It sounds unusual, but it’s effective: Eating like gladiators can help you lose a pound or two. The gladiator diet is particularly suitable for vegetarians because, surprisingly, meat was not part of the gladiator diet.
Most people think of Roman gladiators as hulking types who ate heaps of meat to maintain their piles of muscle. But a study a few years ago found out what gladiators ate. They followed a strict diet that is still valid today – because the gladiator diet is a healthy way to lose weight.
Gladiator Diet: No meat, lots of grain
The menu of supposedly muscular gladiators is ideal for losing weight. A study by the Medical University of Vienna shows that gladiators eat very differently than is commonly thought. Researchers examined the bones of gladiators from the 2nd to 3rd centuries to shed light on the diet of Roman warriors. Historical records supported the surprising findings:
Gladiators’ diets were vegetarian and high in protein and carbohydrates. Despite all the physical exertion, meat was not usually on the menu, but a lot of legumes, such as beans and cereal products. In contemporary sources, the professional fighters are often referred to as “hordearii” – so-called “barley eaters” – because of these eating habits.
The Gladiator diet consists of carbohydrates and proteins
The gladiator diet is not only suitable for vegetarians, but also for anyone who wants to combine their diet with regular exercise. The body needs carbohydrates for physical performance, but after training, a lot of proteins should be on the menu for regeneration. The combination of healthy grain foods such as rice and whole grain bread and vegetable protein sources is therefore ideal for a sports-based diet.
But beans and rice aren’t the only foods allowed in a gladiator’s diet. Vegetables and fruits with a low sugar content as well as nuts and seeds and a small proportion of eggs and dairy products complete the diet plan. Processed products, sugar, alcohol, and coffee are taboo. Thus, the gladiator diet is the epitome of a healthy and balanced diet that helps to achieve a slimmer line. A strict diet plan is not necessary. Avoiding meat (products), chocolate, and processed foods is enough to promote fat loss. However, it is important to limit eating to three fixed meals.
A day during the gladiator diet could look like this:
- Morning: oat flakes with linseed and sunflower seeds in oat and almond milk, plus blueberries
- Lunch: Rice with fried vegetables
- In the evening: chickpea salad with tomatoes, red onions, and some feta cheese, plus a slice of wholemeal bread
Gladiator Nutrition: Natural Power Shakes
The gladiator diet also pairs well with formula diets, where nutrient-enriched, reduced-calorie weight-loss shakes replace either all meals or one or two. How does this relate to the gladiator diet? The researchers at the University of Vienna came across another peculiarity during their investigations: Gladiators drank a special mineral drink that was probably intended to serve as a tonic and bone-building elixir before the fights.
The researchers were able to prove that the gladiators took cold ash in the form of viscous shakes to absorb important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, or strontium. The interesting thing: even in ancient times, extreme athletes wanted to avoid broken bones and signs of physical fatigue in this way. According to the researchers, the health effect achieved in this way is comparable to a calcium or magnesium tablet.
To reduce calories and provide the body with additional nutrients, weight loss shakes (of course not from ashes) can complement the gladiator diet well and ensure weight loss faster.