A King’s Banquet
You’ve all heard about the extravagant feasts and banquets of the Medieval Era and the Renaissance Period? Right?
Let me take you back to the begining of the Renaissance period, to 16th century England. Let’s say you’re a Noble, and you’ve been invited to the King’s Royal Banquet. What would you expect to eat?
Their elaborate meals consisted of three, four, five, and sometimes even six courses. In those days the lifestyles of the “Rich and Famous” meant over-indulgence of food and fun. Hmm, I guess not much has changed today in that respect.
King Henry VIII, for instance, ate a vast variety of meats and game such as: roasted meats, usually a pig or boar, beef, venison, lamb, goat, rabbit, poultry, also such delicacies as Swan, Peacock, and grilled Beaver Tails. Seafood was also popular for the nobles such as: fresh and salt water fish, ranging from herring, salmon, eel, whiting, cod, trout, and crab, oysters, mussels and cockles. Only the very rich could afford fresh meat all year-round, so the abundance of meat at every meal was a status symbol in society.
It seems that the only foods that Henry and his court didn’t consume in excess were vegetables, and fresh fruit, which were considered the food of the poor. Vegetables made up less than 20 percent of the royal diet. The desserts that were enjoyed were Marzipan (a mixture of almond paste and powdered sugar), pudding and spiced fruitcake to name a few.
All this abundance of food was topped off with large quantities of wine and ale.
Little was known in that time about nutrition, so the Noble diet lacked such things as Vitamin C and fiber. This led to a variety of health problems which included bad teeth, skin diseases, scurvy and rickets to name a few.
Let’s fast forward to modern times, shall we?
Are our eating habits much better than those of the Middle Ages? We tend to either eat too much, not enough or not the right kinds of food at the right times.
Eating habits can differ drastically between cultures, families and lifestyles. But did you know that there is a daily eating habit that is proven to be the most healthy and beneficial for all? There are actually times when it’s best to eat like a bird, and times it is best to eat like a horse, and not gain weight or starve yourself. Sound interesting?
We’re not going cover specifically what you should eat in this article, just what proportions are best at what times of the day.
The Biggest Meal of the day should be eaten in the morning. This is when you need energy the most, and your body will burn off the calories throughout the day. You need some carbs and protein, and a little fat. Your body is more glucose tolerant, in the morning, after going 12 plus hours without food, so you don’t want to have sugary cereal or too much sugar in your coffee. A healthy breakfast should include carbs to ensure fullness for longer. Whole wheat bread, white meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products, vegetables and fruits are excellent choices. Don’t forget fiber too, like oatmeal, yum!
Lunch should be a lesser portion than breakfast, but nutritionists will tell you to eat a bigger lunch than dinner. It is better for your metabolism. Salads with lots of fresh veggies are a great choice. For sandwiches it’s best to use whole wheat, or grain bread, and hold off on the chips or fries. To avoid the urge for fast foods try bringing some leftovers from home. Remember not to eat heavy foods, you don’t want to be caught snoozing on the job after lunch break!
Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day and should consist of mostly protein with some complex carbs, such as vegetables. If your used to making a big dinner for family and friends, just limit the proportions. Eating a big dinner settles and turns to fat because usually you do less activity later in the evening. There are some controversies on this, but my advise is not to eat less than an hour before bedtime (especially high calorie foods), or your stomach and thighs may not forgive you!
This way of eating may seem foreign to most of us because of our hectic lifestyles. We barely take time for breakfast in the morning, as we’re rushing off to work or school. We rarely eat a nutritious lunch, as fast food has become the norm. Then in the evening we make a big dinner for the family, or eat out.
Important things to consider for a healthy diet are:
- Portion sizes — waiting to eat could lead to consuming larger portion size
- Quality of food — healthy choices vs. unhealthy
- Excessive snacking — may lead to excess calories from sweets, or fast food options
- Health concerns — consistent periods of going without food followed by large meals can negatively impact the interaction between your blood sugar and insulin and make you more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes
I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful I didn’t live back in the days of Henry VIII, whether rich or poor, their diet and lifestyles were anything but healthy.
Now you can go to sleep poor, and wake up rich for a long and healthy life.