BY GALEN MILLER
I’m someone who pays attention to my diet and exercise and considered myself fairly healthy. I was drawn, however, to Pritikin’s Longevity Program because I want to remain an active grandmother well into old age. I signed on for two weeks at their Miami retreat to “reset the button” on my aging process, hopefully by fulfilling their stated goals of eliminating hypertension, and reducing risks of coronary heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.
Our days included exercise sessions, and—to my surprise—food, food, and more food. Once my taste buds were no longer coated in fat, sugar, and salt, the natural flavors of well prepared, fresh food tasted really good. Did you know plain steamed green beans actually have so much sugar they taste sweet?
Don’t starve and don’t stuff
The biggest surprise for me was that motto: Don’t Starve and Don’t Stuff, and they focused on lowering the caloric density of what you eat, and limiting salt and fat. Guidelines included:
- Eat at least one serving of vegetables for each serving of low-calorie, dense food, like potatoes, rice, or pasta.
- Eat at least two servings of vegetables for every one high-calorie, dense food, like steak and seafood.
- Eat foods in sequence from low to high density.
- Start meals with a large salad or large bowl of mostly veggie soup.
- Don’t drink your calories; things you chew create saliva to aid the digestive process.
- Limit sugar but eating 3-5 fruit portions per day is recommended.
- Veggies are the lowest density, so add them to any dish. Oils and fats are the highest density—so choose carefully and keep them minimal.
- Avoid processed food and limit salt. The amount of sodium should be no higher than amount of the calories per serving.
In two weeks, I lost 10 pounds and then 3 more in week three at home. Even better, my blood pressure dropped from 125/90 to 95/70, and my cholesterol from 225 to 196. I’m totally psyched about this healthier lifestyle and highly recommend time spent focused on living longer. If you opt for a few weeks at Pritikin, tell them Galen from Grand Magazine sent you!
Click here to read why salt could be your biggest threat to longevity!
Galen Miller is a world traveler, entrepreneur, golfer, and equestrian, who founded “Arabian Nights,” Orlando’s #1 dinner show for 25 years. You can follow her blog at TRAVELWG@wordpress.com. She recommends The Pritikin Principle for recipes and restaurant suggestions.