• Staying Connected Safely in Our New Abnormal

    Sunny Spring greetings to our OHI community, I offer warm blessings and great optimism as we forge ahead into a constantly changing new world. As the flowers of the season begin to open, we are seeing some relief as the world begins to reopen. On the other hand, the corona virus is still a threat, and we must proceed with caution as we continue to strive for normalcy.


    You may recall from our January newsletter, how I mentioned that we are striving for normalcy or, as I like to call it, our new abnormal. We looked at two ways of protecting ourselves during our current circumstances and beyond: Situational Awareness and Self-Care. In this issue I want to expand on how we can remain safe by keeping mentally and physically healthy by examining the importance of staying spiritually and socially connected; and doing so by utilizing Safety Bubbles for two or more people.


    For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20


    I share this Biblical verse because it offers clarity for our confusing times. While isolating from other people may be good for combating Covid19; it is detrimental to our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Over the past year, many people have discovered a method for connecting with a small number of friends and family while limiting vulnerability. The concept is called Safety Bubbles or Pods.


    The Importance of Both Spiritual and Human Connection

    Some state governments, such as California, have restricted church attendance during surges of Covid19. However, we can be in safe community gatherings of two or more that allows us to stay spiritually connected.


    Human connection. We live for it; we are hardwired for it; and we are highly motivated by it. We greatly desire relationships because they make us feel important; they build our confidence; and give us a sense of belonging. But, perhaps more importantly in these times, they improve our overall health.


    I’ve written about the importance of belonging and social acceptance in a previous newsletter; both of which are matters of survival that date back to our days of living in caves. In the harsh habitat of early man, giving and receiving support from your family, clan, or tribe meant the difference between life and death. And, today we are finding that this is still true.


    Social media simulates a sense of community, but it falls short. There’s nothing like the one-on-one bonding with people that we enjoy in person. Video calls have enabled us to replicate this as much as possible, but we are still left wanting when it comes to seeing and reading body language – a vital part of communication which is hard wired into our systems from our pre-language days.


    Human Connection is Vital Because It Prevents Disease

    “Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man,” wrote Thomas Carlyle, a 19th Century essayist and historian. And, research bears this out. According to NBC news, measures meant to keep seniors safe are killing them. The confinement meant to protect the most vulnerable is threatening their lives. Joshua Uy, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine said, “The isolation is robbing them of whatever good days they have left – it accelerates the aging process. You see increased falls, decrease in strength and ability to ambulate. You see an acceleration of dementia, because there is no rhythm to your day.” The lack of external stimulation is causing serious weight loss, cognitive decline, and depression; all of which increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.


    And, this doesn’t just affect seniors. According to Science Magazine, “A lack of human connection can be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.” And, Kipling D. Williams, with Scientific American, notes that when social connection is abruptly cut off it can cause sensory distress and social pain which affects the same portion of the brain as physical pain.


    During your isolation utilize your time by maintaining current relationships and rebuilding those with whom you’ve fallen out of touch. You will create a much stronger sense of connectivity by talking on the phone than you will by sending a text or an email. Make a contact list of close friends and family to call and check in on daily or every few days. You will want to include friends from your OHI cohort as well. Next start expanding that circle by calling people you have not talked with in a while – former classmates, coworkers, and other long lost friends. So many people are alone with little to do these days that you will very likely brighten their day while uplifting your own.


    The desire for closeness, intimacy, and human touch is a fundamental need. Even if social distancing (which ought to be called physical distancing) is good for us, it simply does not feel right. Covid19 has weaponized our innate hunger for personal contact. The good news is that there is a way around this dilemma.


    “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2


    The solution to satisfying our need for human contact is to form an exclusive gathering of people called a Safety Bubble, Pod, or QuaranTeam. This is where you select a group of people, ideally numbering ten or less, that all agree so follow strict social distancing protocols with anyone outside of the group. When you create a bubble you will be able to interact with the other members without wearing a mask and social distancing.  You will be free to hug, kiss, talk, share food, and use each other’s bathrooms.


    Safety Bubbles Are About Managing Risk, Not Eliminating Risk

    Gideon Lichfield, editor in chief, of the MIT Technology Review, who has become an expert on safety bubbles stated, “What’s most important is to just be completely on the same page with the people that you’re with so that there are no surprises… it’s important because, all of us have friends, multiple friends, but you can only be in one of these bubbles at a time. It’s really not safe to be, you know, bubbling with multiple families, for instance, where you have no idea what everybody’s really doing.”


    The bubble you create should include everyone who lives in the home. You may bring in additional households as long as everyone agrees to abide by the same rules. Then everyone will be allowed to come and go freely from each other’s homes. This works because you are only exposed to one another.


    Covid19 testing allows for the elimination of the quarantine phase. If testing isn’t readily available, only introduce a new member once that person has quarantined successfully without symptoms for 14 days. When members must leave the bubble to perform essential tasks such as shopping for necessary goods that cannot be delivered, they must follow strict social distancing and hygiene. If anyone within the bubble shows symptoms, fever, cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste, they must self-isolate or leave the group immediately.


    In order to form a safe and cohesive group, you must begin with a number of extensive and somewhat intimate conversations about personal habits. What precautions are they taking? What are their views on social distancing? Do they meet with people from outside their home? Do they eat in restaurants? How often do they leave their home, and for what reasons? Periodically re-evaluate whether or not the bubble is working; there must be ongoing conversations, so that everyone remains in agreement. There can be no secrets in a safe bubble.


    The goal is to break transmission chains from the outside world; and no one in the bubble has contact with anyone from outside of it. That way no one within the bubble can become infected. The bubble is designed to increase social interaction while limiting the hazard of exposure. Think of it as a risk management system.


    Precautions Will Still be Necessary Even After Getting the Vaccine

    Safety bubbles will remain important after the vaccine because the CDC is recommending that after getting both doses you must still: wear a mask over your nose and mouth; stay at least 6 feet away from others; avoid crowds; avoid poorly ventilated spaces; and wash your hands often. They say this is necessary because of the possibility that vaccinated people may continue to spread the disease and cause reinfection of someone who has recovered from Covid19.


    OHI’s Covid19 Safety Record

    We would love to have you come and visit OHI where you can enjoy a needed break from the isolation of lockdown. We have made our campuses so safe that you can feel comfortable leaving your bubble and entering ours.


    We consider it absolutely vital to maintain full precautions especially for our guests with health opportunities. Our comprehensive safety plan includes three pillars: 1) Minimizing infectious diseases from entering the OHI campus; 2) Sterilizing the campus, guest rooms, and public areas to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission; and 3) Conducting Covid-19 testing twice weekly with our on-campus community members: guests, missionaries and staff. We have implemented mandatory testing for our guests, called TestTheTeam which has been shown to be as accurate and as sensitive as the RT-PCR – the gold standard in Covid19 testing, best of all it is easy and non-invasive.


    Additionally, we’ve been tracking our safety record since the beginning of the pandemic. Our safety record measures Covid19 virus transmissions between staff-to-staff, staff-to-guest, missionary-to-guest, and guest-to-guest. I am proud to share we have had zero on-campus transmissions at OHI Austin. We did, however, have three instances at OHI San Diego. The three instances where Covid19 was transmitted between guests was a result of guests who did not follow our mask and physical distancing protocols. I am happy to report since January, we have had zero transmissions of Covid19 on our San Diego campus.


    Other safety measures that keep our community safe: 1) We have smaller cohorts on campus of guests, staff and missionaries; 2) We installed special oxidizing Molekule air purifiers in all of our guest rooms and common areas; and 3) We use electrostatic spray disinfection systems, and only safe, non-chemical cleaners.


    Here in your OHI bubble you can resume and reaffirm your commitment to good holistic healing habits for your body, mind, and spirit. Restore your routine of cleansing and nourishing your body after months in quarantine; quieting and focusing your mind to re-stimulate creativity and mindfulness; and  renewing and awakening your spirit to rediscover your purpose. Plus, you’ll reunite with old friends and new.


    OHI is the safest place you can be outside of your own home. Make OHI your home away from home safety bubble. Call us to book your reservation today: (800) 588-0809. Or visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org.


    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed Spring season.


    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • Intermittent Fasting – The Basics

    Fasting has been a common practice for thousands of years. Fast forward to the 21st century, and there is tremendous interest in the practice of intermittent fasting (IF) and its benefits – losing weight, reducing cravings, accelerating fat loss, gaining muscle, and giving the digestive tract a rest – all resulting in being healthier overall. With a new year upon us, let’s learn more about IF…

    What is intermittent fasting? 

    Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are different methods for intermittent fasting, but the overall approach is the same – you can eat what you want, but only during a specific time period.

    Popular types of intermittent fasting programs 

    There are many variations of intermittent fasting. Here are four popular approaches to consider:

    The 16:8 Method (also known as the Leangains Protocol). You eat over an 8-hour period in the middle of the day, and fast entirely for the remaining 16 hours.

    The 5:2 Program. With this approach, you keep your calorie consumption to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week, and eat normally the other five days. This calorie limit is separated by a 12-hour fast, so you consume 250 calories in the morning and another 250 calories at night.

    Eat-Stop-Eat Program. You fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, and eat normally the other five or six days a week.

    The Warrior Diet. You fast for 20 hours a day, and eat one large meal every night.

    Many people find the 16:8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable, and easiest to stick to – which is why it’s the most popular of the four methods.

    How Does IF Impact Your Body? 

    When you fast, several things happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level. First, fasting initiates cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells. Second, when you fast your body adjusts the levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to make stored body fat more accessible to be burned as fuel. Your insulin level drops, and lower insulin levels also make stored body fat more accessible. Fasting also increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Because of these changes in hormones, fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3%-14%.

    A 2016 study done by the Journal of Translational Medicine found that people who practiced IF for 8 weeks lost more body fat than those in the control group.

    NOTE: The success of intermittent fasting is based on the premise that fewer calories are consumed overall. For those that binge during their eating periods, they may not lose any weight.

    The Pros & Cons of Intermittent Fasting 

    Here are the pros and cons to consider when deciding whether IF is a good fit for you:


    You stick to one schedule. With IF, you’re not as worried about what you’re “allowed” to eat. Instead you just concentrate on sticking to your fast schedule.

    You savor your meals. When food is not available to you all the time, you truly appreciate the meal in front of you, the enjoyment of eating, and the feeling of satiation.

    You kick your bad snacking habits. IF forces you to stop eating at a certain time, and control your grazing behaviors.

    You may bust through a weight loss plateau. If your weight loss efforts have plateaued, IF may kick-start your metabolism. Your body learns that there is no glucose available for fuel, so it burns fat stores instead.

    You might get your pre-diabetes under control. Every time you eat, your body releases insulin to shuttle sugar from your bloodstream to your cells for energy. But people who are pre-diabetic are insulin resistant, which means the cells don’t respond well to insulin and can’t take up glucose, so your blood sugar levels stay elevated. Going longer between meals may help because your body pumps out insulin less often.

    You get an anti-aging boost. IF creates a slight stress on your cells’ mitochondria (the energy powerhouses), which gives them a nudge to rev up their functioning, and promote cellular repair, which can lead to being more energetic.

    You can reset your circadian rhythm. Eating close to bedtime is a sure way to negatively impact your circadian rhythm. Conversely, practicing IF gets your body on a regular cycle of eating and fasting. Refraining from eating close to bedtime results in resetting your circadian rhythm and improving your sleep.


    You might feel irritated, tired, dizzy, or lightheaded. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops, which can affect your mood and energy levels. You can combat this by eating more protein- and fiber-rich meals with some healthy fats when you are scheduled to eat so you feel satiated. At OHI, we recommend plant-based proteins like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, legumes and sprouts.

    High-Blood Pressure and Diabetes medications may need adjustment. For diabetics on medication like insulin or Glipizide, the fasting/eating cycle of IF could cause sharp drops/spikes in blood sugar, which makes their medications less effective. Additionally, IF can cause a rapid decrease in blood pressure, therefore people using high-blood pressure medication, need to be aware of this side-effect and consult their physician before participating in IF.

    Bottom Line: Always consult your physician or health care professional before participating in an IF program.

    By incorporating the principles of intermittent fasting with an all-raw, organic, plant-based diet, OHI guests reach new levels of healthy living and spiritual awareness. Our caring staff is eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

    “What is Intermittent Fasting, and Does It Help You Lose Weight?”, by Tiarra Mukherjee, September 25, 2019, Prevention.com 

    “Intermittent Fasting 101 — The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide”, by Kris Gunnars, July 25, 2018, Healthline.com 

    “4 Ways Fasting Benefits Your Spiritual Health”, by Maria Walley, Grottonetwork.com 

    “What Is Intermittent Fasting, and Will It Help Your Sleep?”, by Michael J Breus Ph.D., Apr 11, 2019, Psychologytoday.com

  • The Deep Roots of Raw Food

    In recent years, the number of Americans who’ve chosen a plant-based lifestyle has dramatically increased. According to a 2019 study by the market research company Ipsos, nearly 10 million Americans follow plant-based diets, compared with just 290,000 in 2004—an astounding 300 percent increase in 15 years.

    We at Optimum Health Institute are delighted to see this trend … because it is, and has always been, at the very core of who we are. Since OHI’s founding more than 44 years ago, one of our key healing lifestyle program elements has been a live, raw, organic plant-based diet.

    Yet the choice to eat live, raw, organic vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts rather than animal proteins is by no means a recent trend; the practice has deep roots. Biblical scripture and the ancient Essene gospels both advise the divine wisdom of maintaining a strict raw plant-based diet for optimum health of body, mind, and spirit.

    Throughout history, brilliant people have touted the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle: Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Buddha, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Steve Jobs, are just a few of them.

    Even traditional western medicine is warming to the idea. The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School are among the groups advising that a well-planned vegetarian diet can help you stay healthy, and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

    The history of OHI is closely tied to the growth in popularity of raw plant-based foods. During the early 1950s, when a Boston-area woman was diagnosed with colon cancer, she chose to follow her Lithuanian grandmother’s approach to healing, using weeds and wheatgrass, and she went into complete remission. The woman, Ann Wigmore, devoted the next 35 years of her life to studying and teaching others about the healing benefits of live, raw, organic plant-based foods. In 1956 she founded the “Red Schoolhouse” at her farm in Stoneham, Massachusetts, which later evolved into Hippocrates Health Institute.

    In 1976 two of OHI’s founders, Raychel Solomon and Pam Nees, attended a lecture by Eydie Mae Hunsberger, who wrote the book, How I Conquered Cancer Naturally. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Eadie Mae had switched to Wigmore’s raw plant-based food plan, and went into complete remission from cancer. After her presentation, she was eager to answer Raychel and Pam’s questions.

    Raychel went on to study with Ann Wigmore at Hippocrates, and experienced for herself the healing power of a strict live, raw organic plant-based lifestyle. Later that same year, Raychel, Pam, and Pam’s husband Bob Nees, Sr., opened Hippocrates West in San Diego County, California.

    The groundbreaking concept at the heart of Hippocrates and Hippocrates West was deceptively simple: recreate your lifestyle, starting with switching to a primarily raw foods diet, and let the healing begin. Fueled by the healthiest, freshest plant-based nutrients, people could more easily defog and quiet their minds, and feel a renewed, heart-centered connection to God.

    Hippocrates West soon evolved into The Optimum Health Institute, and became a healing ministry of the Free Sacred Trinity Church.

    The parallel growth of both the raw foods movement and OHI became deeply personal in 1997. Bob Senor’s sister-in-law, Mary Helon Nees, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She and Bob’s brother, the Rev. Russell Nees, refused to accept her doctor’s grim prognosis and instead strictly followed OHI’s raw plant-based food plan, with lots of wheatgrass juice. Mary Helon went into remission and became a strong advocate of adopting a plant-based diet.

    As the raw foods movement continues to gain new adherents nationwide, OHI is more than keeping up with the growing interest. We have enhanced our dining experience by creating a 21-day menu, offering nutritious, live, raw, organic plant-based dishes at every lunch and dinner for the entire three weeks of the holistic healing program.

    Come experience how delicious “healthy” can be and spend one, two, or three weeks at our healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Our caring staff is eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • The Beauty and Benefits of Walking

    Walking, much like singing, steadies the mind. When we place one foot in front of the other, we can feel the body lean and sway as we move forward. The first steps may be slow, but gradually we find our gait.” – Author and spiritual teacher Stephen Levine.

    For those who love walking, and engage in it with zeal and passion, Levine’s quote speaks straight to the heart. And there are millions of walking enthusiasts worldwide. In fact, research has shown that walking is the most popular of all aerobic physical activities.

    Although you probably walk several hundred to a few thousand steps each day, you may not think of walking as a way to stay fit. But walking has numerous benefits that could motivate you to get on your feet more often. If you are unfamiliar with those benefits, or need a memory refresher, keep reading.

    Walking for weight loss 

    When you walk at a brisk pace—fast enough to make it difficult to talk—you can burn significant calories and promote healthy weight loss. Walking uphill will increase the intensity of your workout and add help you burn even more calories. If you want to increase your natural walking speed, try walking at intervals of a leisurely pace and quick pace. Over time this will help you increase the speed of your walk and improve your balance.

    Low-impact muscle toning

    Almost anyone can enjoy walking as exercise because it is low-impact for the joints. As you begin to walk more often, you will notice increased muscle strength that will further reduce the stress on your joints and lower back.

    Mood and spirituality

    Walking has been shown to dramatically improve mood, and even help with depression, stress, and anxiety. Also, says walking and marathon coach Wendy Bumgardner, walking can help connect believers with God. “The rhythm of walking and the integration of body and mind leaves you open to talk with God, uncluttered by other intrusions.”

    Free exercise anywhere

    One of the most beautiful aspects of walking is that other than a sturdy pair of walking shoes, there is no investment to get started. The whole world may be your gym for a walking workout, and you may even discover new places that you cannot get to by car. So put on those walking shoes, do some gentle stretching, and start walking!
    And remember, Optimum Health Institute is here for you, and we’ll motivate you to stick with your new commitment to walk. To discover new ways to improve your health and 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.

  • Maintaining a Detox Diet for Optimal Health

    After spending time with us at Optimum Health Institute, you’ll experience firsthand how your entire life can be transformed.

    Your stay will teach you about the importance of a diet consisting of live, raw, fresh organic plant-based meals. You’ll learn about detoxifying your body by drinking fresh wheatgrass juice, and getting enemas and wheatgrass implants to cleanse the colon. You’ll feel energized, spiritually enriched, and thoroughly at peace. You can truthfully say that you’ve never felt better in your life.

    That’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? But now you may be wondering, what’s next? How do you keep that healthy glow going?

    The first step is acknowledging that you’re off to a great start, but realizing it’s just that—a start. Years of poor food combinations and consuming animal flesh, alcohol, sodas, processed foods, caffeine, and/or other unhealthy choices won’t be resolved in just a few weeks. It may require adhering to an all-raw diet high in fiber and nutrients, and the appropriate fluids, for three or more months to completely purge and then rebuild your body. The good news is, it’s completely doable. Let’s break it down.

    What is your motivation for transforming your lifestyle? Are you working to resolve a major health issue? Do you want more energy to keep up with your family and friends? Do you want to maintain that mental clarity and spiritual rejuvenation you experienced at OHI? Would you just like to look and feel healthier? Whatever your motivation is, find that driving force and keep it top of mind.

    Next, know that as part of the growing OHI community, you have access to materials that can inform, encourage and inspire you on your journey to optimum health.

    One important tool OHI has created is “The Detoxification Seven,” which is the essential elements for successfully continuing your commitment to bringing your body into healthy balance:

    1. Drink two ounces of freshly squeezed wheatgrass juice twice daily.

    2. Drink rejuvelac daily to aid digestion and elimination.

    3. Do one enema and two implants daily until your colon is clean. Quickly eliminating the food you recently digested is an indication of a clean colon.

    4. Do a fresh juice fast one day a week. Perform one enema and two implants on your juicing day.

    5. Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of pure water every day.

    6. Eat sprouts, fresh vegetables and fruits, buckwheat and sunflower greens, sauerkraut, seed sauces, sprouted grains and seeds, and foods dehydrated at 105° F to preserve live enzymes.

    7. On the regular detoxification diet eat all vegetables, except for two fruit meals or four melon meals per week. For the hypo detoxification diet, eliminate all fruits, melons, and sweet vegetables, like carrots, beets, and jicama.

    Besides these essential steps for adhering to a healing detoxification diet, OHI’s Closing Class provides you with a list of daily food requirements for adequate nutrition, a sample weekly menu plan, tips for choosing the best produce, and detailed instructions on how to transition to a maintenance diet.

    You’ll receive support in setting achievable goals, exercising the power of positive thinking, and creating an action plan to reconnect to your spiritual source.

    Through OHI’s growing social media presence, you’ll have access to continuing encouragement and inspiration. Connect with OHI’s Facebook page for ongoing support, new recipes, and the latest discounts and incentives for your next visit. You can also share your own journey, and inspire and motivate others on a healing path.

    We encourage you to experience the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a detox food plan during your stay at an Optimum Health Institute healing mission in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Our caring, dedicated team will support your journey and share the tools you need to continue this holistic lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Achieve Your Goals by Setting SMART Goals

    We are already into the third month of the New Year, and spring is just around the corner. This is an excellent time to reflect on your resolutions for 2021 and take an honest look at how you’re doing.

    Are you making progress toward your resolutions? Or are you feeling discouraged about what you haven’t accomplished versus celebrating what you have accomplished?

    If just about everything you resolved to do has fallen by the wayside, don’t lose heart! Remember that spring is the season of growth and renewal, making it the perfect time to tackle your goals—the right way.

    First, you need to feel a passionate connection to your objective. Pick a specific goal that’s in alignment with your values, and you’re much more likely to see it through.  Write down that goal: the act of putting it on paper, or keying it into your computer or smartphone, affirms and focuses your intention.

    The most effective goals are SMART:
    Time Dimensioned

    If your goal is, “Get Healthier,” be very specific about what you want to achieve. Lock in specific action steps, like, “Get up 20 minutes earlier to meditate every morning,” and, “Exercise at least 30 minutes every day.” The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stay on track.

    By taking time to set measurable goals right from the start, you’ll be able to monitor your progress in real and tangible ways.

    A common tendency is to set completely unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve. For instance, if on a daily basis you love to sink your teeth into a giant burger, chances are your desire to “Go Vegetarian Starting Today” is not going to happen.  Instead, starting with one meatless day the first week, and gradually increasing the number of days every few weeks, gives you the opportunity to realistically and permanently change your behavior.

    So let’s say you’ve strategically set SMART goals, you wrote down specific action steps, and you’re starting to see results. It’s time to celebrate!

    While stopping to congratulate yourself on your progress might seem unnecessary or premature, it’s actually one of the best motivators. In her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., shares her research on this topic. She proved that marking minor achievements is the most effective way to inspire people to continue on track for achieving other objectives, both large and small.

    Also, celebration is a spiritual discipline. Enjoying the fellowship of like-minded people, expressing gratitude for your achievements, and sharing the fruits of your labors enriches your spiritual connections to everyone and everything in your life, and to God.

    Learn how to set SMART goals for yourself by spending time with us at the Optimum Health Institute. Our caring, dedicated team can help you attain your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Brighten Your Mood with Light Therapy: The Importance of Sunlight during the Winter Months

    In OHI’s Elimination class, we talk about how sunlight is an essential ingredient for good health, and scientific studies have shown the effects of light on the body are more than just psychological. Sunlight prompts our physical systems to produce the hormones directly responsible for improving mood and creating a sense of well-being. Sunlight also helps our bodies produce vitamin D and maintain calcium in our bones, which in turn prevents our bones from becoming thin and brittle. Sunlight can have a major influence on how we feel and boost our productivity, literally giving us energy for life. We only need 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day.

    And what about those who live in a climate that’s not consistently sunny? Or where gray cloudy skies block the sun during the fall and winter months? You may have felt sad or tired during the winter simply because there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter, and that lack of light is impacting your mood. Many people report succumbing to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter. SAD is a type of depression that occurs in the fall and winter when daylight is limited, and symptoms include sluggishness, sleep problems, change in diet, and even loss of mental acuity.

    SAD symptoms can decrease or be alleviated by getting enough sunlight. Light therapy lamps bring daylight indoors by emitting a bright white, full-spectrum light that safely mimics sunlight (without the harmful UV-rays).

    Light therapy (also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy) is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders, and other conditions. Light therapy improves mood and energy by triggering the release of serotonin. Light therapy improves sleep and focus by resetting your circadian rhythm to its natural state, and regulating melatonin.

    During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. To be effective, light from the light box must enter your eyes indirectly. You can’t get the same effect merely by exposing your skin to the light. While your eyes must be open, don’t look directly at the light box, because the bright light can damage your eyes.

    Light therapy is most effective when you invest the time consistently. Stick to your light therapy schedule, and don’t overdo it. Light therapy is a proper combination of light intensity, duration, and timing.

    1. Intensity: The intensity of the light box is recorded in lux, which is a measure of the amount of light you receive. For SAD, the typical recommendation is to use a 10,000-lux box at a distance of about 16”-24” from your face.

    2. Duration: With a 10,000-lux light box, light therapy typically involves daily sessions of about 20-30 minutes. A lower-intensity light box, such as 2,500-lux, may require longer sessions.

    3. Timing: For most people, light therapy is most effective when it’s done early in the morning.

    Light therapy is a clinically-proven treatment for SAD, but it might not completely cure Seasonal Affective Disorder. But consistent light therapy sessions will ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help improve your mood. Light therapy can start to ease symptoms within just a few days, or in some cases it can take two or more weeks to feel better.

    So the next time you’re feeling the “winter blues,” set up a light box and other Alpha techniques to help you improve your mood and achieve a calm, relaxed state – and let the sunshine in.

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you how to use light to help you heal. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Get to Know OHI Missionary, Barbara Hochmann

    Ten years ago Barbara Hochmann was surfing online, looking for ideas to lead a healthier life.  She wanted to find an approach to managing stress that she could rely on for the rest of her life.

    “I came across OHI online, and I immediately connected with their approach,” said Barbara.  “I stayed at OHI Austin for 3 weeks.  I was flabbergasted to realize how often I used food and cigarettes to numb myself from stress.  But the more I faced my emotions, the more negativity I released, and the more room I now had to embrace joy.  At the end of my 3-week stay, I was completely changed.  I had shed 20 pounds of inflammation and emotion.  My skin went from grey to rosy, and my eyes were clear.  I felt strong enough emotionally to commit to continuing the juicing and raw diet for the next 9 months at home.  OHI connections were always just a phone call away if I needed help.  The bottom line is I stuck to it because OHI’s program gave me a clear path forward.  I chose to LIVE, and now I can honestly say that life just keeps getting better every day.”

    Of course, it wasn’t just the diet that helped Barbara.  She immediately connected with the OHI curriculum as well.  “I was so energized by OHI’s classes,” said Barbara.  “I went to every class I could.  The information is delivered in a way that’s easy to absorb and utilize in every day life.”

    So when did the missionary program factor into Barbara’s life plan?  “I have come back to OHI for a week or two tune-up almost every year for the last 9 years,” said Barbara.  “OHI has truly given me back my life, so I decided I wanted to be an OHI missionary to pay it forward.  I applied to OHI San Diego just as the pandemic hit, and started my 3-month missionary placement in the middle of June.  I had huge expectations going into it, but I can honestly say this experience has far exceeded every expectation I could have ever had.  During my time as missionary, there were up to 30 guests on campus at a time.  It was a very intimate experience, full of vulnerability, connection, and depth.  I am so grateful for the unique experience.  I am certain my spiritual practice has deepened because of the small cohort size.  During my past annual visits, my focus was on my physical body and my intellectual mind.  But my extended 3-month stay as a missionary gave me time to focus on my spirituality.  My concentration has improved immensely, and my meditation practice is so much more rewarding for it.”

    While Barbara has experienced all of the OHI classes multiple times, she does have a few favorites.  “From a science perspective, the Elimination and Digestion classes are absolutely fascinating to me,” said Barbara.  “But on a personal level, I am constantly working to improve my communication so that what I share with the world accurately reflects who I want to be.  The Alpha Meditation and Communication classes are amazing.  I get something new out of each class every time I take them.  Now I know I’m worth all the time and effort I put in to healing myself which has lead me to a life that is so rewarding and fulfilling.”

    What is Barbara’s advice for others considering a stay at OHI?  “Don’t put off your life another minute,” said Barbara.  “After coming to OHI, I navigate life in an entirely different way.  I see everything from a new point of view.  Life is beautiful!”

    The OHI missionary program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program and desire to continue on a spiritual path to heal themselves and others. As a missionary, you are able to immerse yourself in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage all who have a calling, passion, and commitment to serving others and who want to be in a community focused on healing to apply.
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Boost Your Mood and Heal with Color

    Color can have a major influence on how we feel and how we react in different situations. Because colors can affect your mood, colors can consequently impact your health. We’ve all experienced this . . . colors that energize our bodies; colors that calm our minds; and colors that uplift our spirits. There is plenty of scientific research to back-up the notion that color can help boost our mood and help us heal.

    Color therapy, also known as Chromotherapy, uses the vibration of color and light to balance our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states. The cells in our body require light energy, and the vibration emitted by color and light transmit a certain type of energy to our body, which in turn impacts our mind and spirit. The principles and practices of color therapy date back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, India, Greece and China.

    How Chromotherapy Works

    According to research physicists, Azeemi and Raza, “Every creature is engulfed in light that affects its health conditions.” The authors claim the human body is composed of colors and therefore is responsive to colors. Each color emits a certain frequency of light energy. “Colors generate electrical impulses and magnetic currents or fields of energy that are prime activators of the biochemical and hormonal processes in the human body, the stimulants or sedatives necessary to balance the entire system and its organs.” In other words, the frequency of a color can energize and harmonize with the body’s organs and cells or conversely, it can disrupt bodily functions. Color frequency and light energy can either create dis-ease in the body or help us heal.

    Each color has a unique wavelength and oscillation (the duration of time between each wave). In Chromotherapy, the seven colors in the color spectrum (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red) correspond with the seven energy centers of the body. Each energy center is associated with a particular organ of the body and each organ of the body is associated with a color frequency. Therefore, the idea is to synch the organs with its associated color frequency to strike harmony and balance. If you’ve taken OHI’s Vocal Toning class, you may have experienced this first-hand.

    Color and Its Impact

    People use color therapy to help release anxiety, ease depression, and better connect with themselves through meditation. According to therapist, Wendy Galyen, “Each color has a different effect, so different colors are used for different mental conditions and mood problems.”

    At OHI, we use color in a variety of our classes: Alpha 1 & 2, Vision Boards & Rock Painting, and Vocal Toning.  For instance, in Alpha practice we might say, “Imagine a warm golden light surrounding you,” as we settle into our meditation. In Vision Boards & Rock Painting, we suggest using vibrant primary colors to draw attention to certain words and imagery. And in Vocal Toning, where we use our voices to create healing vibrations within the body, we also use color because colors have their own vibration – so, imagining a color while making the vowel sound enhances the healing power of the vibration.

    Here is a summary of the seven colors of the color spectrum, and their associated energy centers:

    So the next time you need a mood booster, open your mind to the possibilities of color therapy. Set your intention to allow soothing thoughts of colors calm your mind and relax your body, and put the healing power of color to work for you.

    “A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution,” by Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi and S. Moshin Raza, ncbi.nlm.hih.gov, December 2005

    “The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Color Therapy,” by Simone M. Scully, healthline.com, July 30, 2020

    “What is Color Therapy, What is it For, and is it Right for Me?”, medically reviewed by Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH, regain.us, December 3, 2020

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you how to use color to help you heal. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Tanya Roman’s Journey to Wellness

    Scholarship Recipient Recovers from Cancer Surgery

    Tanya Roman remembers June 2012 well. It was when she was first diagnosed with cancer. Following surgery, she went through 6 weeks of chemotherapy, where she experienced hypersensitivities to the drugs.

    “It was the longest 6 weeks of my life,” sighed Tanya.

    Unfortunately, six years later the cancer returned. Tanya underwent the same chemotherapy treatments, and again experienced more drug hypersensitivities.

    “I felt strongly that my body wanted to heal,” said Tanya. “But after five days of being unable to eat, I felt lost. I remembered that a friend had told me about OHI as an alternative treatment for cancer. I called them, and they invited me to come in that very day. When I arrived, I found out the woman who greeted me had also been diagnosed with THE SAME cancer many years ago, and here she was looking vibrant and healthy. That immediately confirmed my belief in my body’s ability to heal itself.”

    OHI saw that Tanya’s situation was dire, and they gifted her a scholarship for a three-week stay. “The amazing thing was that within three days I felt like a completely different person,” she said.

    Tanya was on board with the raw food diet from the start. “The diet of organic raw food, the fasting, and the colonics seemed to be game changers to me,” Tanya said. “I could tell it was exactly what my body needed.”

    Tanya also felt invigorated by the classes. “I was so impressed by how the instructors would teach each person how to accomplish their goals for their best life. It wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For me, I found meditation to be the key to enhancing the positivity of my thoughts.”

    Tanya choked up when asked about her OHI experience as a scholarship recipient. “Few things come along in life that offer true transformation,” she said. “OHI does just that. This scholarship gave me a life-altering experience, and I can’t thank them enough. They taught me spiritual positivity, and how to have an open spiritual relationship with the world around me. When life is too much, I know I can ask God for help.”

    Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing

    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 44 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 with 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.

    To all who have donated to the OHI Scholarship Fund – Thank you for your generosity!

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.