If stress and anxiety are blocking you in your relationships, you might want a nutrition 'makeover'
Sometimes when things aren't going so well in romantic relationships, the best thing to do is focus on yourself and "return to the basics" as they say. I spent a week at the Optimum Health Institute (“OHI”) in San Diego, a place with a mission to “serve as a change agent for humankind by improving the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of everyone we touch”, and was inspired to write about it and how I’ve persisted in improving my health practices over my life through baby step after baby step.
This is the first part of a three-part series.
Health and optimism are important to opening up to your perfect relationship – I know it’s been vital to me. Stress and anxiety block you from being your best self and make it difficult to be an awesome partner or "attract the one".
Optimum health is more than food and nutrition, and must include physical practices (exercise), mental health practices (like meditation) and spiritual practices (like finding your purpose). This series focuses on the nutrition & food aspects.
Whether you are in a relationship, single, or married for 50 years, considering the role your health has is important. Hey, I figure if you're single, why not focus on your health while you have the time and no one is buying you chocolates or sharing desserts with you? The best thing to do when you're single and open to 'finding the one' is to focus on YOU, and your health is a great place to start! If you're married with kids or beyond, a new look at nutrition is a great way to unlock some extra passion and romance with your partner.
I’ll be sharing about some of the biggest nutrition changes I’ve made that I still practice, and a few of the new tools I picked up at OHI that I’ll add into my routine. I’ll also share about how I ain’t no saint, and still eat junk food and am more apt to criticize myself for not being perfect with food and health than be grateful for all the progress I’ve made over the years.
Back to OHI…I heard about OHI two years ago, after my friend Carl Bressler went and came back RAVING about it, and what it did for him and his health. I don’t remember specifically what his results were, but I remember how excited he was about the experience and his new perspective on food and health.
The week included a regimen of raw food, classes, exercise, rest, wheatgrass and- yep – colonics/enemas. Heh! And they go through and teach you why all of this is important to your health.
This part of the blog post isn’t about recommending OHI as a place to go (go if you want, or not, it’s definitely not for everyone), but I am recommending you get outside your comfort zone, try new things and say "yes" to new experiences, oh, and did I mention... this is all to improve not only your health, but your relationships too.
Example Success Stories
Some people go to OHI because they have life threatening conditions like cancer. (And, by the way, OHI has some amazing stories of people healing miraculously after getting off junk food and practicing OHI’s teachings). Others go every few months just to recharge, detox and reconnect with helpful habits.
While I was there, some people in the program shared some stories. For example, one man (about 70 years old) said that during his stay at OHI:
His blood pressure went down enough that he had to stop taking his medication for it (he had a blood pressure testing cuff with him, and measured it every day).
His eyesight improved – he had bifocals, and had to put them down to read (he still needed them to see farther away)
Another woman told us she’d been coming to OHI 2-3 times per year for 30 years, and that she was 65, and had never had any plastic surgery. I thought she was 50 years old when I saw her!
How Kirsten Schulz Is Beating Stage 4 Cancer
Here’s an extreme example of what optimum health practices can do for someone with a life-threatening condition.
On the day I left OHI, Kirsten shared her story of being diagnosed with cancer in February 2010, and was given a few weeks to live. It’d already spread through several vital organs. Kirsten didn’t go with chemotherapy or surgery, and instead chose to focus on the kinds of health practices taught at OHI, and spent months living at OHI on their detox program. Nine months later, her cancer is in retreat.
By the way, my belief is that neither conventional doctors nor alternative practices alone have all the answers. They can be complimentary rather than competitive, like the yin and the yang.
I mean, when I found out I had skin cancer on my nose, I had it cut out by a dermatologist surgeon. I wasn’t going to try to heal just through nutrition and spiritual practices. But that’s me. And whatever health issue I get in the future, I’ll use a blend of eastern and western practices, rather than resisting one or the other.
Another personal story: I had an aunt who was devout Christian Science, the “heal only through prayer not through doctors religion”. Her belief did not change the course of her breast cancer, and she died (Of course, I have a great-aunt who’s now close to 90 and has never been treated by a doctor in her life, and she’s going strong. Go figure).
The point? Don’t follow others’ rigid beliefs! You need to try different things to find out what blend works for YOU. You can’t turn off your brain and live unconsciously and expect the happiness and results you want.
(which applies too in finding the love of your life!)
What I Personally Got From My Week At OHI
- I was re-energized about my health practices, and reminded how important health is to life, and how much I and others take it for granted… until it starts fading.
- The red and dry skin on my face cleared up
- My dry scalp went totally away (I believe this is because the shower water there is filtered & dechlorinated)
- I learned a lot about optimum health through mind, body and spirit
- I met a bunch of great people
- I got to deliver an early version of a new Unique Genius talk: “Authenticity: The Missing Link Between Money And Fulfillment”
New Practices I Learned At OHI that I’m Adopting:
So I learned a TON about health and practices at OHI, and here are the few most important & practical things I’m implementing at home…
- “Eat while I eat”: Too often we eat while watching TV, driving, working or rushing around. When we do this, our bodies and minds don’t really register that we’ve even eaten (and we don’t enjoy it!), leading to more overeating.
- Farmers Markets are #1: Shop for food as much as possible at local farmers markets and through Community Supported Agriculture (LocalHarvest.org)
- Soak & sprout seeds, beans & nuts to greatly increases the nutrients and digestibility of things like seeds and grains.
- “Food Combining”: Your body has a lot of trouble digesting some types of food when you eat them at the same time, like protein (meat) and starch (potatoes), causing upset stomach, gas and low energy. Food Combining means being aware of the types of food you eat in one meal, so they don’t fight it out in your gut.
- Not eating close to bedtime: OHI recommended eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime, so that digesting doesn’t disturb your sleep. I have a watch that can track how deeply I sleep (www.SleepTracker.com), and I found at OHI that I slept MUCH better if I didn’t eat for 2-3 hours before I went to sleep.
This is great stuff!
Progress, Not Perfection
Now that I’ve been home for a few weeks since OHI, I’ve been ok at implementing these – but not perfect. It takes time to change habits, and I’m doing my best in improving my nutrition AND being kind to myself and not beating myself up when I don’t do these changes perfectly.
In fact, right after I hit “publish” I’m going to go for a long walk and getting some ridiculously amazing hot chocolate at a local place here in Santa Monica called Huckleberry :) Hey, I am only human!!
This is about PROGRESS, not PERFECTION – something my clients must be sick of hearing me say since that too is a fundamental lesson in any relationship.
Stay tuned for part 2 - I’ll review the major nutrition changes I’ve made over my life and share my take on raw vs cooked, plants vs meat, and organic vs inorganic.
Until then... enjoy optimizing!