Friday, March 12, 2010

A Healthy Gamer is a Playing Gamer

As I sit in my gaming lair pondering the nature of our hobby and our lives in general, I have come to the conclusion (not original by any means) that our hobby does not lend itself to a healthy lifestyle. Picture the average gaming situation: Sitting around a table with a bunch of people, eating copious amounts of junk food, drinking sugar-laden and/or calorie-laden beverages, and doing little physical activity beyond rolling some dice or lifting a rulebook for quick perusal. Take this scene and stretch it across multiple hours per month (for those lucky enough to do so) and a recipe for dangerous living is born.

Now before I go any further, I am going to say that this blog is NOT going to become a place where I discuss health all the time. In fact, the only reason that it has entered my thoughts today is that my stream of consciousness took me back to several blogs just before and after the New Year that talked about gaming resolutions for 2010. Many of those touched upon the idea of trying to place more of a focus on health than last year. I think that it is fair to say that most of us are starting to get up there in age and we all immensely enjoy a hobby that, by itself, does nothing for our physical wellbeing. It may do a lot for our emotional and mental wellbeing—but not so for our bodies.

I am also going to say that I can be as unhealthy as the next guy. Sitting down and finishing-off a bag of tortilla chips, a jar of salsa, and a one liter of Coke by myself is a favourite pastime of mine.

But with those things said, I do believe that there is room to at least broach the subject from time to time, compare notes, maybe even throw out some ideas or tips. So here I go.

I truly believe that part of the fun of playing rpgs is getting together with a group of friends and doing the aforementioned “eating copious amounts of junk food, drinking sugar-laden and/or calorie-laden beverages, and doing little physical activity beyond rolling some dice or lifting a rulebook.” That is part of the experience—no way around that. And I don’t want to change that. Instead, what I do recommend is changing our diets outside of the gaming environment, so that when we do game, we can afford to be a little unhealthy because we are that much healthier the rest of the time.

What do I recommend? I recommend that everybody purchase a cookbook that my wife uses for our family that is healthy, tasty, and just plain full of awesome. The name of the book is The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. You can order it directly from their website or from Amazon although Amazon is currently Out of Stock. The recipes are healthy, the food is really tasty, and it contains recipes for foods that you would swear are not ‘healthy’ because foods that good just cannot be. And to be clear, I do not know either of the authors, nor do I have any financial stake in you purchasing their book. I recommend it because we use it, we love it, and we are eating healthier as a family than we ever have.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. I would invite anyone else in the blogosphere to perhaps comment here or, even better, throw up a post of their own talking about health. Even just talking about it may cause some people to take action to improve their situations, leading to longer-lived gamers (hence more gaming) and more fun for everyone. If you have any question as to why I believe that this is important, repeat after me: A healthy gamer is a playing gamer.

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