Deciphering Diets: The Medieval Game of Thrones Diet

Last time I wrote a Deciphering Diets article I touched on the basic underpinning of most diets;

“Most popular diets share the same common principals – which in theory is why they all work, at least for a period of time. Reduce total food intake, eat less junk, eat more whole foods, reduce refined carbohydrates, eat more vegetables, and stick to leaner meats.

After that, it’s just placing an enticing patina over the basics to try and get you to purchase books, supplements, and whatever else they can successfully market to you.”

I then promised I would illustrate how just about ANYTHING can be turned into a diet if you follow these simple principles.

So, without further adieu…

Game of Thrones Diet Logo

To begin, George RR Martin has said that the Game of Thrones storyline is loosely inspired by England’s ‘Wars of Roses’, which historically took place during Medieval times.

Medieval Times Dinner Tournament

“Not that Medieval Times.”

The Medieval Period; an era filled with such brutality and barbarism esteemed European thinkers often refer to it only as the ‘Dark Ages’.

The Medieval Period was marked by many difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, thus diminishing the population of Western Europe *get it? West-Er-Os* somewhat significantly. That being the case, it’s no wonder our beloved Game of Thrones characters have also been dying at a pretty rapid pace.

Dead Game of Thrones Characters Why They Died

In the series, if you are lucky enough to survive winter, a raid, a siege, a battle, White Walkers, Wildlings, the Lord of Light, wildfire, a disgruntled nobleman, noblewoman, or king, general intrigue, a dinner party, or wedding, life offers very little enjoyment outside of food and drink.

Game of Thrones Podrick Brothel Whorehouse

“OK. There’s also that.”



That being said…

Since most of the population of the Seven Kingdoms is poor, and because winter has been coming for 4 seasons, the majority of people in Westeros are likely living on rather meager subsistence. To make matters worse, technology in The Seven Kingdoms is fairly primitive so *obviously* there are no cheap processed foods to comfort you in the dark and terrifying nights.

Red Woman Burning Doritos

The Lord of Light demands it.

Phase One: Eat like the Smallfolk (Weight Loss Protocol)

Arya Stark Game of Thrones Pigeon

In Phase One you will teach your body to subsist on minimal resources. Sure, some people might liken this to starving, but in fact you are just letting the body feed off of its excesses. In this phase you will be training your body to overcome hunger by limiting caloric intake. *Cough, cough, theoretically.*

Meal Plan: No Breakfast – 2 Modest Meals Per Day
In Medieval Europe there were typically two meals a day: dinner at mid-day and a lighter supper in the evening. The two-meal system remained consistent throughout the late Middle Ages. Smaller intermediate meals were common, but were more a matter of social status, and those who did not have to perform intense manual labor, or fight for their liege lord, went without them. *Actually true.*

What to Eat & Drink
Grains such as barley and oats
Root vegetables
Bowl of Brown (Simple Soups and Stews)
Rustic oven fired breads
Game of Thrones Wolf Bread

Small wild foul and small wild game (such as rabbit)
Osha Skins Rabbit

Ale *yes I said Ale*
Game of Thrones Hound Ale
In medieval times it is thought that many people drank more ale than water because it provided some substantial nutrition and just enough alcohol to act as a preservative. It is also said that the beer was probably safer to drink than water, as sanitation was a pretty big problem. *Cough, wild extrapolation, cough.* As far as beer goes, ales are fairly low in calories and carbs while remaining flavorful. Studies even show ale can help protect bone mineral density and lower fibrinogen levels. *Cough, cough – fudgy science, cough*

Activity Level: Moderate
Roughly a few hours per week of some type of manual labor is ideal. Walking incredibly long distances, gardening, housework, and running after farm animals are all good options.

Phase Two: Work out like a Knight (Metabolic Stimulation Protocol)

clegainzzz_v_3 copy

In Medieval times young men were said to have trained approximately 14 years before they could be considered for knighthood. They were required to master using a two-handed sword, battle axe, mace, dagger and lance, all while wearing around 50lbs of battle armor.

Fun Fact: It is also said that the youngest knights first learned mounted combat skills on piggyback before they were allowed to attempt them on horseback.

Loras Tyrell Riding Pig


Meal Plan: 4 Small Meals Per Day
You must keep up your strength while training. Keep your meals small, and spread them out over the course of the day.

What to Eat & Drink
Everything from Phase One plus…
Wild caught freshwater fish
Wild Berries
Hard Cheeses
Roasted farmed meats (such as cow, pig, and chicken)
the hound eats chicken

Activity Level: Intense
6 hours or more of intense exercise per week. Think of it this way – You are training to be a total badass. Activities such as running, weight training, swinging large objects, and crushing skulls are all good options. Come to think of it, there’s a fun new exercise tool called the Mostfit Core Hammer that would work nicely.

khal drago Mostfit Core Hammer

Buy your own Core Hammer HERE

Phase Three: Maintain Nobleman or Noblewoman-ly Composure (Maintenance Protocol)

Game of Thrones Sansa Lysa Fat

“My mother? Fat!?!”

Meal Plan: 1 Small & 2 Moderate Meals Per Day [w alternating intermittent fasting]
Every three days you will limit meals to 1 large meal per day to replicate the feast and famine cycle one would experience in a keep or a city where provisions would fluctuate radically based on weather, availability, distance, stores, and quality. *I made this up*

Apparently the medieval calendar had many holidays in which fasting was required. Some indicate over half the days of the year required some type of abstinence from food. *Totally true.* This protocol also mimics how tumultuous life could be for someone *eh hem, Sansa* emotionally coping with the rollercoaster of intrigue and ever impending doom and gloom.

Game of Thrones Sansa Tyrion No Eating

Nothing like the stress of being a Stark to help keep the weight off eh?

What to Eat & Drink
Everything from Phase One and Two plus…
Pears, plums, mandarins, oranges, grapes, figs
Soft Cheeses
Exotic wild game (such as boar, elk, goose, duck, and deer)
Tywin Skin Deer

Ramsay Snow Bolton shaking Sausage

Organ Meats
Daenerys Eat Horse Heart

Wine *I know what you are thinking – Best. Diet. Ever.*
Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister Pouring Wine

Wine has been shown to have some truly magical health benefits. It is said that wine can lower your mortality rate by 34% (and in Westeros you are going to need all the help you can get), and markedly slows brain decline. *Good luck finding out where these two stats came from.*

Because Dorn is apparently the f*!king Napa Valley of The Seven Kingdoms good wine should be consumed frequently. I emphasize good because Dorn’s wine is supposed to be pretty otherworldly and drinking crap wine is certainly not worth the calories. Remember ladies, you especially need to watch those calories since Queen Margaery showed up in King’s landing and those skimpy High Garden dresses are now all the rage at court.

M Tyrell Gown

Bikini dress season is coming.

Activity Level: Moderate to Intense
4 or more hours of intense activity spread out over the course of 6 days, rest on/in the light of the 7th. Which leads me to…

Phase Four: Binge like a King (Feed Cycle)

Game of Thrones Robert King Too Fat fot Amor

Meal Plan: 24 Hours of Debauchery
On the 7th day you may live like a king. This is your one cheat day of the week. Make sure to go hog wild *pun intended*. Eat whatever you feel like eating. Eat as much as you want. You are the king. There are no rules.

Activity Level: Brazen disregard for exercise
Do nothing, unless you f*!king feel like doing something. Act like you might do something, but get drunk instead. Watching sports, waddling from bar to bar, casual roaming of your house/apartment in search of more food and booze are all acceptable options.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this little foray into fictional dieting.

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While writing this article I stumbled upon a great website Inn at the Crossroads where the food in Game of Thrones is brought to life with recipes and beautiful photos of many of the dishes described in the books. Check it out for GOT inspired dishes for your next GOT party.

SPEAKING OF! The Bergmann’s will be celebrating the season 5 premier this coming Sunday (April 12th 2015) with our own Kingly Cheat Day Feast. Follow me to see daily food porn straight out of the Bergmann kitchen.


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