• Can a Healthy Lifestyle Be Contagious?

    It’s not unusual for an extended stay at an Optimum Health Institute mission in San Diego or Austin, Texas to have a positive, powerful, life-changing impact on a guest. What IS a bit unusual is for it to have a transformational influence on someone who never set foot on the grounds.

    Doug Fulwider’s wife was a staunch advocate of OHI’s healthy lifestyle program for decades, and had even studied with Ann Wigmore, the founder of Hippocrates. She insisted on following the plant-based, live, raw organic food plan to such an enthusiastic extent that Doug playfully named their home, “OHI West.”

    When his wife tragically succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a two-year battle, Doug was heartbroken. Even in his deep grief, he knew that emotionally ‘giving up’ and reverting to old, unhealthy eating habits was not an option. He decided to honor his wife’s legacy, and maintain his own health, by signing up for an OHI stay. By his second week there, he knew he wanted to apply to be a missionary. The support from the OHI staff and other guests, the healthy plant-based meals and the beautiful surroundings were the perfect prescription to heal his hurting heart.

    He applied and was thrilled to be accepted into the missionary program. First, though, he had to find someone to housesit for three months. The son of an acquaintance was at a crossroads in his life, and Mikey expressed his desire to live at Doug’s while he pondered his future direction. Doug had just one rule for the young man – there could be NO meat in the house.

    While Doug continued his deep healing during his months as an OHI missionary, Mikey threw himself into completely changing his diet, inspired by Doug’s no-meat rule, and the delicious vegan OHI recipes Doug left with him.

    What began as a “house rule” quickly blossomed into a brand new, healthier and happier life path. Mikey learned how to ferment foods, grow sprouts and make seed cheese. He prepared delicious plant-based meals for his mother and uncle, both of whom were soon able to get off nearly all medication as their health radically improved.

    Mikey even took a raw-foods course, and is studying to become a vegan chef. He’s developed quite a social media following, too, posting photos of his beautiful and delicious creations online. While Doug was healing his heart at OHI, Mikey was healing his life – and preparing for a fantastic new future – using the transformational tools OHI provides.

    Bring body, mind, emotions and spirit into a healthy balance this fall with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Mention the code “October” to find out about special money-saving offers.

  • Transforming Emotions, Part 2

    Last week we shared some tips on how to transform emotions, like anger and anxiety, to achieve and maintain a positive balance in body, mind, emotions and spirit. Today we’ll continue our look at the remaining core emotions: Trust, Grief, Fear and Love.


    The emotion of ‘trust’ can be a tricky one. It implies a vulnerability – we have expectations about a person or situation, and we’re required to have a ‘leap of faith’ that those expectations will be met. A good rule of thumb is, compassion is always appropriate, but trust is earned. In those instances where trust is required, rely on your instincts, and also seek some information about the trustee’s attributes, like reputation and past experiences. It will help transform ‘trust’ into ‘confidence.’


    Any time we experience a loss of any kind, there is a certain element of grieving involved. Losing a loved one, relationship, job, health, reputation, friends, youth, even moving into a new home – all will generate some degree of grief. The biggest mistake we can make is trying to ignore or deny this emotion. Until we acknowledge our grief, we will remain mired in it. It’s important to be realistic, and admit things in our life have changed with this loss. The next step is to look at how this loss has transformed us. What have we learned? What memories can we cherish? What meaningful things can we do, moving forward, that will not only help us heal, but will benefit others? We can consciously choose to redirect our grief, and our sense of loss, into an opportunity for positive growth.


    Fear and Anxiety are closely linked – they both arise when we’re facing a real or perceived threatening unknown. It’s part of our instinctual survival mechanism, when that twig snapping in the dark might have indicated a saber-tooth, ready to pounce. A ‘fight or flight’ fear response empowers us to take immediate action to remove ourselves, or others, from harm’s way. Pushing a child out of the path of a car, for instance, or freezing when a venomous snake slithers across a mountain trail.

    While the emotion of fear can sometimes protect us from taking unwise risks, taken to the extreme it can also paralyze our ability to try anything new. Reliving fear, as in post-traumatic stress disorder, can keep us stuck in an old pattern.

    To transform fear, first take a deep breath to help bring mental clarity. That will also empower you to assess the situation realistically. Is there a clear and present danger? If so, take the necessary steps to alleviate it. If there is not, a simple affirmation like, “I release all fear to the light,” can help bring you back into a positive emotional balance.


    Love is the essence of emotion, or ‘energy in motion.” It is that transcendent state where we feel a heart-centered connection; to God, another person, our children, our community, the Cosmos, all of creation. It can be a gentle contentment, a deep respect and regard, or a smoldering passion. At its core, Love is life’s greatest blessing, available to us all if we choose to open our hearts and minds.

    Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself first with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. It is time to get inspired and take this opportunity to become a better you! Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Transforming Emotions – Part 1

    Candace Pert, PhD, the late neuroimmunologist and spiritual author, speaker and visionary, described our emotions as the thing linking our physical bodies to our spiritual selves. Cultivating positive emotions is essential for achieving, and maintaining, optimum health in body, mind and spirit.

    The trick to cultivating those positive emotions, though, is to resist ignoring or suppressing less than happy feelings when they arise, as they inevitably will. Instead, learning the tools to realistically register, honor and then shift our emotions, as needed, is a powerful life skill that can change virtually everything for the better.

    Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking closely at eight core emotions, and how they impact us.


    The emotion of Joy is closely linked to optimism, serenity and ecstasy. It’s the sense of wonder, satisfaction and a peaceful excitement that you are part of something greater and magnificent. For many people, joy is experienced when they see or hear something of incomparable beauty, or feel a deeply personal connection to God.


    The body has many ways to alert the brain to feelings of anger – muscle tenseness, shortness of breath, feeling flushed and an uncomfortable sensation in the stomach are just a few. Anger is usually an immediate response to a perceived wrongdoing. It can range from mild annoyance to exasperation to a hostile rage. In the short term, pure anger can sometimes be beneficial. Dr. Pert talks about a patient who made only healthy choices, but still received a cancer diagnosis. The woman became furious, and the cancer immediately went into remission. It was as if the unhealthy cells were burned away by the emotional surge.

    A quick burst of anger is one thing, but a sustained slow-boil can have serious consequences for heart health. A positive way to process that emotion is to take a deep breath, remember what the thought was the moment before you physically felt anger, and change that thought. You can’t have an angry feeling without first having an angry thought.


    Anxiety is that unbalanced emotion arising from fear of the unknown. Instead of staying suspended in that state of constant worry about what might go wrong, shift your thoughts to mentally listing all the things that could go RIGHT. The quickest way to come into balance from an anxious state is to take three deep, mindful breaths. That simple exercise will immediately propel you up into an Alpha state, where clarity and peace are yours.


    Whether it’s a happy surprise – office birthday party! – or an unpleasant one, the feeling of surprise means you are not in control of an immediate situation you have not anticipated. Take those deep breaths again to enter into Alpha, and be in the present moment. If it’s a positive surprise, enjoy! If it’s not, going right into a more aware, ‘plugged in’ Alpha state will empower you to quickly assess the situation. Are you in danger? If so, take the appropriate steps to remove yourself from harm’s way. Are you upset? First find something in the situation for which you can authentically be grateful. Even if it’s, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” that will immediately shift you into a more calm, collected and positive state of mind.

    We’ll continue our roundup of effective ways to transform emotions in our next blog.

    Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Help OHI celebrate 40+ years of holistic healing with special Anniversary offers. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org for additional information about our program.

  • Come Join OHI in Celebrating 40 Years of Holistic Healing

    You and OHI – we have a history together.

    You were the inspiration for a bold, innovative new way to learn how to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life. You were exactly who the founders of OHI had in mind 40 years ago when they opened their doors, and added a whole new dimension to healing.

    Now, we’re inviting you back to where it all began in September of 1976 to let us celebrate YOU, and help us mark 40 years of bringing people into wholeness.

    For our entire anniversary month in San Diego and Austin, from the week beginning 9/3/17 through the week beginning 9/24/17, every day is a celebration. Sunday you’ll receive a commemorative 40th Anniversary gift while you’re enjoying live music.

    Monday through Friday, in addition to our usual prayer circles, classes and spiritual fellowship, we’ll have daily raffle drawings with prizes, including a FREE week-long stay.

    In San Diego our Thursday evenings are reserved for a special live musical performance, MUSIC HEALS: A Medley of Songs That Touch the Heart and Soul. The concert was exclusively arranged for OHI by Grammy-Award Winner Jerry Peters.

    In addition to the decorations, live entertainment, delicious foods and fun, we’re serving up special September Homecoming savings – just for you.

    Come back for the big 40 th anniversary, and find out what’s new while reconnecting with the core program that gave you the basic tools to achieve and maintain optimum health. Be a part of something special as we celebrate 40 years of happiness, 40 years of making health goals a reality, 40 years of caring support, 40 years of trust and 40 years of you – our incredible OHI community.

    Reconnect with old friends, and make some new ones during our 40 th anniversary month in September. Call us at (800) 993-4325 and mention code “Homecoming” to receive an anniversary savings when you make your reservation. Make sure to drop by our website at www.optimumhealth.org .