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Oasis of Hope, Tijuana (Contreras Clinic)

Oasis of Hope in Tijuana is inpatient, with all meals served to you. It is very much a hospital—not a medical spa like in Irvine, or a detox retreat like Creative Health Institute or Hippocrates Health Institute. It’s a small hospital, but they have an emergency room, a pharmacy, radiology, the works.

The food is radically different from “normal” hospital food. You can ask them for lots of green juice (I had some from the buffet, see the juices in this photo), and dictate your own nutrition protocol if you want. The meals are 95% vegan (occasionally they serve a little fish or chicken although I never saw any) because their patients want it, and some demand it). Meals are an organic, varied, gluten free buffet—delicious, and although it’s not 100% raw, there is lots of raw plant food.

I was very impressed by the food, actually. It isn’t “detox food” like you’d get at Creative Health Institute or Optimum Health Institute, but you can easily eat raw and vegan there, and it’s all really yummy.

I was told stories of patients who bring in bags of junk food. This would never fly at other places I have been. Oasis of Hope’s philosophy seems to be that while they aren’t going to provide it, they also aren’t going to be the Food Gestapo for their patients either.

But the culture there is very much Latin American. That is, it’s very respectful of you, your wants, your spirit, your individuality. Rosa, the nutritionist, is Dr. Contreras’ daughter and has an American master’s degree. She is happy to teach nutrition to patients one-on-one, but the Latin tendency is clear: that they are not dogmatic or pushy or militant, as some clinics are in the U.S. (I personally respond just fine to nutritional militancy, even appreciate it, LOL! However, some don’t.)

There is a deep focus on spirituality. Dr. Contreras and the other practitioners at his hospital feel that healing is impossible if you do not BELIEVE in the treatment, if your attitude is negative, if you are not an active participant in recovery. His father, Dr. Ernesto, greeted each patient as they arrived, and played his guitar and sang for them when they left. The staff at Oasis Tijuana is very gentle and even kitchen staff hugs the patients every day. They are openly Christian, while inclusive and welcoming to those of other faiths. Attending a daily devotional, and worshiping or meditating in the beautiful chapel, is an important part of treatment.

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