Dare to Dream

The launch of Sputnik 1 back in 1957 ignited the great global “space race,” and completely changed the life of a West Virginia coalminer’s son . Mesmerized as he and his tiny town watched the streak of light crossing the night sky, the teen threw himself into model rocket design and testing. His father demanded he stop the foolishness, forget about the stars, and accept that soon he’d be a miner, too.

Defiantly, the boy continued to pursue his passion for space exploration, and went on to become a NASA engineer. Homer H. Hickam, Jr., shared his story in his autobiographical book, Rocket Boys , which was made into the critically acclaimed 1999 movie, October Sky .

It takes a healthy dose of both patience and persistence, two of the Five P’s to Optimum Health as taught by the Optimum Health Institute (OHI), to turn ambitious ideas into reality. People who make their dreams happen have these four things in common:

  1. They don’t take rejection personally. Celebrity author Stephen King started submitting stories to publishers’ years before he was taken seriously as a writer. He received 30 rejections for his first novel, Carrie . His books have sold over 350 million copies.

Young visionary artist Walt Disney created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which became an instant animated hit.When he approached his film distributor about a raise after Oswald’s huge success, he was shocked to learn the distributor owned the character, and was actually planning on slicing Walt’s salary.Undeterred, Walt let go of Oswald, and immediately created Mickey Mouse.

  1. They make their own opportunities. A young Steven Spielberg’s “C” grade average got him rejected from the University of Southern California’s film school, so he became an English major at California State, Long Beach. He took over an empty office at Universal Studios, and boldly added his name to the company directory. His gumption paid off – he got an unpaid internship in the Universal editing department, and so impressed studio executives he was offered a 7-year directing contract. That was the deal that officially launched his career as one of the most respected and influential directors in film history.
  1. They find an advocate. Your own patience and persistence are critical to bringing dreams to life, but finding a mentor is also important. Bestselling author Maya Angelou became mute when she was 8 after being brutally attacked. Her self-imposed silence continued for five years, until a compassionate teacher took her into the school’s tiny library, and told her to read all of the books. The teacher said to truly appreciate poetry Maya had to read it aloud. That’s how America’s Poet found her voice physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  1. They’re driven to prove their detractors wrong. The message a young Oprah Winfrey received repeatedly decades ago when she was starting out was that she wasn’t right for television – she didn’t have the right voice, her hair wasn’t straight and smooth, and she had to lose weight. Now she sits at the top of an empire, and is one of the richest people in the world.

Similarly, a young Katie Couric was an assignment editor at CNN when she made an unimpressive first appearance in front of the camera. CNN network cofounder Reese Schonfeld ordered she was never to appear on air again. She went on to co-host The Today Show for 15 years, and was the first woman to solo anchor a network evening newscast.

What ignites your passion, and makes you feel like you’re truly contributing? Get back in touch with that heart-felt desire, and recapture your joy and spiritual balance.

Come create a healthy balance for your body, mind and spirit at the OHI missions in San Diego and 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.

Introducing OHI San Diego’s New 21-Day Menu

The chefs in the busy kitchen at OHI San Diego are dishing it out – in new delicious, creative palate-pleasing ways. On July 12, 2015, OHI San Diego introduces a 21-day menu that serves up different delectable dishes every day for three straight weeks. The new selections guarantee guests will never have the same lunch or dinner twice during the entire 21-day healing program.

Stuffed peppers with curry crackers, eggless egg salad, zucchini pad Thai, falafel and exotically spiced seed cheeses, among other selections, have already received rave reviews during early taste tests. Every new dish complies with OHI’s strict nutritional guidelines, and is created from live, raw, organic vegan foods.

For nearly 18 months, we sliced, diced, fermented, dehydrated and juiced. We experimented with tastes, textures and presentation, realizing that each new dish also had to be a feast for the eyes. Of course everything was strictly monitored and analyzed to make sure it adhered to our nutritional mandates and contained no fat, vinegar, salt or oil.

The other goal was to keep “changing it up” for guests opting to do the entire three-week healing program in one visit. That meant creating 21 completely different days of satisfying and delicious lunches and dinners, without repeating any the entire time.

For a new guest at OHI, the first meal after they arrive on Sunday night can be the toughest. Everyone who is accustomed to feasting on heavily processed ‘convenience’ foods, animal fats and high concentrations of sugar is in for an immediate and drastic change. Detoxifying the body is one of the core pillars of OHI’s healing lifestyle program, so every meal serves up raw, organic, live unprocessed produce, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and wheatgrass juice.

While the body quickly begins to respond in a positive way by releasing toxins, the mind and emotions can have a rough time processing such a complete departure from old, unhealthy eating habits.

OHI San Diego’s Chef Ken Dorr and OHI Austin’s Chef Amber Santa Cruz designed our new 21-day menu to help guests comfortably transition from the Standard American Diet to OHI’s nourishing fare with meals that include hearty guacamole, fresh raw vegetables and dehydrated crackers. It helps satisfy while introducing the healthy new way guess will be dining for their entire stay.

Here is the recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers with Hurry Curry Crackers:

Hurry Curry Crackers – Yield: 3 trays

3 cups yam pulp

1 cup sesame pulp

1 cup flax seeds

½ tsp. curry

½ tsp. cumin

1 garlic clove

½ onion

¼ tsp. dried basil

Combine sesame pulp, curry, cumin, basil, onion and garlic in Vitamix canister and blend until smooth. Transfer to large mixing bowl and add soaked flax seeds and yam pulp. Mix well. Spread onto dehydrator sheets into ¼ inch layer and score into triangles. Dehydrate for two days, turning after first day.

For the stuffed bell pepper, mix diced raw organic vegetables with garlic ginger seed cheese and garnished with dehydrated seeds.

Come taste the delicious difference – daily! – for three weeks in a row at both OHI missions, in San Diego and 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.

In Praise of Devoted Dads

Two candid Internet photos of fathers being exceptional dads bring a lump to the throat, a tear to the eye and a smile to the lips.

One shows a little girl dressed up like the Big Bad Wolf. She’s beaming at the camera as she’s being held by her smiling, bearded dad – who’s gamely dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood. “She wanted to be the wolf,” the man explained.

The other photo was shot in a home improvement store. It’s the back of a dad and his young son, both sporting homemade “super hero” capes. The man who captured the image posted it on Reddit with the caption, “I know a good dad when I see one.” It got nearly 1.7 million comments the first 48 hours it was live.

It’s that time of the year again to celebrate all those devoted dads – the compassionate men who go that extra mile to let their children know they are precious, respected and deeply loved. They’re easy to spot, and they don’t even have to be wearing a red riding hood or a cape.

These are the guys who need four times as long to plant a garden, because they’re allowing their toddlers to help by dumping entire seed packets in one hole. They’re the ones who make pancake happy faces for the kids, complete with banana slices for eyes and a big maple syrup smile.

They’re the accomplished Black Diamond skiers who spend several days on the bunny slopes until their daughters are confident enough to take ski class, and graduate to the real trails. They’ve watched Frozen at least 5,000 times, and can sing “Under the Sea” with the right Jamaican accent and appropriate crab claw choreography. They’ve sat through more recitals, plays, sports events and graduations – even the kindergarten ones – than can be counted. They kiss boo-boos, hand over the car keys, escort their princesses to daddy-daughter dances and shoot hoops with the kids, even when it’s not exactly convenient.

“In family life, be completely present,” wisely said Lao Tzu. The difference between a ‘father’ and a ‘dad’ is that dads get what it means to be a present and involved parent, mixing gentle guidance with an abundance of respect and delight in the people their children are becoming. They encourage their kids’ natural curiosity and sense of discovery and wonder. They even venture outside of their own comfort zone to support their children on adventures.

One dad said he first started playing tennis, and through the years became a high school tennis coach, after his daughter expressed an interest in the sport when she was 10. “Heck,” the dad admitted, “I would have jumped out of airplanes if that’s what she would have wanted to do!”

A dad knows to gain respect, he must likewise show deference to his children. Back in the early ‘90s, shortly after the movie A League of Their Own launched Tom Hanks into the celebrity stratosphere, he, his family and some friends were visiting Disneyland. It wasn’t a publicity event, but just a private outing without photographers or fans cramping their fun. At one point Tom’s young son wanted to tell him something, and tugged on Tom’s sleeve. Tom immediately stopped and crouched down to be at eye level, respectfully listening to his son’s every word. That’s the epitome of being a great dad.

To all the compassionate men going the extra mile to raise kind-hearted, thoughtful children – we salute you. You truly are superheroes.

Dads, moms and everyone else are invited to rediscover their own inner superhero at the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and 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.

Introducing OHI Austin’s New 21-Day Menu

The chefs in the busy kitchen at OHI Austin are dishing it out – in new delicious, creative palate-pleasing ways. On May 31, 2015, OHI Austin introduced a 21-day menu that serves up different delectable dishes every day for three straight weeks. The new selections guarantee guests will never have the same lunch or dinner twice during the entire 21-day healing program.

Stuffed peppers with curry crackers, eggless egg salad, zucchini pad Thai, falafel and exotically spiced seed cheeses, among other selections, have already received rave reviews during early taste tests. Every new dish complies with OHI’s strict nutritional guidelines, and is created from live, raw, organic vegan foods.

For nearly 18 months, we sliced, diced, fermented, dehydrated and juiced. We experimented with tastes, textures and presentation, realizing that each new dish also had to be a feast for the eyes. Of course everything was strictly monitored and analyzed to make sure it adhered to our nutritional mandates and contained no fat, vinegar, salt or oil.

The other goal was to keep “changing it up” for guests opting to do the entire three-week healing program in one visit. That meant creating 21 completely different days of satisfying and delicious lunches and dinners, without repeating any the entire time.

For a new guest at OHI, the first meal after they arrive on Sunday night can be the toughest. Everyone who is accustomed to feasting on heavily processed ‘convenience’ foods, animal fats and high concentrations of sugar is in for an immediate and drastic change. Detoxifying the body is one of the core pillars of OHI’s healing lifestyle program, so every meal serves up raw, organic, live unprocessed produce, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and wheatgrass juice.

While the body quickly begins to respond in a positive way by releasing toxins, the mind and emotions can have a rough time processing such a complete departure from old, unhealthy eating habits.

To help make the transition from the Standard American Diet to OHI’s nourishing fare, Chef Amber Santa Cruz said the new 21-day menu ensures guests’ initial dining experience after they arrive is familiar and comforting – hearty guacamole with fresh raw vegetables and dehydrated crackers. It helps satisfy while introducing the healthy new way guests will be dining for their entire stay.

Here is the recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers with Hurry Curry Crackers:

Hurry Curry Crackers – Yield: 3 trays

3 cups yam pulp

1 cup sesame pulp

1 cup flax seeds

½ tsp. curry

½ tsp. cumin

1 garlic clove

½ onion

¼ tsp. dried basil

Combine sesame pulp, curry, cumin, basil, onion and garlic in Vitamix canister and blend until smooth. Transfer to large mixing bowl and add soaked flax seeds and yam pulp. Mix well. Spread onto dehydrator sheets into ¼ inch layer and score into triangles. Dehydrate for two days, turning after first day.

For the stuffed bell pepper, mix diced raw organic vegetables with garlic ginger seed cheese and garnished with dehydrated seeds.

Come taste the delicious difference – daily! – for three weeks in a row at the OHI Austin mission in 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.

Serving Up Fun

June signals the launch of the summer picnic season. All over the country, people are eager to fire up the grill . Why not make this the year you gently start to steer family and friends away from barbecued meat, and towards the delicious and healthy difference of fresh veggies, nuts, seeds and fruits?

If you’re hosting the picnic, include hearty vegan dishes that will delight vegetarians and carnivores alike. While the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) healing detoxification diet calls for raw food, know that grilled vegetables are a “better than” substitution for grilled meat. Portabella mushrooms, artichokes, corn, sliced eggplant, asparagus and squash grilled to tender perfection can help even the most enthusiastic burger lover reconsider.

Appetizers and sides dishes are the perfect opportunity to bring more raw foods to the table. Fresh veggie sticks with spiced seed cheese and guacamole will have everyone dipping and crunching. Try introducing some vegetables many of your guests might not have tried yet, like jicama, rutabaga or parsnips. All have a nice sweetness, and are delicious and satisfying served raw.

Make a hearty main dish salad from dark greens and shredded carrots, cabbage, zucchini, sunflower greens, finely chopped green onions and diced avocado. Top with garbanzo medallions.

Garbanzo Medallions

¾ cup garbanzo, soaked 2 days

½ cup alfalfa sprouts

1/3 cup parsley leaves

1 medium carrot, finely shredded

¼ cup soaked pumpkin seeds

¼ cup flax seed meal

½ tsp. celery or poppy seed

2-4 tbls. water or carrot juice

Mix all together except flaxseed meal and water. Put in food processor or blender. Add flaxseed meal and water, mix well and form into four patties. Place one patty in center of each salad and serve with additional dressing on side. Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

(From Optimum Health Institute of San Diego Optimal Living Recipes: Cleansing and Transitional Recipes for Vibrant Healthful Living , by Mary Helon Nees, Nedra Carroll & Diane Louise Gallina. Available at the Optimum Health Store at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin, Texas.)

Instead of serving soda or sweet tea, whip out the Vitamix blender and transform spinach, cucumber, beets and raw ginger into a filling and energizing veggie smoothie. Replace chips or other fried snacks with bowls of raw nuts and pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

The day before your event, scout out the freshest fruits at the local farmer’s market , peel them and cut into cubes, then freeze them. When it’s time for dessert, put the fruit, and just enough pure water to process, into the blender to create a creamy and delicious instant sorbet.

When you serve up healthy and delicious alternatives at your summer picnics, you’re also serving up the opportunity for year-round positive change.

Come savor healthy changes for your body, mind and spirit at OHI missions in San Diego and 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.

Prayer Is The Most Important Spiritual Discipline

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) practice to create and nurture our connection to God, and renew our spirit. Prayer is simply talking to God. Meditation is listening for God’s answer. Because we’ve been given the divine gift of free will, prayer is actually our first step in reaching out to God, and affirming the existence of a Higher Source.

There are thousands of ways to communicate with God. Some people get out in nature; others use music, a candle or incense to silence mental chatter. There are others who can pray anywhere, any time. When we connect to God on a heart level, we can stay mindfully in the moment without mentally over analyzing the experience.

When you learn how to quiet the mind, you become more aware of God’s healing presence and your direct connection to Him. It can be particularly powerful to open all your prayers with an expression of gratitude for God’s many blessings.

While we encourage individual prayer at OHI in the manner that’s most comfortable for each guest, we also cherish our tradition of prayer circles before meals and ceremonies. There’s great symbolism in prayer circles. When two or more are gathered together in the name of the divine, their prayers generate powerful, purposeful energy and there’s a deep spiritual fellowship. While a group prayer may be more general, there is an undeniable healing energy that enfolds everyone. A circle symbolizes eternity, the perfection of creation without beginning or end. We hold hands and appreciate our community of caring, mutual respect for individual differences, and fellowship in our love for and surrender to God.

Another OHI group prayer tradition is our Friday morning testimonials, where guests and adherents share their experiences. I remember when a young woman told how God had answered her prayers, but not as she anticipated. She endured a tough childhood, and was raised by her grandmother. The girl fell in with a bad crowd and got involved in drugs and destructive relationships. Each time she began to straighten up, she sabotaged herself.

She prayed for help, and found a substance abuse recovery center. When she still didn’t feel whole, she kept praying for assistance and met a person who suggested she come to OHI. Her first few days she was sick as a dog while her body released years of toxins. By the middle of the week she turned the corner, and was transformed in time for Friday morning testimonials. She developed a personal connection to God, and resumed her spiritual path with clarity and joy. What made the difference? She had to just trust that God really WAS answering her prayers, even through those tough first days at OHI.

Sometimes God responds to our prayers in ways we didn’t anticipate. Other times He responds so much more magnificently than we could have possibly imagined. The bottom line is this – the only true prayer is the sincere desire of the heart. And all true prayers are answered.

Praying to a higher power will help you develop a healthier life and strengthen your relationship with God. Prayers for healing can provide a clarity that can’t be achieved through your works alone. 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) 993-4325 to learn more.