• Ways to Create Happiness in Your Day

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    Happiness is an elusive trait that everyone seems to be after, but no one has a single solution on how to attain it—in part because happiness is perceived differently by each individual. However, there is more to consider when you are trying to create your own happiness and live with a smile on your face. Instead of tackling happiness as a large, singular goal, you can feel happier every day with simple techniques to bring you more joy.

    Spend time with friends

    People are social creatures, so embrace your desire to interact with others by making more time for your close friends and family. Even taking a short walk with a good friend every day can remind you of the more simple joys in life and help you let go of negative feelings and have an attitude of gratitude.

    Do more of what you love

    A great start in tapping into your bliss is taking note of the activities that help to make you smile. If you find that you love to prepare dinner for your family, try incorporating more cooking into your routine. If painting makes you feel happy, calm and at peace, then make sure to schedule time to enjoy this magical time. If singing along to your favorite tunes puts a smile on your face then sing everyday in the car on your way to work.

    Relax with a bath

    Relaxation is important to your happiness, because stress releases hormones that trigger emotions of anger or sadness. A warm bath with scented oils can ease your mind and relax your body so that you feel revitalized and ready to get back to your day or prepare you for a restful night of soothing sleep.

    Start a garden

    Give yourself a healthy dose of sunshine each day by starting a small garden to grow food or flowers in your home. The plants you grow will brighten up your environment, and the time spent outside can help you center yourself and experience with appreciation in the little things like the sound of birds chirping or the sight of a breathtaking sunset.

    Savor your food

    Meal times are another great part of the day to stimulate your positive emotions; eating actually triggers pleasure signals in the brain. When you take the time to savor each bite of your meals, you can enhance these pleasing feelings. This is particularly true if you prepare your own food from items you have grown in your garden and are eating fresh organic foods.

    At Optimum Health Institute , we believe that happiness can be created with habits like these in addition to those that you will learn through our holistic healing program. This program is held over three week-long sessions, that may be taken independently or consecutively. To learn more, call OHI today at (800) 993-4325 or visit our website .

  • How to Unplug for a Peaceful Weekend

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    In today’s electronic world, it is easy for your mind to be overwhelmed by overstimulation from your phone, television, and computer. Most people are constantly running one or all of these devices, and this can lead to decreased happiness in one’s daily life. To reconnect with your spiritual self and avoid the pattern of perpetual electronic connectivity, take a weekend to be completely unplugged with these healthy and enlightening activities.

    Get some exercise

    A long exercise session will remind you why you should get up off the couch more often, because your body will release endorphins that make you feel great. Exercising outdoors is best if possible, because it will take you even further from the typical screen-bound lifestyle that could be keeping you down. For mood enhancing benefits try taking a long hike or going for a jog through the park.

    Volunteer in your community

    Helping your community can nurture your soul and help you reconnect with your friends and neighbors. There are all kinds of ways to spend time giving back, including volunteering at local schools or parks, donating blood, or organizing a charity drive within your community.

    Pray or meditate at home

    Unplugging is not only a great time to get more active, but also a time to reflect and enrich your spirit. You can do this by practicing yoga, meditation, or prayer on a daily basis in your own home where you will probably feel most relaxed. Create a quiet space for these activities either inside or outside so that you truly enjoy them as you feed your spiritual side.

    Have a face-to-face conversation

    Because so many mediums of communication flood people’s daily lives, you can miss out on the simple pleasure of a real conversation. When you unplug, encourage others to do the same so you can reconnect face-to-face and remind each other that there is more to life than staring at a screen.

    The holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute can help support you in learning how to unplug, by quieting your mind through Alpha techniques. Our program is given in three weeklong sessions that may be taken independently or consecutively. We utilize teachings from 24 ancient disciplines to promote the healing of your body, mind and spirit. Visit OptimumHealth.org or call us at (800) 993-4325 to make a reservation.

  • Follow the OHI “5 P’s” For a Happy New Year

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    “The happiest two days of your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”

    –Mark Twain

    Happy 2013!

    Speaking of happy, there’s an entirely new branch of psychology, Positive Psychology, that focuses on what people need to be content in their lives.  Dr. Marty Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania spearheaded the research, which revealed it wasn’t great wealth, or a person’s age, education or social status that determined whether or not they were going to be happy.  It boiled down to three things:

    1. Faith in something greater than yourself, which would encompass personal ethics and values;
    2. Friends, which included close family or a supportive community, and
    3. Purpose – doing something of meaning in your life, whether it was volunteering once a month, or pursuing an entire career in being of service to others.

    The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) is built on these principles, and incorporates them into its “Five P’s to Optimum Health.”  Following these guidelines can help you make 2013 your happiest, healthiest and most rewarding year yet.  Here are OHI’s Five P’s:

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

    Positive Mental Attitude: Part of the Positive Psychology research required participants to nightly reflect on the three most wonderful things that happened to them that day, and determine their role in making those things happen.  Knowing they were going to have to come up with that list each night kept the people looking for fun, interesting and positive things the entire day.  The exercise completely shifted their consciousness from, “What can go wrong” to “How does it get any better than this?”  That quantum shift in their thinking clicked them into a positive mental attitude all day, and became a habit.  As the mind stays in a healthy, balanced and happy state, the body and spirit naturally follow.

    Persistence: The natural tendency is to give up when things don’t come easily. By shifting into a positive state of mind as outlined above, we can list ‘sticking with a goal’ as one of the day’s three top victories. Developing our persistence in this way can give us the strength to keep going when it gets tough.  Just as it takes some time to develop unhealthy habits, it takes some time to substitute healthier new habits, too.

    Patience: “God grant me patience – NOW!” is a funny but ineffective prayer. The quickest route to switching into a more patient mode is to simply take a deep breath.  That delicious lungful of oxygen not only delivers more mental alertness – it signals us to slow down, to reassess, to take a step back.  From this more mindful state, we can consciously choose to be patient and gentler with our self as we navigate opportunities throughout the New Year.

    Prayer: Prayer is talking with God.  Through regular prayer we define and nourish our relationship to Him, and focus our feelings and intent by putting them into words.  This mindful and verbal connection to the Divine Source gives us a clarity and feeling of connection that no other discipline can.  Perhaps the simplest yet most effective prayer is a heart-felt, “thank you” – a prayer that will guarantee your happiness throughout 2013.

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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) 993-4325 to learn more.

  • Tools for Change- Taking the OHI Program Home

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    Count on the Food-prep Fab Four To Recreate OHI’s Meals at Home

    After returning from a rejuvenating, invigorating week – or several – at the Optimum Health Institute, you feel energized and rejuvenated, your thinking is clearer, and you’re looking at the world, and your life, in a healthier, happier way.  You vow you’re going to bring the program home with you, and change everything in your life to comply.

    While that kind of initial enthusiasm is commendable, realistically, it’s wise to introduce changes into your old lifestyle gently and gradually so you can stay focused on implementing your good intentions.  The perfect place to begin is in the heart of your home — your kitchen.

    When you’re fueling your body, mind and spirit with the live, raw, organic vegan foods you were served at OHI, it’s much easier to keep a clear head and feel empowered to continue making healthier choices.  Studies show it’s harder to maintain a clear mind and joyful spirit when your body is weighed down with toxins from processed food.

    For a healthy kitchen makeover, you’ll need the Food-Prep Fab Four:

    • A high quality chef’s knife
    • A Vitamix or other high-powered blender
    • A dehydrator
    • A juicer

    The Knife: With each new meal delivered up to you by the dedicated kitchen staff at OHI, you were presented with a rainbow of fresh raw vegetables artfully chopped, sliced, minced and diced to give you optimum flavors and nutrition.  That’s why if you’re going to invest in one new item to help you make a life-long switch to healthy eating, you should get a quality chef’s knife.  With minimal care, this is the essential tool for recreating those delicious raw meals in your own kitchen.  When you see how much easier it is to julienne carrots or chop onions with a properly weighted big knife, you’ll actually start to enjoy preparing raw foods. 

    The Vitamix: Fresh salsas, raw soups, hearty green drinks – all of them are a snap with a quality blender.  After you’re prepped your vegetables and fruits with that great knife, a few seconds in the blender transforms them into limitless meal possibilities.  Use the raw food recipes that come with the appliance, or check out some of the raw food recipe books at the Optimum Health Store.  This appliance will be your personal sous chef.

    A dehydrator: You learned at OHI that heating foods over temperatures of 105 will destroy essential nutrients.  With a dehydrator, you can turn the heat down and still turn out batches of crackers, bite-sized pizzas, even corn chips and fruit leathers, that are bursting with vitamins, amino acids, minerals, nutrients and taste.  Preserve fruits and vegetables at their seasonal peak; make live raw vegan “cheese;” create your own special seasoning by dehydrating tomatoes, garlic and onions, then grinding them into a fine powder.  This appliance is a real kid-pleaser, too.  Dehydrated fruits taste just like candy, with none of the artificial sweeteners or coloring.

    A juicer: This last member of the Food-Prep Fab Four will be a versatile team player.  It can provide fresh wheatgrass juice.  It can transform fruits and veggies into instant and energizing drinks.  And the vegetable pulp it creates can be used to make dehydrated crackers.

    See how this tried and proved Food-Prep Fab Four can be your home-front support for transitioning to a healthier OHI-inspired life.  And for recipes, go online to http://www.optimumhealth.org/ , and find the newsletters in our “About Us” section. Each one has a delicious OHI-approved meal with step-by-step instructions for recreating it at home. You can also find tips on taking the OHI program home with you, recipes and more at http://www.optimumhealthusa.com/ .

    You can order dehydrators, juices and sprouting equipment from the OHI Store by calling (888)643-7867

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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) 993-4325 to learn more.

  • Healthy Hints for Happy Trails

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    One of the very cool things about the OHI program is, once you’ve made a commitment to pursue a healthier lifestyle, the opportunities to help you succeed are everywhere – even on the road.

    Here is a list of tips to support you on your travels:

    1. Your dehydrator is your travel buddy.  In the days before you leave, dehydrate a selection of fresh, healthy treats you can use as energy-rich snacks or tasty, satisfying meals on your trip.  Crackers, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, fruits and even OHI style “pizzas” all travel well, and can be tucked into your carry-on luggage for ease of access.

    2. Resist the temptation to grab something at a fast food place “just this once.”  Sure it might seem easier at the time – but it took dedication and effort to detoxify your body.  The physical, mental and emotional hit you’d take for backsliding just isn’t worth it in the long run, particularly when you’re on the go.

    3. Organic apples, pears, carrots and celery all travel well.  Mix it up with jimica or rutabaga slices.  Store sliced fruits and vegetables in insulated lunch bags for optimum freshness, and consume the day you prepare them.

    4. Do some Internet surfing to learn about raw vegan-friendly restaurants, whole food stores and farmer’s markets along your route, and at your destination. All three of the sites listed below can direct you to farmers’ markets, health food stores and restaurants serving up vegetarian fare:

    5. Google “juice bars” in your city of destination to see which ones carry wheatgrass juice.  As a “better than” option, dehydrated wheatgrass juice power travels well, and you can reconstitute it with pure water to get a healthy boost during your trip.

    6. Set aside time for a daily “stretch and stroll.”  Even in a hotel room you can do some body-strengthening and stress-soothing stretching every morning and evening.  Take comfortable shoes, too, so you can take a brisk stroll daily in the morning sun not only to reset your body’s clock, but to get your brain humming and energized.

    7. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.  Sure, you have a tight schedule and a lot of demands, whether it’s a pleasure or business trip.  But you’re not going to be much good for anything if you’re sleep-deprived.

    8. Stay hydrated.  Make sure you’re consuming at least eight glasses of pure water daily.  Airline travel is particularly notorious for dehydrating passengers.  Offset any potential negative side effects by drinking an extra glass or two of water on flight days.

    9. Meditate! Even a few minutes of conscious breathing and mindful meditation will put your body, mind and spirit into a relaxed alpha state, where you’re more likely to fight off stress, fatigue and illness.

    10. Practice the disciplines.  Take a few moments before bed to journal, meditate and pray.  Create fellowship with colleagues, friends or relatives. 

    Particularly when you travel, you start to realize that components of the OHI healthy lifestyle program aren’t just some things you do – they’re now actually an important part of who you are.  Doing these things in a new setting, and with old or new friends, can bring a new sense of wholeness to your life.

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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) 993-4325 to learn more.

  • Yams: A Holiday Favorite

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    Root vegetables are in abundance during fall and winter seasons, and they are a delicious source of nutrients that can be prepared easily and enhance a holiday meal. for a healthy way to savor the flavors of the season. Yams in particular are a great option to dine on, but they can be hard to come by if you want the real thing.

    Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

    In the United States, there has been longstanding confusion over the difference between yams and sweet potatoes . This is due to the fact that there are two types of sweet potatoes, so the term ‘yam’ was applied to one to create a distinction between the two varieties. Yams can be found in natural food markets and specialty stores. They have a tough, bark-like exterior with flesh that may be white, red, golden, or purple.

    Nutritional Value of Yams

    Yams are a wholesome substitute for other root vegetables like potatoes and parsnips that may not offer as much nutritional value aside from carbohydrates. They are high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, but they are very low in fat. Because of their nutritional content, eating yams can improve heart health, ease menopause symptoms, and help with weight control.

    How to Incorporate Yams into a Raw Diet

    One quick and easy recipe for yam soup, which is prepared regularly at the Optimum Health Institute, offers an excellent way to use yams and get their full nutritional offering. For 10 servings you need:

    Six to eight yams

    Two pints of sesame milk

    One teaspoon of cinnamon

    One avocado.

    Simply puree these ingredients in a food processor until smooth and serve with seasonings such as mace, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, or finely ground pine nuts.

    The OHI program includes three week-long sessions to be taken consecutively or independently, with classes incorporating 24 ancient spiritual disciplines that will help to cleanse and revitalize your body, mind, and spirit. Visit www.OptimumHealth.org or call us at (800) 993-4325.

  • Cultivating a Sharp Mind

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    Improving your mental capacity and brain power is a process that involves body, mind and spirit. While it is important to keep your brain active with mental challenges such as a challenging book or cross word puzzle, you should also work to give your mind time to relax so you are able to tap into your subconscious for a greater state of awareness. Your mind will respond to holistic healing techniques that help cleanse your body and balance your energy. Here is a look at what you can do to achieve this state in your daily life.

    Eat a balanced diet

    The food you eat has a direct impact on your focus, memory, and mental capacity, so changing the way you eat can help you think more clearly. Healthy foods like the vibrant selection of fruits and vegetables you would consume in a raw diet will offer your brain the nutrition it needs while cleansing the body of toxins that could impede your brain function.

    Get more exercise

    Just after exercising, you may feel more alert and focused, because your body has released hormones that make you feel energized and productive. Exercise also has long-term benefits for your mind, as it will facilitate better, sounder sleep.

    Use meditation

    Meditation is a powerful tool that can help you achieve a state of peace, connect with your subconscious mind, and enhance your spiritual connection. When you meditate, you will quiet the mind as you relax, and this will allow you to refocus, visualize your goals and allow your body to heal itself.

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to learn more.

  • Vocal Toning: Healing Through Sound Vibrations

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    Quieting the mind and focusing your energy is an important part of the healing process for your whole body. Practicing Alpha or meditation is one way you may work to achieve a peaceful, balanced state of mind, and it can help you tap into the art of vocal toning. It has long been understood that sound vibrations are beneficial to the mind and the body, and vocal toning takes advantage of these mental and physiological effects.

    What Is It? Toning is a gentle form of sound healing that helps us to heal on all levels by using certain notes and vowel sounds. The vowel sound is held for a certain number of minutes at the same pitch, unlike singing where you may vary the pitch. While there are multiple types of sound-based meditation techniques, those using a person’s own voice have been found the most effective. As the tones are sung, the chakras or our body centers respond. Using sound to resonate each center helps to “charge” those areas by increasing circulation, energy, and vitality. Quantum physics is suggesting that possibly disease in the body originates with disturbances in the electromagnetic field. Toning 3-5 minutes at each energy center helps “smooth out” the energy fields.

    Getting Started in Vocal Toning

    Once you learn about vocal toning and how to use it, you can incorporate it into your private or group meditation sessions. Guided meditation classes are the best way to learn vocal toning and then the techniques learned can be practiced at home with CDs to provide a peaceful, soothing background melody for your sound healing experience.

    Who Uses It?

    More and more and more people are finding healing through vocal toning. Sound healing has become a popular and well-respected field in mind-body medicine. Some pioneers in this field are: Steven Halpern, Jonathon Goldman and David Ison. The Optimum Health Institute uses the CD, Sing the Body from Dorian Carter in their toning class. You can order this CD by calling the OHI store at 888-643-7867

    Vocal toning is one of the many classes incorporated into the holistic healing program at the Optimum Health Institute . These teachings take place through three-week-long courses that can be  taken independently or consecutively. Learn more about the OHI program by calling (800) 993-4325 or visiting OptimumHealth.org .

  • Recognizing the Many Aliases of Sugar

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    With today’s processed foods and eating-on-the-go culture, sugar is making an appearance in all types of foods marketed as healthier options. It may be somewhat difficult to spot the saturation of sugar in all types of foods you might eat every day, so you should learn the other names that sugar can take on as you take control of your health . Below are some of sugar’s many disguises that you might encounter on food labels.

    Syrup

    Agave, corn, maple, and rice syrups are all commonly used ingredients in foods that pose as health food choices. Because their names are of vegetable and plant sources, it is often assumed that these sugars are better for your health than simple cane sugar. In reality, these types of sugar are just as fattening as table sugar, and they have none of the nutritional value of the plants they come from.

    Sucrose

    When you read food labels, it is rare that you will actually come across the word ‘sugar.’ Instead, you might see sucrose, which is the scientific name for the familiar white powder more commonly known as table sugar. Fructose and glucose are the components of sucrose, and these are more words to watch out for.

    Fruit Juice

    Fruit juice is one of the most deceptive forms of sugar, because it is assumed that the juice takes on the nutritional qualities of the fruit it comes from. However, fruit juice is mostly a source of sugar and not much else. Even if some vitamins remain present in the juice, it no longer contains the fiber found in whole fruit which can help digest the sugar properly. All kinds of juice—from concentrate, organic, and 100% juices—are big sugar sources that should be traded in for the whole raw fruit.  

    Evaporated Cane Juice

    Prepackaged foods are carefully designed for trickery, and the use of the words, evaporated cane juice” is proof that labels can be deceiving. Evaporated cane juice is exactly the same as regular sugar, but it sneaks into many diets because of this misleading wording.

    At Optimum Health Institute , we will help guide you through the proper steps to take in eating and preparing food so that you get the most out of a vibrant raw diet to cleanse your body. The holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute consists of three-week-long sessions that can be taken consecutively or independently. The sessions interlock classes and activities drawn from 24 ancient spiritual disciplines that promote healing of your body, mind, and spirit. Along with learning how to cleanse and nourish the body with diet, fasting, and exercise, guests learn how to quiet and focus the mind with journaling and meditation, plus renew and awaken their spirits with study, prayer, and celebration. To learn more about the OHI program, call (800) 993-4325 or visit www.optimumhealth.org.

  • Surrender to Serenity

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    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

    Courage to change the things I can

    And wisdom to know the difference.

    This prayer, attributed to American theologian Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr, has taken on a life of its own since Niebuhr first used it in a sermon seven decades ago.

    It brought comfort to countless military personnel during World War 2, when it was published in 1944 in a Federal Council of Churches book for army chaplains and servicemen.  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs have made it an important part of their meetings.  It’s used at funerals, in hospitals and hospice, at graduations, or during private contemplation.

    What is it about the Serenity Prayer that gives it such lasting power, and makes it appropriate for so many circumstances?

    It’s because the prayer makes us a humbled yet hopeful partner with a loving God – a God who won’t magically make challenges disappear, but who, at our request, will give us the spiritual strength and discernment to understand and then handle any situation which may arise.

    It offers a course of action when we feel we’ve screeched to a painful halt, and places us directly in the flow of divine grace, love and peace.  The prayer acknowledges that sometimes, the only way to release our anger, or fear, or impatience, or shame about something in our lives is to merely let all those harmful emotions go.  It helps us surrender to the reality that what’s done is done, what is, is, and perhaps the only possible thing about it that can change is the meaning we chose to give it.  On those occasions, when surrender is the only option, the prayer reassures us that heart-felt surrender will result in a positive emotional shift, and a blessed peace.

    The prayer speaks to the spiritual warrior in each of us by calling on God for the sheer guts to bravely confront what’s out of balance in our lives, and set it right.  Whether it’s an issue in our personal or professional lives, a health opportunity, or a worthy cause that speaks to our heart and soul, we’re not asking God to just handle it – we’re asking God to partner with us, to have our back while we charge ahead with prayerful resolution to make the world a better, more loving place.

    And finally, the real power of the prayer is its acknowledgement that sometimes, the line between knowing when to surrender, and knowing when to keep fighting, can be hard to discern.  Only through the divine grace of a loving God can we truly learn which is the right course of action.  While ‘knowledge’ about an issue can be all tangled up with ego and less than entirely positive motives, ‘wisdom’ comes straight from the heart, and straight from the hand of God.  Beseeching God for the pure insight and good judgment that comes to those who ask is a powerful, positive way to take the right path.

    May you know the peace that flows to us only by surrendering to God.

    When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a 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. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to learn more.