• Redefining Normal

    flower bed with red and purple flowers 11_2013

    A woman wins the lottery.   She is ecstatic, and overwhelmed with the limitless possibilities unfolding before her.

    A man survives a car accident but looses the use of a leg.  He is despondent, and overwhelmed with the new limitations confronting him.

    Within three months, both people have returned to their initial level of happiness.  This predisposition is what scientists have labeled “impact bias.”  It means we  “synthesize” happiness – and make the best of what we have, by finding a way to be happy with what’s happened.  We emotionally adjust to the new situation.  What this means is we’re pretty much hard-wired to redefine what’s ‘normal’ in our lives.

    Changes in a marriage, relationship, job, material possessions, health – all of us will experience loss in some degree during our lifetime.  Change is inevitable as time marches on.

    It’s up to us to decide the meaning we’re going to give to these changes and how we get back to the business of living a normal life – and this applies across the board to seemingly positive or negative situations.

    For the people who are convinced the world is a terrible place, they’re victims, and they have to live in fear, that’s going to be the normal reality they experience.

    On the other hand, the people who care passionately about something and feel a fulfilling sense of purpose will always be able to navigate challenges and keep focusing on the things that give their life meaning.  They’ll be able to create a new “normal” no matter what comes their way.

    It was a Jewish Austrian psychiatrist who provided deeply personal proof of impact bias in his best-selling and transformational book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  Dr. Viktor Frankl endured three years in Nazi concentration camps as a POW. His wife and entire family, except for a sister, died in the camps.   Even in the most squalid, inhumane conditions, Dr. Frankl felt his life had meaning, and that people had a responsibility for themselves and their behavior.

    He calculated that he only had a 1 in 29 possibility of surviving.  But, he reasoned, that possibility, though slim, existed. Despite the squalor, pain and seemingly inescapable horror of the camps, Dr. Frankl felt he was destined to continue his studies into human nature, and share this information with the world.

    He created a mathematical equation to represent the struggle, D = S – M. Despair is suffering without meaning .   If person can’t find meaning in suffering, that person will be more prone to despair and suicide.  But if they can see a meaning in their suffering, if they can reframe their current predicament into a future accomplishment, they will have the power to turn tragedy into personal triumph. 

    They could only rise above their challenge if they felt a deep sense of purpose.  That purpose had to be driven by that most powerful of human emotions, love, to truly be meaningful.  Passionately hanging on to both “love” and “meaning” will, without fail, deliver a person through the most jarring and/or overwhelming situations, help them adapt to changes, and bring them back into a “normal” life.

    Learn positive new ways to adapt and redefine “normal” for yourself at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for the New Year, and the rest of your life. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Ancient Spiritual Disciplines Have New Respect


    In our fast-paced, high-tech digital world, it’s fascinating how many ancient scriptural disciplines are gaining new relevance as science catches up to spiritual beliefs.

    Fasting, for instance, has been observed as a Discipline of Abstinence in many religious traditions, and is mentioned in both the old and new testaments.  It was used as a way to grieve the death of a loved one, to cleanse the body and quiet the mind in preparation for holy days, or to atone for straying from one’s spiritual path.  For centuries fasting has also been utilized as a way to raise consciousness and remain in a higher state of spiritual receptivity during retreats or vision quests.

    “Renew yourselves and fast. For I tell you truly, that Satan and his plagues may only be cast out by fasting and by prayer.”

    –The Essene Gospel

    According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s contemporary validation for some of these ancient beliefs.  Fasting has been proven to potentially be good for your heart, and change the way your body processes both sugar and cholesterol.  Severely restricting food just one or two days a week can lower your bad cholesterol, and also help your body metabolize sugar more effectively. 

    This, in turn, helps prevent weight gain and the onset of diabetes, both of which can promote heart disease.  (Always check with your medical doctor before starting a fast.)

    A Discipline of Relationships, Forgiveness, likewise now is scientifically regarded as nourishing for the body, mind and spirit.  People who can forgive, even if they don’t forget, can more easily release stress, tension and anxiety, and have lower levels of depression. 

    They are also more likely to avoid the toxic fallout of anger, which can drive up the risks for heart disease.  A study by the American Medical Student Association even revealed the ability to forgive others reduced a person’s risk of substance abuse.

    Charity, one of the Disciplines of Action, has a similar measurable benefit on every level.  Giving to others not only reduces stress – it prompts the brain to start producing endorphins that produce what’s been dubbed the “helper’s high.” 

    Studies by the National Institute of Health revealed altruism triggered a “warm glow” effect by stimulating parts of the brain connected with pleasure, trust and social interaction.

    Another benefit of compassionate action is that simply observing someone else being of service and helping out, studies have shown, triggers the desire in others to help.  Researchers speculate this contagious compassion, which is hard wired in our brain, may have been a way for early members of a tribe to assist each other and assure the tribe’s survival.

    Learn more about the benefits of these and other ancient spiritual disciplines with a stay at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  Our caring team 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.

  • Books to Nourish Body, Mind and Spirit

    When God spoke to me Book

    style=”color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: ‘Times New Roman’, serif; font-size: 16px;”>Whether you’re interested in finding the perfect gift, or you love to read on long winter nights, take a look at some of the most popular books featured in the Optimum Health Institute Store.

    To care for the body:

    Alkalize or Die: Superior Health Through Proper Alkaline-Acid Balance by Theodore A. Baroody

    “The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause…too much tissue acid waste in the body!”

    —Theodore A. Baroody, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

    An essential part of detoxifying the body is restoring an alkaline balance through effective food choices, preparation and combining.  Dr. Baroody explains it all in this comprehensive handbook for optimum health.  Is your body more acidic than alkaline?  What are the potential health issues with over-acidity?  What foods will help restore and maintain appropriate alkalinity?  Alkalize or Die answers all these questions, and also provides a 21-day meal plan and a detailed chart with an extensive list of foods, and their alkaline or acid-forming tendencies.

    The Raw Transformation: Energizing Your Life with Living Foods

    by Wendy Rudell; foreword by David Wolfe

    With spectacular photos, detailed food preparation instructions and delicious recipes like Banana Coconut Cream Pie, Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce, Zucchini Orange Pecan Loaf and Vanilla Almond Ice Cream with Honeyed Nuts, this book gives you hundreds of reasons to get serious about going raw.

    Wendy Rudell takes you step-by-step through the benefits and practicality of transitioning your diet and your palate.  Sprouting, dehydrating, fermenting, food combining – it’s all here, along with other modalities, like yoga, meditation and breath work, to support your journey to optimum health.

    To inform the mind:
    Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine

    by Candace S. Pert, PhD

    This seminal work by the late neuroimmunologist Dr. Candace Pert changed our understanding of how the body works.  Through her decades of research and experimentation, she created empirical evidence that the body and mind are in constant communication, and each cell has a separate consciousness. 

    Dr. Pert also scientifically proved the existence of seven major concentrations of consciousness in the human body, confirming the validity of the ancient belief in chakras.  With clarity and humor, Dr. Pert effectively interprets scientific data for the layperson to understand and utilize.

    The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them 

    by David Richo, PhD

    As a psychologist, for three decades Dr. Richo was on the receiving end of hearing what made people unhappy.  No matter what a person’s education level, job, income, age or attractiveness was, he determined there were five truths that impact us all: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time.

    Instead of pretending these ‘fearful five’ didn’t exist, Dr. Richo discovered that by changing the meaning we give to these things, and embracing them instead of resisting them, we can find authentic and lasting joy.  Through inspirational examples and practical tips, he helps us navigate these shifts with grace.

    To enrich the spirit:

    God Spoke to Me

    by Eileen Caddy

    It all started back in 1953, when Eileen Caddy heard a voice say, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Guided by that higher consciousness, Eileen and her husband Peter founded the pioneering spiritual community of Findhorn in northeastern Scotland in the early 60s.  Findhorn eventually became known as ‘The Vatican of the New Age.’

    In God Spoke to Me, Eileen offers the reader inspirational messages, and encourages us to trust the divine source that connects everyone and everything.  Although she died in 2006, Eileen is still considered one of the most revered and influential spiritual teachers of our time.  Facilitators at OHI share passages from the book daily with guests.

    The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) 

    by Don Miguel Ruiz

    Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. These four deceptively simple concepts are the heart and soul of ancient Toltec wisdom, and a solid foundation for living a loving, happy and grace-filled life today. 

    Mexican native Don Miguel Ruiz had graduated from medical school and was a practicing surgeon when a near-death experience from a car crash completely changed his life.  He began to embrace the timeless truths of his Toltec ancestors, and embarked on a spiritual path of shamanic teaching, which included interpreting dreams and visions.  The Four Agreements gained international attention with Oprah discussed it on her television show.

    Find all of these fascinating books, and meet a caring team to help you
    achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health, at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin, TX. To order all of these fascinating books, call the Optimum Health Store at  (888) 643-7867

  • The Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

    young girl eating veggies

    Fruits and vegetables lose a considerable amount of their nutrients when they are heated above 105 Fahrenheit. Eating foods that are raw allows you to take advantage of all the vital nutrients within food, many of which are necessary for your health and wellbeing. At Optimum Health Institute, we prepare raw meals using dehydrated, fermented, and fresh foods that are combined to provide optimum nutrition.

    Improved Digestion
    Your body utilizes enzymes to help digest food. Raw fruits and vegetables naturally contain enzymes that are destroyed when the food is cooked. By consuming a raw diet, you can provide your body with additional enzymes, allowing for better digestion and absorption of foods and nutrients.

    Benefits of Juice Fasting
    One benefit of a juice fast is that the food is easily digested with minimal energy by the body.  With a juice fast you can take advantage of the vital nutrients in food without the taxing digestion.  Also, another benefit is that a juice fast is alkalizing to the body pH.  Eating an alkalizing diet, as opposed to an acidic diet, can help with a myriad of physical complaints and illnesses.

    Reduced Risk of Diseases
    There are a number of chemicals and nutrients found naturally in raw foods that can help prevent diseases. For example, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale contain high amounts of isothiocyanates, a group of chemicals that have been shown to help fight cancer. Cooking these vegetables eliminates the isothiocyanates within them. A raw diet has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower overall cholesterol levels.

    Healthier Weight
    A raw food diet promotes a healthy body weight. The consumption of high amounts of raw food and vegetables eliminates excess fat and sugars from the diet. In addition, better digestion may result in higher energy levels which can make regular exercise easier to accomplish.

    At Optimum Health Institute, we serve a variety of raw-live foods, juice fasting, and wheatgrass to promote restoring your body to its natural balance. Our meals do not contain nuts or oils, which can hinder the detoxification process. To learn more about the raw food diet from Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin, call us today at (800) 993-4325 .