I’m a raw food chef and a Facilitator of classes at The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego, California.
Before becoming a Facilitator at O.H.I., I was a participant in their program. It was a deeply moving and enriching experience that I will never forget. This article is meant to inform and share a little about my journey toward optimum health.
When I allowed my body, mind and spirit a chance to detoxify in a safe, loving and caring space, miraculous shifts and changes took place.
Unexpectedly my past came bubbling to the surface
I realized that my body was always meant to be alkaline like my blood and that as a child, adolescent and most of my adult life, I had allowed my body to get very acidic through the food I ate. My diet shifted at an early age from meat and potatoes to a fast food and highly processed diet, which included sodas, chips, fries, lots of meat and sauces galore. I found myself addicted to texture, salt and sugary foods with very little room left for fresh veggies or much fruit. Little did I, or my family know what negative effects were in store for me down the road.
I also yo yo’d up and down with my body weight until one day a doctor told me that I had an overgrowth of Candida and that my blood pressure was dangerously high(200/100). This diagnosis is what lead me on a path to improve my health. The doctor, (who was not your traditional western medicine Doc.) told me to eat fresh organic vegetables and to avoid many of the foods I had spent my entire life enjoying. I was resistant at first but I convinced myself that if I took it seriously one month at a time, what harm could it do, so I gave it a try.
The first book I read was “Feast Without Yeast” and with the help of certain herbs and foods I was able to not only lose weight but get my Candida Overgrowth under control. I never felt better in my life and wanted to learn more about health and how to keep myself fit. Meat and dairy was not being missed much at that point because I felt so energetic and alive without it. I also learned a lot about protein and the myth I had been taught about needing plenty of it. The fact that so many strong herbivores (gorillas, elephants, giraffes etc..) on this planet are thriving gave me my first clue. My body shifted to an alkaline state very quickly with all the fresh veggies I was consuming. After 3 months on the no-yeast diet I slowly introduced fruit back into my routine along with some other healthy and missed foods (like chocolate and fermented sauerkraut – of course not mixed together).
I had an opportunity to detoxify further with fresh, organic, plant-based raw food meals and juices. I also found their classes on the body’s digestion, elimination, mindful exercises, food preparation, food combining and physical activities, to be illuminating, calming and truly life changing. It was just the knowledge I needed to take my health to a new level of awareness and commitment. I had always been aware of certain physiological and mental practices to help keep myself healthy but it wasn’t until I embedded myself into this program that many of those “intellectual knowings” became real and conscious.
They taught us all how to juice Wheatgrass for a daily dose of what Ann Wigmore (a Lithuanian holistic health practitioner, nutritionist, whole foods advocate, health educator and author) discovered was a key detoxifying part of the healing process.
The only way to find out about OHI is by word of mouth from a friend or family member or through an article written about someone’s experience.
I first heard about OHI from friends and people who had gone through the program. The OHI website was also a great way to learn about the organization and programs. They even have a week by week layout of what to expect. www.optimumhealth.org
- Week 1: Focus on the connection between the body, mind, and spirit
- Week 2: Discover tools that can help you make healthier choices
- Week 3: Learn how to take the program home with you.
OHI currently has two locations. One in San Diego and one in Austin Texas. The Austin Campus is a smaller, more intimate facility yet both offer the same health program.
The detoxification program
at OHI is structured in week-long increments, always from Sunday to Sunday and the full program is a 3 week commitment. Some people come a week at a time to accommodate their schedule or vacation time off from work but ideally a 3 week stay is ideal.
There is a very positive aspect to being around others who share in the experience yet knowing that each person has their own journey to pursue. Kindred Spirits can often be discovered at OHI. I highly recommend their PH alkalizing detox program to everyone who is looking for a healthy way to achieve optimum health. Whether you or a loved one has a “health opportunity” (a phrase coined by OHI . It also has a more positive meaning than “a health problem”) or just need to lose some weight, it works beautifully. Some guests have been coming back each year for 20 or 30 years as a maintenance program to tune up, learn something new and enjoy the healing energy of others in this raw-micro-community.
No Cell Phones!
allowed in any open or common space was a pleasant surprise and well received by most all guests. It’s a chance to disconnect and allow the most beneficial healing to take place. You are allowed to use your cell phone in your private room or in the “one and only” telephone booth located in the garden. This no electronic devices policy allows everyone to relax, feel safe, respected and at peace on their own journey. There are a few rooms with internet and a common area with a port to check email for those who absolutely need to stay connected. I found the policy refreshing and a nice disconnection from a world that I had let become so co-dependent.
They typically have around 100 guests at any one time in San Diego .The grounds and classrooms are quite spacious allowing for a very personal and uncrowded feeling. The staff was kind and attentive to all my needs. I was impressed with how knowledgable the class facilitators were and I learned a great deal about my body and how it effects my mind and spiritual connections.
I also realized that it’s all interlaced and as the detoxification of my body began, I felt how quickly my attitude and thoughts began to become clearer and more positive. I considered myself a very positive person before, but there is something unexplainable about being in such a safe space surrounded by others who are on a similar path of optimum health that can not be fully expressed. A sense of Joy and Love for myself and others was bubbling up as I sat in bed each evening reflecting back upon the day’s events.
I continue to meet people from all over the world arriving with their own goals and personal journey. I respect everyone I’ve met at OHI and the transformation I see each week, never ceases to amaze, inspire and fill me with gratitude.
This is not a Spa or Resort. It is however a sacred place for one’s Self to experience and allow the body, mind and spirit to heal in a way that very few environments, these days, allow.
There are hydrotherapy, massage, chiropractic and counseling services available each day.
I enjoyed the fresh organic food very much and never felt hungry or deprived of anything.
Since becoming a Facilitator at OHI, I have a much deeper, clearer understanding and respect of how beautiful and wise each human being is, especially when allowed the opportunity to naturally heal.
The key for me, is through a clean, supportive and safe environment. Our body is designed to eat healthy nutritious foods and yet with the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) we may have steered ourselves off the path slightly or in my case extremely and all I needed was some encouragement and community to help get back on my path. In my opinion teaching and encouraging others to live a happy, healthy, abundantly rich life is a great mission and worth pursuing. I personally live a peaceful, loving and healthy life without chemicals or drugs and continue to thrive everyday with this lifestyle.
Everyone deserves to know the truth about nutrition and health and how easy it can be to maintain a healthy body.
My first step was educating myself and committing to learn something new, no matter what my friends and family thought.
After a while most all of my friends became very supportive and have since started asking questions for their own knowledge about why food is so vitally important and how it relates to the body’s ability to heal.
We all know someone with a “health opportunity” and seeing it as such (an opportunity) is a very important first step in my opinion. They are not alone and there are many people waking up and learning how important nutrition is to personal health.
Also joining groups with like-minded people to get support has been very helpful here in my hometown. Community Rocks!
Some people metaphorically jump in without fear at the deep end of the pool, and others need to splash around a little and get their toes wet first. I’m a swimmer, so jumping in with both feet was just what I needed to do, to get me started.
Write to me if you have any questions about the OHI program. If I don’t have an answer, I can steer you in the right direction to someone who does.