November 15, 2020

Pritikin v2

Dear Mitzi, Thank you for encouraging me to come back to Pritikin for 3 weeks. You're an amazing wife!

Pritikin v2

Dear Mitzi,

Thank you for encouraging me last week to come back to Pritikin for 3 weeks. This is a great sacrifice for you because it means you'll be getting the Pebble house finalized for selling – by yourself.

You are doing this because you love me, want the best for me, and want me to enjoy life. In the 4 years of our friendship you are consistently consistently kind, giving, loving, and generous.

We joke about not keeping track of who does what for whom and how much. I feel consistently in your debt. You do so much for me. Add this to the long list and I believe that debt has grown again :)

You supported me coming here 2 years ago. It was life changing. It proved to be a pivotal moment in my physical and mental health. A huge benefit that has significantly increased the joys in life.

It's been a difficult year of uncertainty and change. You are a marvelous companion and best friend to have in this life. Thank you for sharing life with me. Thank you for bringing joy and peace and comfort.


A week ago Mitzi encouraged me to return to Pritikin. It changed my life in 2018.

After the surprise of a 99% artery block in my heart right after we married, and a stent being placed in January 2018, I was not in the best health. Physically or mentally. I had continual thoughts and fears that my heart was a gonner and I was going to die and it would cause Mitzi so much pain and suffering.

In October 2018 in desperation I spent $15,000 and went to Pritikin for 3 weeks.

The results were amazing. Cholesterol hugely reduced. Blood pressure hugely reduced. Weight from 213 pounds to 180. All my blood work numbers improved.

My mental state significantly improved. The fear of impending and sudden death dissipated. My confidence believing that I could positively effect change in my body and mind increased. Mental clarity also increased significantly.

A week ago Mitzi encouraged me to come back. To enjoy a place that is so positive for me. To have a vacation. To enjoy eating well. To be in a place of no distraction where I can write code with massive productivity.

Two years ago I had just started building the all-new Lifestyles Quest. Now I'm working on challenging and complex new functionality for Lifestyles Podium, a new and successful project that launched in April of this year.

I thought about it for a day and realized this is something I really wanted to do. It would be wonderful.

We were booked for our first ever Viking Cruise this year. It got cancelled because of the Covid response. I've been joking with Mitzi for a long time that my primary motivation for building Lifestyles Podium, the most ambitious project I've ever done, was so we could take Viking cruises.

With that unavailable for the foreseeable future, coming to Pritikin is a wonderful way to use some of that money that is coming from this project I've worked on so long and intensely.

So I purchased a 1st class ticket (flying right now with masks on is really challenging so 1st class is pretty much the only way I can handle it!).

We sadly left Parajo Dunes on Friday and drove to Las Vegas where on Saturday we said goodbye and I flew to Doral, Florida.

And here I am! Missing Mitzi hugely and grateful to be back to a place of such positive change in my life.

Day 1

I'm back! Arriving and checking in.

A hurricane is pelting us as I get driven to my room in a golf cart.

The view out my 3rd floor room in the Phil Mickelson building.

The dinner menu.

Heart of Palm salad.

Stuffed Pasta Shells.

Day 2

Lunch. Spicy Enchilada.

Mixed green salad with balsamic vinegar.

Walking back to my room and this huge crane was just standing there. I got about 10 feet away before it finally decided to fly 10 feet across the sidewalk to the other side. What a beautiful and graceful creature.

Dinner menu.

Hibiscus and raspberry herbal tea.

Island Bay Salad.

Fish chowder.

Mustard Coated Salmon.

Day 3

Cooking class, one of my favorites, which they do 5 times a week. They make a couple items in the demo kitchen while we watch and learn. Then we get to sample it. I give each item a rating so when I get home I know if it's something I want to make.

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken: 10/10

Jicama Slaw: 8/10

Lunch was a salad and noodles and meatballs.

They are doing desserts at lunch time. In 2018 they were doing desserts at dinner. Not sure why they switched, but no worries. They are delicious and healthy! I didn't catch the name of this one, it was great.

Dinner menu.

Pico de Gallo Salad.

Pasta vegetable soup.

Catch of the Day. This is halibut. So so good.

A surprise underneath the halibut...Lemon Saffron cream. It was so tasty, a true delight! I had to get a close up. I wish I could convey the taste and texture here. It was like a gentle orange cream popsicle flavor.

Day 4

Two years ago James the dining room supervisor was super kind and would make me what he calls Scrambled Mexican. When he saw me yesterday he remembered me and said he would make them again. He was super pleased I had remembered! So this morning he made it for me :)

The cooking class today was Braised Orange Ginger Salmon (10/10) and Toasted Sesame Dressing (10/10).

Sample time!

The demo kitchen.

Lunch was pizza. There was a class on emotional eating, so this is what I took to the class, along with the salad in the next picture. It was a good reminder to eat when we are a little hungry then stop when we are satisfied.

Dinner menu. I went for the scallops :)

These tangerine scallops were so so so good! We've made them at home many times and they were just as good here.

Day 5

Each day I eat oatmeal for breakfast. It help lower ldl cholesterol. A food I never liked until the last few years I eat it every day and enjoy it. Mitzi has made a bowl of oatmeal and fruit for in the morning for two years straight!

I was teaching a class to aspiring lead investors during lunch time so didn't get a proper lunch. Here's the dinner menu.

Chopped Tex Mex salad. I just have felt very hungry today. The nutritionist said that is normal about 4 days in. We start listening to our body more and realize we don't need as much food. Since the Covid lockdowns started happening I've developed a habit a stuffing myself. I know it's an emotional response to the restrictions. One of my desires being here is to reset this and just eat what my body needs. Making progress!

Tomato Orange Soup.

Neither entrée looked interesting so I went with the Veggie Burger. It's always on the menu but I haven't had it yet, until tonight. Quite good!

Day 6

I can't believe almost a week has already passed. I love the slowness here. The simpleness. The lack of clutter and noise. It's so easy think. To create. To imagine. To build. Things I love to do.

Getting to do Pritikin and knowing that it's helpful to my physical and mental health is an amazing opportunity. I'd say it's a net positive greater than a cruise. Now I haven't done a Viking Cruise (we were going to in October but it was cancelled). With the Covid response stuff I'm thinking cruises may not be that fun after they start up again and for a while until things loosen up a bit.

Here are the recipes and pictures from cooking class.

Lunch! One of the vegetables was parsnip. I'm not sure I've had that before. It is mild flavored and a nice consistency.

This afternoon I had a private cooking class with Chef Edward. We made Cranberry Turkey Bean Soup and Granola Crisp. Now I'm not a big fan of large beans, and I'd never eaten cranberry beans before. The aroma as they boiled was superb. The flavor was good, but the texture of large beans gets in my way of enjoying them.

The Granola Crisp is the best desert I've had at Pritikin. It's actually a combination of the crisp with butterscotch pudding and maple cream. Oh my. Textures, colors, flavors all came together.

Here's some pictures as we made the food.

Dinner's menu. I'm finding that I'm so full here I really can't eat everything. And that's good. I'm working on listening to my body to know when I'm good and I've had enough.

Pritikin has a great method for mindful eating. On their scale of 1 to 10 (1 is raving hungry and 10 is so full I'm in pain and can't move) they recommend eating when you are at a 3 and stoping when you are at a 6. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes from the time you start eating for the volume receptors in the stomach to kick in and send the full signal to the brain. So eating slowly is key.

Having said all that, I decided to skip the soup. The server forgot and brought it anyway so I had a few spoonfuls. I ate about 3/4 of the meal and called it good.

The cobb salad was excellent.

The fish, also excellent. I didn't ask what kind of fish it was. The sauce had a little heat and was nice.

Day 7

After breakfast and working out, walking back to my room, I captured these pictures. I'm thinking of using them for my art composites They'll need some editing to set the right mood and tone. I think they are a great foundation with possibilities. It's a beautiful place here.

Day 8

My cardiologist recommended eating berries for fruit. My triglycerides are high and reducing sugar from fruits should help. So I'm doing this now each morning. Oatmeal and berries. I can (and do!) eat this every day.

I added an omlet today as well. Didn't eat all of it but it's good for protein. They use egg whites so no cholesterol.

This one's for you, Mitzi. <3 I love you and miss you! You make my life amazing and complete. Being married to you makes life the best!

For lunch we had a lentil soup. Usually I don't like these. However this one had an Indian curry flavor that was wonderful and I ended up eating most of it.

Another great lunch salad.

For dessert we had a berry crepe.


Rice cauliflower salad.

The dinner menu included what sounded like two excellent entrées. So I got both! The bison filet just didn't work for me. I rarely eat red meat since my last visit to Pritikin in 2018. I'm just not that into it anymore so maybe that's why didn't wasn't working?

Now the pineapple chicken on the other hand? This. Was. Amazing! The pineapple flavor came through strong and the sauce was the perfect consistency.

Day 9

Today was a slower pace. Sunday's are when new visitors are arriving and old visitors are leaving. So my day was mostly enjoying the food, enjoying the pool, reading, and working on my fine art.


The lobby of my building, the Phil Mickelson suites. He's a successful golfer I don't really know much about, except the Masters in Augusta are going on right now and he's playing. So he has a building named after him and pictures of him are in the halways and in the rooms. I like this picture of me waiting for the elevator to come. Looking good!

Walking to the Pritikin building, it's beautifully landscaped here. I love the 3 minute walk. I make it 4 to 5 times a day.

Lunch salad with these interesting mushrooms.

The tacos were amazing.

And for dessert only the best ever. It's very similar to the one Chef Edward made with me a couple days ago. Butterscotch pudding except it's not butterscotch, it's base is a sweet potato.

The pool is open again now that they've put all the patio equipment back after the hurricane last week. I spent a few hours out there reading, napping, and swimming.

Dinner time!

I've never had gooseberries before. They are quite tasty! A mix of apricot flavor and cherry tomato texture. If I see these in the grocery store I'm getting some.

I ordered both entrées again. I meant to each half from each one but alas I ate all of both haha.

I worked on my fine art today. This really came together. I'm getting better at Photoshop. The crane is the picture I took near my hotel room last week. The background is the view on my walk to the Pritikin center. Compositing the two together, modifying the colors for the southern Florida blue and pink, really makes the picture stand out. I would totally print and frame this for an art display to decorate a room. I made art! :)

I've been learning about Giclee (zhee-klei) printing which I'd never heard of before. I'm going to try it out someday.

Day 10

The only pictures I took today were of food. That's seem to be the predominate activity I love here haha.

I went to the lap pool in the morning and swam 20 laps. It felt great! Yesterday was 10. I'm going to do this more often for my workout, it's such a great one.

Lunch was a salad and vegetable lasagna. Dessert was lemon cream cake.

And for dinner I went with the Baked Sweet Chili Chicken. The sauce on the chicken worked great.

Day 11

Breakfast and Lunch.

It's ... Taco Tuesday! Again the bison just didn't do it for me. The other taco is a fish taco. Now you're speaking my language :)

Day 12

Went to cooking class today. Chef Vincent made Green Split Pea Soup (7/10) and Roasted Corn Dip (10/10).

Last week I went to the emotional eating class. Went again today. It's a good reminder. The main takeaways are 1) eat slowly, it takes the body about 15 to 20 minutes to signal your brain that your are full from when you start eating, 2) wasting food is eating something you don't need and having it turn to fat, and 3) start eating when you are mildly hungry and stop when you could eat more but are satisfied.

Had to snap another elevator selfie on my way back to my room. Feeling good in body and mind!

On my way to dinner nature presented me with this:

And for dinner...

Day 13

Received the second blood test results today. Received them with my cardiologist here, Dr. Areces.

It's amazing how quickly the body changes here. My blood pressure is consistently around 95/65.

Here are some key numbers from the first week to the second week.

Total cholesterol: 174 -> 138
Triglycerides: 231 -> 179
LDL cholesterol: 100 -> 73

When I needed the heart stent 3 years ago my total cholesterol was about 320, triglycerides were over 800, and LDL if I remember correctly was 180.

Much much improvement since then. Someday my body will die of course. I'm doing all this so hopefully it won't be from a blockage in my heart!

At dinner tonight neither of the two main entrées looked appealing. I got this idea for a salmon burger. The staff was happy to make it for me. It was quite good :) The roasted red pepper soup was amazing.

Day 14

I had a great insight today. Which happened without intention. I went to the outside pool to workout. The weather was a bit cool (75 degrees haha) and the sky was cloudy so the sun wasn't out. I laid around for a while trying to mentally prepare for getting into the water.

I finally went over and sat on the edge of the pool, ready to jump in. My foot touched the water. And I decided, "Nope, not going to do it. Too cold." So I went and lay down again.

Then a few minutes later it started raining. Hard. So I quickly gathered my things and skedaddled indoors. I lay by the indoor pool and then got this idea. "Hmmm. I can work out in this pool. It's shorter but that's okay, I'll just swim more laps.

I checked the water. Blessed comfortable. So I had a great workout. And now that's what I'm going to do. Discomfort problem solved!

I created another composite. This is Mitzi at our condo in Pajaro Dunes from June. I love this picture. Her playful happy expression. She's beautiful. The pelicans flying are from October at Pajaro Dunes where I took a picture of Mitzi on the beach and there were hundreds of birds flying above us.

The sunset is from my walk to dinner at Pritikin a few days ago. I love this picture!

I'm getting much better at building these composites. Still a total newbie but my skills and knowledge are significantly improved since I started a few weeks ago.

Day 15

Not sure why but I took two elevator selfies today. Probably because I'm looking good :)

I'm so grateful I can come here and take good care of my body. My blood pressure was so low this morning, the lowest I've seen. 88/58. I haven't seen the diastolic tip below 60 before.

Honestly, it's too low. I drank a bottle of gatorade because it has sodium. After my swim workout it as 93/66.

When I went to the cooking school class I was 10 minutes late. Nobody was there except the chef. He said he was happy to do the class for me. So I got a private session until about half way through another man showed up.

I had lunch on the patio today. So nice! I'm going to do this more often when the weather is good.

The other thing about today is they had buffalo filet mignon and red snapper for the entrées. I got both. This time the buffalo was actually good. I indulged a bit and ate both.

Day 16 Onward

The days have begun to blend together. The program here is two weeks long so staying here for week 3 means a repeat of week 1. I've been to the classes, my job now is to exercise and eat :)

Got my hair cut, saw some cool looking birds on my walk, did a swim workout, and thought I'd take a picture of my room.

Every other Sunday they have what they call Sunday Brunch. They take the food up a notch. I totally enjoyed it and as you can see, they really make a nice pumcake (pumpkin pancake).

The building where Pritikin is located is really quite beautiful.

More food!

As I went to dinner one night I decided to dress up a bit. The A/C is cold so I wore long pants (first time since I arrived!) and my long sleeve shirt. Thought I looked pretty good so took a selfie and sent it to Mitzi.

My last blood test shows really great numbers.

Total cholesterol: 111 (down from 174)
Triglycerides: 162 (down from 231)
LDL cholesterol: 54 (down from 100)
HDL cholesterol: 78 (down from 135)
Weight: 185 (down from 195)
Blood pressure: 98/67 on average

It's amazing how quickly you get results from eating the food here. Look at the pictures. This is wonderful food and I am never hungry. It's an amazingly effective program.

Some cool looking geese on my walk, and the Christmas tree was just decorated so it's starting to feel festive in the dining room.

One evening while talking with Mitzi I took a stroll around the Trump Doral property. It's a beautiful club house and golf course and hotel.

Had to take another elevator selfie after my swim workout. Chocolate pudding for lunch desert.

Day 21

Last day at Pritikin, I fly out tonight to Ohio to meet up with my lover Mitzi!

She has supported me completely for these 3 weeks. We've talked everyday and she is always upbeat and positive. Always excited to hear from me. Wanting to hear how my day went, what my numbers are showing, what food I ate, how my programming is going.

Wonderful wonderful supporter! This has been 100% successful. Anyone dealing with health concerns related to heart disease, weight, or diabetes – I heartily recommend coming here!

Some parting pictures. Feeling great this morning! James sometimes makes Mexican style eggs for me. This morning I requested it and he came through.

I did my last swim workout. The outdoor pool is heated now and it's been so so nice to use it.

As I got to my hotel building, after my swim workout, a Rolls Royce was parked in front. Beautiful car! I hope to test drive one someday, but haven't had the confidence yet to go give it a try :)