**If you are wondering how I ended up at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, you can click here. Also, posts about Pritikin are NOT being sponsored, meaning, they are not paying me to write about them. It was such an amazing experience that in sharing information, I hope it might help someone else make positive life changes too.**
Last week, we spent three days at the Pritikin Center in Miami, Florida. I am so chock full of information that I almost don’t even know where to begin. I guess it only seems appropriate to start on the first day.
Thursday, September 26, 2013 – Day 1: We left Chicago at a mere 43 degrees and landed in an 80 degree Miami two and a half hours later. Whenever we fly somewhere that is warm year round (palm trees are a bonus), I always wonder why we live where we live. I’m still pondering that thought.
We knew that once we got to the “Hotel California” (…”You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!”) we would probably not see any more of Miami while we were there. Admittedly, we grabbed a cab at the aeropuerto and made a bee-line to Versailles, world’s most famous Cuban Restaurant. Who in their right mind would make a trip to Miami and NOT have a Cuban sandwich? NOT.US. I’m all about the pork, baby. You know it’s a good Cuban restaurant when you walk in and find out it’s where all the Cuban people eat, not to mention there was no English being spoken. Ahh, yes, it’s exactly where we wanted to be.
(Above: Cuban Sandwich – sweet Cuban baguette filled with roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles pressed until toasty. Cafe con leche)
Kind of a funny story…when we were finished with our meal, we asked the hostess if she would call us a cab. She put up her finger (as in, one moment) and walked to the back. She came out with the manager who came to tell us, “No cop is available. No cop.” I’m sure we were a spectacle standing in this restaurant with luggage and all asking for, what she thought was, a cop. We giggled a little and told her, “No, no Policia! We need a cab…a taxi!” At that point, we all laughed and she called us a ride. Now I wonder, why did we even call it a cab? We always say taxi.
A half hour later, we pulled up to the Pritikin Center which is located at the Trump Doral (Yup, home of the Blue Monster and the Donald just bought the resort.) With a parking lot lot full of Porches, Jaguars and Audi’s, we had high hopes that this would be a nice weekend stay. **To put things into perspective, I drive a Toyota Corolla. Just Sayin’** Right away, everyone was at our beck and call. We were given some paperwork and after a few introductions, we were pleasantly swept off to our room.
Our personalized schedule looked a little like this:
6:30-8:30 – Breakfast
- 7:30 – 11:15 – Exercise class choices of cardio, yoga, aquatics and tai chi
- 11:45 – 12:45 – Lecture: “The Facts On Fats & Atherosclerosis”
- 1:00 – 1:30 – Lunch
- 1:00 – 2:00 – We had a nutritional consult with Dietitian, Kimberly Gomer
- 2:00 – 3:00 – Men’s & Women’s Health Lectures by staff physicians
- 3:15 – 4:00 – Choice of: Cooking School, Aquatics or Spinning
- 3:30 – 4:30 – Afternoon Snack
- 4:30 – 5:30 – Lecture: “Planning your Eating Strategy”
- 5:30 – 6:00 – Happy Hour (don’t get too excited, they were mock drinks)
- 6:00 – 7:30 – Dinner (Bison tenderloin, woo hoo!!)
- 7:30 – 7:45 – Introduction to Pritikin Q/A
I won’t go into all of the details about how to follow a Pritikin lifestyle, but it’s all based on scientific study of mind, body and health. Eating is based on calorie density and satiation along with being low sodium, low fat, low sugar and lean. Before you roll your eyes and say, “EWWW!” Let me tell you, you are never hungry on Pritikin and the food is fresh and delicious (aside from a few things that I didn’t care for.) It’s all designed to lower heart disease, lower diabetes risk and lower blood pressure (even ridding of medications), with a bonus side effect of weight loss! Another bonus? With no added sodium, the body rids of water much faster hence LOTS of peeing, but no swollen fingers or ankles!
Out of the plethora of information that was thrown at me that day, I wanted to share one topic with you: sodium. Dude. It’s a killer. Pritikin recommends 1500 mg of sodium per day. That means, if you eat food in it’s natural state throughout the day, you will consume around 1000 mg. So, anything added can only be 500 mg or less. In talking numbers, it all sounds fine. However, the average Amercian (especially one who eats out often) can consume THOUSANDS of mgs per day. Two tablespoons of Jiffy Natural peanut butter? 150 mg (and we all know you aren’t eating ONLY 2 TB) A slice of bread? 170 mg. 6″ Turkey Sandwich from Subway? 780 mg. A double cheeseburger at Wendy’s? 1510 mg. It sure adds up fast! Even just one measley teaspoon of regular old salt contains 2,400 mg of sodium. YIKES!! Here is a good rule of thumb taught to us by the dietian: Look at the nutrition label. If milligrams of sodium are less than the calories per serving, then it would be considered a low sodium food. Start checking things out. You might be surprised at how much you are eating. (I don’t even want to know how much salt was in that Cuban sandwich.)
As a mind blowing testimonial…we were talking with one lady who was just finishing her first week at the center. Within that one week of eating on plan, the physician took her off of three of her blood pressure medicines. She could hardly believe it. She said her results were so amazing that she “drank the kool-aid” and signed up to come back for another week at the end of the month. She was so happy that it made me happy.
You’re probably thinking, “UGH…food without salt?” I know. Trust me. The first two days I was dousing all of my food with hot sauce and balsamic vinegar and I was entirely sick of salad with unsalted dressing. The soup? No can do. That was one thing I could not get used to so I avoided it all together. I ate a LOT of fruit. Mainly because I love it, but also because it tasted “normal.” As time went on, I started to be able to appreciate the taste of natural food and learned how to make it interesting with techniques I learned through cooking school. I’m now a week into the plan and am not looking to douse my food with anything except maybe a little Mrs. Dash. If you want to try and cut your sodium intake, hot sauces and citrus juices can “mimic” salt…maybe try a little of that and see how it works for you. Here is a recipe that Chef Vince prepared for us that showcases the use of citrus.
- 4 - 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 t. Pritikin seasoning (or a no-salt herbal seasoning of your choice)
- 2 lemons juiced & zested
- 1 orange juiced & zested
- 2 TB white wine
- Season chicken with seasoning.
- In a medium hot skillet, spray with nonstick spray and sear one side until brown.
- Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cover and reduce the flame. Cook for two minutes or until chicken is done. You do not need to flip the chicken.
Stick around…Day 2 comin’ up…