• Week 1: An Inspired First Week for Healthy Transformation

    Delicious, freshly prepared meals, with each lunch and dinner offering a different scrumptious entrée. Beautifully landscaped pathways with secluded spots to meditate and reflect. Like-minded people eager to share a smile and encouraging word. Imagine experiencing all of this – and getting healthier in body, mind and spirit at the same time.

    Welcome to the Optimum Health Institute (OHI), the place where you explore how to bring balance to your life with purpose, a positive attitude, persistence, patience and prayer. From the moment you arrive at our missions in San Diego or Austin, Texas, our supportive team starts to inspire and support you on your healing journey.

    First-time guests immediately notice the tranquil setting, with lovely landscaping, inviting pathways, and lots of secluded spots to meditate and reflect. In this “safe space” of nature’s beauty, you’ll feel the stresses of daily life begin to melt away.

    Whether you’re dealing with a significant health challenge, or you just want to do a “tune-up,” Week One of our 21-day program has been carefully structured to share the basic tools you’ll need to achieve your desired results.

    For our first-time guests, a delightful discovery is how tasty and satisfying the raw, organic, live vegan food is. Fresh, local produce is used to create favorite dishes like Zucchini Pad Thai, lentil chili, dehydrated onion “bread” and a spicy guacamole with crunchy seed “chips.”

    You’ll learn how wheatgrass juice, with its abundance of minerals, vitamins and enzymes, quickly helps the body detoxify while it improves digestion and circulation. You’ll also learn how juice fasting, colon cleansing, exercise and massage help with healthy elimination, and how to combine foods to optimize the way your body digests and absorbs nutrition.

    In addition to teaching healthy new ways to care for your body, the first week of the OHI lifestyle program also offers classes to inspire and motivate you to make positive choices for your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

    You’ll learn how to manage stress, control pain, process your emotions and use forgiveness to heal old hurts. Find out how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and how a regular gratitude practice can raise your self-esteem and literally transform your life. Give – and receive — validation to facilitate deep inner healing, and learn an ancient vocal exercise to create harmony from inside out to reach a meditative state. You’ll also learn the tools you’ll need to take the program home with you.

    To track your progress and encourage you to journal your thoughts, you’ll receive an OHI Planner designed by the Franklin Covey Company.

    Experience for yourself why thousands call OHI’s healing lifestyle program “transformational.” At Optimum Health Institute (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.

  • Claiming Your Healing Transformation

    From its inception in 1976, the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) holistic healing program was designed to empower guests to take control of their own lives by giving them the tools they required to achieve a healthy balance in body, mind and spirit .

    Day by day and week by week, people learn to flow with the healing rhythm of detoxifying the body, quieting the mind and renewing and rejuvenating the spirit.

    In a safe space of encouragement and respect, OHI’s caring team supports guests by first inspiring and motivating them to make healthier choices in their life. For many, it’s their first experience eating a completely raw, live, organic vegan diet, or coming together with like-minded others in spiritual fellowship.

    People learn exactly how stress, anger, a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet take a toll on their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. They also learn how to substitute healthier, beneficial choices that lead to permanent positive change.

    Through in-depth classes and group exercises, guests are encouraged to explore healthy new ways of eating, moving, thinking and being. Quiet time to meditate, reflect and integrate all the positive and life-changing information is scheduled into each day.

    Healthy transformation takes place over a period of 21 days, with the option of doing the entire program at once, or choosing to do a week at a time as the guests’ schedules allow.

    The first week, the focus is on the holistic body, mind and spirit connection. To truly be healthy, all three components of a person must be in balance. For instance, a body revved up on sugar makes it difficult for the mind to focus clearly. Detoxifying the body includes a three-day juice fast.

    During the second week, guests receive the tools they require to help make healthier choices in all aspects of their lives. Learning how to create nutrient-packed sprouts and fermented foods; planning healthy menus, and experiencing the rejuvenating impact of conscious breathing all help guests make smarter and healthier lifestyle choices.

    For the final week at OHI, guests learn how to continue to follow the program when they return home. Everything from the best knives for chopping vegetables to the most effective appliances for juicing and blending to how to get the entire family on board are shared during the third week.

    Tying together all three weeks are the core classes and activities, like circle time before all meals, daily wheatgrass juicing, gentle exercise to start the day and a release ceremony, where guests can burn a list of anything from the past that no longer serves them. A closing class provides guests with a helpful review of information and tips for achieving and maintaining optimum health. Friday morning testimonials are an opportunity to share inspirational stories of healing. Then, it’s a celebration of fellowship and laughter for Friday Night Live, when guests and members of the enthusiastic OHI team entertain with songs, a skit, or other talents. Saturday evening is movie night, where friends old and new gather to enjoy an inspirational film.

    Experience for yourself why thousands call OHI’s healing lifestyle program “transformational.” At Optimum Health Institute (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.

  • Taming Your Shadow Self

    A friend calls with some big news. Her husband surprised her with a week-long cruise for their anniversary, and her son was just accepted at that Ivy League university, with a full scholarship . While you’re genuinely happy for her, you feel guilty that you’re also a bit…jealous. Does that make you a terrible person?

    Not at all. It just makes you human.

    According to Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung, everyone has a “shadow side” which we usually relegate to our subconscious. All emotions we label “negative” are embodied in this shadow – fear, anger, jealousy, guilt, judgment, anxiety, regret – anything that doesn’t radiate from a place of love.

    But far from being something we need to suppress and pretend it just doesn’t exist, our shadow can actually help us think, say and do some positive and creative things.

    That jealousy and guilt that welled up when you heard about all your friend’s fantastic luck – what was the thought you had the moment before you felt the full impact of that emotion? Was it, “Why doesn’t my spouse make a big deal about OUR anniversaries?” Or maybe, “ALL the good stuff happens to her and never to me!”

    Before you have a feeling, you first have a thought. Any time a disempowering thought slinks up from your shadow side – and it WILL on occasion – be ready to replace it with a positive and powerful one. For instance, “I’ll suggest we do something special on OUR anniversary” effectively balances both the envy and guilt, and can spark feelings of excitement and anticipation. You just switched into a creative mode where you’re envisioning where you’d like to go on your next big anniversary. You’re happy for your friend, but more excited about how your own celebration will enrich your life, and your relationship. And you might never have even considered this adventure without that brief encounter with your shadow side.

    Any time you’re able to mindfully monitor your emotions, and consciously replace thoughts that trigger fear-based feelings with proactive ones, you have made huge strides on your spiritual path. Celebrate this new awareness with some nurturing and fun spiritual rituals. Light a candle to represent your new enlightened awareness. Bring a bit of beauty into your home with flowers, a pretty stone or crystal, or a piece of art. Take a “gratitude walk” outside, and breathe in the beauty and balance of nature.

    Celebrate yourself with a visit to an Optimum Health Institute mission in San Diego or Austin, Texas to nourish and balance your body, mind and spirit. 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.

  • Paul Padilla’s OHI Transformation

    When I was diagnosed with diabetes and my rare nonalcoholic liver disease rapidly progressed to cirrhosis of the liver, I knew it was time to visit Optimum Health Institute (OHI).

    My doctor said a raw food diet wouldn’t be harmful, and my biggest challenge was eating all the greens I was served. I was never a vegetable lover, preferring fried foods and animal products. That first week I also went cold turkey off of sugar.

    Although I felt a slight drop in energy the first few days, I didn’t have any headaches or flu-like symptoms. I loved learning what foods to combine in a meal, and how to give my liver the best opportunity to heal naturally.

    When I got home from OHI I realized with my demanding job I couldn’t manage a 100% raw diet. I started eating salads on the road, and preparing juice at home two or three days a week. With my wife’s constant encouragement, I was able to stick with the new diet and incorporate more exercise into my day – cardio, a stationary bike, calisthenics.

    The next few months I stuck closely to the OHI plan and continued exercising faithfully. I became 60% raw organic, even with all my traveling.

    My doctor was astonished and thrilled with my transformation. I was able to completely transform my body, mind and spirit with just that single week at OHI!

  • OHI Scholarship Story: Food is Medicine

    When Melanie Ashbaugh arrived at Optimum Health Institute San Diego, she’d already had surgery for Stage 2 breast cancer. She was quite discouraged about the post-surgical treatment her doctors were planning, which included chemotherapy. I remember she was very reserved, but enthusiastically embraced the idea that our detoxifying meals, gentle exercise, classes and spiritual fellowship could help her recuperate and get ready to face the next chapter of her health opportunity.

    It was evident to everyone how hard she was working to stick with the program. With the constant support and new tools she was learning, Melanie began to blossom into a happier, more outgoing person. She was eager to soak in every bit of information so she could continue what she learned when she returned home.

    From growing sprouts, to juicing, to soaking seeds, dehydrating foods and food combining, she took notes, practiced, and processed everything. She was obviously passionately motivated, which made her the ideal OHI Scholarship recipient.

    When we informed her she had been selected to receive the gift of the last two weeks of the three-week program, Melanie was so overwhelmed and grateful. We had the privilege of watching her transform into a lighter, brighter young lady who was able to reconnect with herself again on all levels; physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually.

    After she returned home, Melanie reported back to us that her post-OHI visit MRI was clear. She described her time at OHI as “…an amazing education along with deep clearing.” She also shared that she is looking into online nutrition classes because of what she learned during her stay with us. “Food IS medicine,” she told us, and she wants to be able to offer nutritional information to her massage and esthetician clients.

    I am so grateful OHI could help Melanie with her healing process. By experiencing the entire 21-day healthy lifestyle program, she could personally see the power detoxifying foods have to bring body, mind, emotions and spirit into healthy balance.

    The fact that she’s planning to share this critical nutritional information with her clients furthers OHI’s mission of being “a change agent for human-kind by improving the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of everyone we touch.”

    Melanie is a warrior and true hero, and we feel blessed and thrilled with her dedication and commitment to make a positive difference not only in her own life, but the lives of many others. She’s exactly why the OHI Scholarship Program is so important.

    Larry Taylor
    Executive Director Optimum Health Institute San Diego

  • OHI for life ® Skin Care System

    The OHI for Life® organic products for the face, body and hair are developed exclusively for our guests at the Optimum Health Institute. Our belief in promoting health and healing from the inside out continues to be the inspiration for the creation of the naturally pure OHI for life® products.

    The OHI for life® Skincare System along with the newest members of the OHI family of organic formula products, Gentle Cleansing Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner , are sulfate-free formulas made with certified organic ingredients that are grown without pesticides, herbicides or insecticides. The OHI for life® products carry the OHI Seal of Approval and are prepared without the use of harmful chemicals, mineral oils, perfumes, sodium lauryl or sodium lauryl sulfate and are not tested on animals.

    100% of net proceeds after direct and indirect expenses benefit OHI’s Scholarship Fund

    Special Holiday Offer

    SAVE $8.00 on the Combo Hair Care System (Gentle Cleansing Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner), Reg. Price $39.98 – Holiday Price $31.99

    SAVE $20.00 on the Basic Skin Care System (Cleanser, Toner, Day Crème , Evening Crème), Reg. Price $100.00 – Holiday Price $79.99*

    SAVE up to $52.00 when you add the full-size Intensive Antioxidant Masque or Gel Body Wash to your order, you’ll save up to an additional $24.00*, for a total savings up to $52.00

    Plus receive a FREE mini-size Intensive Antioxidant Masque ($7.50 value)! That’s a total SAVINGS UP to $59.50…Shipping is included .

    Good through December 31, 2015
    No Questions Asked Return Policy

    (888) 643-7867

    *Call for details on our convenient home delivery Auto Ship Program to lock in these savings.
    Current Auto Ship customers will also receive the FREE mini-size Antioxidant Masque

  • Integration: The Path to Becoming Whole

    There are many practices that can cultivate our skillfulness in becoming whole and many pathways that support our practices. One pathway that I truly believe in is the OHI Program because it gives each person the basic knowledge and tools to integrate the body, mind and spirit; and by doing such, we achieve optimum health, which results in transformation into whole beings.

    Another pathway where I’ve seen folks have great success is with the OHI Missionary Program, which presents a deeper, more intensive journey because it provides the opportunity for OHI Program Graduates to work and serve together while living in community. OHI Missionaries are challenged with maintaining the balance between providing service to others while maintaining focus on his or her own healing. When these two goals come into conflict and resistance rears its head, this is when we need to pay attention because this is where the work is. The resistance is here to teach us something that we’ve not yet acknowledged or learned to accept, appreciate or integrate. Integrating does not mean that we blindly accept, rather it means that we take the time to examine our situation, apply discernment and hold ourselves accountable – as we unfold, grow and blossom into fuller beings.

    As we are restored to wholeness, we become integrated on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We are also more accepting of others and ourselves. We are better able to be with pleasant and unpleasant situations, which results in us being more responsive and less reactive. We hold life in high positive regard, which means we take less for granted and are more appreciative. We better accept where we are in life and we might even go so far as to welcome life’s “opportunities for growth” – which are often paired with struggle and resistance but also come with a deep inner-knowing that this too shall pass and once it does, we will have stronger faith, will and character. Restoring to wholeness prompts us to put aside our self-centeredness and live a more conscious life that is in harmony with ourselves, one another, Nature and our Creator. When we feel more at one with all in Creation, we feel calmer, clearer, more balanced and trusting. Our hearts are more open, and we feel more deeply connected – more complete. And by golly, who wouldn’t want that?

    While overseeing the Missionary Program, I’ve witnessed oppositional roommates become best friends; shy folks find their voice and some not-so-shy folks become content with peace and quiet; people who were more self-centered become more selfless; and people who were more outwardly focused become more inwardly focused.

    If I could only use two words to describe the end result of the OHI Program and OHI Missionary Program, I would say “becoming whole”. If I could only use one word, I would say, “healing”. And again I ask, “Who wouldn’t want that?”

    Tina Pallitto
    Director of Community Development
    Free Sacred Trinity Church

  • Developing Coping Skills

    Of all the people who might experience a stroke, Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, was perhaps one of the luckiest ones . A Harvard neuroscience professor at the time she was afflicted, Dr. Taylor had devoted her life to studying the brain. She was inspired to learn the mysteries of this infinitely complex organ when her older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Through her decades of focused study, she hoped to help create a cure.

    Instead, the morning her logical left brain began to shut down, she soon realized exactly what was happening, and was fascinated with the neurological process that was gradually erasing her memory, ego and sense of self.

    Nearly two decades after the event that changed not only her life, but also medical science’s understanding of how a stroke works, Dr. Taylor inspires and motivates millions with her thoughtful accounting of her experience, and her slow recovery.

    “What I love to ask people who are trying to cope with a challenge,” she told Oprah in a radio interview, “is, ‘What did you gain?’” From her own experience, she knows when people are thrust into chaos, they could just let physical and emotional stress derail them. Or, they could choose to see the unexpected obstacle as a unique opportunity to grow in body, mind, emotions and spirit.

    “Coping skills” let you reframe the undesired experience, reduce anxiety, and begin to help the brain come back into balance chemically. As you are able to change the meaning you give your experience, you’re cultivating good mental health and wellness.

    Many powerful coping skills focus on our spiritual fitness. Believing in a positive higher power is key, as is spending time in quite reflection and meditation. Deep breathing exercises can quickly help shift into a stress-free, peaceful state to heal body, mind and spirit.

    Cultivating a spiritual community is healing. Sharing your burdens with your minister, rabbi or other spiritual leader helps you defuse stress. Also, having just a few friends or family members who “get” you, and listen without judgment, goes a long way in helping you cope.

    Physical activities, particularly those that take you into nature, are also effective. A brisk walk, swimming or wading in a creek, or even sitting on a bench in the sun and reflecting on what insights you’re gaining add to a new sense of peace.

    A pet doesn’t have to be a trained therapy animal to provide unconditional love and support when you’re trying to cope. Watching funny movies and playing silly board games, Pictionary or charade with friends, all trigger the production of pheromones in the brain, bringing waves of happiness and helping you adopt a new perspective on what was a challenging situation.

    Put a new emphasis on eating healthy foods that detoxify your body. A well-nourished and exercised body is the foundation of a quiet mind and joyful spirit.

    Whether you’re trying to cope with a serious challenge, or you just desire a healthy tune-up, an excellent first step is to take optimum care of your body, mind and spirit. At Optimum Health Institute (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.


    Integrating the Elements for Transformation Into Your Life

    “We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.” — Desmond Tutu

    The process required for transformation has specific steps, each guiding you closer and closer to fulfilling your potential as a spiritual being in the human condition. However, just as a process has steps, steps have building blocks or elements that either prepare us for change or allow us to change. In this article I will use change and transformation interchangeably.

    When our founders established the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) nearly 40 years ago, they had a vision for those in need of healing achieving optimum health in body, mind and spirit through a program developed in complete alignment with the steps necessary for transformation. The basic elements were built around the two greatest commandments; of loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. However, unless you love yourself it’s difficult to love others in a healthy way. So recognizing and accepting the goodness of self and others, the healthy loving of one’s self and having compassion for yourself are prerequisites to loving others in a healthy way. But how do we master these basic elements when life has hurt us? Well we have to be inspired and, sadly, this usually occurs only when it hurts too much not to change our destructive behaviors, habits and patterns.

    During our editorial planning and discussion for the 2015 OHI newsletter, we realized that the transformational process of OHI could not be addressed in one newsletter. Consequently, we started our discussion of one’s journey towards transforming and achieving optimum health with the concept of “the waterfall of healing” starting with inspiration cascading into a pool of encouragement and exploration and then meandering into a smooth reflecting pool. Each issue delved deeper into each step of the healing journey to make us more self-aware but without the final step of integration, healing is illusive.

    In our first issue for 2015, you were inspired to shift from how things are to a healthier, more balanced version of yourself. Then, during the second issue, you were encouraged to explore yourself — values, goals and beliefs — knowing that self-awareness helps you uncover strengths and purpose you might not have known you had. Our third issue covered the next step in transformation – reflection – where you were invited to be an objective observer of your life without judgement of self.

    Just as OHI’s healing program follows these steps to transformation, our quarterly newsletters for 2015 have followed a similar rhythm to reinforce and support your progress. You can access past newsletter issues on our website at www.optimumhealth.org .

    Our Winter issue focuses on the final step and is a call to action for integration, meaning the process of combining all of the positive things you’ve learned on your journey to becoming whole and achieving optimum health.

    “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by renewing your mind.” — Romans 12:2

    With these words, Saint Paul knew all too well from his own transformation that everything begins with a thought which leads to words and then to action. At the time of Paul, people knew what they could experience with their five senses and what was historical. For the most part, knowledge was acquired through experience and was passed down through an oral tradition, as most people could not read or write.

    The concept of inner peace was foreign to the common person as peace meant freedom from strife and discord from a very legalistic societal standpoint versus looking inward. Paul’s teaching of “renewing the mind” and setting aside the patterns of the world was really about changing the stories we tell ourselves about the world, other people and our worth.

    For this reason, integration starts with changing our thoughts . In conditioning our mind to build new habits there is a verbal model for change and a visual model. The ancients would think it, say it, hear it and do it. Today, with high levels of literacy we are also able to follow a visual model of think it, write it, see it, do it. Both are important to building the basic elements of goodness, love and compassion into your transformation process.

    The first step is to think about, verbalize and write positive affirmations about yourself and the outcomes you want to achieve. Do this in your daily journal and then make a daily plan. Saint Benedict called this a Rule of Life. The second step is to think of, say out loud and read your affirmations every day. The third step is to identify one small action and complete it each day for 21 days. Don’t worry about which action to do first or how big the task, for any action that creates change is fine. As you go through the first day, continue to read and verbally affirm yourself and stay focused on the task. At the end of the day write about what you did, how you felt and what you learned. Begin the next day by reading what you wrote on the previous day and continue the process through day 21. At the end of 21 days, you will have created a new habit and behavior, integrated into your life and transformed a small part of you. Just think if you did this throughout the year. Whew, that’s 17 new behaviors and habits in one year! I am both inspired and exhausted just thinking about it. So be mindful and stay encouraged and reflective while remembering the integrated whole of self is greater than the sum of the parts. Each small change results in a life larger and fuller than the change.

    In closing, our desire for the basic transforming elements of goodness, love and compassion are never more apparent than during the holiday season. I invite you to experience the holiday season with us at OHI and be involved in a noble cause of helping ourselves and the world transform.

    May the promise, joy and holy grace of the holiday season be yours today, and every day.

    Warmest regards,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.


    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • Finding Your Authentic Self

    Stop for a moment, and take a deep breath. Think back to what you wanted to do when you were a child. What ignited your dreams, made you feel happy, and was definitely what you wanted to be when you grew up?

    Now think of how you feel when your alarm clock goes off Monday morning, and it’s time to get ready for work. Is your first thought, “Good morning, God,” or, “Good God! Morning!” If it’s the second response, you’re probably in a job that’s an infinity removed from those very sincere childhood dreams.

    Too frequently, in our quest for financial stability, or to make parents, a spouse or someone else happy, we find ourselves stuck in a job that just doesn’t really “fit.” Sure, we can do it. And it pays the bills. But are we excited about jumping out of that warm bed early Monday morning and diving into another work week?

    If you’re definitely feeling more that you “have” to go to work rather than you “want” to, it’s time to check back in with your authentic self. It’s a term that’s been bandied about in the media a lot lately, and it refers to your inner core. It’s that aspect of you that blends together your dreams, talents, values, joys and wisdom, and you tapped into it with ease when you were young.

    But that’s just not realistic at this point in my life, you might say. It’s not important for me to love my job. Think again. Psychological studies show that people who try to muzzle their authentic self will never be truly happy, even if they’re earning a lot of money and recognition. The stress will sooner or later take a big toll on your body, mind and spirit.

    So how do you get in touch with your authentic self? It requires a willingness to be fiercely honest and introspective. Prayer, meditation and journaling are disciplines that will help you look deep into your soul. Jot down your dreams first thing in the morning, and look for repeating patterns. Think about those things that sparked your childhood enthusiasm.

    You might discover there’s a way to rekindle some of those old goals through new hobbies. You wanted to be a rock star? It’s never too late to take voice and guitar lessons. You dreamed of being an astronaut? Look into getting a pilot’s license. Maybe you fancied yourself a famous chef? Take a few cooking classes, and see where it goes.

    You’ll know you’re back in touch with your authentic self when you’re doing something meaningful, and every cell of your body is engaged and thrilled to be doing exactly that, exactly then. Your heart is filled to overflowing with joy and peace, and you know, without a doubt, this is why you were put on Earth.

    Find joy and peace during a stay at Optimum Health Institute (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.