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How to Feel Great

There are many ways to write a column and if you are busy, busy, busy, often all you do is read the first and last paragraph. If you are one of those people, here’s the first and last paragraph.

First paragraph — When my wife, Kate, and I walked onto the grounds at the Optimum Health Institute (a place she had dragged me to), I said — “This feels exactly like the kind of joint that would hatch a nut like Charlie Manson.”

Last paragraph — After we had been at OHI for two weeks we went to Safeway. Kate was trying to visualize how much combined weight we had lost so I piled forty pounds — yes, forty pounds of sugar in her arms. We had each lost twenty pounds and we felt the best we had in twenty years. Amazing.

And for those who want to read a little of what happened while we were at OHI for two weeks, continue on —

The Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove (near San Diego) is a not-for-profit non-denominational organization, sponsored by Free Sacred Trinity Church. It costs about five hundred dollars a week to visit and this includes housing and meals.

OHI is not a medical facility but an educational entity. They believe that the stress and lifestyle of our lives overload our bodies with toxins. Their mission, should you decide to go along with it, is to remove the toxins from your body through a combination of diet, exercise, massage, colonics and thought.

When I arrived there my blood pressure was 150/100. Two weeks later it was 115/75. My eyesight was much improved. My headaches were gone. My indigestion was a thing of the past. My stiff joints in my knees had disappeared.

I could barely walk up a gentle slope before I arrived but after I finished the two weeks, I could jog effortlessly up hills. Not very steep hills, but hills.

I had edema that was so bad in my lower legs that when I pressed on the skin, a depression would remain for several minutes. When I left OHI my skin was taunt and firm. It had lots of bounce.

In short, before going there, I was bloated and lethargic. All the bloat disappeared after two weeks.

Prior to OHI, I had several bouts of indigestion per week. Hello Tagament. After I finished there, no more indigestion. Zero. Goodbye Tagament.

This sounds like a paid commercial for OHI. It’s not. I really tried hard to come up with funny things about the place. I saw it change people’s lives.

OHI promises that if you follow its program for a week, you will feel better than you could remember ever feeling. They were right. Kate and I were amazed at the positive changes in our bodies. We slept as well as we ever had in our lives. What astonished us was how quickly our bodies (both on the downhill side of 50) repaired themselves.

Kate and I learned how to prepare healthy meals for a fraction of the price of our regular food budget.

You’ll note I said prepare, not cook. You eat only raw vegetables, fruits, legumes and seeds at OHI — they do not cook anything.

The most difficult part for many is a vegetable juice “fast” that lasts about two and a half days. You’re never really hungry — at least, we weren’t, but during the fast your body throws off toxins and that can produce headaches, aches and pains.

They drink a lot of fresh wheatgrass at OHI. It’s hard to swallow — at least for me — but it helps with the cleansing process of your body.

To further rid your body of sludge during the detoxification fast, OHI advocates colonics and massage. Seems some people have clogged up colons. The staff are ever alert to strange things in your colon. They have even found a miniature Barbie doll inside one client. She had swallowed the toy in childhood. I never played with Barbie dolls and I had recently had a colonoscopy so I knew I was as clean as a whistle — thus I did not avail myself of colonics.

The massages were great. (Both massages and colonics are extra.)

Everyone I talked with who was going through the program at OHI reported that after a week or two they felt better than they could remember.

When Kate and I left the Institute after two weeks, we decided we would attempt to adjust our lives in “the real world.” No more soft drinks, no more caffeine. Cut back drastically on chocolate, sugar and flour. We would try to eat raw fruits and five raw vegetables a day. We didn’t smoke or use drugs — we were feeling so good I suggested we start. (Kate nixed this.)

We vowed to drink more water. We also decided to forgo meat. We decided to exercise more and continue with a twenty-minute series of gentle exercises that they teach at OHI. These exercises seem deceptively simple but they are tricky to master. They are a combination of yoga and Tai Chi.

What happened? Well, a week later, we are sticking to the program — I have dropped another pound or two. Kate is holding her own. So far, we have had no craving for meat or junk food. We are eating five servings of fresh vegetables and five servings of fresh fruit each day.

My blood pressure is still that of a twenty-year-old athlete, someone a third my age. I plan to have my cholesterol checked. I bet it’s way down. Both Kate and I feel better than we can remember feeling. I seem to think more clearly. Tragically my spelling has not improved but that was never my strong point.

To recap — I felt like an old man when I went to OHI. Now I feel like a kid again. How long this will last and how long we can keep up the program worries me. I’m great at starting things but I enjoy thick steaks and other artery clogging goodies.

Will I fall off the wagon? Yes. Will we go back to OHI to knock back wheatgrass and try to relearn some things about food and healthy living? Yes.

I have more questions and answers about health and well being in the new millennium. As it happens, I have excellent medical coverage and so does Kate. If I needed a triple bypass, no problem. Our health care would fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the procedure.

However, if I asked for a couple of thousand dollars to cover the total cost of preventive maintenance for my body at places such a OHI, I wouldn’t get a thin dime.

Something is very haywire somewhere.

By the way — here’s OHI’s web page:  www.optimumhealth.org.

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