So, it’s been a few weeks since I finished my week-long stay at OHI Austin.
And despite my original desire to revert completely back to all my old habits and beliefs — that stuff gets into your head!
Okay, so I wasn’t completely set on forgetting all that I’d learned. But throughout the week I was there, it was such a roller coaster of emotion and informational input — that by the end my brain was fried and I found deep comfort in the idea that life could and would go on just as I’d been living it before checking in to room 207.
Let’s rewind for a minute.
A few months ago, my boss spent a week at a place called Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego, California. He came back refreshed and inspired — albeit with clear opinions about certain aspects of the program — and he felt very strongly that I should look into spending some time there myself. I googled it. I was intrigued but in a distant sort of way — oh, it looks good for those who have money to burn, bur for someone like myself, where every penny counts? More like a faraway dream.
And then circumstances unfolded — the man and I booked a trip to Austin Texas to visit my brother in his newly purchased home in his newly inhabited city — and all of a sudden, I was booked for a week at OHI’s Austin campus. And before I knew it, Sunday Oct 19th rolled around and it was 4pm, and my husband and brother were waving goodbye, and I was there. Alone.
OHI was so much more than I anticipated. Yes, I’d googled it, and yes, I’d skimmed through some menus, and read some bold print — but I didn’t really know what I was getting into. Over the course of five and half full days, I learned an absurd amount about my digestive system, organs in my body, the nutritional value of food and the power of the mind. And I made some incredible friends.
The campus was beautiful and the room (where I spent a lot of time … juicing and raw vegan food wears a person out!) was very comfy. On Sunday night we had a small orientation, but it was an early night, and I (being the anti-social monkey that I can be) retreated to my room and spent a chunk of time in tears, wondering what I’d signed myself up for, before falling into an uneasy sleep.
On Monday morning we were walked through the program. I recognized in the other first timers some of the same trepidation and unease that I felt within myself. Do what? Seriously? These people have to be out of their minds.
I had a tough time with some of it — buying into their philosophies, their love of wheatgrass (and its ultra superhuman healing powers …), their thoughts on food, colonics/enemas, etc. It was so much information, and a total change of thought process — so much new stuff all at once, and so intense. I went through waves of acceptance and then vehement denial. I knew that I had someone at the touch of a phone to be support — but sometimes I wasn’t looking for support of the program. Sometimes I was looking for support of the exact opposite — that living my life, eating decadent restaurant food and drinking sumptuous heady wines was okay. It wouldn’t kill me. And after a couple of days at OHI, I was pretty sure that their whole message was that if I followed their plan, and gave up some much of what I loved, I would somehow be healed of my worst MS symptoms. And I had a problem with that, too.
But here I am, several weeks later, and so much of what I learned is still lingering in the forefront of my mind. Could I eat terrible food? Sure. But unfortunately, now I am armed with so much knowledge, it makes it hard to do that to myself.
Ignorance really is bliss.
I’m not ready to jump on a raw vegan bandwagon — too many things come to mind that I just could.not give up — at least, not all at once, cold turkey.
But I also felt that way two years ago, when my boss’s wife gave me all sorts of guidance about food, and I realized that as healthy as I thought I was being, I really had.no.idea. And since then, green smoothies and green juice, and eating a vegetable-based diet have become (mostly) our norm.
So despite all my skepticism, here I am, finally buying into the fact that some of that OHI mumbo jumbo was actually excellent information and I should apply it. Just not all at once. That’s just — well, insane.