles. I like to garden, and I’ve run a few NYC marathons in my day. My father was a large animal vet, so I lived on a farm in Pennsylvania for much of my life. I work in hospitals and nursing homes, and I find great joy in caring for others. When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was a no brainer for me to help my dad care for her for 15 years. It’s what I do. What I didn’t expect was a cancer diagnosis in my 40’s. It hit me like a sledgehammer.”

    John was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. He visited many specialists at Johns Hopkins, MD Andersen, and Loma Linda to weigh his options. A doctor at Mt. Sinai flat out told him he’d be dead in 10 years. John knew that the side effects of surgery could have devastating consequences for men. Instead of giving up, that bleak prognosis only inspired John to seek out more options. A specialist in Malibu thoroughly reviewed his case, and came back with one new suggestion — look into OHI.

    “I walked into OHI with an open heart,” said John. “Of course I was hoping the program would help my body fight this cancer. But I went into this experience vowing not to let my introverted nature hold me back from trying new things. I pushed myself to meet new people, try new foods, and learn new things.

    And that effort has changed me exponentially. OHI brought me out of my shell. I have so many new friends that I know will be my friends for life. The supportive community is phenomenal.”

    John took on the nutritional aspects of the OHI program with zeal. “The things wheatgrass juice can do for your body are amazing. Not only do I firmly believe that wheatgrass juice has helped my cancer outlook, but I have made it a priority to continue wheatgrass juice cleansing every day. In fact, I grow my own wheatgrass in my home in Pennsylvania. I may have a bit of a green thumb, but it’s no small feat to grow wheatgrass indoors. But I have figured out a way to do it, and I’m so proud!”

    John’s Bio

    John really took to the classes at OHI, as well. “I would say my favorite classes are the stretch and lymphatic classes,” enthused John. “The food prep classes are always great, and the weekly talent show is a blast. The release ceremony always made a huge impression on me, when you speak your truth on what you want to get rid of and what you want to incorporate back into your life. And the testimonials we give on Friday mornings often leave me a sobbing mess. It’s really powerful.”

    What made John consider the OHI Missionary program? “I had gone to OHI six times, and each year my PSA numbers were going in a positive direction. My dad passed away in 2014, so I was taking care of my mother full-time by myself, and wasn’t able to leave her to visit OHI for a few years. Once she passed away in 2017, I really wanted to invest some time focusing on my own health again. I figured if periodic 1-week stays had proved beneficial to my health, then an extended stay would be even better. Over the course of six months I lost 60 lbs, and I have never felt better in my life. A normal PSA level is under 4, and my current PSA is 2.6. I have done no chemo, no radiation, and no surgery. I honestly believe it’s the nutrition at OHI that has made a huge difference in my outcome.”

    So how did John start gardening at OHI? “I had mentioned in my missionary application that I had once worked in a nursery,” said John. “I don’t consider myself much of a spiritual person, but I do feel a great spiritual connection to nature. I was immediately drawn to working on the grounds at OHI. Being outside is my happy place! I think a garden should be bursting with color, and invite people to come spend time there. I immediately envisioned a wall of sunflowers peeking over the top of the hedges, urging people to walk through the hedgerow to see what those beautiful yellow sunflowers were up to. It was a joy for me to redesign that garden.”

    John is one of our favorite OHI guests for so many reasons, and we can’t wait to see him again soon. “I know when I walk through those gates, I’m going to get a whole bunch of hugs,” laughs John. “And that’s just fine with me!”

  • Intermittent Fasting (IF) – How IF fits into the OHI program (Part 2 of 2)


    There’s a resurgent interest in the practice of intermittent fasting (IF) and its benefits—losing weight, reducing cravings, gaining muscle, and giving the digestive tract a rest. With a new year upon us, let’s learn more about IF in our “Based on Science” article from the January 2020 OHI Newsletter (digital version here). It’s packed with helpful tips…

    Intermittent Fasting (IF) – How IF fits into the OHI program (Part 2 of 2)

    The spiritual aspect of IF

    Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam all incorporate fasting into religious observations. So could intermittent fasting become a transformative springboard to elevate your spirituality? Absolutely!

    • Fasting can strengthen your resolve.

    If you’re struggling with a decision, integrating fasting with prayer can dissolve distractions. By denying the body just a little bit, we’re far more clear-headed and able to be mindful. In stillness we can often find clarity, and hopefully that leads to confidence in your decisions.

    • Fasting instills discipline.

    Fasting gives us an opportunity to master discipline over our lives and our desires. According to St. Francis of Assisi, fasting helps “to control greediness, and to keep the sensual appetites and the whole body subject to the law of the Spirit; and although we may be able to do but little, the enemy nevertheless stands more in awe of those whom he knows can fast.

    • Fasting makes us more humble.

    Fasting is an antidote to the amazing technological abilities we wield in the 21st century, because it reminds us of our human frailty. As mortal beings that become tired and weak, we understand the need of a steadfast, loving God.

    • Fasting brings you closer to God and others around you.

    Sacrifice is the ultimate gesture of love. When we’re mindfully fasting as a form of prayer, we can better understand our weaknesses and have empathy when we see the weaknesses of others.

    How IF works within the OHI program

    OHI’s holistic healing program places an enormous emphasis on cleansing and nourishing your body, to help you self-heal and restore your body to its natural balance. One reason the OHI Detox Diet is so effective is that it combines principles of calorie reduction, a cleansing -alkaline diet, and intermittent fasting.

    • Our calorie-reduced diet limits caloric-intake between 600-1200 calories per day. Calorie deprivation is an ancient fasting practice. Recent studies have shown that many forms of cancers have been stopped, slowed, or reversed by limiting calorie intake.
    • Our cleansing-alkaline diet is unique and effective because it includes ultra-rich nutrients and enzymes. The OHI Detox Diet is designed to bring the body from an acidic state to a more alkaline state. The purification and alkalizing effects on the body help to quiet the mind and build a bridge to spirituality.
    • At OHI, a combination of IF methods are utilized within the program:
      • The first method includes eating over a span of 9.5 hours during the day (8:30am- 7:00pm) while fasting for the remaining 14.5 hours. During the eating hours, we take-in three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) along with two shots of wheatgrass juice in-between meals. This protocol allows consistent nutrition and calories throughout the day, helping to maintain blood-sugar levels and reducing hunger.
      • The second method includes a seven-day cycle comprised of solid-food days and juicing days: Guests begin their week with two days of eating solid foods, followed by three days of juice fasting, followed by another two days of solid foods. Juice fasting, practiced for many centuries around the world, enhances the detoxification process.
      • OHI’s 21-day holistic healing program places an enormous emphasis on cleansing and nourishing your body, to help you self-heal and restore your body-mind-spirit to its natural balance. The OHI Program promotes healing and longevity by restoring circadian sleep rhythms and aligning our health on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

    By incorporating the principles of intermittent fasting with an all-raw, organic, plant-based diet, OHI guests reach new levels of healthy living and spiritual awareness. It’s just one of the many guided journeys our guests take on the road to a New You in this New Year!

     “What is Intermittent Fasting, and Does It Help You Lose Weight?”, by Tiarra Mukherjee, September 25, 2019, Prevention.com

    “Intermittent Fasting 101 — The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide”, by Kris Gunnars, July 25, 2018, Healthline.com

    “4 Ways Fasting Benefits Your Spiritual Health”, by Maria Walley, Grottonetwork.com

    “What Is Intermittent Fasting, and Will It Help Your Sleep?”, by Michael J Breus Ph.D., Apr 11, 2019, Psychologytoday.com