Nathan Pritikin was a remarkable man, who was definitely ahead of his time. Dr. John McDougall (who we follow at Dr. Allen Wellness), considers him one of his greatest mentors.
In his forties, this smart engineer and inventor, was diagnosed with near-fatal heart disease. He refused to believe his cardiologist, who told him that diet and exercise had nothing to do with his condition. He began researching and discovered that heart disease was almost unheard of in African populations eating plant-based diets. Against the advice of his doctors, he changed his diet to a largely plant-based one and slowly began exercising. He quickly improved and was eventually able to run long distances.
Though not a doctor, he published more than a hundred scientific papers in medical journals and founded the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Barbara in 1974. Dr. Michael Greger (of NutritionFacts.org) was inspired to study medicine after his severely ill grandmother was cured there and lived into her nineties.
After Pritikin's death, an autopsy (published in the New England Journal of Medicine) revealed that his diet and exercise had indeed cured his heart disease: his coronary arteries were clean.
Dr. McDougall preserved an audio series featuring Nathan Pritikin's views on disease and health. These old tapes are absolutely fascinating to listen to! Nathan Pritikin had a true gift for simply, but logically explaining how lifestyle affects health.
I can't recommend listening to him highly enough!
Find the link to Nathan Pritikin's old audiotapes here. Read Dr. McDougall's glowing description of Pritikin here.