100-Year-Old Woman Credited Longevity to Routine Consumption of Portillo’s Hot Dogs

12/01/2015 at 05:21 PM ET

Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty

Longtime Elgin, Illinois resident Helen Diekman, who passed away on Tuesday at age 100, was unapologetic about her love for hot dogs  and actually credited them with her impressive lifespan.

In a Daily Herald interview from 2014, Diekman credited her longevity to Portillo’s, the restaurant chain that she frequented three times a week for lunch, always ordering the exact same meal: a hot dog with everything (without hot peppers), fries and Diet Coke.

RELATED: We’re Thankful for These Six Vices That Are Actually Good for Us

Even suffering a back injury didn’t stop her routine, the Herald reports. When she recovered, her son Michael wheeled her into the eatery, where employees, friends and caregivers were waiting with balloons.

While Portillo’s was the main secret to longevity when a reporter asked her, she also noted some other habits, which likely helped.

“I go to bed early, and I eat good. Of course I go to church,” she said. “And I have a lot of friends.”

RELATED: Study Links Daily Coffee Consumption to Longevity

Diekman isn’t the only centenarian who believed her unorthodox eating habits added years to her life: Earlier this year we met Agnes Fenton, 110, who swears by drinking three Miller High Lifes a day, and Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world’s oldest living person at 116 years old, who “eats bacon all day long.”

We can get certainly behind all of these lifestyles.

—Maria Yagoda, @mariayagoda

FILED UNDER: Food , Food News , Health , Restaurants

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Showing 6 comments

Suzanne on

Best hot dogs in the world! Yum

Tcwilcher on

I wish Portillos would come to Minnesota!

runningbacongirl on

It just goes to show you that all these articles on what not to eat don’t mean squat. I think moderation is key. If they would stop putting hormones and questionable stuff in our food we would all be better off.

Nikki on

MMMMMMMM there is a Portillo’s 5 min away from me, although i dont go often.they do have great hot dogs,..and love their fries, beefs are good, and great burgers..and a choc cake to die for..also love their chopped salad…oooooooo i want one know..lol

spowalla on

@Nikki: you’re making me hungry!

Nancy on

Helen was an amazing person and a gentle soul. Her ONE goal was to reach 100 and she reached it!
Up to 3 years ago she could do a cartwheel.~~~~ I’m very proud to have been her Personal trainer for the past year. Who is to argue with a 99 year old that has reached that old eating at Poritilios 3x times a week???? She was one of my many proudest accomplishments and clients! They all come with thier own journey and goals and I’m blessed to be a tool to get them there. RIP Helen! I’m sure she is doing cartwheels in Heaven now!

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