The UltraMind Solution

Dr. Hyman emphasizes the importance of eating organic, drinking filtered water, and ingesting vitamins as a way to improve performance and mood as well as a way to solve diseases associated with the brain.  

Dr. Hyman advocates that many issues related to PMS, cancers, depression and dementia can be prevented through ensuring we eat enough fruits and vegetables and we take enough vitamins.  He proposes we eat organic to protect ourselves from the pesticides found in our diet, which is causing many of the anxiety, weight gain, and loss of focus and depression found in many Americans today.

I personally am reading his book, the UltraMind Solution. The book is complicated but interesting.  I now buy organic food and saw an immediate glow in my skin and felt immediately better.  People advocate that going to spas like Rancho La Puerta are so great because of the organic farming produced in Mexico.  He advocates a lot of organic vitamin supplements and provides stories of many patients who have noticed significant weight loss and happiness as a result of changing their diet and vitamin intake.

He goes further to suggest abstaining from wi-fi devices and plugging in appliances whenever possible to prevent potential damage.  A major tip: keep your cell phone away from your hip, it's where the majority of blood cells are created.  Also, relax more and take in mother nature.


Shiela Cluff, Founder & Fitness Expert, The Oaks at Ojai

We sat down with Shiela Cluff, fitness extraordinare and owner of the Oaks at Ojai.  We were blown away by her lifestyle and her various achievements. 

Sheila Cluff, internationally-known fitness expert, owner, and founder of The Oaks at Ojai health and fitness destination spa is an  inspiration because the 74-year-old mother of four and grandmother of seven lives and looks the lifestyle she teaches. The former star and host of her own fitness shows on NBC in New York and KABC in Southern California, Cluff has touched the lives of millions.  Cluff was named “Woman of the Year” by the City of Hope Foundation. She is a founding member of the Committee of 200, an organization of preeminent businesswomen that capitalizes on the success, power and influence of women in the global economy and the first “Entrepreneur of the Year” recipient by IDEA, the world’s  largest membership organization of health and fitness professionals.  She is a former board member of the International Spa Association (ISPA) and a member of the College of Sports Medicine, Ojai Village Association, as well as Ojai Film Festival Board.  Cluff was the recipient of the ISPA Visionary Award, demonstrating her astuteness and dedication to the industry, and the Eve Award presented by the Mannequins Auxiliary of Assistance League of Southern California for her philanthropy and commitment to community outreach.  Additionally, in May 2002, SPA magazine recognized the graduate of Ottawa Teachers College as a pioneer of the American spa industry with a “Trailblazer” tribute.The former professional figure skater and high school physical education teacher is considered a fitness pioneer in the health and fitness industry among her peers. Cluff introduced “cardiovascular dance” to the world in the 1950s. Today, we know this groundbreaking exercise simply as “aerobics.” As a motivational speaker, the author of four books, producer of four fitness videos, and leader of more than 40 fitness and beauty cruises, Cluff personally helps participants attain individual power through healthful living. In addition, Cluff publishes the “Spa Update,” a newsletter with 50,000 circulation.  After four decades of great success, Cluff still makes time to teach at least five classes per week at her popular California-based fitness destination spa and know her guests by name. In 2005 after a 45 year absence, she returned to figure skating as Mrs. Santa Clause in Holiday Magic on Ice and helped raise $6400 for Ventura County Foster Children.  The past four years, Cluff competed in the Ice Skating Institute Adult Skating Championships and came in first in her age division for freestyle skating.  More recently, Cluff has become a contributing author for Recovery Magazine, a publication designed to help those in recovery from physical or emotional difficulties by extending support and encouragement.  As American Spa’s 2008 Professional’s Choice Awards called her the “Most Influential Spa Leader,” she keeps on making philanthropic efforts. Most recently, she was the keynote speaker at the Go Red for Woman Luncheon to educate women across the country about heart-disease, since Cluff has spent decades transforming people’s lives by helping them make life-altering changes by adopting an easy-to-follow philosophy that combines healthy eating with an active lifestyle.


1.       When I visited the Oaks at Ojai for a tour I was told that calories are limited to 1200 calories a day for guests. Why is this and do you feel guests lose a lot of weight with this strategy?

Some of our guests have requested that we restrict their calories, so our healthy menu consists of a healthy 1200 calories.  We use no sugar, salt or white flour, nothing processed or frozen so people feel very satisfied with our program.  In fact, they are amazed at how they can feel so full on this food plan.  However, for those who have no desire to restrict their caloric intake and are coming to us strictly for our delicious healthy food and fitness, we encourage them to exercise their options at breakfast and take in additional calories through our healthy yogurt, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and homemade jams and toppings.  Of course, anyone, regardless of their fitness and health goals, can take advantage of this option.  Our whole philosophy about food is that food is necessary so we focus on quality not quantity, nutritional value and taste satisfaction.  For the superb athlete or super fit individual that needs to take in more calories, we offer the athlete’s portion which can be up to a double regular portion.  Weight loss depends on how much a person desires to lose and what their percentage of body fat is to lean muscle mass.  As a rule of thumb, we do not like to see anyone lose more than 2 lbs. of true fat per week.  If a person has a high percentage of body fat (over 25%), then that fat tends to retain fluid.  Our plan helps to reduce fluid retention, so it’s not unusual to see a 6-7 lbs weight loss on the scale the first week.  However, most of that will be fluid loss.

2.       Can you tell us about the recent renovation? 

We started our historic renovation four years ago.  Our goal is to bring the entire property, with new technology, back to its original 1918 look.  We have listened to our guests who have asked for suites and mini-suites, so we have created two large courtyard suites with living rooms, fireplaces, separate bedrooms, Jacuzzi tubs and private courtyards.  Our mini-suites have Jacuzzi bathtubs, large bedrooms with queen size beds and large courtyards.  In the main building itself, we have renovated all the rooms and have added private balconies to 50% of the rooms. We also want everyone to be able to afford the Oaks, so we’ve kept six rooms with small bathrooms and twin beds for the person who is on a budget.  These two rooms have also been renovated with custom tile and other amenities.

3.       What inspired you to decide to create the Oaks at Ojai?

I started my fitness company in 1960.  At that time we developed a plan called “Wellness in the Workplace” for business and industry, educational programs for school districts, fitness aboard cruise ships and a company that took people to all the spas of Europe called “Health Holidays”.  At that time, the European spas were way ahead of the few US spas that even existed when it came to massage, facials, aromatherapy and relaxation.  However, fitness was big in the US, as was healthy eating.  So, I decided to combine the best of Europe and the best of the US and created The Oaks at Ojai.

4.       You have a reputation for helping guests lose weight. What are some of your secrets?

I ask our guests to love their own bodies; accept their body type; set realistic goals; know that if they were born 5 ft. tall, there’s no wellness program in the world that going to make them 6 ft. tall.  They are encouraged to set short term goals, i.e. six weeks walking with a buddy three times a week; once they have had success at that, add strength training, stretching and relaxation.  Other suggestions are that they make time for fitness rather than make excuses for not having the time; get a buddy with the same fitness goals; and when dining out leave 1/3 of everything on their plate or take it home with them.

5.       Do you have any recipes for the menus at the Oaks?

Yes, we have 3 cookbooks.  I would be happy to send you the latest one, Healthy Cuisine for Singles & Doubles.

6.       What is your secret to staying young and fit? 

I truly believe that fitness enriches the quality of one’s life.  Fitness has allowed me to continue to be a black diamond downhill skier.  At age 70, after a 50 year absence, I returned to competitive figure skating and compete on a national and international level.  This has brought me great joy and allowed me to raise money for various causes that I support.  I think my ego gets in the way----I love clothes and I like to look good in them.  I want to emphasize that there’s a difference between being slim and being fit.  Even though I’m a size 0-2, I’m a very strong size 0-2.

7.       What tips do you have for women in their early 80s to stay fit?

Recognize that the body changes.  If you used to be a runner, now you may need to be a walker.  If you have a little stiffening of the joints, then water exercise may be the best way for you to stay fit.  Lift weights, but not more than 10 lbs. and do it sitting on a chair rather than standing.  Walk, walk, walk.  8.

 What tips do you have for the following age groups to stay fit and healthy:

20’s  In the 20’s, decide on your favorite sport and play it on a regular basis;

30’s  Continue to play your favorite sports, but because the muscles tend to atrophy as one becomes chronologically enriched, I would suggest additional core strength training and weight training;

40’s  The 40-year-old may want to switch from running to walking.  Because you may have more financial flexibility at this point in your life, you may want to commit to joining a gym and use your gym membership.  If you have children, find a way to play and stay fit with them;

50’s    I would say the 50’s would be similar to the 40’s, but you may have the luxury of taking more vacations.  If you go on a cruise or stay in a hotel, make sure there are fitness facilities you can use.  The 50’s is a good time to add massage to your routine because we are quite often under negative stress and massage is a great stress-buster.  To prevent the development of wrinkles in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, have facials regularly and use a good sunscreen and facial moisturizer every day and night;

60’s  Really let your body dictate what it likes and if a particular movement or activity like aerobic class, spinning, jogging or running a 10K seems to consistently cause pain or stiffness, switch to a less percussive form of fitness.

70’s  Be kind to your joints---walk or ride a bicycle.  Even think about using a recumbent bicycle as it puts less stress on the joints than a Stairmaster.  Water exercise is excellent for this age group and lots of stretching to avoid stiffness. 80’s and beyond  Walking and more walking; continue your strength training, i.e. lifting weights and get lots of massages.  Tips for all ages, 20 and up, always wear a good sun block when going outside; have facials at least twice a month if you can afford it; never go to bed with makeup on; exfoliate the skin each night and moisturize it.  Pay particular attention to the face and the chest and make sure after a shower you moisturize the entire body.  Wear fashion that fits your age group and you’ll look more attractive.  Learn your body type and if you tend to be heavy in the hips focus on the upper torso with a great scarf or a piece of jewelry; if you have narrow shoulders wear shoulder pads; if you have a tiny waist capitalize on it; if you tend to be a little flat-chested wear ruffles in the upper torso or use today’s undergarments to balance your measurements.

Nutritionist Esther Blum

We interviewed Esther Blum, author of the bestselling books Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project for tips on diet and exercise.
Esther Blum is a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Connecticut. Esther is the author of the bestselling books Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project.

Esther Blum is a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Connecticut. Esther is the author of the bestselling books Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project. She is sought after by national food and beverage brands as a spokesperson, regularly leading Satellite Media Tours, and maintains a busy private practice.

Widely respected as an industry expert, Esther was voted Best Nutritionist by Manhattan Magazine, and is featured in the 2011-2012 edition of Sutton Who’s Who in Healthcare.


What foods can we eat for fat loss?

Eating and exercising for fat loss are not necessarily the same as eating for longevity (though it’s certainly a good starting point if you need to improve your health). Eating for longevity means choosing whole foods that are rich in antioxidants and fiber (such as flaxseeds, kiwis, and pomegranates), and ones that have cancer- or disease-fighting benefits (such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and winter squash). Eating for fat loss encompasses a diet that controls carbohydrate intake, blood sugar response, and the hormonal effects of food. In a fat-loss diet, high-glycemic carbs are usually consumed within 30 minutes after exercise.

What types of exercises should we be doing for weight loss?

When clients come to me for weight loss, their story is often the same: “I eat healthfully and exercise but I still can’t lose weight!” Change is hard, but it’s also a good thing to keep things fresh by breathing new life into old, stale routines. The women I see in my practice tend to rely heavily on cardio to keep themselves in shape, yet they are frustrated at seeing little to no change in their body shape. Ladies, we all need to lift heavy weights to create hormonal changes within our bodies. Lifting heavy weights raises the body’s levels of testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and di-hydroxy-androsterone (DHEA). This in turn boosts the body’s natural ability to burn fat for a full 24 hours after your workout! Bear in mind that eating healthy, whole foods must accompany your workouts, lest you sabotage all of your gorgeous efforts at the gym.

What is the best type of workout to be in great shape?

I go to the gym and see the same people there day in and day out, doing the exact same routines for years and not changing their bodies one bit. What a waste of valuable time! An effective gym workout is done for 1 hour at most, three or four times per week. In addition, avoid prolonged cardio that keeps your heart rate continuously elevated at 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate; this type of cardio is extremely detrimental to fat loss, because it raises cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps the body store fat while simultaneously burning muscle—especially around your midsection. To help build endurance and keep your heart fit, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch, and no more than that. You will burn twice the body fat during your workouts, and the effect will last throughout the entire day. A 5-minute warm-up can be followed by five rounds of 1-minute sprints, with 30 to 60 seconds of rest in between. Then cool down for 5 minutes. Sprints can be done on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer; with a jump rope; or even as fast laps in a pool. Still not convinced that HIIT will be effective? Look at the physique of a marathoner versus that of a sprinter and tell me who has more muscle!

What tips do you have for looking gorgeous?

Sleep Is a Fat-Loss Nutrient.  Let’s face it—hormones are one helluva dominatrix when it comes to ruling our bodies. Night after night of abuse (like sleep deprivation, for example) and you’ll be feeling that whip crack your booty, all right! Sleep is critical in controlling fat storage because of the role it plays in regulating our hormones. Two hormones in particular rule the roost with appetite regulation: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin says “I’m hungry” and leptin says “I’ve had enough.”

Leptin decreases your appetite after you’ve eaten, and it promotes calorie burning. Obese people have high levels of leptin, but their bodies may be less sensitive to its effects. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone, which tells you that you need to eat. Ghrelin also contributes to stress eating, and you can blame it for your high-calorie food cravings and the abdominal fat you’re storing. It’s no surprise that eating meats and nuts in your meals controls ghrelin, while eating sugary snacks will spike it. And, research from the University of Chicago says sleep deprivation increases ghrelin, decreases leptin, and increases the incidence of obesity. In other words, a few extra hours of shut-eye are imperative in fighting the battle of the bulge.

What foods can I eat to make my skin glow?

1. Wild Alaskan Salmon.  It is loaded with DMAE, omega-3s and astaxanthin- a potent antioxidant to protect your skin from hyperpigmentation.  It will give your facial contours beautiful tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles within hours of consumption.

2. Healthy fats like avocadoes and raw nuts and seeds.  They will lube you up from the inside out and will help your skin glow from hydration!  Fats will stabilize your blood sugar for hours after you consume them, ultimately controlling the inflammatory response from food that can cause skin to look red and ruddy.

3. Dark, green leafy vegetables.  Eat them raw, steamed, or freshly juiced. They will detoxify your liver, clean out your intestines, and help balance out your body chemistry.  This will help address dark brown undereye circles, which are often a sign of poor liver detoxification.


Here is a recipe for my favorite detox smoothie of late, which tastes absolutely delicious!  Buy organic ingredients for optimal results:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup vanilla almond milk (40 calories)

1 bunch fresh spinach

1 scoop chocolate whey protein

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Blend together at high speed for 10-15 seconds in a high-speed blender or Vitamix.

What are some foods we should stay away from?

The white stuff will make you fat and wrinkled faster than you can say “Twinkie!” Sugar, flour, breads, white rice, and even milk can fatten you up due to their ability to spike insulin levels rapidly and help you store your food as fat (low-calorie or otherwise).  Couple that with a diet rich in transfats and hydrogenated oils and you’ve got the perfect storm for a metabolic mess.  The beauty about the body, though, is its remarkable ability to recover and heal itself once you eliminate these foods from your diet.

More About Esther Blum

Esther Blum is a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Connecticut. Esther is the author of the bestselling books Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project. She is sought after by national food and beverage brands as a spokesperson, regularly leading Satellite Media Tours, and maintains a busy private practice. 

Widely respected as an industry expert, Esther was voted Best Nutritionist by Manhattan Magazine, and is featured in the 2011-2012 edition of Sutton Who’s Who in Healthcare. Esther has appeared on the Today Show, the ISAAC show, ABC-TV, FOX- 5’s Good Day NY, Fox News Live, CW11 morning news, Martha Stewart Radio, Lime Radio, and Bloomberg Radio. A self-titled Food Fashionista, Esther is an in-demand authority frequently quoted in Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, iVillage, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire, Delicious Living, Time Out New York, Women’s Health, Body and Soul, Clean Eating, Health, Let’s Live!, and Health.

Esther has 17 years’ experience treating a myriad of conditions, including autoimmune diseases, acne, cardiovascular issues, prenatal and postpartum, hormonal imbalances, food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, PMS, yeast overgrowth, and countless other medical concerns. She has forged her own path as a dietitian who uses intensive diet therapy in conjunction with nutrients and herbs. This synergistic approach to wellness helps Esther’s clients restore health and balance in their lives.

Esther received a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Simmons College in Boston and is a graduate of New York University, where she received her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. Esther is credentialed as a registered dietitian, a certified dietitian-nutritionist and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS), a license of the American College of Nutrition (ACN)’s certifying arm, the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS). She is also a member of the American Dietetic Association, Nutritionists in Complementary Care, and the Connecticut Dietetic Association.

Tracy Anderson


Tracy Anderson is Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer.  Her combinations target transforming the body into a professional dancer’s type body: thin, long and lean.  She uses a computer analysis and designs programs for her clients.  She has a slew of DVDs out for at home workouts.  She answers your questions.  You can find further information on her products and videos by visiting her website



What general tips keep your high profile clients in shape?

In my view, most gym programs over work major muscle groups.  Anytime you are doing the same movement over and over you are building and bulking your muscles.  It is very important to change your rotations and hit your muscles from different angles so that you are strengthening your accessory muscles and not overusing your large muscle groups.  When the accessory muscles are properly developed, they pull in the larger muscles, creating a tinier body structure.  In addition, the muscles get smart fast.  Change keeps the muscles from shifting and responding.  The way you work the muscles must always be changed while keeping moves that have the same end goal result.

You have a reputation for moving clients from a siz 12 to a size 2 quickly.  Do you have any tips that lead to your clients’ strong transformation rates?

The key to my programs is that I am always moving my clients along with new work.  Your muscles get smart fast and they quit working for you.  During my years of research I found that there was not a program that had enough variations for challenging movements to take people the distance.  Focus on variety for strong results.

What are the common mistakes peopel make around fitness, health and nutrition?

Your primary focus needs to be on dieting.  Even I hate dieting but I do it anyway.  I think it is the most evil way to set people up to fail.  You must also be disciplined with your time to exercise.  I work with some of the busiest people in the world and they don’t miss their workouts.  Your body needs food and it needs what you crave, so ensure you’re not starving yourself and meeting your minimum calorie requirements.

How much time do you suggest should be devoted to exercise?

Dedicate at least one hour a day to exercise.  Dont miss it, period.  I typically recommend 30 minutes of heart pumping cardio followed by 30 minutes of muscular structure work.