Why Raw Works

For those of you who have shared a week, or two, or three with us at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) missions in San Diego or Austin, Texas, you already know how great you can feel eating raw foods.

Providing you with a detoxifying diet of raw, organic, live fresh vegan meals has been a priority of OHI since day one. In the 40 years since, it’s not just the OHI community that realizes the benefits of eating raw – the growing popularity of the practice has raw foods restaurants, meet-ups, classes, TV shows, recipe books and discussion groups sprouting up everywhere.

Even many of the nation’s fast food joints are now offering vegetarian menu items, and most big box stores have added a fresh organic produce section.

People are experiencing for themselves how plant-based diets can help create and maintain healthy body weight, blood sugar and blood pressure. Shifting to a primarily raw vegan lifestyle means cutting out processed foods, so trans fats are immediately eliminated.

It’s the nutrient-dense raw foods that take center stage, filling you up and keeping your digestive tract humming with the rich fiber content of the vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds that fill your plate.

Perhaps you had your first taste of a fresh green smoothie at an OHI breakfast. More and more people are discovering the benefits of condensing their daily 4-6 servings of raw vegetables into a morning smoothie. It’s a delicious and quick way to get a concentrated boost of nutrients that can help power you through the day. Aim for a 70-30 mix of leafy greens to fruits to help regulate any sugar spikes.

While raw foods are working miracles inside your body, they’re also doing you big favors on the outside, too. Both kale and spinach are phytonutrient superstars that help keep skin firm by protecting it from the sun’s damaging rays. Spinach also improves skin elasticity with its beta-carotene and lutein-rich nutrients.

Raw berries aren’t just delicious – they pack a powerful antioxidant punch that helps knock out toxins before they can cause breakouts. The vitamin C in citrus helps create soft, velvety skin, and almond milk pours on the copper and manganese, which boost collagen production and also help protect the skin from the sun.

Experience the energy boost and detoxifying benefits of an all organic, live, raw vegan lifestyle during your visit to the OHI missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey to optimum health and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325.

Eating Your Way Healthy

When a middle-aged woman in the Midwest faced new challenges at her job, she attempted to soothe her frazzled nerves with heavily processed, high fat “comfort foods.” Predictably, instead of helping her, the unhealthy meal and snack choices soon began to take a toll on her body, mind and spirit. The pounds started to sneak on, her energy level plummeted, and she was dragged into the no-win spiral of eating junk food to feel better, and then beating herself up emotionally because she just ate junk food.

It wasn’t until she started getting seriously worried about her physical sluggishness, mental fogginess and spiritual confusion that she realized she had to make some drastic changes – immediately. She knew a doctor would be happy to simply prescribe antidepressants, but she didn’t want to go that route.

Putting her background as a newspaper journalist to work, she started researching the nutritional content of the foods she’d been consuming, and the ones she was neglecting. She learned that she could change her brain chemistry, and increase the production of “feel good” serotonin, simply by eating healthier.

She immediately ditched red meat and processed foods, and substituted fresh, raw, organic vegetables and fruits. Instead of cream-and-sugar-filled coffees, she switched to plain herbal teas, and lots of pure water. She learned mood-boosting omega-3s are in many foods, including walnuts and avocadoes, and started snacking on them instead of cookies and candy.

Within a few weeks, she was shedding the extra weight, her mental clarity returned, and her level of optimism skyrocketed. She began to feel she could tackle any situation. She continued to use food as her medicine for an entire year before deciding to run for mayor of her Kansas city – and winning.

The concept of using your food as your medicine certainly isn’t new. Hippocrates advocated the practice a few thousand years ago. What is relatively recent is how medical science is proving its validity.

One key work advancing the concept is the Human Genome Project, that discovered our genes only create disease when they are put in an environment harmful to that individual. The study of Nutrigenomics takes that finding a step further, and looks at how certain foods can create environments for specific genes to increase, or decrease, the risk of chronic illnesses.

Apples, for instance, contain phytonutrients, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. A diet rich in whole rye, which has a low-insulin-response, reduced the risk of participants in the study developing diabetes.

Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, and consider consulting with a nutritionist for more information about ways to use wise food choices as your healthy “medicine.”

Learn more about how healthy food choices can help bring optimum health to your body, mind and sprit during your visit to the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey to optimum health and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325.

OHI Celebrates Four Decades of Healing

It was four decades ago a couple met a woman when they were all attending classes teaching God-centered mental techniques for healing body, mind and spirit. The three quickly became friends, and Raychel Solomon, Robert P. Nees Sr. and his wife Pamela soon realized they wanted to share this transformational information with the world.

Together, they created a nonprofit holistic healing center combining the mental and spiritual disciplines taught by Presbyterian minister Rev. Russell Nees, Robert Sr.’s brother, with the Essene-based dietary and cleansing practices taught at Hippocrates of Boston. Raychel went through the Hippocrates program, and she, Pam and Robert Sr. worked with Hippocrates founder to create Hippocrates West in El Cajon in 1976.

Hippocrates West taught guests the body detoxification process that is still adhered to, these 40 years later, at what is today the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) holistic healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Guests were and still are served a strict raw, live, organic vegan diet, and learned how wheatgrass juice is a healing drink, and also an important component for properly doing enemas and implants. Body detoxing and classes teaching guests about food combining, digestion, elimination, exercise, diet, and Alpha, were at the core of Hippocrates West, and the enterprise grew steadily.

While the founders were pleased with the success of the program, they wanted to anchor it more firmly to a strong spiritual base. Nearly six months after opening, they merged with an Essene-based church called Free Sacred Trinity Church, and changed their name to the Health Institute of San Diego. It received its current name in 1983.

As OHI shifted into a more spiritually-focused organization, it adopted the mission of “serving as a change agent for humankind by improving the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of everyone we touch.” It also created the Five P’s to optimum health — the five principles at the heart of OHI.

This year, as OHI marks 40 Years of Holistic Healing, the Five P’s are more relevant than ever:

Purpose to achieve a natural balance and reconnection to the Divine. Prayer and mindfully focusing your thoughts inward can help you draw closer to God, and determine your true purpose. What issues do you care about passionately? When do you feel most fulfilled? What are you naturally good at, and what do you feel you were “born to do?” Meditating on the answers can help steer you towards your divine life purpose.

Positive Mental Attitude that supports the healing process. As Job lamented in Job 3:25, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” People who expect the worst will usually find it; those who maintain an optimistic, positive and faith-based state of mind will likewise usually experience a desirable outcome. As the mind stays in a healthy, balanced and happy state, the body and spirit naturally follow.

Persistence in following the holistic disciplines of the OHI holistic healing program. The natural tendency is to give up when things don’t come easily. By shifting into a positive state of mind, we develop persistence to give us the strength to keep going when it gets tough. Just as it takes some time to develop unhealthy habits, it takes some time to substitute healthier new habits, too.

Patience with your body and yourself as you allow your body, mind, and spirit to heal. The quickest route to switching into a more patient mode is to shift into conscious breathing. That boost of oxygen not only delivers more mental alertness – it signals us to slow down, to reassess, to take a step back. From this more mindful state, we can consciously choose to be patient and gentler with our self as we continue to persevere in pursuit of optimum health.

Prayer to a higher source who will share the load with you. Prayer is talking with God. Through regular prayer we define and nourish our relationship to Him, and focus our feelings and intent by putting them into words. This mindful and verbal connection to the Divine Source gives us a clarity and feeling of connection that no other discipline can.

Come celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Learn more about incorporating the five P’s into your life to bring your body, mind and spirit into optimal balance and health. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325.

Breaking Bad Habits – For Goodness Sake!

Moving from a small town to the bustling international city of Miami was exciting and demanding for the young television producer . Each day was another epic assignment. She could go from doing a breaking news story on a major drug bust to producing an emotional documentary on saving foster youngsters from abuse.

While she excelled in her job, she rarely took time from her non-stop schedule to nurture herself. She got into the habit of grazing on fat and sugar-packed junk food from the vending machines or nearby food trucks, and camping in the dark control room while she raced deadlines to produce story after story. Poor nutrition, constant stress and sitting for hours at a time became the new “normal” for her, and the pounds slowly started to creep up. It wasn’t until she started to also develop some health opportunities that she took a step back, and realized the bad habits she unconsciously adopted were taking a serious toll on her body, mind and spirit.

That’s the tricky thing about non-beneficial behaviors – we might be so distracted with day to day demands that it doesn’t even register when we’re making bad choices. After a few weeks, that repeated action becomes automatic, and we’ve officially adopted a bad habit. Part of it is physiology – repetitive behaviors cause the brain to actually develop little grooves, like the grooves in a record, so we tend to just keep playing that same groove over and over. We do that behavior without even thinking about it.

The good news is, just as easily and quickly as we developed that less-than-ideal pattern, we can replace it with a repeated positive behavior that can cancel out the bad one.

For the Miami producer, she started carrying a thermos of pure water with her everywhere. Any time she felt stressed, or found herself wandering in the direction of the vending machines, she would stop, take a deep breath, and drink at least a cup of water. Her purse always contained a small bag of nuts, seeds and dehydrated fruit, much healthier choices that completely satisfied her. She also started wearing a wristband that tracked her activity, and made it a point to get up and move around, even just a few steps and stretches, when the red line signaling “no activity for 15 minutes” appeared. She not only interrupted the bad habits – she consciously and mindfully substituted positive ones.

Her efforts began paying off immediately. The unwanted pounds melted away. Stress and fatigue disappeared, and her happy, upbeat personality came right back.

When you’re tackling a bad habit, the first step is to acknowledge it. Why did it crop up in the first place? Making a list of pros and cons surrounding the behavior helps bring it from the unconscious into the conscious, and prepares you to release it.

Now, think of a constructive behavior you can substitute. Realize that repeated activities, either good or bad, create those neuro pathways and become your fallback behavior. Substituting drinking water for mindless snacking works beautifully. Finding something to be grateful for when you start to feel stressed is another healing alternative. Meditation is always a positive choice, and will lead to other beneficial habits as you quiet the mind, and become receptive to bringing your body, mind and spirit into optimal balance and health.

Learn more positive behaviors that can become healthy new habits during your visit to the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey to optimum health and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325 .

Holistic Healing Retreat – Body, Mind, Spirit

Celebrating 40 Years of Holistic Healing – OHI San Diego & Austin

Call Now: (800) 993-4325

Founded in 1976 (as Hippocrates West ), the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) holistic healing program consists of three week-long sessions offering classes and activities drawn from 24 ancient spiritual disciplines that promote healing.

Participants learn to cleanse and nourish the body with diet, fasting, and exercise; quiet and focus the mind with journaling and meditation; and renew and awaken the spirit with study, prayer and celebration. In a safe and sacred environment promoting faith, love and hope, people experience God’s presence in the healing of themselves and others.

Our world-class program can be found at two distinctly different campuses, Optimum Health Institute San Diego: (619) 464-3346 , Optimum Health Institute Austin, Texas (512) 303-4817 .

Optimum Health For the Body:

The discipline of detoxification and cleansing of the body aids in quieting the mind, renewing the spirit and preparing the body to heal. The process includes gentle exercise, nourishment of raw-live foods, juice fasting, consuming wheatgrass and colon cleansing. We empower you with knowledge on how to prepare and combine appropriate foods to promote optimum health.

Optimum Health For the Mind:

As a part of the 24 ancient spiritual disciplines, quieting the mind is an important first step in integrating the whole person for healing. OHI offers classes and activities designed to guide you to reach the mental alpha brain wave state commonly known as the prayer-meditation state. From this place of higher consciousness, you can release negative thoughts and emotions. You learn how to channel the power of the mind to relax and heal the body, and the body-mind-spirit connection is constantly reinforced.

Optimum Health For the Spirit:

As the body is cleansed and the mind is quieted, the spirit is renewed—connecting with God and holistically integrating body, mind and spirit. Our community gathers in prayer circles, release ceremonies, celebrations and inspirational testimonials, where we share stories of miraculous transformation and healing on all levels.


OHI San Diego – Call: (619) 464-3346

Book your OHI San Diego healing retreat now. Call: (619) 464-3346

OHI San Diego is an oasis of serenity nestled in Lemon Grove—a nearby suburb of San Diego.

Flowers bloom year round at this Southern California retreat, which also features an organic garden and greenhouse. The chapel offers a tranquil space to meditate and read spiritual literature. Release ceremonies are held on the spacious lawn, and a hot tub and pool are available during free time. Choose from shared or private rooms, courtyard accommodations, or townhouses

Weekly Tuition: $1060
Double occupancy rooms starting at: $125
Single occupancy rooms starting at: $350


OHI Austin – Call: (512) 303-4817

Book your OHI Austin healing retreat now. Call: (512) 303-4817

Established in 1997, OHI Austin is located on 14 wooded acres in central Texas—16 miles east of Austin and 20 minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. In this rural setting, you can escape your hectic world to rejuvenate in a safe place where you can connect with nature and bask in the support of a close-knit community focused on healthy living. The campus includes the main building with 25 guest rooms and a Great Hall with a stone fi replace, a chapel, dining room, outdoor pool, hot tub and walking trails.

Weekly Tuition: $1060
Double occupancy rooms starting at: $395
Single occupancy rooms starting at: $450


Learn More about Our Holistic Healing Retreat

Entering Alpha for Body, Mind & Spirit

It’s been a demanding day. You’ve been juggling a dozen different projects, a meeting ran long, and your friends are coming over for dinner – which you have yet to prepare. Quick – what do you do?

If you’re resourceful, you’ll stop dashing around, sit down, close your eyes, inhale deeply, and take a little mental trip. Entering into an Alpha mental state is a tried and true method of turning off the frantic chatter in your brain, and entering into a restorative, relaxed state of mind. Your brain waves actually slow down to a cycle between 8-12 Hz, and can be generated in a synchronized pattern between both hemispheres.

As the brain wave activity gently decelerates, the body immediately slows or ceases production of stress-related chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, and pumps up levels of serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.

Alpha triggers creativity and problem-solving abilities, and helps balance your mood. You enter into what’s been labeled a “flow state” of consciousness, empowering you to handle a variety of things in a balanced, optimal way.

While Alpha is delivering so many positive results to your mental state, your body is also reaping benefits. As your mind achieves clarity and peace, your physical self easily releases tension and anxiety. Muscles relax, blood pressure drops, and you can actually improve your athletic abilities. Studies of professional basketball players and golfers consistently showed that entering into Alpha just before shooting a basket or making a swing kept the athletes from “overthinking” their performance, and helped them achieve their goal.

Even your physical health gets a positive boost from your Alpha time. Less stress and anxiety mean an amped-up immune system, speeding up self-healing and helping to prevent illness. It reduces inflammation, and can be a boon to heart health.

High levels of Alpha activity are common for extroverts. Meditators, too, can more easily enter into this state of mental clarity and calmness.

From a spiritual perspective, Alpha can cultivate compassion and self-awareness. It has been shown to enhance empathic abilities by boosting areas of the brain that help us tune in to others’ emotions.

While spending time in Alpha offers so many benefits to your body, mind and spirit, still another bonus is one you’ll appreciate at night – it can help treat insomnia, and lead to a deep, restorative night’s sleep.

Learn how to tap into the Alpha state, detoxify your body, clear your mind and rejuvenate your spirit during your visit to the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey to optimum health and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325 .