• How to Create More Mindful Meals


    In a world where processed food is a quick and convenient choice, it may be easy to fall into the bad habit of putting grab-and-go meals on the table. When you eat a diet primarily consisting of processed foods, you may not be getting optimal nutrition from your food. Processed foods have also been tied to an increased cancer risk, so you might be ready to change the way you think about preparing meals for your family. Start by eliminating processed food and appreciating the natural flavors of fresher choices. Below you will get a look at the ways to bring out the best flavors in your food and ensure better health through more nutritionally-dense meals.

    Be aware of food texture
    The various textures of foods should not be overlooked when it comes to creating pleasing flavors for your palate. Foods without much textural variation like soup can be livened up with the addition of crunch from chia seeds, flax and hemp hearts. Adding textural variation can enhance the flavors of your food and keep you interested in eating healthier foods and increase your awareness of what you are eating.

    Explore pairings of distinctive flavors
    Knowing how to match flavors with one another will let you get more creative with the same set of ingredients so that you enjoy every meal you prepare. To get a better understanding of how flavors pair with one another, you might experiment with some contrasting elements like hot peppers and sweet fruits. Fresh herbs can also liven up foods by infusing earthy, aromatic flavors into each dish and reducing the need for salt and fat to flavor your food.

    Use ingredients in their purest form
    Simplifying recipes and using only whole, organically produced foods will be the healthiest strategy for making more mindful meals at home. When you are more aware of where your food comes from, you will be better able to ensure good nutrition for yourself and your family.

    To take control of your health with awareness of your body, mind and spirit, explore the holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute . We use 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to design a curriculum that promotes natural healing from the inside out. You can learn more about our program at our website or by calling (800) 993-4325.

  • What’s Fresh This Fall?

    Fresh produce is essential for raw dieting , because fruits and vegetables offer their fullest flavors and nutrition just after they are picked . Growing or shopping for seasonal produce will allow you to enjoy the best flavors in every month so that you are inspired to continue following a wholesome raw diet that doesn’t get boring for your palate. Let’s take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables that thrive in the fall and offer an array of nutritional benefits. 


    Butternut Squash
    Butternut squash is among the most common winter squashes, and it offers plenty of vitamins A and C along with fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Soup is one of the most favored applications of butternut squash, which has a flavor beautifully complemented by fall spices like cinnamon and cloves.

    Because of its white flesh and somewhat bland flavor, many people assume that the cauliflower is not nutritionally valuable. However, cauliflower is packed with vitamin C and an essential B vitamin called folate. Folate has a number of benefits, including cell production support, improved nerve function and dementia prevention.

    Mushrooms are usually available year-round, but the best selection of flavorful wild mushrooms is available in the fall. Mushrooms are not fruits or vegetables, but rather they are fungi which offer nutrients like niacin, copper, and pantothenate, which may improve the balance of good and bad cholesterol in the blood.

    In the fall season, apples are everywhere, but you will want to know how to pick the best varieties. Selecting organic apple varieties like Golden Delicious or Fuji is a matter of flavor preferences. All apples boast high quantities of dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion. They are best eaten whole with the skin intact instead of in juices or applesauce.

    Sweet Potatoes
    Sweet potatoes can be a deliciously healthy substitute for less nutritious starchy vegetables like russet potatoes. Though often referred to as yams, sweet potatoes are a unique vegetable with a soft flesh that can be pureed into a number of tasty fall soups. These potatoes are high in vitamin A and potassium, and they are a great source of fiber.

    Optimum Health Institute can teach you how to nourish your body, mind and, spirit beginning with the foundation of a raw, plant-based diet. Our holistic healing program consists of teachings from 24 ancient spiritual disciplines incorporated in courses over three week-long sessions. Call us at (800) 993-4325 or visit OptimumHealth.org to explore our program.  

  • Field Trips for Fall!

    school trip

    Not all lessons take place in classroom. In fact, some of the most meaningful and profound experiences a child can have is through exploring the natural world. As part of your continuing journey to promote the natural healing of your body and mind, you might take your family on hiking or camping trips. However, don’t forget that you likely live near an organic farm. Organic farmers are typically devoted to natural health and many enjoy sharing their knowledge.

    Arranging a Visit
    Did you know that there are about two million farms in the U.S.? Many of them are devoted to natural health practices such as organic farming. To find an organic farm near you, visit a local farmer’s market and converse with the vendors. Ask whether their farm accepts visitors and would be willing to give your family a tour. You could also visit LocalHarvest.org to search for an organic farm near you.

    Discussing Smart Food Choices
    While exploring the organic farm with your children, offer age-appropriate lesson plans on farming and good nutrition. If you have very young children, talk about how good it makes your body feel to eat fruits and vegetables, as opposed to processed fast food. If your children are a little older, explain what pesticides are and define “organic” for them. With the farmers’ permission, conduct a taste test with your youngsters to verify the deliciousness of fresh, organic produce.

    Bringing the Lessons to the Supermarket
    Reinforce the lessons learned on the farm with your kids by visiting a supermarket. Challenge your kids to find certified organic products. Then, compare the nutrition labels of those products with nutrition labels of other common grocery store items. Discuss why finding products with short lists of simple, organic ingredients is healthier than products that contain preservatives and other chemicals.

    During your stay at Optimum Health Institute , you’ll be inspired to renew your body, mind, and spirit with lymphatic exercises, nourishing fresh organic foods, and emotional detoxification. We invite you to explore more information about OHI on our website at OptimumHealth.org or call us at (800) 993-4325.

  • New and Improved Classes at OHI


    Almond coconut cookies, vision boards and getting back to your roots with organic gardening these are just a few of the exciting new elements now part of the program at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) this fall.

    While the core concepts and teachings that launched OHI decades ago remain constant, there are some exciting updates, and even some brand new interactive classes, to enrich the guest experience.

    “We now include a one-minute Alpha experience in every class,” explained Peg Harvey, OHI Director of Program Development and Training.  Whether it’s a conscious breathing exercise, a brief guided meditation or pausing to express gratitude for everything involved, from the soil to the rain to the sun to the people who harvest and transport organic food to our tables, Peg said sharing a reflective moment of mindfulness during a class immediately puts guests into a peaceful, receptive and open-hearted space.

    Guests discuss the Law of Attraction and using the mind’s eye to achieve a desired outcome in Mental Detox class, then they apply that learning in the Vision Board & Rock Painting class.

    Vision boards guests create illustrate the positive things they want to attract into their lives – like beauty, health, abundance, relationship and love.  In the Rock Painting class, everyone holds a Colorado river stone, and feels how countless decades of being worn down by the sun, wind and water erase all the hard edges.  The elements have polished each stone to smooth perfection. It’s a powerful metaphor for dealing with life opportunities. Each guest paints a word, design or picture on their rock that will continue to inspire them, long after they’ve returned home from OHI.  Guests from all weeks, said Peg, are invited to participate.

    Everyone loved the stretching exercises offered Monday through Thursday, and wanted more.  OHI listened, and now offers guided stretching sessions in San Diego Friday and Saturday, too.

    First timers at OHI are welcomed with a new Guest Orientation Video and Presentation to help them feel right at home.

    The Fermented and Dehydrated Foods class for 3rd week guests isn’t just a demonstration any more, Peg explained.  Now guests jump right in to use blenders, dehydrators, juicers and chopping blocks

    Executive Chef Ken Dorr and Garden Manager Dan Strobhar teamed up to create the revised organic gardening class.  There’s an interactive component in San Diego now, where guests can help plant crops.  When weather permits, they also learn how to create a drip irrigation system.  Even guests visiting in winter will get to see the organic garden in all its splendor through all four seasons, thanks to an engaging new video.

    A new class that’s become an instant favorite is Pray, Eat, Live.  This demonstration class for 3rd week or repeat students has more of a “party” atmosphere with a smorgasbord of delicious raw organic treats.  Spicy BBQ Kale Chips, Cha Cha Chia Pudding and Frozen Fruit Sorbet are just a few of the delicacies, all still appropriate for the OHI detox or maintenance diet. Menus are updated twice a year. Guests receive recipes to recreate the dazzling dishes at home, and creative, tasty meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    New findings in recent scientific research have led to revising the Food Combining classes in both SD and Austin.  We now know, said Peg, that combining greens with fruit does not have a negative impact on digestion.  That’s great news for smoothies, and guests get to sample the delicious and nutrient-rich difference. 

    Experience the exciting, enriching differences to the OHI program this fall.  Bring a healthy balance into your life as you cleanse your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, California and Austin, Texas. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Surrendering to the Divine Stillness of Fall


    While crisp autumn nights paint the leaves a glorious palate of rich colors, that beauty is destined to be fleeting.   One by one, scarlet and gold leaves lose their initial luster to fade a withered brown.  And one by one, each tree releases its leaves, surrendering to the inevitable cycle of the seasons that will strip each bough bare.

    This cycle that prepares the tree for the slumber of winter likewise gives us an opportunity to surrender those things that no longer serve us, and let us enter into a transformative time of reflection, introspection and setting new goals.  Worry, fear, stress, anger, envy, self-deprecation – this is the season to release superficial and negative thoughts and behaviors that interfere with our balance and joy.

    Freed, now, of the distractions of summer, we’re able to be more mindfully present to the holiness of each moment.  In his book, The Biology of Belief, cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about how we’re only present in our conscious mind about 5% of the time.  He also provides scientific evidence for the ground-breaking concept that we are not “victims of our biology,” but can literally change our DNA when we change our belief system.

    Fall can be the perfect time to metaphorically “go back to school,” and open ourselves up to learning how to enter more deeply into a conscious Alpha state.  From that place of serene grace, surrender and receptiveness, we’re much more likely to be able to make positive, transformational changes to our beliefs, and enter into a personal and heart-centered connection to the Divine.

    “Surrender” here doesn’t mean “giving up the fight” – rather, it means letting go of an ego-centered need to feel in control of every situation, and releasing beliefs that have limited us in the past.  It’s mindfully choosing to get out of the way of our own divinity, and let Spirit take charge of our lives. 

    Virginia Samdahl, the first occidental Reiki master, was one of the pioneers in bringing the complimentary modality of energy medicine into mainstream western consciousness.  She frequently told her students, “The only difference between Christ and us is that He was born knowing He was divine, and we go to the grave denying that we are.”

    When we can see “surrender” as a necessary part of the cycle that moves us into a creative and receptive mode, we embrace our own divinity.  We release any thought of “losing,” and instead see expansive new opportunities unfolding in front of us.  We’re actively creating the fertile space for new ideas and new beginnings.

    Commit to a healthy new beginning in your life at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, California and Austin, Texas.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.