Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Foodies Legends

THE TEMPLAR’S SECRET

Treasures, enchantments, elixir of life? None of this: the real Templar's secret lies in their eating habits

October 13, 1307
France is full of gendarmes looking for Knights Templar, that have just declared outlaw by Philip the Fair. The night of October 13 was a bloody night, where only a few Templars could escape: legend says that some of them could hide and take the Templar Treasure thanks to other brothers who got arrested.

And it is precisely to get their hands on that treasure that the King of France has persecuted all the warrior monks, now belonging to what is no longer a monastic order but a real socio-economic power.

Anno Domini 1321 d. C.
In front of France’s Chief Inquisitor William Imbert, who had ordered their arrest 14 years earlier, 314 Templars parade. Philip the Fair’s thugs are wide-eyed: they are facing a cohort of old men.

The trial of the Templars has made history for the legends it has nurtured over the centuries, due to confessions extracted with torture, scabrous details, hidden treasures and conspiracy theories.

But who studied the papers of the process for real noticed a particularity: on average, each Templar could live 40 years more than their contemporaries.

Why?

Beyond those who have explained such longevity with magical rituals and long-life elixirs, scholars have found in their diet the secret of the , who at the time of his execution was 67 years old. A real Methuselah considering that in the ‘300s life expectancy ranged between 25 and 40 years.

The study conducted by Francesco Franceschi, Roberto Bernabei, Giovanni Gasbarrini and Peter Malfertheiner, ‘The diet of Templar Knights: Their secret to longevity?‘, published in ‘Digestive and Liver Disease’, showed that in the Order, there was considerable attention to the dictates of
Bernard of Clairvaux that kept the warrior monks healthy and could avoid the diseases of the aristocrats.

In fact, until the eighteenth century, the nobles and the main European courts were afflicted with gout, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Even Louis XIV, at the age of only 37, had almost no teeth and suffered from leg problems. The same happened to his lover, Madame de Montespan.

In the Middle Ages and until the fall of the Ancient Regime the average life of a noble was even shorter than a farmer’s life due to a diet too rich in red meat, fatty foods, alcohol, and game. Furthermore, it was not uncommon for them to get intoxicated with the toppings and fillings that made the preparations “artificial” (in the Middle Ages and up to the 1500s, those dishes that reproduced the appearance of a live animal were particularly appreciated).

The Templars, however, followed Bernard of Clairvaux’s principles. Among the rules the warrior monks had to respect, there was the n.10: “For during the week, unless the day of the birth of the Lord, or Easter, or the Feast of Saint Mary, or All Saints’ Day occur in it, let three meals of meat suffice for you, because the customary meal or consumption of meats is understood as a burdensome corruption of the body.

Rule n. 15, then, established that the tenth part of their daily ration of bread was given as alms, while even in drinking the Templars had to be moderate.

Besides, they use to eat a lot of legumes (the most powerful prebiotics in nature), mollusks and seafood (from which they assimilated Omega 3) . This also happened in response to the ban on hunting game, the first cause of gout with alcohol.

Lastly, the Templars did not underestimate the hygiene and used to wash their hands before handling the food (the brothers were forbidden to touch the food or go to the kitchens when they returned from work).
Therefore, no enchantments, rituals or deals with God: the real secret of the Templars was the one revealed every day in front of a table full of food.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Alessio Poliandri
My name is Alessio Poliandri. I work in the IT sector. I am Fabrizio Doremi's “business brother” and I share with him the birth year, the Wiloca and Foodiestrip foundation and many passions that only nerds can understand. For example the Star Wars soundtrack. For you is just a soundtrack. For us it's an hymn. With initiation ritual.