When it comes to progress, most people tend to assume that newer is better. But that’s not always the case. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that our modern diet (full of processed sitting and sedentary grains and whatnot) is causing most of the health problems so popular among young people today. For our cure we must look to the past — getting back to the basics and healing ourself with food, as our ancestors did.
You don’t have to live in the Middle Ages to enjoy the health benefits of this medieval diet. All the foods that you’ll need to follow this plan can be found at most Medieval Times and traveling Renaissance Fayres (I know, I know, the Renaissance isn’t strictly period-accurate, but we’ll get to that in a later chapter).
You’ll start to notice a difference almost right away. Fleeing from Vikings will get easier. You’ll have more energy for weaving and illuminating manuscripts or whatever. People will say “Oh, my God, is that Margery of the White Hands in that danse macabre, or one of the whirling, dancing corpses of personified death?” And you’ll smile, because only you know the truth.
5am – Rise at dawn (be sure to sleep with your entire family in one room, preferably on the floor, the night before).
Breakfast – Small beer and rye bread (be careful of St. Anthony’s Fire). Plow.
Lunch – Dried saltfish and rye bread. Plow.
Dinner – You have run out of rye bread. You find a beet. Plow some more.
Day Two – Monk Day
3am – Rise before dawn and pray until you pass out from blood loss (hair shirt required for blood loss).
Breakfast – 1 imperial gallon of small beer. Look at a piece of bread, then offer it to the Holy Mother and Queen of Heaven for your sins.
Lunch – You do not deserve lunch.
Dinner – You do not deserve dinner. Attend compline instead.
Day Three – Baron Day
Breakfast – Damson plums soaked in wine, followed by chestnuts thrown directly into your open mouth by a laughing maiden.
Lunch – Goat wrapped in peafowl, an entire deer wrapped in ham-hocks, a pig’s face, baked apples, a roasted hedgehog stuffed with quince.
Dinner – One giant turkey leg and a goblet of wine. Preserved citron and spiced figs for dessert.
Day Four – Cathar Day
Breakfast – All visible matter, including the human body, was created by Satan; it is therefore tainted with sin. Eating is a sign of mortal weakness.
Lunch – Undergo the consolamentum. Flee to Northern Spain.
Dinner – Something light, maybe fish.
Day Five – Corrupt Monk Day
See Baron Day, adding 4 imperial gallons of Corsican wine.
Day Six – Crusader Day
Breakfast – Whatever venison you have drying on the back of your saddle. Ride 40 miles.
Lunch – Raze something. Eating at midday stirs up the blood.
Dinner – An enchanted meal served by ghostly figures in the hall of the Fisher King. Sleep for 40 years.
Day Seven – Memento Mori
Breakfast – Nothing; you have the bloody flux.
Lunch – Nothing, you have puerperal fever.
Dinner – Holy Communion.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.