• Missionary Spotlight: Get to Know OHI Missionary, Dr. Olga Zabora

    Dr. Olga Zabora’s life moved toward a vegan lifestyle after she first came to OHI.  “My friend spoke so highly of OHI,” said Olga, “so I decided to check out their detox program.  I had gone through five different detox programs prior to finding OHI — water fasting, keto, herbal, Ayurvedic, and microcellular detox.  The OHI detox program is amazing.  I fell in love with the plant-based lifestyle, and went on to write a book to inspire others to embrace raw vegan diet.  Eating vegan can be tasty, juicy, and full of life.  I would never have predicted this journey for myself, and I love it!”

    Olga holds a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology, and is a Certified Master NLP Coach and NLP Trainer.  “My passion lies in helping women to become aware of their own resources by bringing up the best parts of themselves to guide them gently through their conscious transformation into the best and happiest versions of themselves,” said Olga.  “It is possible to change with genuine desire, commitment, and courage.  I came to OHI, and it changed me for the better!”

    When Olga first came to OHI, she had joint pain and inflammation.  “After just one week, my joint pain was gone, and I was seven pounds lighter.  I realized that I needed to learn how to prepare foods properly to bring the OHI program home with me.  I gave my kitchen a makeover, setting up a juicer, blender, dehydrator, etc.  I came back to OHI for a week to focus on learning how to sprout and ferment foods.  I have so much more energy after eating clean.  I never had to turn to coffee, which previously was a MUST for me.  I came back to OHI for a third week to expand my experience with the art of dehydrating foods.  That’s when I decided that I needed to apply to become a missionary.  The more time I spent at OHI, the more I learned.  Plus, the energy here made me feel safe, supported, and welcomed.  This campus is like the hidden gem of San Diego!”

    So what made Olga choose to participate in the OHI Missionary Program?  “The missionary program gives you the time and space to serve the community as well as yourself,” said Olga.  “As a missionary you are there to guide other guests, share your wisdom and experience, and help them on their healing journey.  It creates this beautiful interconnected family at OHI.  But serving as a missionary also gives you time to really dig into the vegan lifestyle, creating a deeper connection to yourself, your body, and your mind.  Living at OHI for three months as a missionary also allows your body to regularly experience healing modalities like energy healing sessions, massage, organic food, and anti-inflammatory food for an extended period of time.  I had such a great experience as a missionary, that the next year I applied to come back again.  In my opinion, OHI is the best place to de-stress, connect with likeminded individuals, and meet your tribe.  It’s truly a blessing to be a missionary here.”

    Many who have been a part of the OHI Missionary Program say it has forever changed them.  “The missionary program gave me the opportunity to heal deeply inside,” said Olga.  “Being part of this tribe, and witnessing other guests’ healing miracles every Friday during testimonials is so inspiring.  I hope my testimonials have inspired others, as well.  Being a missionary allowed me to connect to my true self, and in return I’ve helped others learn to accept and love themselves.  It’s a magical experience.”

    Olga really loves the fact that OHI’s classes are always being updated and expanded with new information and new recipes. “All of the classes are great, but the class that truly changed my life is Pray, Eat, Live. It inspired me to continue this lifestyle, and share my love for raw vegan healthy food with others.”

    Olga’s two placements in the OHI Missionary Program have given her the space needed for personal growth as well. “The biggest challenge that I overcame was to stop trying to control and start trusting the process of life. When you truly trust, the life flow takes you to the right place, at the right time, with the right people. In psychotherapy we say, ‘You can’t lead your client further than where you have not been yourself.’ So the further I travel in my personal growth and development, the more I’m present for my clients to help create positive changes and transformation. I think the best advice I have for others is to eat healthy, pray every day, and look deep inside through contemplative practices like meditation, prayer, and reflection. And of course, come to OHI to connect to your authentic self. Wishing everyone deep healing on your life journey!”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Scholarship Recipient Faces a Health Challenge with Positivity

    Marcella Rodriguez had always been relatively healthy, and rarely went to the doctor.  “I never got sick,” said Marcella.  “I was an actress and model, and always took care of my body through exercise and good nutrition.”

    In November 2019, Marcella found a small hemorrhoid, but ignored it.  Eventually, she started bleeding from her rectum.  In August 2021 she went in for an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and they found a 4-inch tumor on her rectum.  “It was the same anal cancer that Farrah Fawcett had,” said Marcella.  “It was the shock of my life.”

    Marcella endured four chemo treatments, and saw her white blood cell counts drop from 6.8 to 1.6.  Her doctors lowered her chemo dose by 25%, and she managed to tolerate four more chemo treatments and 30 days of radiation.  She slowly recovered over the winter, but by spring her cancer had returned.  “I met with six specialists trying to find a doctor that would give me options, not just the same toxic chemo,” said Marcella. In December 2021 she went in for more surgery, and found the cancer had spread from her rectum to her vagina.

    “My friend, Lourdes, faced Stage 4 Lymphoma,” said Marcella, “and she battled back by going to OHI.  I thought to myself, ‘How can fruits and vegetables help me fight cancer?’, but I knew I couldn’t endure more of these toxic cancer treatments.  So I reached out to them.  They reviewed my medical situation, and offered me a scholarship.  I arrived on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.”

    Marcella found the first two weeks empowering.  “My energy was great, and my mental clarity returned,” said Marcella.  “The third week of detox was hard, but I used the time for rest and reflection.  I feel like my health journey is just beginning here!”

    Marcella is so grateful to the amazing OHI staff.  “Everyone here is so loving and supportive,” said Marcella.  “Whether you want to recharge your body, mind, and spirit, or whether you’re facing an overwhelming health opportunity like me, OHI will completely change your life.  This scholarship has truly saved me.”

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 45 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible:
    • One-Time Donation, or
    • Sustainable Monthly Contribution

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your contribution.

    Thank you for your generosity!

    Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax-deductible.

  • Here’s the Skinny on Vitamin D!

    What is Vitamin D?

    Here’s something you may not know — vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat AND a hormone our bodies make.  It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus — both are critical for building bone.

    Benefits of Vitamin D

    Getting enough vitamin D is important for typical growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance to certain diseases.  Studies show vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, and reduce inflammation.  In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:

    Reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).  A 2018 review of population-based studies found that low levels of vitamin D are linked with an increased risk of MS.

    Decreasing the chance of heart disease.  Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased risk of heart diseases such as hypertension, heart failure, and stroke.

    Reducing the likelihood of severe illness.  Although studies are mixed, vitamin D may make severe flu and Covid-19 infections less likely.  A recent review found that low vitamin D levels contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

    Supporting immune health.  People who do not have adequate vitamin D levels might be at increased risk of infections and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

    Regulating mood and reduce depression.  A review of 7,534 people found that those experiencing negative emotions and who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in symptoms.  Another study identified low vitamin D levels as a risk factor for more severe fibromyalgia symptoms, anxiety, and depression.

    Supporting weight loss.  In one study, people taking daily calcium and vitamin D supplements lost more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement.  Current research is still looking at the relationship between vitamin D and weight.

    How Do You Get Vitamin D?

    Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough vitamin D.  Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight.  It is estimated that we should get more than 90% of our vitamin D through daily sun exposure.  According to the National Institutes of Health, 5-30 minutes of midday sun exposure to your unprotected face, arms, legs, or back several times per week is enough for your body to produce all the D3 it needs.  Your exposure time should depend on how sensitive your skin is to sunlight.

    A secondary way to get vitamin D is from certain foods and supplements.  Some foods contain vitamin D naturally, and others are fortified with it.  Although there are a variety of food sources for vitamin D, most include dairy, fatty fish, and some nightshades, which are problematic due to their inflammatory properties.  For those following a vegan diet, the most viable option is to get vitamin D through fortified organic nut milks.

    There are several reasons why you may be less likely to absorb enough vitamin D from the sun.  These factors can increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency:

    • Live in an area with high pollution
    • Use sunscreen
    • Spend most of your time indoors
    • Live in a big city where buildings block sunlight
    • Have darker skin (the higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D your skin can absorb)

    Diagnosing vitamin D deficiency can be done via a simple blood test.  If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you can check the strength of your bones via x-ray.  Some people worry that they’ll get too much vitamin D.  That is unlikely to happen through diet or sun exposure because your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced through sun exposure.

    OHI advocates for getting vitamins in natural ways via food and nature.  However, as we age, absorption is more challenging, so we don’t want to discount the benefits of high-quality supplements.  The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 15mcg (600 IU) for adults 18-70, and 20mcg (800 IU) for adults 70+.

    So get out in the sunshine

    At OHI, our entire program – including our classes, diet, and community fellowship – supports all dimensions of wellness. Remember, wellness is a life-long pursuit.  Strive for balance, control what you can (diet, exercise, stress), and surround yourself with supportive care for the rest of it.  May the changes you make to your wellness habits change your life for the better! Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Guest Spotlight: Meet Liz Reale, an OHI guest for almost 35 years!

    While OHI welcomes guests of all ages, we rarely are lucky enough to host teenagers.  It takes a great deal of maturity to work through a detox at such a young age, but those that are truly engaged in the process experience a health transformation very few teens ever undergo.  Liz Reale was one of those lucky teens.

    “I first heard about OHI 33 years ago when a friend from school invited me to go with her for a week to the San Diego campus,” said Liz.  “As a teenager, the cleanse I experienced was amazing.  I had never felt so good!  I always told myself I would go back to OHI as an adult.”

    Fast-forward 27 years, native California girl Liz was residing in Orange County, California.  A retired hairstylist and now a busy stay-at-home mom, Liz found herself facing a health opportunity from living in a house that had toxic mold.  “I had skin issues, joint pain in my back and knees, memory loss, and brain fog,” said Liz.  “I also had chronic fatigue.  I was at the end of my rope, and knew I needed some serious help.  Out of desperation, I booked a 4-week stay at OHI.  I walked in not sure what to expect of my body, and over the course of that month, all of my symptoms disappeared.  I can’t tell you what a relief it was to feel like myself again.  Truthfully, I felt better than my old self.  I learned how to eat clean, and why.  I learned how to quiet my mind, and just be.  The mental stress I had been experiencing from my every day life just melted away.”

    Liz continues her healing health journey by visiting OHI twice a year for two weeks each stay.  “Whenever I need to get away, I head to OHI.  It’s truly a magical place.  All of the classes are great, and I hear something different each time I take them.  The Emotional Detox classes are my favorite.  I always have some emotional burden I’ve been unconsciously carrying around, and as soon as I sit down in the Emotional Detox class I realize how freeing it is to let things go.  I also enjoy going to the Conscious Breath class.  It serves as a reminder to me how to quiet my mind, whether I’m at OHI or back at home.”

    Liz works diligently to continue the OHI program when she’s at home, and makes her spiritual healing a priority.  “Meditation has become an important tool for me to connect to God, to heal anything needing to be healed.  It helps me stay centered in my daily life.  I continue to walk, journal, and meditate daily to nurture my mind and body to be the best they can be, and that enhances my spiritual life.  Of course, stress can still impact me.  To counter that, I’ve become very aware of my breath when I start to feel stressed at home.  I literally stop and ask myself, ‘How am I breathing?’  It forces me to become fully present in the moment.  When I stop to clear my mind and alter my breath, I find it helps me take control of the situation, and the stress has less power over me.  Overall, when I look at how my life has completely changed since becoming part of the OHI community— a clean diet combined with mental clarity and spiritual growth — I gain excitement for life and a sort of euphoric state that is indescribable.  It makes me realize that this is how life is really supposed to be lived.”

    Liz makes the most of every visit to OHI by fully embracing the community itself as well as the program.  “I go by myself to OHI to get the full experience,” said Liz.  “I meet so many amazing people every time I visit, and continue to maintain friendships with them.  I can’t describe how much the relationships I forge there mean to me.  They are so much deeper and more meaningful than I ever thought possible.”

    As Liz reflects back on her 33-year relationship with OHI, her connection to the experience is sincere.  “When I look back on my life, I can see it all clearly now,” said Liz.  “There was a reason I didn’t feel good.  I was completely toxic, and my body was overwhelmed.  The OHI diet can jump-start the healing for anyone, no matter what health opportunity you are facing, but I personally needed support from the OHI community to truly heal and get well.  I am so grateful to each and every person who has reached out a helping hand to me along the way.  I am a happier, healthier, more complete person for all the love I have received.  Thank you OHI!”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind, and awaken the spirit. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.