• The Many Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

    Improves our Physical Health

    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. We immediately feel increased vitality and energy, while our blood pressure significantly decreases.

    Improves our Mental Faculties

    Expressing gratitude can increase willpower and help us make thoughtful decisions. It can also increase our decision-making and productivity skills improve, we network more effectively, and we become better communicators and 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.

    Improves our Emotional Capacity

    Emotionally speaking, when we feel gratitude, we feel less stress and depression. The feeling of gratitude increases our feelings of joy, happiness and contentment. Gratitude is linked to a more optimistic outlook on life. 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. Practicing gratitude regularly can help us cope with and recover from trauma, obstacles and loss.

    Improves our Spiritual Well-Being

    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. Expressing gratitude helps us be more compassionate, caring and understanding of others – and to ourselves.

    Establishing a practice for Gratitude is just one of the transformative things you will learn during a visit to OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 42 years of holistic healing, and take advantage of special savings. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Journaling the Journey to Optimum Health: Memoirs of a First Time Guest

    First Journal Entry

    I don’t have TIME to write in a journal! I’m in the office 50 hours a week, then dashing to the store to grab the family’s dinner, or getting delivery. I frequently have friends over; Ben & Jerry, Jimmy Dean, Papa John.

    WHY am I journaling? I just saw my friend Laurie for the first time in a few weeks and she looked so amazing, I asked if she had work done. She was thinner, her skin glowed, and she was happy and calm. She said she DID have work done – on the inside!

    Laurie said there’s a place in San Diego where you eat rabbit food, drink grass, learn things and hug people. She said she also wrote in a journal, which she found empowering. So I’m journaling, but still not feeling any power!

    Sunday afternoon – at OHI

    When I was SO stressed I broke down crying in Laurie’s arms, she suggested I call OHI. I talked to a friendly staff member, who assured me it’s NOT some kind of weird wheatgrass bootcamp or some frou-frou enema spa. So now I’m here. I had vacation time, and hubby’s taking care of the house and kids. I know now why Laurie said just standing in the grass and breathing starts the healing. For a great rate, I get my own room, meals, classes, and my very own… bucket?? Sunday orientation is next — maybe I’ll learn why I need the bucket.

    Monday night – Week 1

    Now I know why I needed the bucket. AND that extra cup of wheatgrass juice. I didn’t know I had it in me. Meals? What used to be garnish on my steak is now my main course. (OK, I’m exaggerating.) The good part — everyone is SO nice. I have a new buddy who shows me around. But honestly, I feel tired, and weak. Maybe Laurie WAS lying, and she DID have work done!

    Tuesday night – Week 1

    I learned what my body did when I was eating meals like fried chicken, potato salad and apple pie. Incompatible foods fight it out in my stomach, and meat just sits there and ROTS. I feel guilty for blaming those…’releases’… on the dog. We started our juice fast today, and I have no energy. Just wait until I see Laurie again…

    Wednesday night – Week 1

    Another juice day – but it’s strange – I have loads of energy to walk briskly with my new friends, do this Alpha meditation, and – laugh! I feel so much lighter and happier.

    Thursday night – Week 1

    Classes are AMAZING, and EVERYONE is so encouraging! Maybe there’s something in this purified water? I almost forgot – today we switched from juice back to solid food. The soup and crackers were delicious! Funny how food isn’t the big thing it was before.

    Friday night – Week 1

    Wow. ‘Miraculous’ describes the stories shared in this morning’s Testimonials. That and ‘gratitude.’ How wonderful to be where healing happens, on every level. Laurie, forgive me for doubting. Can’t wait for the Friday Night Live talent show this evening, and movie night Saturday.

    Friday night – Week 2

    OK, Journal, last week was fantastic, but THIS week – everything came together. My crazy-busy life is one of my coping mechanisms. When I’m harried and exhausted, I can ignore deeper feelings. Like how I’m still angry at things starting back in my childhood. I’m beginning to connect dots I didn’t even know existed. I’m starting to feel…spiritual.

    Saturday night – Week 3

    I will NEVER forget my 3 weeks at OHI, and how I made a new best friend – me! I love how I had the courage to come here, let down my defenses to accept everyone’s support, and finally understand food is medicine, and medicine is food. My family loves the “new me,” and the plant-based recipes we’re eating. And my neighbor, Nancy? She asked if I had work done!

    Journaling is just one of the transformative things you will learn during a visit to OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 42 years of holistic healing, and take advantage of special savings. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • OHI Alpha Practice – Instant Serenity

    No matter how stressed or scattered you feel, an instant solution for serenity, clarity and peace is right in front of your nose. Close your eyes and take a long, slow, deep breath. Now release it, slowly. Do that two more times.

    You just gave yourself the gift of touching into the meditative Alpha state, where you’re automatically releasing stress and negative feelings, increasing self-confidence and awareness, and bringing the body, mind and spirit into gentle balance. By mindfully turning your focus inward, you can feel energized, tune out distractions, solve problems and get clarity.

    Alpha meditation is not a “one-size-fits-all” practice. From sitting in mindful silence, to listening to a guided visualization, to toning in a big group to simply lying quietly in bed a few minutes before you get up, meditation is anything that lets you quiet your mind through contemplation and reflection.

    While it’s a deeply personal and self-affirming exercise, meditation is proving it’s also a valuable tool for defusing tensions and sparking creativity for groups.

    In some communities, police officers meditate with members of the community. Fortune 500 companies like Ford, Google, and General Mills teach and encourage meditation for their executives and employees. Even professional sports teams frequently meditate before a game.

    Optimum Health Institute (OHI) teaches the Alpha method to enter a meditative state. Sit straight with your feet firmly on the floor, place your thumb, index finger and middle finger together, and rest your hands, palms up, on your legs. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. You can repeat a word or phrase that has meaning for you, like “peace,” “I am surrounded in light,” or “love.” Imagine a relaxing sensation, like a wave of tranquil water, start at the crown of your head and gently flow through your entire body, exiting at your feet.

    Slowly repeat your phrase, or just count, as you drift into a state of complete relaxation. At this point of deep receptivity, you can focus on a specific intent – like resolving a conflict, pain control or forgiveness – or simply continue conscious breathing and heightened awareness.

    When you have completed your meditation, take a deep breath, and affirm, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better, healthier and healthier, happier and happier.” Slowly count from one to five, becoming more alert with each number. Take a moment to reflect on insights you may have received in the Alpha state.

    Alpha meditation is just one of the transformative things you will learn during a visit to OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 42 years of holistic healing, and take advantage of special savings. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • A Healthy Perspective on Anger

    There’s a very cool T-shirt that reads, “Depression is Anger without the enthusiasm.” That’s very funny, and also very, very true.

    At the Optimum Health Institute (OHI), we teach guests that there are just two core emotions – positive, or love based, and negative, or fear based. This fear is frequently expressed as anger.

    Somewhere along the line, many of us, and most women, got the message that it just wasn’t OK or “ladylike” to feel or express anger. “Nice” people never got angry – instead they would just swallow their emotions, compromising their desires, beliefs and goals, to keep everyone else happy and maintain a semblance of peace.

    After decades of getting this message that “anger is wrong,” and trying to stifle this very honest and real emotion, what happens? Yep – the T-shirt is right. Depression sets in because it really is anger without the enthusiasm.

    Depression isn’t the only potential fallout from unexpressed anger. A recent study at Columbia University Medical Center shows unexpressed rage can also literally harm the heart. Our feelings of anger set off our “flight-fight response,” which drives up heart and respiration rates and tightly squeezes blood vessels as our body gets ready to react decisively. If we try to suppress that emotion, the body never gets the “release” of appropriately expressed anger, and our risk for heart disease is escalated.

    Explosive, undirected spurts of anger can take the same toll on the heart as suppressing rage, so it’s important to learn to express your anger in appropriate ways.

    Confronting the situation or person that triggered your anger is key, as is being able to have a discussion – even a rather heated one – about the issue in question. Healthy resolution is not about fixing blame – it’s about getting back to that core emotion, and verbalizing what need of yours you fear is not being met. This moderate expression of anger, research shows, can be both constructive and heart healthy.

    Dr. Candace Pert, the pharmacologist and researcher who’s rewritten the medical books by proving every cell of our body has a separate consciousness, has seen other positive results from occasionally letting that anger inside of us explode.

    She’s seen cancer patients who do not meekly accept their diagnosis, but rage against the disease attacking their body. The same way a fever kills invading germs, she’s seen this expression of fury result in an almost immediate remission, as if the anger somehow burned out the cancer cells.

    We need to understand it’s not the emotion of anger itself that’s wrong, but any inappropriate behavior that anger and fear might trigger.

    When you feel your anger level start to creep upwards, instead of just swallowing it, try these steps:
    • B-R-E-A-T-H-E! Consciously taking a few deep breaths helps you stop and take a quick inventory of the situation.
    • Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”
    • Know that your FEELINGS are neither right nor wrong. It’s the BEHAVIOR you choose to do as a result of your feelings that can be unproductive.
    • At the core of all anger is a need you have that is not being fulfilled. Identify that need, and you can constructively express exactly what you want – whether it’s being listened to, getting rewarded for your contribution, being respected or just having your own space.

    In our Emotional Detox class at OHI, we share the idea that “Holding anger and resentment towards another person is like me taking poison and hoping that someone else dies.” It’s a funny thought with a lot of truth – and it’s also a great reminder to first own your anger, and then release it in an appropriate and constructive way.

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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. Call us at (800) 588-0809 to learn more.

  • Attitude of Gratitude

    Every night before you fall asleep, think of the three most wonderful things that happened that day. You will automatically cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.” Instead of wondering what can go wrong today, you’re already focusing on what’s going to go right. You will be anticipating, and then experiencing, a steady flow of things to feel grateful about – day after happy day.

    Plato said: “A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” By being thankful for the good things you have, you’ll automatically attract more.

    Gratitude is the parent of all spiritual virtues in Judeo-Christian tradition. Both Old and New Testaments are filled with verses encouraging the faithful to have grateful hearts, and express gratitude for their blessings.

    Gratitude does more than nurture the spirit – it has mental, emotional and even physical benefits.

    Studies show grateful people are happier and more satisfied in both their personal and professional lives, have more positive relationships, and are quicker to forgive. They’re less stressed, jealous, depressed and anxious, and more likely to “not sweat the little things.”

    Those who choose to feel and express gratitude, in general, experience greater psychological well-being than those who focus on the negatives. This gives grateful people better ways of coping with challenges, and more ability to learn and grow from these experiences. They tend to have more self-respect and a greater sense of purpose in their lives, which fosters a more positive attitude.

    The body also benefits from a conscious attitude of gratitude. Those who are more optimistic and grateful experience fewer sleep disorders, better immune function and even a healthier heart rate – all measurable side benefits of thankfulness.

    Prove it to yourself, and tonight, review the three things for which you felt the most gratitude today. You’ll probably immediately experience a deeper, more restful sleep tonight, and eagerly start your day tomorrow on the lookout for still more positive things to reflect on tomorrow night.

    Learn these and other healthy tips at Optimum Health Institute. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.

  • A Healthier Bang for the Buck: Open, Sesame!

    Even though it might seem as if buying organic foods is too expensive, the extra health boost you get from eating pure, clean, chemical-free meals and snacks is truly priceless. To help you stretch your grocery dollars further, we’d like to share some ways to make those organic purchases go those extra miles by doing double, or even triple, duty.

    For instance, just one cup of organic raw sesame seeds will provide three cups of sesame milk, a healthy, savory vegan version of Parmesan cheese and a natural skin exfoliator. Here’s how:

    Sesame Milk

    Soak 1 cup of raw, organic sesame seeds in water overnight. Rinse the seeds until the water runs clear, then put the seeds in your Vitamix, or other blender. Add three cups of pure water, and blend for 90 seconds. Strain through a cheesecloth, reserving the seed pulp. The sesame milk will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. It’s delicious plain, used in a raw soup, or poured on sprouted wheat or rye cereal.

    Gomashio (Faux “Parmesan Cheese”)

    Spread sesame seed pulp on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 105 for 24 hours. With your fingers, break the dried pulp into course clusters and put in a large mixing bowl. Stir in up to 1 teaspoon of dulse. Sprinkle savory mixture on salads, dehydrated pizzas or raw soups.

    Sesame Facial Exfoliator

    Spread sesame seed pulp on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 105 for 24 hours. Grind the course clusters of seed pulp into a powder with small granules. With a fork, mash 1 tablespoon of sesame powder with 1 teaspoon of avocado or banana to form a paste. Smooth the mixture over a clean face, then sit down, lean back, and relax for 10 minutes. Wash off the paste. It will exfoliate and hydrate the skin, naturally.

    Learn these and other healthy tips at Optimum Health Institute. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.

  • Taking the OHI Program Home, Part 2 of 2

    Continuing from our topic last week…when busy schedules keep you from being with us, let us be with you with these practical tips to bring the knowledge home.

    OHI Facilitators offer the following powerful suggestions:

    Body: You can still go out to eat with your friends when you’re on the OHI healthy eating plan. Just tuck an avocado and a little apple cider vinegar or other appropriate salad dressing in your purse or jacket pocket. Even if everyone wants to go to a steak house, just get a big salad, add the avocado and dressing, and enjoy the company of the group without getting sabotaged by the menu. Your nose is not attached to your mouth – enjoy the sights and aromas of the food your family and friends are eating, but know you’re nourishing yourself with the fuel you need for optimum health.

    Mind: Get into the habit of using your “second thought.” Your “first thought” is an automatic, emotional response to something that just happened. It’s your judgmental inner critic, and the thought can be negative or limiting. While you can’t necessarily control your first thought, you CAN consciously proceed immediately to a positive second thought. For instance, if you get caught up in fears about lack of money, right after the first thought, “I don’t have enough!” pops up, tell yourself, “I live in an abundant universe, and have more than enough of everything I need and want.” Keep practicing this positive “second thought,” and it will become a part of you while attracting the positive things you focus upon.

    Be Present: It’s easy to feel God’s grace in your life when you stay in the present moment. Don’t dwell on the past – reliving old hurts can prevent healing in mind, body and spirit. And don’t waste time worrying about what might happen down the road. Staying in the present moment and releasing your fear about the future increases your joy level, and also enhances your immune system. Be present, be thankful, and watch how quickly and simply things can balance out.

    Pacing: Particularly if you’re just starting the OHI plan, the healthy shifts you’re learning could easily feel overwhelming. Many adherents have found success by gradually adopting one thing at a time into their daily routine. This method is also effective when your goal is to

    Even with busy schedules, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.

  • Taking the OHI Program Home, Part 1 of 2

    We are so grateful when you can visit us in San Diego or Austin so we can share the Optimum Health Institute detoxifying and maintenance plan for a healthier, happier life. But when busy schedules keep you from being with us, let us be with you with these practical tips to bring the knowledge home.

    OHI Facilitators offer the following powerful suggestions:

    Juicing: Try a juice fast once per week on your easiest day of the week. This doesn’t have to be in the order of breakfast, lunch and dinner. It could be juicing for dinner, then breakfast and lunch the following day, and then break your juice fast at dinner. Juicing is an easy way to get a lot of nutrition while you’re giving your digestive tract a rest. On juice days, throw some sprouts in the juice to increase the protein content, enzymes, and fiber.

    Breath work: Deep diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) reduces stress and increases health by allowing the cells to be nourished by more oxygen, and more oxygen is able to get to the lower portion of the lungs. Practice diaphragmatic breathing during meditation, while practicing alpha, during stretching exercises, or just sitting in a chair until it becomes instinctual to your body. Babies naturally breathe this way, with their bellies falling on the inhale and rising on the exhale. Deep breaths also slow the mental pace down and help us focus better.

    SOUL: Eat more S.O.U.L. Food. Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, and Locally grown food have more nutritional value. We want to eat food that is fresher, uncontaminated by pesticides and harmful chemicals, grown without genetically modified organisms, and grown locally to reduce any sprays across state lines, and shorten the amount of time the food spends in transport. Each day on a truck means fewer nutrients in each piece of produce.

    Smoothies: For a quick meal that packs a high energy punch, whip up a green smoothie. Just put chunks of cucumber, celery and spinach in your blender with a cup of water, and add raw garlic or onion and dulce to taste. Mix in other vegetables depending on what phase of the OHI plan you’re following.

    Even with busy schedules, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.

  • Free Yourself from Unhealthy Habits

    There are two sneaky things about bad habits. First, we often don’t remember why we started doing them. And second, they become imprinted not just in our conscious mind, but also in our muscle memory. That means if you’ve been a smoker for years, the physical act of smoking becomes automatic. You’ve built neural pathways in your brain, which means the neurons can communicate directly with your muscles, bypassing conscious thought. The good news is, psychologists say unhealthy habits can be broken. Here are some steps:

    1. Breathe — When you catch yourself falling into an old unwanted habit, stop and take three deep breaths. It will clear your mind and help you break the old pattern.

    2. Be gentle with yourself — Avoid negative self-talk. Choosing more positive behaviors is all about nurturing, respecting and loving yourself.

    3. Watch your words — Things your conscious mind says are immediately taken literally by your subconscious. Instead of “I’ll try,” say “I will.” Instead of “I smoke,” say, “In the past, I smoked.”

    4. Break state physically — Take a deep breath and stretch. It will bring you into awareness of what your body is doing, and help you regain control over the actions required to sustain a healthy habit.

    5. Substitute a positive behavior — Instead of reaching for a sugary treat or biting a nail, think of something for which you are grateful. Shifting into a positive state diverts your attention away from the old habit.

    6. Celebrate victories — Every evening, review your three most-positive changes and realize you’re making real progress. You didn’t develop bad habits overnight, and you won’t change them overnight, but you’re on your way!

    When break away from unhealthy habits, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.

  • Living in the Moment

    Effective multitasking is a myth. Research shows the brain only handles one thing at a time. Trying to do several tasks at once can cause us to make lots of mistakes.

    Lack of mindfulness has another downfall. When we’re not living in the moment, which is about 46% of the time, we imagine – or fear – what might happen in the future or rehash the past. People stay stuck, regretting the past and fearing what’s to come, until they hit a crisis point like death, illness, job loss or divorce.

    Cultivating the healing practice of living in the moment lets us better handle big things as they happen. Set aside 5 minutes a day to mindfully “be IN your body.” Breathe deeply, feeling the sensation of your lungs expanding. Exhale through your mouth, hearing the air leaving your body. Dissolve away any thoughts that might pop up. Technically you’re not “meditating” – you are, as Zen Buddhism teaches, just “sitting.”

    Shift your full attention to eating. Feel your fingers close around the apple, and how your arm lifts your hand to your mouth. Experience biting into the apple, hearing your teeth crunch through the skin, feeling the juices escape onto your tongue, slowly chewing, then swallowing.

    Walking outside, be fully conscious of every sound, each color, all the noises, the subtle or pungent aromas. Be aware of how your body navigates each step; your arms move, and your breathing changes. While you’re practicing being fully present, surrender yourself to the moment. When we shift to being present and stop worrying, we become much more efficient, and the work we do is of higher quality.

    When your body, mind and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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 to learn more.