Weight Loss: The Medieval Way

Ever see Lord of the Rings and wonder why everyone (except maybe dwarfs and hobbits) is so thin? Well, the real answer is that they cast pretty people in the movies. But the pretend answer is that back in the day, you had to work to get fat. Nowadays, you have to work weight loss. So what changed?
Mass production.
Most of our food doesn’t come to us fresh, it comes to us in boxes and bottles. Preservatives have been added to extend the life of the food, which does have its benefits, but a lot of food has been processed so much that it loses nutritional value and adds sugars and other fattening ingredients.
Add that to the fact that most jobs are not very labor intensive, we have cars, buses, and trains that take us everywhere, and even doing household chores doesn’t give you much exercise. All these things add up to a lifestyle of laziness filled with fattening foods.
The ideal is opposite the norm. Back in the day, the ideal was to be fat and rich. Now it is to be fit and slim.
So what can you do about it?
The truth is, there are lots of fad diets. They know that people want weight loss, but all the factors are against them. So they make outrageous claims for people desperate enough to follow them. Some have temporary success, but they often gain it back in the long run. Unfortunately, weight loss requires work. Just like it was hard to get enough food to get fat, now it’s hard to abstain enough to get skinny. But there are some basic, universal principles you can use for weight loss, little by little, to keep it off. You will have to make lifestyle changes, though. Go back to your roots and eat the medieval way.

1. Volume

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What makes a food unhealthy? When it comes done to it, it mostly has to do with the density of calories. Ice cream’s calorie density is much greater than broccoli. Why does that matter? If you count your calories, it shouldn’t. But here’s the thing. Your stomach can’t count calories. It can only tell you when it’s full. So even if you count your calories, your body will want more if it’s not full. You’ll get a lot fuller eating vegetables than fried chicken with the same amount of calories, which will help out with weight loss.
Suggestion: find a natural food, low in calories, that you like, and eat it as your snack, instead of chips or other fattening foods. Eat it without ranch or other dips, which make healthy foods unhealthy. You can, however, mix good foods. A salad with strawberries and nuts on top can taste good and be healthy if prepared right. It’s hard, but it will make a big difference. Not only do fruits and vegetables have more volume and less calories, it also contains a lot more micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, the stuff your body needs that won’t make you fat. Those things get stripped out in processed foods.
People in medieval times didn’t have the luxury of supermarkets. They stuffed themselves with whatever was available, from bread to oatmeal to carrots. You don’t have to labor on a farm to get your carrots, so enjoy them.

2. Drink water

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I know you love your Coca-Cola. But do you know what’s in it? Neither do I. A bunch of chemicals. Really, this is about the least natural drink you can have. But don’t think that drinking juice is much better. It’s so full of sugar that in some ways, it’s as bad as soda. In reality, the best drink is water. Let’s count the calories in water. 0. Done. And your body is literally made of something like 80% water. Not 80% Coca Cola, but water. And not only as the healthiest, it’s also the cheapest. Going to a restaurant? Water is usually free (but not the bottled water). Thirsty at work. Drinking fountain. Thirsty at home? Drink some tap water. Get a filter if you feel like it, but tap water is as regulated as bottled water, maybe even more, so you don’t have to waste a lot of money buying bottles. And bottles have a negative impact on the environment.
The problem with this is that so many people are so used to sugared drinks that they feel like water is tasteless. It can take some getting used to. There are a few strategies you could try to increase water intake. One is to only drink water between meals. Save the juice or soda or even milk for the big meals, maybe even only dinner. Another thing you can do, which will help out in weight loss, is force yourself to drink a big glass of water before your meal. Not only will you get your water, but it will help with your appetite so you don’t eat too much.
If people in medieval times saw what we drink now, they would think we’re possessed to put that stuff in our bodies. While they might have favored wine because the water wasn’t always clean, you don’t have that problem, so take advantage.

3. Cook (don’t microwave)

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The fine art of cooking has gotten lost in this world of fast food. But it is a lot healthier for you. Find recipes that use natural, unprocessed foods. The closer something appears to how it looks in nature, the better it is for you. When you cook with meat, favor chicken and fish over beef and pork. Add vegetables, while avoiding eating too much rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta. If you do eat these, go for the whole grain versions.
The ready made meals you just stick in the microwave are full of preservatives and salt and have few health benefits. And in the end, home made food tastes better than plastic mashed potatoes. Time does become a problem, but there are ways around it. When you have enough time, cook for several meals and freeze them, to reheat later (microwaving a homemade meal, while not ideal, is better than a store bought one). Take leftovers to work for lunch. Find recipes for delicious food that is easy to make. Crock pots also make cooking easier. When given the choice between frying your food or baking it, the oven is healthier. Little choices like these can make a big difference in the long run. You just have to be patient.
People in medieval times had to work just to purify their water and light a fire. Cooking took all day, and with limited ingredients. So don’t complain about an hour of your time to cook something up.

It’s amazing that all the science we possess can’t seem to rival the natural foods that exist all around us for healthiness. Yes, mass production has helped feed more people, but we’ve gone overboard and now it is killing us instead of helping us. Fight back, both for your own health and as a message to the food industry. Exercise, eat healthy, and don’t overeat. You only have one body, don’t waste it.

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