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.