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Carlos Harrison


Five Pritikin Recipes for You to Try at Home

Pritikin was kind enough to share these simple, healthy recipes from its boot camp program with us—just in time for bikini season!

Mustard Coated Salmon

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons no-salt-added stone ground mustard
1 tablespoons no-salt-added Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon shallot or onion, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine
1 pound wild salmon
2 tablespoons dill, chopped


  1. Combine mustards, garlic, shallots, and wine in a bowl. Create mixture to coat salmon.
  2. In a medium hot skillet, place salmon face side down for seven minutes.
  3. Flip salmon; pour remaining mixture on top and cover, cooking over medium heat until done to your liking. Sprinkle with fresh dill and serve.

Penne Pasta in Fresh Herb Sauce

Serves: 12


1 zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
1 red bell pepper, peeled and deseeded
1 yellow bell pepper, peeled and deseeded
12 shallots, roasted
½ cup onion, pureed in food processor
½ cup roasted garlic, pureed
4 pounds uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
2 medium eggplants, roasted whole, pulp scooped out
¼ bunch basil, leaves picked, chopped
¼ bunch thyme, leaves picked, chopped
¼ bunch Italian parsley, leaves picked, chopped
¼ bunch tarragon, leaves picked, chopped
¼ bunch rosemary, leaves picked, chopped
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, ground
1 cup white wine
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock


  1. To roast shallots and garlic cloves, back at 350°F oven in baking pan for about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the shallots and garlic are soft to the touch.
  2. To roast eggplants, broil until skins are black all over.
  3. In a large hot skillet, saute zucchini, peppers, shallots, onions, and roasted garlic.
  4. While sauteing vegetables, cook pasta al dente (firm, not soft).
  5. When both pasta and vegetables are cooked, combine and add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Serves: 12


6 eggplants, peeled and sliced
8 sheets whole wheat lasagna
4 cups no-salt-added marina sauce
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 cups Frozen spinach, drained
½ cup onion, diced
2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoon dry oregano
¼ cup garlic, chopped
1 pound Fat-free ricotta cheese
2 ounces Fat-free mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F oven.
  2. Soak eggplant in cold eater for 10 minutes, drain.
  3. Cook lasagna sheets in boiling water until al dente.
  4. Layer bottom of lasagna pan with ½ cup marinara sauce.
  5. Lauer lasagna sheets, vegetables, marinara sauce (reserve ½ cup for the top layer), herbs, and ricotta cheese until all ingredients are used and pan is full.
  6. Cover with ½ cup of marinara sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  7. Cover and back for 40 minutes. Uncover and back until cheese is brown.

Cheese Cake


1½ pound fat free cream cheese
12 ounces firm silken tofu
1 cup fat free skim milk
½ cup egg white
¼ cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup z-trim (optional)
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Fresh berries, if desired


1 cup multi-grain or corn flakes (crushed)
1 ounce water


  1. Puree tofu until smooth in a food processor.
  2. In a mixer, mix cream cheese until creamy. Add tofu, z-trim, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and Splenda. Mix for 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg whites and mix for 2 more minutes.
  4. Fold in berries, if desired.
  5. Combine crushed flakes with water until moist.
  6. Lightly spray cake tin with canola oil spray.
  7. Spread flake mixture on the bottom and side of cake tin evenly.
  8. Pour cake mixture in pan and bake in water bath at 275°F for 45 minutes.
  9. Serve with fresh berries.

House Salad Dressing

¾ cup fat free yogurt
½ cup fat free sour cream, no salt added
½ cup skim milk
¾ cup unsweetened ketchup
½ teaspoon dry oregano
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Eat Your Way Healthy

Pritikin Longevity Center

Pritikin Longevity Center

For the folks at the Pritikin Longevity Center, it all comes down to a simple truth: Eat right, live longer.

“If you decide you want to follow your own exercise program, you’ll be fine,” says the center’s director of nutrition, Kimberly Gomer. “But if you try to follow your own nutrition program, you will start to stray. The foundation of our program is really the nutrition.”

That might be what you’d expect to hear from the center’s chief nutritionist. But founder and health guru Nathan Pritikin said pretty much the same. He reduced the rules to a Spartan rigidity, rejecting processed foods, red meat, salt, sugar, and caffeine.

The diet is a bit more relaxed now, and forgiving in a way most diets aren’t: You can eat as much as you want; just not of anything you want.

“We don’t portion control anything, except animal protein,” says Gomer. When lecturing a group of initiates at one of the center’s introductory “Taste of Pritikin” seminars, she makes the reasoning personal. “You know portion control doesn’t work. If it did, you wouldn’t be here.”

The trick to eating all you want? “Front load.” Yep, pile on the vegetables. And more vegetables. And more.

And, for that sweet tooth: fruit. “It’s perfectly packaged sugar,” says Gomer. “If you’re craving chocolate and crap at night, you’re not eating enough fruit.”

Strict? Yes. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be savory, too. That’s where the magic of Pritikin’s chefs come in. Here’s a sampling of some of their creations, designed to make eating right, eating great.



Welcome to Boot Camp

I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m gassy.

That, I’m told, is expected.

For three days, I have been stretched, scanned, pushed, and pampered. I’ve been stripped of salt, sugar, and most red meat. And I’ve eaten enough fruits and vegetables to make me a methane machine, which, according to staffers at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Doral, Florida, is commonplace.

Call it a side effect of the Pritikin Program. Devised by engineer Nathan Pritikin after he was diagnosed with heart disease in 1957 and told, basically, to sit and wait to die, it’s a hardcore, back-to-basics approach to eating and exercise. Those who want to immerse themselves in it come here, the Trump National Doral Miami, where the program occupies a wing of the resort’s spa. Advocates extol Pritikin’s seemingly magical results: Some participants quit taking blood pressure medications within days, and 70 percent end their diabetes medications in three weeks, with an average weight loss of eleven pounds.

The program, however, is singularly strict. “Nathan Pritikin used to say, ‘If it tastes good, it isn’t good for you,’” says director of nutrition Kimberly Gomer. The diet rigidly restricts salt and sugar (“Poisons!” one attendee admonishes), but I’m told recipes have improved over the years. Some. My taste buds beg for more seasoning. All around me in the formal dining area, people at beautifully set tables splash hot sauce and copious amounts of salt-free spice blends on their food.

The diet allows fish once a day, chicken once a week. It limits red meat—if you must—to one small serving a month. It also takes “eat your vegetables” to the extreme: five cups a day. Plus four servings of fruit. It shuns white bread and pasta, butter, and as much as possible, oil. You may drink real coffee at breakfast, but only two cups. After dinner, they serve a hot grain substitute. It tastes like, well, hot grain. I recall a Woody Allen line: “Sure you can live to be 100, if you give up everything that makes you want to.”

Sarah Steves, a participant from San Antonio, tells me: “You do feel that way at the beginning. But after a while, the food is so good.” Her husband Steve agrees emphatically as he blobs hot sauce on his vegetables.

A stay here generally lasts one to two weeks. Me? I’ve dipped my salt-loving toe in with a three-day “Taste of Pritikin” program to see what this whole thing is about. It began with a “DEXA Body Composition Scan” that mapped my fat by body region. This revealed my mirror isn’t a liar and I do in fact have love handles, and, I note, a large concentration of fat between my ears. When fitness director Scott Danberg tells me that’s my brain, I silently wonder if it should be larger.

Carlos Harrison at Pritkin Longevity Center
Carlos Harrison at Pritikin Longevity Center

Migdalia Figueroa

You may have seen Danberg before, on the U.S. discus team at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. He’s a walking Pritikin ad. I’d guess he’s in his late thirties. He’s fifty-two.

The program calls for ninety minutes of exercise a day. My condensed schedule is a little more intense: I have five to seven daily exercise sessions—from aerobics to Zumba—mercifully broken into forty-five-minute blocks. Most memorable is the water workout, which includes a synchronized “blooming flower” exercise straight from a Busby Berkeley movie. Instructor Jeffrey Berson reminds us: “Smile! You have eighty muscles in your face. You have to exercise those, too.” When I’m not working out, I’m attending lectures. To me, they feel like a “Scared Straight” program for food and fitness: “Do this, to live!”

People usually come here after a health scare. Many come again, often with people they care about. Mary Lee Jennings, age seventy-three, brought her daughter as a fiftieth birthday present. “To live long and well, that’s a gift we want to give to our children,” she says.

Joan Thorne-Gifford agrees. She first came a year ago after getting a pacemaker at age seventy-nine. She was so weak she couldn’t stand. Now she’s up and active and has brought her fifty-four-year-old daughter to join in. “I want her to see how important it is to take care of herself,” Thorne-Gifford says.

After just three days, I’ve noticed some positive changes. A nagging ache in my hands has disappeared. My pants are loose. When I get home, I head straight for my bathroom scale: I checked in weighing 187.7 pounds; I checked out weighing 183.1.

Now if I can just have some salt.

Pritikin Longevity Center, 888-254-1462

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