A WHEATGRASS RETREAT- IS IT FOR YOU?
The following article is the first of a five part series relating the experiences a long time advocate of wheatgrass juice had during a stay at a well known institute specializing in a live food dietary regime supplemented with wheatgrass juice. The system used at the Optimum Health Institute is based generally on the teachings of Ann Wigmore. There are a number of fine centers, institutes, and spas offering this particular approach to health and diet, so the selection of OHI is not a specific endorsement or recommendation. If you are facing a serious health challenge, consult your physician before undertaking such a course. And if you are unable to attend a retreat, you can begin holistic diet regimes at home!- Editor
By Chuck Juhn
If you are reading this far, then you may find the following material useful as you evaluate your own situation. If you are a casual user of wheatgrass juice, perhaps you are ready to 'take it to the next level'. If you are a person with a significant health challenge, I can guarantee you will find information useful to help you make some informed decisions about how to proceed to regain your health and well being. If you agree that the current 'standard American diet' is a disaster area, you are half way to your own solution. If you are interested in taking charge of your own health, and recognize you have the responsibility to do it, then you are invited to read on, because there are many sources of information out there that can tell you HOW to do it and why. This article will hopefully give you insight into a journey I took that changed my life for the better, and can do the same for you.
For the last 35 years I have been a vegetarian, sometimes 'ovo-lacto', sometimes 'lacto', but as much as possible 'vegan', that is, one who uses no animal or animal derived products. Usually, about 70 to 80 per-cent of my diet is uncooked. Also, since the mid nineteen seventies, I have been interested in the use of chlorophyll rich juices from wheat and barley grass to give me that 'super nutrition' consisting of vital enzymes, vitamins, and minerals only found in juiced grass. My lifestyle goal, however, in all of this, is to eat a 100 percent living foods diet packed with enzyme, nutrient rich foods and drinks for optimal health and longevity, regardless of where I am, or what I am doing. That is a big challenge, and sometimes you just need a little help to show you the way. If you too hold such an aim, then I guarantee you there is information and help to get you over the many hurdles, physical and societal, that we face in these times of 'advertised lifestyles' and processed foods.
In my line of work, I spend a lot of time in high stress environments, often with limited access to clean water and fresh food. In fact, usually I am surrounded by cigarette smoke, noise, air pollution, and a host of other less than congenial environmental pollutants and toxins. Often, I cannot go to a store to buy the food I want (if there even is one) due to security concerns or travel restrictions. Lots of the time I eat what is prepared for the group living together in a compound or other remote or isolated site, based on what food is locally available, and including the social obligations often related to living in a foreign country. Sometimes this is very good, and sometimes, well, I just don't get the food I need to feel good and stay healthy. Also, I often have to pack up and move on short notice, sometimes VERY short notice. What to do?
In the field, so far, I pretty much eat raw when I can, and generally make do with what is available. I have never sprouted, or grown wheatgrass for juicing, or fermented food. Fortunately, in a lot of places, fermented krauts are a local staple, and that has helped me tremendously. But overall, my diet overseas is often sadly lacking, in part due to self-imposed restrictions such as being a vegetarian, and in part due to the difficult, shared living conditions. This is a problem that I must solve. It's my choice, it's my responsibility. As I develop more understanding of the techniques of maintaining a living food lifestyle, however, I see that with a little extra work and attention to detail, the live food regime is possible anywhere, in any climate. But, I am a lazy person, and lots of times I don't make good food choices. My strategy so far has been to go somewhere and have somebody 'do it for me' to some extent. A spa or center is a great place while it lasts, but at some point, you just have to take it home with you. That is my next challenge. But, one step at a time.
Since the mid 1990's, every 2 years or so, I generally have chosen to go on a 'health' retreat for 2 to 3 weeks to get myself cleaned up and rested. Since my home in the US is out in the west, I have always chosen to go to the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego because it has maintained a high quality program based on the teachings of Dr. Ann Wigmore, and has extremely reasonable prices. Also, the grounds are fantastic, the staff impeccable, and the system of instruction and participation just what I want when I come in from a long stay overseas and need a break with some structure, but not too much. The best aspect of a stay at a center like OHI is that you will meet a lot of people whose stories, challenges, and successes will inspire you every day to keep making the right choices regarding diet and lifestyle. I just finished a stay there this summer, and decided to write a short series of articles for those who might be looking for a similar experience. There are a number of other retreat centers, institutes, and spas offering a Wigmore type program, but I have always gone to OHI, and highly recommend them. They maintain an excellent website 'www.optimumhealth.org' where you can learn all about their programs.
What is the point of such a retreat? Two or three weeks is NOT a sufficient amount of time to rebuild and rejuvenate your body completely, but it can have a significant impact. For me, that has been enough over the years, although the use of a living foods diet must become part of a person's lifestyle to have the true and lasting benefits possible. Only then can the body fully rebuild itself with the high quality nutrition rich foods promoted by this system. In a way, our health problems are layered in us like an onion, and it sometimes takes years of cleansing and rebuilding to uncover and eliminate those toxins and pollutants we have carried virtually for a lifetime. It is very possible that it is this toxic load that is at the root of many, if not all, of the many health issues we face today.
Now, when I tell my friends and colleagues I am going to spend two or three weeks of vacation time at a spa drinking juice and eating raw food, they say things like:
"What? You're going to only ear RAW food for 3 weeks? You're going to drink juice squeezed out of GRASS????? Yeeeechhhhhhh! Why don't you just mow the lawn and eat that?"
"What is this stuff all about? I can't imagine not eating cooked food, and a lot of it, on my vacation. And there's no television there?"
"Just who is this Ann Wigmore, and why is she so great? I never heard of her before, and anyway, my doctor says it doesn't matter much what I eat, most of our health problems are due to genetics anyway."
Well, I don't ever argue with them, but I do give them the same advice I am giving you, which is to become more informed about food, diet, stress, pollution, and the effects those factors have on our health. If they have any health problem, I recommend that they might want to really look at some alternative treatments, and wheatgrass juice and living foods is the easiest, least expensive, most available alternative we have. In fact, if you grow your own wheatgrass, you can do all of this in your own home, inexpensively, safely, and with complete privacy.
All of us who have grown up since the 1940's have been the subjects of a huge, uncontrolled dietary experiment in processed and refined food, among so many other issues we face. A look at our current health industry will tell you that something is seriously amiss, but those are stories for another day. One thing we know for sure is that most of us are carrying, buried deep in our tissues, chemicals and substances never before seen in the human body. These must be removed from our systems in a way that does not overload our capacity to eliminate them while at the same time removing unhealthy and rebuilding healthy tissue. There is a logical, safe, and effective way to accomplish this using techniques and practices you will learn at OHI.
When I arrive at the institute, I have 2 aims in mind. The first is to detoxify, and the second is to rebuild. The Optimun Health Institute helps me do just that in three weeks through an intensive, and perfectly structured program that includes the following main elements:
Nourishment of the body with high energy living foods that include fermented, sprouted, and correctly combined foods and lots of wheatgrass juice. Bringing the colon back to health through a systematic cleansing. Relaxation, and mental and emotional cleansing. Physical and deep breathing exercise. Building and reinforcing the idea that you can expect positive results and you can trust your body's unlimited healing capacities. Oh, and one more thing -- this time, I want to take all of this knowledge and enthusiasm home with me, and do it myself wherever I am. Like one of the people I met on my first day at OHI, when I asked her if she had been there before and if she liked it, said to me, and I pass it along to you:
"I have been here 4 times in the last 10 years, actually, because for me, there was no other choice in a way. My doctor told me 10 years ago that I probably wouldn't live more that 2 years, and there was nothing they could do for me at that time but lessen the pain with drugs. I found out about wheatgrass juice from a book by Ann Wigmore, and found OHI through some phone calls. I am alive today thanks to this program. I thank God for that."
So, if you are interested in the above and want to find out more, join me for the next installments of this series and share a three-week stay at OHI. You'll hear what other people have said about their experiences with a living food diet and wheatgrass juice. Also, visit some websites if you can, such aswww.optimumhealth.org or www.wigmore.org for additional information.
Good luck in your efforts to 'take it to the next level'! You will be happy you did.