Apart from observing the fact that in general the cooking of food leads to an overworked digestive system and increased toxemia, the single common denominator possessed by all effective health diets, cooked or raw, is the drastic lowering of the fat content, which allows the bloodstream to clear itself of fat and allows the red blood cells and blood platelets to unstick, so reducing the blood viscosity and permitting its free circulation and oxygencarrying ability. The enormous improvement in wellbeing that results from this single factor of improved blood condition has nothing to do with anything contained in the diet--the benefit stems from what has been taken out of the diet.

So great is the improvement of health and wellbeing achieved by the simple expedient of improving the circulation that the beneficiaries think they have struck the jackpot; they think they have discovered the perfect diet, be it the grape diet, the macrobiotic diet, the Pritikin diet, the Gerson diet or maybe even the Salisbury diet. And this is easy to understand, but there is more to good health than just improving the blood circulation. What about the delicate chemistry of the blood? What about the avoidance of toxemia? The wear and tear on our internal organs? The wastage of digestive energy and valuable enzymes?

Insidious degeneration can continue undetected in a body apparently brimming with vigorous health. Probably the best example of this is the constant occurrence of sudden death by heart attack of extremely fit athletes and runners. Right up until their sudden collapse, which usually occurs during or just after vigorous activity, these people display all the signs of good health. Their blood viscosity is low because they can metabolize fat quickly from their blood and so their blood pressure is good, they feel good because their blood contains plenty of oxygen, and they don't "catch" colds because their immune systems are performing properly. They are healthy in this sense, but when death overtakes them autopsies reveal coronary arteries blocked with cholesterol. They had been under the illusion that endurance exercise prevents heart disease, but the evidence is now clear that physical training does not prevent the accumulation of dietary cholesterol in the arteries; it merely maintains a better blood flow and prevents the usual symptoms of heart disease from being displayed.

Nathan Pritikin was the first one to loudly warn the public of the dangerous illusion that athletes could indulge in a high-cholesterol diet and get away with it. But there are other illusions of which Pritikin was not aware. Avoiding heart disease is not the be all and end all in the quest for good health.

Clean arteries and thin blood are the prime essentials and these are easily accomplished on the Pritikin diet providing the diet is properly followed. The next step is attending to the actual chemistry of the blood and how perfect chemistry can be achieved with the least wear and tear on the vital organs. This involves further investigation into nutrition and the enzymes that make improved nutrition possible. The subject becomes a little different from that of dieting for immediate health benefits, it becomes one of gaining long-term benefit-that is--dieting for longevity.