I know I look healthy….but the weight is creeping up with my rather excessive eating lifestyle! I eat pretty healthy most of the time, but there are weeks when I go out every night. How’s a girl to deal without becoming a slave to the treadmill?!

I decided to go somewhere special to detox –  The Optimum Health Institute in San Diego. I’ve detoxed before, but this was the real deal! What a healthy decision it turned out to be! I hope hearing about my experience will inspire you too.

In California, I was spending time at Mom’s house, cleaning it up after her passing last year. This was just the sort of break I needed… a week to totally take care of my mind, body and soul. Several friends had recommended OHI, so I decided to take the plunge. Here’s my “diary” !

Sunday, Feb 1st

I pulled up at a group of very unpretentious buildings in a section of San Diego called Lemon Grove. It used to be just that – a grove of lemon trees. Now it is a set of rooms and townhouses and a main building.


The first night, after dinner (salad with sprouts!) we had an introduction. You can imagine that I was not in such a great mood after eating this measley meal!

But my attention was riveted by a woman who spoke who was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and told that there was nothing else her doctors could do for her. He told her she had 9 months to live.  Twelve years later, she is very alive, and very well.

Her story was simple: she came to OHI and healed herself. She was disciplined and learned the basics of the program.

What are the basics?

I’m really simplifying their program but here goes:

Wheatgrass juice everyday, raw food filled with enzymes, nutrients and vibrational energy.

Meditation and learning to love oneself. Opening your heart and learning the art of forgiveness.

During the week that I was there, we learned all of these practices and much, much more.



I learned the benefits of drinking wheatgrass everyday, which I plan to continue regularly. Luckily I learned how to make my own! We all made our own at OHI!

This bright green juice floods the body with chlorphyll and helps the liver to detox from our typical American diet of processed foods and toxins.

Of course, I have had wheatgrass before, but I was never a fan! However Michael bought a wheatgrass juicer for me and I will begin drinking it everyday (even though I still don’t relish the taste!) The benefits are too good not to! 

Raw Food

Lets talk raw food. When the body is sick and trying to fight off cancer and disease, a diet of raw foods can heal.

Raw foods are filled with enzymes and vitamins and minerals. Raw food is food that hasn’t been heated above 108 degrees for a prolonged period of time.

For my lifestyle, I think that sticking to this program 100% is not feasible, but I made a commitment to eat raw/vegan for 2 meals of the day and then have one cooked meal.

We also learned meditation, about calming the mind. In addition, we took loads of classes on optimum food combining and digestive health.

There is a daily exercise class and an afternoon stretch class. Of course, the food is minimal. It’s detox cuisine!

Ben Vereen

The first day I was there, I ran into Ben Vereen, award winning Broadway star, singer, dancer. It was like…what is he doing here? I learned that he practically lives at OHI. Wow!

We had a talent show on Friday night and I sang. Ben Vereen performed as well. He told his story of coming to OHI many years ago. He was hilarious. And serenading us all with his flute during the day, encouraging us. He sang and made me cry with his mix of godspeak and song. What a powerhouse!

A Difficult Detox

Was it difficult staying on the detox? Yes, it was but I did it! Our week included 3 days of a juice fast. I was so glad when it was over. An avocado never tasted that good!

I took a raw cooking (oxymoron) class on Saturday taught by a woman named Joan Jackson who began her health challenge (or opportunity as they call it) at OHI many years ago. She teaches the premises of a raw food diet and how to organize a raw food kitchen. She was an inspiration!

I learned so much and met so many terrific people. I even lost 5 pounds at OHI. But more than that, I feel so energized. The program is really 3 weeks to get the full benefit, but I’m happy to have had 1 week.

I will make this a yearly pilgrimage. I feel cleaned out…mind, body and soul! Here is a raw food recipe, that I will use over and over.

It’s a salad dressing that is so delicious and inspired by Joan Jackson, The Raw Kitchen Magician. It’s from her cookbook, The Raw Kitchen Bible:

The Best Dressing
The Best Dressing
Print Recipe The Best Dressing


  • ¼ cup Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) found in health food stores
  • ½ cup Olive Oil ( or less if you’re watching your oil )
  • cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano (fresh is better)
  • 2 teaspoons Basil ( fresh if available)
  • Blend all together in a Vitamix or Blender
  • Taste for seasoning

I serve this with dark greens such as watercress, kale, and arugula, plus raw veggies. Add some nuts for crunch. It’s delicious!