• Spring Newsletter, Bob’s Article, Part 1


    People with purpose don’t just live longer—they live better. That’s why our chairman wrote an inspiring guide in our Spring Newsletter to help you (re)discover yours! It’s so packed with how-to advice that we turned it into two posts. Part 1 shares five steps you can take to find your purpose and Part 2 reveals the science behind purpose and how purpose guides OHI’s “5Ps to Optimum Health,” the foundation of our 21 day holistic healing program. Watch for it next week. So let’s started on your purpose right away . . .

    Now is a Great Time to Re-Focus and Discover Your Purpose (Part 1 of 2)

    ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.’

    -Job 42:2

    A warm and heartfelt Spring greeting to our OHI community. As the beauty of Spring begins its annual reset with a burst of fresh new colors and textures, the sprouting of leaves and blossoms tells us that nature knows its Divine purpose. This Biblical verse tells us when we know our Divine purpose – we cannot be stopped. It is this concept of “purpose” that I wish to address in this newsletter.

    The change of seasons is very powerful. It can change our mood; it can change our perspective. There is also a great deal of symbology to each season. Spring, for example, is the time of our spiritual calling – the point in our life where we desire a more spiritual relationship between God, ourselves, and the world – our spiritual Spring is when we begin our spiritual life. Spring is also symbolically understood as a time of rebirthing – of transformation – which makes it a wonderful time to rediscover our purpose in life.

    So, what is the definition of your purpose? Simply put, it is the reason you were created and why you exist. But purpose by itself is useless without action and action is useless without

    purpose. Some people seem to know their life purpose from a very early age. I’ve met people who have told me they knew exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives as early as age 13, 10, and even eight. Believe me, this is rare. For the rest us, finding our purpose takes time. Sometimes decades. Many of us will search and change our purpose over time as we learn, mature, and experience more of life. However, just like physical growth, there are no shortcuts when finding our purpose. Specifically, without spiritual and emotional growth our efforts to find purpose will be thwarted.

    As I mentioned above, it is rare to know your purpose in life at an early age. That’s because we need life experiences to know our unique God-given gifts. Until we’ve had opportunities to find and use our gifts, we simply cannot know what brings us and others joy. Gaining self-awareness of our gifts is essential to spiritual and emotional growth and finding our purpose. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t identified your gifts let alone your purpose. I’ve met people in their 40s and 50s who still haven’t found theirs – men and women caught up in careers or habits they were guided toward or developed in their youth before they had a chance to live life on life’s terms. They are now struggling to find their purpose because their past is all they know. But it doesn’t have to remain this way. Remember, it only takes 21 days to change a habit.

    Here’s how you can find or rediscover your purpose in five steps:

    1. Commit to spending one hour a week for three weeks to identify your unique, God-given gifts.
    2. Select a “safe and sacred” space to do your work.
    3. Notice your gifts that bring you joy.
    4. Acknowledge the amount of time you spend each week using your gifts.
    5. Establish the road map to discover your purpose through your gifts.

    When you find activities that bring you and others joy, start devoting your time to it. When you feel joy, it is such a powerful emotion that it speaks the truth from your very soul. You should organize all your activities toward focusing on your gifts. The more you do this, the more you’ll discover help and compatriots that just seem to fortuitously appear. Or as, Chicken Soup for the Soul, author, Jack Canfield said, “Once you are clear about what you want and keep your mind constantly focused on it, the how will keep showing up – sometimes just when you need it and not a moment earlier.”

    Join us next week for the second part of my article…

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Take the Springtime 21-Day Detox Challenge

    Take the 21-Day Detox Challenge where you’ll learn how to relax, develop a positive attitude, and focus on what matters most to achieve a happy, fulfilling and healthy life. The results can be life changing!!

    Commit Today to the 21-Day Detox Challenge Where You’ll Experience:

    Weight Loss* – Women typically lose about 5-7 pounds the first week and 2-3 pounds each week after. Men typically lose about 7-10 pounds the first week and 5-7 pounds each week after.

    Increased Energy – Practice gentle exercise and walk every morning. Stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins, boost the immune system, and contribute to the healing process.

    More Radiant Skin – Eliminate toxins through juice fasting and eating our organic meals. Plus, you’ll make an organic face mask, apply it, relax, wash it off, and feel radiant!

    Sharper Mind – Learn alpha state meditation techniques that tap into your sub consciousness, access your creativity and intuition, visualize positive outcomes, and increase your awareness of God.

    Healthy Body – Practiced for many centuries around the world, detoxification is the process of cleansing the body to promote healing and longevity.

    Better Sense of Well-Being – Learn the spiritual disciplines related to breathing to release stress, control pain, increase emotional awareness, enhance concentration, and facilitate personal growth.

    During your detox journey at OHI, you’ll feel supported by our staff, missionaries, and other guests. Once you’ve completed the Detox Challenge you’ll look better, and you’ll feel like a new person. These changes are essential to a long-term healthy lifestyle.

    Don’t Miss Out on this Powerful Detox Opportunity! Plus, when you stay in any best-available, single-occupancy room, you’ll receive 10% off the entire 3-week program or 5% off a 2-week stay.

    *OHI is not a weight-loss program. Weight loss varies per individual.

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Benefits of Colon Cleansing

    At OHI, our three-week program teaches the importance of proper ingestion, digestion, and elimination as the basis of a healthy body, mind and spirit! It’s important to put an emphasis on a happy healthy colon and the role that colon cleansing plays in your overall health and well-being.

    Here are a few of the lesser-known benefits of colon cleansing:

    1. 1. Immune System

    As much as 70% of the immune system’s optimum function can be driven by how well the colon functions.

    1. 2. Increase Energy

    Colon cleansing clear toxins out of the body. This process can help naturally improve circulation in the bloodstream, which means better oxygen flow and increased energy levels.

    1. 3. Healthier Skin

    High levels of body toxins take a toll on your organs, including your skin. Many people report clearer, brighter, healthier-looking skin after colon cleansing treatments.

    1. 4. Weight Loss

    As your body strains to fight off toxins, your body’s other natural energy functions slow down. This includes your metabolism. Getting rid of burdensome toxins means allows your body to refocus that energy on boosting your metabolism and helping you burn off excess weight.

    1. 5. Reduced Acid Levels

    Regular colon cleansing will help restore the body’s natural alkaline levels and create a healthier balance.

    1. 6. Better concentration

    A study by the Harvard Medical School on the “Gut-Brain connection” found that an unhealthy intestine can send disruptive signals to the brain which can impair focus and hamper the ability to concentrate. Colon cleansing can help to clear up that fogginess and keep you a bit throughout the day.

    OHI promotes colon cleansing as one aspect of a healthy, well-balanced life. We invite you to book a retreat at OHI and experience the many benefits of being clean from the inside-out!

    Experience the energy and clarity of eating and living clean, all in an environment of encouragement, support and spiritual fellowship at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health.

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Sharon Peck’s Journey to Wellness

    Scholarship Recipient Battles Back from Lyme’s & Parkinson’s Diseases

    As a nurse, Sharon Peck understands how important it is to advocate for your own health. With years of experience as a burn/trauma nurse, a med/surg nurse, and a maternal newborn nurse, Sharon was also the mother to four children, one with special needs. After the birth of her last child, she started to notice personal health issues.

    “I’d always exercised a lot,” said Sharon, “but now I was struggling with chronic fatigue, canker sores (12 at a time), brain fog, etc. My doctor brushed off my complaints, and told me to take naps. Needless to say, I went in search of a doctor who would take my concerns more seriously. I spent years on and off antibiotics until I was finally correctly diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease.”

    In 2007, Sharon and her family moved from the East Coast to Kauai, HI. It was hard for her to leave her extended family, but she did so in the hope that her health would improve with the temperate weather. She started volunteering as a Special Olympics swim coach for her daughter, and was inspired to take a job at the high school as a special ed teacher. Sharon thought things were looking up…and then her marriage of 27 years ended. She was in shock, and her health took a nosedive.

    “I started to get tremoring in my right hand,” said Sharon. “It became difficult to write. I was having more trouble getting out of bed than my 86-year old mother. Eventually I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was completely overwhelmed.”

    Sharon’s brother suggested she look into to OHI. He had been a handful of times, and had great experiences. She did some research on the website, but was crushed to find the cost was out of her reach.

    “I saw that OHI offers scholarships to those in need,” said Sharon, “so I decided to apply. What could it hurt? I sent many prayers, and was elated to be offered the scholarship! I am so grateful to OHI to have had the privilege to stay at their San Diego campus. I learned new ways of eating to better care for my body that address both my Lyme’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. The stiffness I struggled with each morning is now gone. I strive to put into practice everything I learned at OHI, and hope to return soon to learn more. OHI has been a god-send!”

  • Missionary Spotlight: Meet One of OHI’s Newest Missionaries — Susan Manning!

    “You’re never going to believe this,” laughed Susan Manning, “but I first went to OHI to recover from show choir.”

    In June 2019, Susan had just finished a full season performing with her show choir, and she was completely exhausted. She was also working overtime as the CEO of Manning Pools. She was ready to transition the company over to the next generation, so she booked herself a week at OHI to consider her future. What she got was so much more…

    “I had such a revelatory experience in my one week at OHI, that I just knew I needed to spend more time there,” said Susan. “I was at a crossroads in my life, and I wanted uninterrupted time to figure out what my path needs to be for the next 30 years. The OHI Missionary Program seemed like the perfect opportunity to help others as I helped myself.”

    Susan dubbed her 13-week missionary stay “The Great Unwinding.” It started with changing her relationship with food. Susan tipped the scales at over 200lbs, and was addicted to salt. Embracing a juice cleanse and all-raw diet was a revelation to her.

    “When I came to OHI, I was taking 14 different medications,” said Susan. “After eating a raw diet for 13 weeks, I now take just 2 medications. My blood pressure is much improved. My blood sugar is completely under control. I’m down from a size 20 to a size 12. OHI showed me that I can be strong and healthy without pharmaceuticals, and has taught me how to use food as medicine. And I can honestly tell you that drinking 100oz of water a day sets the foundation to an entirely new body.”

    But it was the missionary program as a whole that opened her up to change. “During my stay, I read ‘The Gospel on Mary Magdalene’ by Jean-Yves Leloup,” said Susan. “It completely changed my life. There is a mantra I took from it that I have really focused on — ‘The human body is a journey through matter toward light.’ That was an enormous spiritual breakthrough for me. As a missionary, it was such a gift to help others on their personal journey toward light. Everyone took to calling me Miss Joy, because I was so happy to be present for whatever God wanted to reveal to me in each moment.”

    As a missionary, Susan also found profound joy in teaching classes. “I discovered that I love teaching exercise classes,” laughed Susan. “The exercise class is designed to focus on lymphatic movement. The gentle exercise movement cleanses the lymph system, and leaves you feeling fantastic. Beyond the exercise classes, I absolutely adored the vocal toning class. The group relaxes, the light is dim, and we sing 8 different tones each associated with a different energy center of the body. My spine felt more aligned after that class every time. And as a singer, I honestly believe that class healed my voice. It is much softer and deeper now. My old show choir friends wouldn’t recognize it if they heard me sing now.”

    Susan’s Bio

    So now that she’s healed her body, mind, and spirit, what’s next for Susan? “I want to start another business, a non-profit, and give back to the OHI Scholarship Program so more people can experience the breakthroughs I experienced,” smiled Susan. “I asked God for a group of women who want to find solutions for big problems, and I think I found that during my missionary stay. The friends I made while I was there will be my friends for life. We’re going to do great things together!”

  • Staff Spotlight: Introducing Danielle Demko, Senior Facilitator at OHI!

    The unique holistic healing program that OHI offers is based on ancient spiritual disciplines. It often takes new employees a couple of years to fully wrap their arms around all the different classes and activities we offer guests to facilitate their body-mind-spirit transformation to optimum health. But Danielle Demko is not your typical staff member. She spent over 14 years working at a local mega church with the last five years as their Director of Training & Development. With her master’s degree in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, she became a jack-of all-trades, giving her the ability to embrace multiple aspects of OHI in just one short year since she joined the team.

    “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Danielle. “Working as part of the team at OHI gives me that opportunity. As a Senior Facilitator, I oversee the Missionary Program, I teach an extensive menu of classes, and I work one-on-one with guests. I can see what a life-changing experience OHI offers people, and I am so proud to be a part of that evolution. The guest that checks in on Sunday is a very different person from the one that checks out at the end of their stay. It has changed my whole perspective on what it means to give back to another human being I love that my efforts help others to learn they don’t have to be a victim of their life. They are now empowered and inspired to succeed at ANYTHING!”

    Danielle knows many guests come thinking that OHI is a “diet program.” But that is not how she would quantify the OHI holistic healing program. “OHI is about helping people learn the deeper meaning behind how they got to where they are in life. They come hoping to recalibrate the current trajectory they are on or change a diagnosis, and they end up figuring out that they can take charge of their own outcomes in so many ways. I love that OHI explains the science behind the ‘mindset.’ That was really pivotal for me. I already have a great relationship with God. But learning the science behind the ‘mindset’ broadened the spectrum of how I think about God, and all the details He’s in.”

    Danielle really enjoys the long-term relationships she builds with those in the OHI Missionary Program. “It takes a special type of person to be in our Missionary Program,” said Danielle. “They are a unique hybrid between guest and staff. They live on the property for 90 days, working on their own spiritual transformation, while at the same time they help OHI guests make the most of their stay ensuring comfort and connection and assist staff with various weekly service hours.”

    At OHI, classes and activities are integral to helping quiet and focus your mind in an effort to renew and awaken your spirit. So what is Danielle’s favorite class to teach? It’s hard to choose a favorite,” laughed Danielle. “I love all of the classes at OHI. Each class connects to another regardless of the topic and helps our guest see how they are empowered to take part in their own healing. In choosing a favorite class, I don’t have one. My favorite ‘activity’ is seeing our guests transform in front of my eyes physically, mentally and spiritually. Each class contributes to this process. That being said, I love the evening classes – Alpha I, Emotional Detox and Toning. They are right in my emotional/spiritual ‘wheelhouse’ and directly aligned with my passion. Any class that facilitates the guest gaining deeper insights and peeling back the onion, so to speak…That’s my kinda class!”

    After being with OHI for a year, Danielle is still as enthusiastic as the first day she came on board. “I am humbled to be here,” said Danielle. “It is my honor to work at OHI. I love meeting guests, and going alongside them on their healing journey. I feel like I’ve been called to help others through OHI.”

  • Meet One of OHI’s Most Devoted Community Members — John Hagan!

    “I’m not big on hugs,” admits John. “The first time I walked through the doors at OHI and was greeted with hugs, I was a little uncomfortable. I wondered what I had gotten myself into, and thought maybe this wasn’t for me.”

    All hugging aside, John Hagan opted to stay for that first week at OHI, and it was such a positive experience for him that he subsequently came back for five additional 1-week stays, and then took part in the OHI Missionary program for 6 consecutive months. “OHI is one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” smiled John. “OHI is now a life-long habit and I plan to return again and again.”

    What prompted John to visit OHI in the first place? Prostate cancer.

    “I am a relatively quiet guy,” said John. “I have a passion for golf and motorcycles. I like to garden, and I’ve run a few NYC marathons in my day. My father was a large animal vet, so I lived on a farm in Pennsylvania for much of my life. I work in hospitals and nursing homes, and I find great joy in caring for others. When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was a no brainer for me to help my dad care for her for 15 years. It’s what I do. What I didn’t expect was a cancer diagnosis in my 40’s. It hit me like a sledgehammer.”

    John was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. He visited many specialists at Johns Hopkins, MD Andersen, and Loma Linda to weigh his options. A doctor at Mt. Sinai flat out told him he’d be dead in 10 years. John knew that the side effects of surgery could have devastating consequences for men. Instead of giving up, that bleak prognosis only inspired John to seek out more options. A specialist in Malibu thoroughly reviewed his case, and came back with one new suggestion — look into OHI.

    “I walked into OHI with an open heart,” said John. “Of course I was hoping the program would help my body fight this cancer. But I went into this experience vowing not to let my introverted nature hold me back from trying new things. I pushed myself to meet new people, try new foods, and learn new things.

    And that effort has changed me exponentially. OHI brought me out of my shell. I have so many new friends that I know will be my friends for life. The supportive community is phenomenal.”

    John took on the nutritional aspects of the OHI program with zeal. “The things wheatgrass juice can do for your body are amazing. Not only do I firmly believe that wheatgrass juice has helped my cancer outlook, but I have made it a priority to continue wheatgrass juice cleansing every day. In fact, I grow my own wheatgrass in my home in Pennsylvania. I may have a bit of a green thumb, but it’s no small feat to grow wheatgrass indoors. But I have figured out a way to do it, and I’m so proud!”

    John’s Bio

    John really took to the classes at OHI, as well. “I would say my favorite classes are the stretch and lymphatic classes,” enthused John. “The food prep classes are always great, and the weekly talent show is a blast. The release ceremony always made a huge impression on me, when you speak your truth on what you want to get rid of and what you want to incorporate back into your life. And the testimonials we give on Friday mornings often leave me a sobbing mess. It’s really powerful.”

    What made John consider the OHI Missionary program? “I had gone to OHI six times, and each year my PSA numbers were going in a positive direction. My dad passed away in 2014, so I was taking care of my mother full-time by myself, and wasn’t able to leave her to visit OHI for a few years. Once she passed away in 2017, I really wanted to invest some time focusing on my own health again. I figured if periodic 1-week stays had proved beneficial to my health, then an extended stay would be even better. Over the course of six months I lost 60 lbs, and I have never felt better in my life. A normal PSA level is under 4, and my current PSA is 2.6. I have done no chemo, no radiation, and no surgery. I honestly believe it’s the nutrition at OHI that has made a huge difference in my outcome.”

    So how did John start gardening at OHI? “I had mentioned in my missionary application that I had once worked in a nursery,” said John. “I don’t consider myself much of a spiritual person, but I do feel a great spiritual connection to nature. I was immediately drawn to working on the grounds at OHI. Being outside is my happy place! I think a garden should be bursting with color, and invite people to come spend time there. I immediately envisioned a wall of sunflowers peeking over the top of the hedges, urging people to walk through the hedgerow to see what those beautiful yellow sunflowers were up to. It was a joy for me to redesign that garden.”

    John is one of our favorite OHI guests for so many reasons, and we can’t wait to see him again soon. “I know when I walk through those gates, I’m going to get a whole bunch of hugs,” laughs John. “And that’s just fine with me!”

  • Intermittent Fasting (IF) – How IF fits into the OHI program (Part 2 of 2)


    There’s a resurgent interest in the practice of intermittent fasting (IF) and its benefits—losing weight, reducing cravings, gaining muscle, and giving the digestive tract a rest. With a new year upon us, let’s learn more about IF in our “Based on Science” article from the January 2020 OHI Newsletter (digital version here). It’s packed with helpful tips…

    Intermittent Fasting (IF) – How IF fits into the OHI program (Part 2 of 2)

    The spiritual aspect of IF

    Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam all incorporate fasting into religious observations. So could intermittent fasting become a transformative springboard to elevate your spirituality? Absolutely!

    • Fasting can strengthen your resolve.

    If you’re struggling with a decision, integrating fasting with prayer can dissolve distractions. By denying the body just a little bit, we’re far more clear-headed and able to be mindful. In stillness we can often find clarity, and hopefully that leads to confidence in your decisions.

    • Fasting instills discipline.

    Fasting gives us an opportunity to master discipline over our lives and our desires. According to St. Francis of Assisi, fasting helps “to control greediness, and to keep the sensual appetites and the whole body subject to the law of the Spirit; and although we may be able to do but little, the enemy nevertheless stands more in awe of those whom he knows can fast.

    • Fasting makes us more humble.

    Fasting is an antidote to the amazing technological abilities we wield in the 21st century, because it reminds us of our human frailty. As mortal beings that become tired and weak, we understand the need of a steadfast, loving God.

    • Fasting brings you closer to God and others around you.

    Sacrifice is the ultimate gesture of love. When we’re mindfully fasting as a form of prayer, we can better understand our weaknesses and have empathy when we see the weaknesses of others.

    How IF works within the OHI program

    OHI’s holistic healing program places an enormous emphasis on cleansing and nourishing your body, to help you self-heal and restore your body to its natural balance. One reason the OHI Detox Diet is so effective is that it combines principles of calorie reduction, a cleansing -alkaline diet, and intermittent fasting.

    • Our calorie-reduced diet limits caloric-intake between 600-1200 calories per day. Calorie deprivation is an ancient fasting practice. Recent studies have shown that many forms of cancers have been stopped, slowed, or reversed by limiting calorie intake.
    • Our cleansing-alkaline diet is unique and effective because it includes ultra-rich nutrients and enzymes. The OHI Detox Diet is designed to bring the body from an acidic state to a more alkaline state. The purification and alkalizing effects on the body help to quiet the mind and build a bridge to spirituality.
    • At OHI, a combination of IF methods are utilized within the program:
      • The first method includes eating over a span of 9.5 hours during the day (8:30am- 7:00pm) while fasting for the remaining 14.5 hours. During the eating hours, we take-in three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) along with two shots of wheatgrass juice in-between meals. This protocol allows consistent nutrition and calories throughout the day, helping to maintain blood-sugar levels and reducing hunger.
      • The second method includes a seven-day cycle comprised of solid-food days and juicing days: Guests begin their week with two days of eating solid foods, followed by three days of juice fasting, followed by another two days of solid foods. Juice fasting, practiced for many centuries around the world, enhances the detoxification process.
      • OHI’s 21-day holistic healing program places an enormous emphasis on cleansing and nourishing your body, to help you self-heal and restore your body-mind-spirit to its natural balance. The OHI Program promotes healing and longevity by restoring circadian sleep rhythms and aligning our health on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

    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. It’s just one of the many guided journeys our guests take on the road to a New You in this New Year!

     “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

  • Intermittent Fasting – The Basics (Part 1 of 2)


    There’s a resurgent interest in the practice of intermittent fasting (IF) and its benefits—losing weight, reducing cravings, gaining muscle, and giving the digestive tract a rest. With a new year upon us, let’s learn more about IF in our “Based on Science” article from the January 2020 OHI Newsletter (digital version here). It’s packed with helpful tips…

    Intermittent Fasting  – The Basics (Part 1 of 2)

    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:

    1. 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.

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

    Join us next Saturday for the second part of this article.

    “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

  • Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 2 of 2)


    A very happy new year to our OHI community. Hopefully, you just received your January 2020 edition of the Optimum Health Institute Newsletter. If not, you can find a link to the digital version here.

    Our theme for this issue is “Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI”. In this edition, we feature articles that highlight one of our newest staff members, Danielle Demko, a senior facilitator at OHI San Diego; Susan Manning, an OHI Austin missionary; John Hagan, a long-standing and now life-long OHI community member; and Sharon Peck’s touching story of how the OHI Scholarship was a god-send in helping her through Lyme and Parkinson’s Diseases. We also feature a science-based article that focuses on the basics of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and how IF works within the OHI program. And lastly, my article where I share ways to ‘renew’ in the New Year.

    Please keep reading for a preview of my “Renewal” article.

    Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 2 of 2)

    NEW at OHI

    The most striking change you’ll see at OHI is our change in guest capacity. At OHI Austin, we are working to change room configurations giving us the ability to increase capacity and have more guests on a weekly basis. At OHI San Diego, we are doing the opposite and decreasing guest capacity. Our goal at OHI San Diego is to create a more-intimate guest experience and focus on continuing improvements to our facilities and rooms.

    Another exciting effort that is currently in development…we are creating a Contemplative Retreat for our OHI graduates. This Thursday-through-Sunday intensive retreat will take a deep-dive into one aspect of our program, such as engraining the practice of Alpha-meditation. Or it will focus on mindful movement or how to maintain the Maintenance Diet. Imagine getting the full benefits of our 3-week program related to spiritual practices mindfulness, diet or movement in just a 3-day intensive! You will build on your current experience and knowledge and go further into each level of physical, mental and spiritual realms. It will also serve as a quick reset for those who can’t attend for a full week.

    And finally…we heard you loud-and-clear when you said you wanted a Referral Program. The more you refer friends and family, the more you will enjoy great discounts on our rates. We will be releasing details soon!

    Take a Wellness Inventory as You Move into Spring

    The renewing season is also a good time to take inventory. Take an inventory of your health and wellness. Have you gotten off track with your diet, spiritual practices, and exercise? A visit to OHI is the perfect way to reset. In addition to the physical and mental, we will help you reconnect with the spiritual as well. In our safe and sacred environment, you will nourish your spirit through daily reflection, meditation, and celebration.

    We look forward to seeing you soon.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin