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Eat Like a Ninja

Spoiler: They didn't eat hot dogs.

When I was in college, I used to split grocery costs with my roommate, Ed. And by “split,” I mean I completely made out like a bandit.

You see, Ed is a thin, svelte gentleman, while I am gluttonous swine. Out of the pack of 8 hot dogs we “split,” Ed would eat one while I would scarf down six of them, mustard on my face, leaving one as some sort of absurd rationalization that I wasn’t at least eating everything that wasn’t bolted down.

Besides, while hot dogs came 8 in a a pack, the buns came 12 in a pack for no logical reason in the universe, so nice guy that I am, those extra buns were all Ed’s.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I have bad eating habits, is what I’m confessing. But do you know who ate like they were working toward their best life?

Ninjas, that’s who.

The 4 Benefits of Eating Like a Ninja


Enhance fortitude.

Sure, many of the tales of ninjas are simply tall tales, but some legitimate records exist. And a lot can be learned via context.

It’s likely that ninjas ate like farmers would during the agrarian society they lived in. Sometimes the answer is the obvious one, so rather than assume some crazy magical diet, it’s likely they ate in accord with their time and geography.

Farmers during that time typically had a couple meals a day, which eliminates elevensies. They would have eaten a diet of millet, brown rice, miso, and vegetables. In other words, a nicely balanced diet that would give them a +1 on their fortitude saves.

What’s more, several scholars suggest there is evidence that the ninja diet was enhanced by grasshoppers, which would provide a protein boost. While the grasshoppers may just be folklore, I prefer to both believe it and accept it as a truly magical rationale for the sweet jumping ability of ninjas.

Increase stealthiness.

Ninjas are known for being sneaky, sneaky. And you better bet that their diet assisted in this. Sure, running around in their PJs helped, but let’s think through how their eating schedule may have assisted.

Ninjas weren’t whining every 5 minutes that they need a snack, like my high-maintentance kids do. Eating a couple balanced meals a day meant that a ninja’s stomach was accustomed to both small portions and extended time between eating.

In other words, the exact opposite of an American stomach.

But ninjas are well known for their ability to stealthily lay still in the shadows for hours upon hours at a time. The way they paced their diet absolutely helped with that! They didn’t need to give up their cover in order to take a little break to pound down a Clif Bar because their tummy was rumbling.

Eliminate body odor.

Obviously even a little toot would give a -1 to stealth checks, but even the silent but deadly toots would need to go. That’s why a ninja’s diet was balanced to eliminate body odor.

Researches are in agreement that ninjas intentionally eschewed fragrant or pungent foods, for fear of “being sniffed out by the enemy.”

Makato Hisamatsu, from Japan’s Mie University, told the Health Press that garlic, leeks, and other members of the allium family were all off the menu. Science has the ninja’s back on this: research has shown a shift in body odor for men who adopt certain diets, particularly vegetarian ones. And although some people feel that increased garlic consumption creates a more pleasant personal musk, there is no doubting it’s particular pungency.

If vegetarians have a different body odor, then meat was probably out for ninjas, so no hot dogs. Yet no worries there, as most people living in medieval Japan were Buddhist or Shinto, and therefore mostly vegetarian.

Stay nimble.

No expanding waistlines for a ninja. Hisamatsu told of an iron-clad rule that no ninja was to weigh more than 60 kilograms, which is about about 130 pounds for us Neanderthals who use the Imperial system.

Why 60 kgs? Well, that was the then-standard weight of a bag of rice. I don’t know what the agility of a bag of rice has to do with anything, but for a ninja, it meant he was light and nimble enough to hang from ceilings or scale walls, and to do so with ease.

Hot dogs make you weigh considerably more than 60 kgs. As a result, I cannot hang from ceilings like a ninja could.


So, now that we’ve seen best eating practices of ninjas, anyone else hungry for a hot dog?

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