• 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)

    Intro

    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

  • Intermittent Fasting – The Basics (Part 1 of 2)

    Intro

    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  – The Basics (Part 1 of 2)

    Fasting has been a common practice for thousands of years. Fast forward to the 21st century, and there is tremendous interest in the practice of intermittent fasting (IF) and its benefits – losing weight, reducing cravings, accelerating fat loss, gaining muscle, and giving the digestive tract a rest – all resulting in being healthier overall. With a new year upon us, let’s learn more about IF…

    What is intermittent fasting?

    Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are different methods for intermittent fasting, but the overall approach is the same – you can eat what you want, but only during a specific time period.

    Popular types of intermittent fasting programs

    There are many variations of intermittent fasting. Here are four popular approaches to consider:

    1. The 16:8 Method (also known as the Leangains Protocol)

    You eat over an 8-hour period in the middle of the day, and fast entirely for the remaining 16 hours.

    1. The 5:2 Program With this approach, you keep your calorie consumption to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week, and eat normally the other five days. This calorie limit is separated by a 12-hour fast, so you consume 250 calories in the morning and another 250 calories at night.
    2. Eat-Stop-Eat Program You fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, and eat normally the other five or six days a week.
    3. The Warrior Diet You fast for 20 hours a day, and eat one large meal every night.

    Many people find the 16:8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable, and easiest to stick to – which is why it’s the most popular of the four methods.

    How Does IF Impact Your Body?

    When you fast, several things happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level. First, fasting initiates cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells. Second, when you fast your body adjusts the levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to make stored body fat more accessible to be burned as fuel. Your insulin level drops, and lower insulin levels also make stored body fat more accessible. Fasting also increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Because of these changes in hormones, fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3%-14%.

    A 2016 study done by the Journal of Translational Medicine found that people who practiced IF for 8 weeks lost more body fat than those in the control group. NOTE: The success of intermittent fasting is based on the premise that fewer calories are consumed overall. For those that binge during their eating periods, they may not lose any weight.

    The Pros & Cons of Intermittent Fasting

    Here are the pros and cons to consider when deciding whether IF is a good fit for you:

    PROS:

    • You stick to one schedule.

    With IF, you’re not as worried about what you’re “allowed” to eat. Instead you just concentrate on sticking to your fast schedule.

    • You savor your meals.

    When food is not available to you all the time, you truly appreciate the meal in front of you, the enjoyment of eating, and the feeling of satiation.

    • You kick your bad snacking habits.

    IF forces you to stop eating at a certain time, and control your grazing behaviors.

    • You may bust through a weight loss plateau.

    If your weight loss efforts have plateaued, IF may kick-start your metabolism. Your body learns that there is no glucose available for fuel, so it burns fat stores instead.

    • You might get your pre-diabetes under control.

    Every time you eat, your body releases insulin to shuttle sugar from your bloodstream to your cells for energy. But people who are pre-diabetic are insulin resistant, which means the cells don’t respond well to insulin and can’t take up glucose, so your blood sugar levels stay elevated. Going longer between meals may help because your body pumps out insulin less often.

    • You get an anti-aging boost.

    IF creates a slight stress on your cells’ mitochondria (the energy powerhouses), which gives them a nudge to rev up their functioning, and promote cellular repair, which can lead to being more energetic.

    • You can reset your circadian rhythm.

    Eating close to bedtime is a sure way to negatively impact your circadian rhythm. Conversely, practicing IF gets your body on a regular cycle of eating and fasting. Refraining from eating close to bedtime results in resetting your circadian rhythm and improving your sleep.

    CONS:

    • You might feel irritated, tired, dizzy, or lightheaded.

    When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops, which can affect your mood and energy levels. You can combat this by eating more protein- and fiber-rich meals with some healthy fats when you are scheduled to eat so you feel satiated. At OHI, we recommend plant-based proteins like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, legumes and sprouts.

    • High-Blood Pressure and Diabetes medications may need adjustment.

    For diabetics on medication like insulin or Glipizide, the fasting/eating cycle of IF could cause sharp drops/spikes in blood sugar, which makes their medications less effective. Additionally, IF can cause a rapid decrease in blood pressure, therefore people using high-blood pressure medication, need to be aware of this side-effect and consult their physician before participating in IF.

    Bottom Line: Always consult your physician or health care professional before participating in an IF program.

    Join us next Saturday for the second part of this article.

    “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

  • Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 2 of 2)

    Intro

    A very happy new year to our OHI community. Hopefully, you just received your January 2020 edition of the Optimum Health Institute Newsletter. If not, you can find a link to the digital version here.

    Our theme for this issue is “Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI”. In this edition, we feature articles that highlight one of our newest staff members, Danielle Demko, a senior facilitator at OHI San Diego; Susan Manning, an OHI Austin missionary; John Hagan, a long-standing and now life-long OHI community member; and Sharon Peck’s touching story of how the OHI Scholarship was a god-send in helping her through Lyme and Parkinson’s Diseases. We also feature a science-based article that focuses on the basics of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and how IF works within the OHI program. And lastly, my article where I share ways to ‘renew’ in the New Year.

    Please keep reading for a preview of my “Renewal” article.

    Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 2 of 2)

    NEW at OHI

    The most striking change you’ll see at OHI is our change in guest capacity. At OHI Austin, we are working to change room configurations giving us the ability to increase capacity and have more guests on a weekly basis. At OHI San Diego, we are doing the opposite and decreasing guest capacity. Our goal at OHI San Diego is to create a more-intimate guest experience and focus on continuing improvements to our facilities and rooms.

    Another exciting effort that is currently in development…we are creating a Contemplative Retreat for our OHI graduates. This Thursday-through-Sunday intensive retreat will take a deep-dive into one aspect of our program, such as engraining the practice of Alpha-meditation. Or it will focus on mindful movement or how to maintain the Maintenance Diet. Imagine getting the full benefits of our 3-week program related to spiritual practices mindfulness, diet or movement in just a 3-day intensive! You will build on your current experience and knowledge and go further into each level of physical, mental and spiritual realms. It will also serve as a quick reset for those who can’t attend for a full week.

    And finally…we heard you loud-and-clear when you said you wanted a Referral Program. The more you refer friends and family, the more you will enjoy great discounts on our rates. We will be releasing details soon!

    Take a Wellness Inventory as You Move into Spring

    The renewing season is also a good time to take inventory. Take an inventory of your health and wellness. Have you gotten off track with your diet, spiritual practices, and exercise? A visit to OHI is the perfect way to reset. In addition to the physical and mental, we will help you reconnect with the spiritual as well. In our safe and sacred environment, you will nourish your spirit through daily reflection, meditation, and celebration.

    We look forward to seeing you soon.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 1 of 2)

    Intro

    A very happy new year to our OHI community. Hopefully, you just received your January 2020 edition of the Optimum Health Institute Newsletter. If not, you can find a link to the digital version here.

    Our theme for this issue is “Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI”. In this edition, we feature articles that highlight one of our newest staff members, Danielle Demko, a senior facilitator at OHI San Diego; Susan Manning, an OHI Austin missionary; John Hagan, a long-standing and now life-long OHI community member; and Sharon Peck’s touching story of how the OHI Scholarship was a god-send in helping her through Lyme and Parkinson’s Diseases. We also feature a science-based article that focuses on the basics of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and how IF works within the OHI program. And lastly, my article where I share ways to ‘renew’ in the New Year.

    Please keep reading for a preview of my “Renewal” article.

    Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 1 of 2)

    ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’

    -2 Corinthians 5:17

    A warm and wholehearted New Year greeting to our OHI community. As we enter the new year and the Spring season approaches, this verse is an excellent reminder that it is a time of renewal. As we witness the cycle of life starting once again, the world becoming greener as plants sprout new leaves and blossoms, it is the perfect time for us to renew and be recreated in body, mind, and spirit. As the verse above states, “the old has gone, the new is here,” it is time to let the past go and focus on the present and the future.

    When I was a kid, Spring cleaning was a big deal at my house and in my neighborhood. Everyone on the block would throw open all their windows and doors and let the fresh air inside. My parents and I would dust, vacuum, scrub and cleanse until the inside of the house smelled as good as it did outside. Nowadays, I like to add some mental Spring cleaning as well. It’s a great time to clear out the clutter in your mind, find ways to simplify your life, and reorganize your priorities, so that you can do more of what you really want to do.

    Here at OHI through our classes and activities, we show our guests many ways to renew, restore, and recreate. And, over the past year, we have been renewing, too – our facilities. We have refurbished many of our rooms, including 80% of our guest rooms on the main campus, and 100% of our townhouses. We’ve removed the carpet and updated with wood flooring; we have repainted; and in the bathrooms we’ve put in new tile and tubs. And, further down in the newsletter, I’ll share some of the exciting new programs we’re offering.

    New You: Now is the Time to Harmonize with Change

    As the days lengthen, and the world around us brightens and becomes more colorful, it is a good reminder that our world is constantly evolving. New ways of thinking, new ideas, new methods for doing things, new challenges with new solutions, and lots of new things to do. All of which makes the upcoming Spring a great time to reflect on how we fit into this new world, and what part of it fits us.

    Change can be frightening, we fear it will cause us to fail or get hurt. But, when we step back from it for a moment, we realize that it is constant, and that we have been adapting to it all along. History is nothing if not ongoing transformation: birth and death; construction and destruction; order and disorder. “The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it,” stated Helen Keller, who at 19 months old experienced dire change, learned it wasn’t the end of the world, then for the rest of her life modeled resilience to all of humanity.

    The best way to deal with change is to prepare for it, then it is so much easier to accept and enjoy. At OHI, we’ve found that stretch, alpha practice, and mindfulness not only strengthens our minds and bodies, but gives us a growth mindset that empowers us to encounter failure and not get upset. Instead we learn from it, and acclimate to the change it brings.

    ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:2

    Science has shown that light exercise stimulates our brain and increases creativity. Over the long winter, with the shorter days and the colder temperatures, we tend to stay indoors. Spring is just around the corner, which makes it time to break free and get outside. A short walk every day has amazing health benefits.

    Another wonderful outdoor activity is gardening. I like the old proverb that says, “Gardening is an exercise in optimism.” Gardening is an activity that keeps you in the present, yet allows you

    to anticipate future progress. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching a plant grow, mature, and blossom.

    Our guests here at OHI enjoy volunteering their time in our garden. Tending the plants from which we make our famous juice. Come join us in this and the many other mindful activities offered everyday at OHI.

    You can also brighten your spirit by doing volunteer work, or spending time on a hobby or a favorite activity. Better yet, start a new one – experiencing new things stimulates your brain starting with the dopamine receptors which make you feel good. Trying new activities also creates new neural pathways in your brain (more electrical connections between brain cells) which strengthens your brain and makes you more creative. It even helps reduce the effects of dementia as you age.

    ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

    This wonderful verse reminds us that the beginning of the year is a time for renewal. A time to take inventory of our life and consider where we want to be in the future. As we read further into the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, we learn in verses 3:2-3 that there is a time for restoration and progress: ‘a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to tear down and a time to build.’ At OHI where we focus on the body, mind, and spirit, you’ll find a great place to rejuvenate, regenerate, and revitalize.

    As we move toward Spring, this is an excellent time for letting go of the past. To quote Helen Keller once more, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Holding onto past emotional hurts can harm our physical health, and ruminating over old wounds keeps us stuck. The changing season is a wonderful time to work on becoming more of the person you’ve always wanted to be. Now is the time to commit to decisions you’ve been putting off.

    Keeping in touch or reconnecting with your extended OHI family is a great way to release your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Those friends you made here, who understand you better than anyone else, are ready to help. They will be the sounding board for your thoughts and dreams when your family and older friends simply won’t understand the diet and lifestyle changes you want to make. Plan a reunion visit to OHI in the coming months and spend some quality time with your people. A personal retreat to OHI will give you the time to reflect on your life, the past year, and what you may want to incorporate into your life moving forward.

    Join us next Saturday for the second part of my article.

  • The OHI Scholarship Fund

    Because of You, People are Healing, HOWEVER…there are more people than ever before with serious health opportunities. Last year your donations made it possible for OHI to provide 77 scholarships. This year we’ve increased our goal significantly. Word has spread of the good work you’ve enabled us to do, and many more people with critical health opportunities are reaching out to us for help.

    I would like to thank you for your past donations. As a loyal friend to our healing mission, you have made a difference in the lives of those who cannot afford our program.

    Your generosity to the OHI Scholarship Fund, has made it possible for people with severe health opportunities to begin the process of healing body, mind and spirit.

    And this year, I am asking you to help out again with a tax-deductible gift that will help even more people.

    Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing
    The OHI community relies on acts of kindness and generosity from people like you to support those in need. Our goal is to provide 350 scholarships which means we must raise $500,000 during the year of 2020. Your continued backing will make this vital effort possible.

    Celebrate Your OHI Community with a Contribution Today!
    Since 1976, friends of OHI like you have helped thousands of people. And, since all of our scholarships are for people who otherwise could not afford our program, their healing has been possible because of your generous support. Thank you.

    Would you be willing to make a special year-end gift today of $50, $100, $250, $500 or whatever you can afford to help hundreds of people with life-threatening health opportunities?

    Please make your donation now – by calling (800) 588-0809, or online at www.OptimumHealth.org – Support OHI – many more lives are at stake.

    Your tax-deductible gift will be IMMEDIATELY put to use providing scholarships. Thank you in advance for your kind-hearted assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Reverend Robert Nees Jr.
    Senior Pastor and Chairman Optimum Health Institute, San Diego and Austin

  • Happy Holidays from All of Us at OHI

     

    We here at OHI get extra excited around the holidays, and we want to take a moment to wish our beloved OHI community, and all of our loved ones, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Jubilant Kwanzaa and a great big Happy Holidays!

    As a member of the OHI community, you are a part of something truly special. For decades we’ve worked to make the institute a place where all feel welcome. We want OHI to be a warm, inviting environment where people from all walks of life can come and be at home in an atmosphere of health, love, openness, compassion and support. And with the help of members like you, OHI has become just that. And for your part in helping us make this vision a reality, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

    Wherever you decide to spend this holiday season, and however you choose to celebrate, we hope your holiday is filled with warmth, love and good cheer. And we’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to extend your holiday happiness well into 2020 by visiting us again in the new year!

    The New Year offers an opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation, which makes it the perfect time for a refreshing retreat with your friends in the OHI community.

    It’s no secret that 2019 has been a hectic and trying year for a great many of us. And the OHI experience affords you a chance to start fresh in 2020. Here, you can cleanse yourself from the residue of a difficult year by nourishing your body, calming your mind, and empowering your spirit—all in a loving and supportive environment.

    Have big plans in the New Year? Through meditation, journaling, and our exciting classes, you’ll learn how to create and hold a new vision for your health, wealth and happiness, and how to set achievable goals to make that vision a reality in the New Year. We can’t think of a better way to set yourself up for success in 2020, than with a visit to OHI.

    So, from all of us at OHI, we wish you a Happy Holiday season!

    At OHI, we’re here to support you in achieving all of your goals for the New Year. Begin the year with a retreat at OHI where you can set goals that help you work toward your best life.

    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.

  • What’s Your Vision for 2020?

    The New Year is just around the corner, and with it comes new possibilities, unknown opportunities and exciting new prospects . It is a time for renewal. It’s a fresh start with boundless potential. Which means it’s the perfect time to check in with ourselves, discover what we truly want out of life, and set a vision for the future. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

    What is a “vision” exactly?

    Much more than a set of goals, or a New Year’s resolution, a vision is an overarching and all-encompassing conceptualization of your ideal self and ideal life.

    Vision vs. Goals

    Vision – Your vision is like your mission statement. It’s a ‘big picture’ idea of how you want your life to look. Your vision could be greater health, more financial abundance, stronger relationships with your family and loved ones, or just more joy and love in general.

    Goals – It might help to think of goals as smaller, more easily digestible pieces of your overall vision. Goals are clearly defined targets that exist within your greater vision and guide you closer to your ideal life.

    For instance, if your vision includes improving your health, your first goal might be to lose 5lbs., quit smoking, or change your diet. If your vision includes greater wealth, you might set a goal to pay off that credit card debt, or start your own business. If your vision includes improving your relationships, your goals might include forgiving an old grievance, or simply communicating more with those you care about.

    How to Set Your Vision

    When people leave OHI, one of the most valuable things we want them to take away from their experience is a renewed and strengthened vision for their lives. This happens in a variety of different ways. Here are a few of the steps you can take:

    • Meditation – A cluttered mind is perhaps the primary obstacle to overcome when crafting a solid vision for yourself. Holding and sticking to your vision requires focus. That’s why meditation is such a crucial part of the OHI experience. Consistent meditation helps to release pain and pent-up tension, and helps you to tap into your sub-consciousness by clearing away the muck and frustration that builds up over time.
    • Acceptance – The many physical, emotional and mental struggles we encounter in life can sometimes hamper our ability to stay positive. But, through consistent practice, and purposeful dedication to self-acceptance, you can learn to maintain the positive mental attitude needed to push toward your vision for a healthier happier you.
    • Visualization – One of the ways we try to bring our visions to life at OHI is with our vision board class. This gives guests the opportunity to tap into their creativity by building physical representations of their overall visions. By combining images and photographs with words and phrases that connect our visions to concrete things in the real world, we charge our visions with feelings of passion, and begin to attract those things into our lives.

    An OHI retreat can be an eye-opening first step toward making your vision a reality, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t get started on your own. The important thing to remember is to clear your mind, focus on a positive mental attitude and set your vision before setting your goals, because if your goals don’t serve a greater purpose, you are much less likely to achieve them.

    There’s no better way to start off the New Year than by taking time for yourself to create a clear vision for the life you want to lead in 2020. A retreat to OHI’s holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas allow you to step back from the stresses of daily life and re-focus on what is important to you.

    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.