Anita & Tim Koch
HUNGRY FOR GOOD HEALTH?
Let Food Be Your Medicine, By Tim Koch
My name is Tim Koch. I was a rarity in South Florida—an authentic native. My career in the construction industry was thriving back in the mid-eighties when a chance encounter one Saturday in December was to become a most significant “turning point” in my life. It was at my congregation in Fort Lauderdale that I first met Anita.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Anita had spent most of her childhood on Long Island. Her life experiences and career in education had taken her from NY to Toronto, Canada for several years, and that December, she had recently relocated to Florida. At the time, I had no idea what a blessing for both of us her arrival here, and specifically a few seats away from me, would become.
While living on Long Island in the 1980’s, Anita had created and owned a N.Y. Times-recommended vegetarian restaurant, Sunflower Café, as well as a popular vegetarian cooking school, The Whole Foods Kitchen.. Though our lives had taken us on wildly divergent paths, our fateful meeting was about to change the course of our lives forever. It was an “unlikely pairing”—me, a Christian of German descent, and Anita, a Jew, born and bred in NY, but in November of 1987, we “soul mates” married. For many, marriage alone is a journey of discovery and growth. For us, our shared path was clearly marked in the direction of faith and health.
Several years after we were married, I was inexplicably (at the time) drawn to Massage Therapy as a new career, and was led to pursue training in several modalities, including a specialization in treating lymphedema (MLD), while Anita continued her career as a teacher and health educator. In the late 1990’s, Anita’s gift for teaching was validated when she received both state and national Teacher of the Year awards in adult and family education. I later became an instructor in Massage Therapy at the Florida Career College in West Palm Beach. Neither of us then realized just how purposefully we were being prepared to step into a role that was becoming our jointly held passion.
Anita’s lifelong pursuit of a healthy lifestyle had led her to study, embrace and teach a variety of whole food dietary approaches, including vegetarianism, macrobiotic nutrition, and herbal remedies. But it was not until 2002 that a “whole new world of health” opened for both of us. With my German-American background, I had been raised on lots of milk, cheese, beef and pork. As a child, I was sick very often with ear and throat infections. All of my life, I would experience an annual flu that would debilitate me for at least five days. For years, I had struggled with depression and addiction to alcohol and caffeine.
Anita, on the other hand, had a long-held interest in natural health. An avid dancer, she had been a certified Dance/Movement Therapist, owned a natural foods restaurant, taught vegetarian cooking, and conducted many health and nutrition seminars. “For the most part, I followed what I had come to believe was a healthy lifestyle, actually a “hodge-podge” of all the whole food dietary approaches I had studied, embraced and taught over the years—principally, a macrobiotic diet,” says Anita.
Throughout our marriage, although Tim loved all the whole foods I prepared, he still enjoyed eating plenty of meat and dairy—just as addictive for us all as any drug or stimulant. He also often consumed more than one pot of coffee daily. I prayed regularly for a breakthrough that would cause him to eliminate all those addictions. For a time though, instead of Tim changing his dietary habits, I became lax with mine. A long-time vegetarian, I started to eat meat and dairy again, and more of the baked flour products that I had loved. Although I had long ago eliminated white sugar and white flour, I was still addicted to my “healthy alternatives”—sweets, none-the-less, baked and filled with honey or maple syrup.”
To Anita’s dismay, her health began to decline. “I started to suffer bouts of migraine headache and nausea that would cause me to miss work and land me in bed for two or three days. My hormones were totally out of whack, and I was having an unexpectedly difficult time with menopause. Having paid so much attention to health and nutrition for most of my adult life, I was caught by surprise by the severity of symptoms I was experiencing—hot flashes and drenching night sweats, mood swings and frequent headaches, edema in my legs (horrendous for a dancer!) and constipation. To counteract these symptoms, I added more and more soy foods, and more herbal supplements to my diet. The symptoms only got worse.”
Then, in 2002, it happened! While working on a project for a local whole foods store, Anita learned the most important health lesson of her life from a stranger. He told her about his miraculous healing from “terminal” brain cancer after he had adopted the Hallelujah Diet and Lifestyle. Her curiosity led her to the Hallelujah Acres website that very evening, and, after researching for almost a year, together we detoured from the road to ruin onto the path to vibrant good health! Never before had we experienced complete freedom from the chronic symptoms that had dogged us for so long! After just weeks of eating a plant-based diet consisting of 80-85% raw and living foods, juicing carrots and other fresh vegetables daily, and eliminating many of the foods we thought were healthy, we were amazed at the changes we were experiencing. My long-standing bouts of depression disappeared almost immediately, and have never returned. In less than a year, I lost over fifty unwanted pounds, and added a new level of energy and enthusiasm to my life. Anita’s migraine headaches and symptoms of hormonal imbalances totally cleared up, and she, too, achieved a new vitality and outlook on life. Even the edema and varicose veins in her legs were gone!
In 2003, after receiving training to teach this living foods lifestyle from Hallelujah Acres in Shelby, NC, we became certified Health Ministers, combining our 40+ years of knowledge and experience in the areas of health, nutrition and fitness, and began a successful health ministry in South Florida.
Over several years, many of our students were able to reverse conditions such as Diabetes Type II, cancer, Candida, heart disease, breast cancer, GERD, sleep apnea, allergies, asthma, etc. Testimonies from many of the tens of thousands of people who have experienced healing through the Hallelujah Diet can be found on the www.myhdiet.com website. Anita and I are continually impressed with the growing body of scientific evidence that has corroborated the importance this life-giving approach to health.
In October 2006, a long-held dream for us became a reality when a truly miraculous set of circumstances enabled us to purchase a gorgeous Hallelujah Acres Lifestyle Center located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Now we work together full-time as hosts and teachers of a five-day or 3-day weekend hands-on residential program that teaches people how to eliminate sickness. In addition, we teach the 5-day Raw Gourmet Living Culinary Academy several times a year at our Center. In a beautiful large country home with a retreat-like setting and lovely guest quarters, each with its own private bath, participants enjoy a busy schedule of daily activities, including hands-on gourmet vegan food and juice preparation, health classes and kitchen demos, rebounding and long walks on country roads. A field trip to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village, and /or a tour of our local mega Supermarket Ingles, along with the warm camaraderie and interesting blend of fellow health-seekers, add to the many other life-changing experiences. The testimonies of changed lives continue to pour in over the last 8 1/2 years:
“I just wanted to tell you…what a pleasure it was to spend time with you and what a blessing it was. I have learned so much…I have made many things (recipes), some many times over…The real blessing is that our (20 year-old) son is happy too…He knows that he feels good eating this way…Thank you for health and hope.”
Mary Beth L., Moravia, NY
“It was such a blessing to be together as we all learned a much healthier way to live. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone and will always remember our time together as a special blessing…Many, many thanks to Tim and Anita…!
Cynthia E., Brunswick, GA
“The whole program was amazing! Tim and Anita are really wonderful, dedicated, anointed and loving people. We received so many blessings!!…I am rested up and keeping on the diet and feeling much better!!”
Charlotte Y., Indianapolis, IN
In December 2010, after a 5-week-long intensive course in Oklahoma, Tim earned his Raw Food Chef Certification at the prestigious 105 Degrees Academy, where he honed his already considerable kitchen skills, and has since been bringing our Center’s raw food fare to new heights.
In July 2011, our son Richard joined our staff. Having become very proficient in the kitchen since working in a 5-star restaurant during his college years at FSU, Richard has added a phenomenally “flavorful” touch to our culinary team.
In 2012, Tim, Anita & Richard became the Hallelujah Acres Culinary Academy: Raw Gourmet Living. We have enjoyed over a dozen successful academies since 2012.
Richard is now featured on the www.myhdiet.com website as Chef Richard, the face of the “Fall in Love with Food Again”, and he has been a guest on local TV and radio.
A TYPICAL DAY AT OUR HEALTH RETREAT
The day starts at 7:15 A.M., when we “early birds” get to catch the magnificent sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains while we enjoy the first of our three “green and fresh carrot juice breaks”. We then take turns reading from a list of the inspiring promises for good health, longevity and protection that our Creator made to us. After that, we split into two teams. While one team sets off either on a walk that takes the hardier ones up and down the beautiful country roads surrounding our center, or a gentler regime close to home, the other team starts Phase 1 of the juicing. The two teams then switch off for the next phase of juicing, giving time for the others to enjoy their walk.
A tray of fresh fruit— or veggies for those who need to cut back on sugar for awhile— greets the invigorated returnees after the walk. At 9:30, as participants sit comfortably in our “great room”, the daily health class, usually led by Anita, begins. Following the class, is the first of two 20-minute “sun and juice breaks” during which guests relax in cushioned lawn chairs outside. Approximately 11 AM, “Team One” enters the kitchen to begin preparing lunch. Recipes for the three dishes (two raw, and the day’s one cooked) are set out with the ingredients, and the second “hands-on” activity begins under the watchful eyes and guidance of Tim, Richard and/or Anita. “Team Two” watches one of the several video presentations they will see during the program. The meal-time bell rings about noon, and all gather around the spacious dining room table to enjoy lunch.
After a 1 1/2 to 2- hour break for personal time, the group reconvenes for one of several demonstrations: setting up a natural kitchen, recipe making, menu-planning, etc. The rest of the afternoon consists of a rebounding session, one more sun and juice break, and dinner prep.
An educational field trip, which may include a tour of our local mega supermarket, a trip to our nearby popular tourist attraction Chimney Rock Village, or other educational and fun destination, are planned for each week.
In season, a sight-seeing boat trip on Lake Lure is a highlight.
After dinner, the whole group watches another video presentation after recording their daily progress and the sharing of menu information. The lounge and second kitchen offers some a chance for tea and conversation before bed. A before-bed treat may be a session in our Far Infra-Red sauna or our enzyme-infused hydrotherapy tub. Professional massages and colonics are also available for guests.
Saying “Au Revoir” at the end of the week is always difficult, though we try to make the leave-taking a “high note”. Besides the many resources available for purchase, everyone leaves with a color photo montage of the week’s activities, a 3-ring binder filled with health information and close to two hundred delicious gourmet vegan recipes, a personal water bottle, and juice for the road for those on the Recovery Diet. Each group has bonded and becomes part of our “Wholly Alive, Hallelujah!” Family.