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The Elven Diet

JunkMonger122

Troubadour
I immediately apologize for any typos, as I am writing this on mobile. Now, I've been wanting to distinguish my races by diet for a while, and my elves are based in fruitarianism. They eat fruits, berries, nuts, grains, shoots, veggies, and other "off the land things", but mostly fruit and grain. They can eat fruits and berries that humans can't, and think they taste scrumptious. Elves have cultivated their own Elven strains of food, which given the wide universe of the Galfreeze Project, means that slightly different versions of the same food can exist between colonies of Elves on different planets. An Elven stomach cannot handle meat, unless they are Half-Elven and even then meat still isn't necessarily good for them. Elves also have their own candies and baked goods. Their have their own formula for making chocolate, which because my Elves take inspiration from Germany, is based in the German chocolate tradition. Elven coffee is similar to the French press.

My question is, what would the average Elven meal look like? What would their teeth look like? How would their stomachs need to evolve for this diet? How would they evolve to combat diebetes with such sugary foods? How do I retain the archetypal Elven physique with such a food culture? Especially in a modern setting? How would other races, especially humans, go about including Elven dietary needs into grocers and restaurants? Other than meat products, what human foods can Elves not eat? How do Elven parents teach their children to stay in their section of the store? What would an Elven restaurant serve to a human? Thank you in advance!
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
The physical revulsion to meat, instead of mere avoidance, makes me think you could delve into an (in my opinion) interesting direction that I haven't seen before by making your elves a humanoid member of the rodent order instead of simians (simiiformes). That way you have a real distinguishing factor, while also allowing you to tackle all of your questions at once with a clear, real-world guideline to follow. Of course, when I think of the elven physique I'm more inclined to imagine the folkloric elves of my part of the world. Short and stout rodents translate well to tiny, plump elves. Still, even if you want to go for the Norse or Tolkienesque elf you can base yourself on squirrels or desert rodents. If you choose the former, you can worldbuild your elves having to fatten up for winter, which provides some fun opportunities.
 
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JunkMonger122

Troubadour
The physical revulsion to meat, instead of mere avoidance, makes me think you could delve into an (in my opinion) interesting direction that I haven't seen before by making your elves a humanoid member of the rodent order instead of simians (simiiformes). That way you have a real distinguishing factor, while also allowing you to tackle all of your questions at once with a clear, real-world guideline to follow. Of course, when I think of the elven physique I'm more inclined to imagine the folkloric elves of my part of the world. Short and stout rodents translate well to tiny, plump elves. Still, even if you want to go for the Norse or Tolkienesque elf you can base yourself on squirrels or desert rodents. If you choose the former, you can worldbuild your elves having to fatten up for winter, which provides some fun opportunities.
I love squirrels, but the image of my Elves with those stupid little noses is too ridiculous. I think I'll look up squirrel biology for inspiration, but they won't be rodents. It also doesn't fit my lore either. Fairies, which Elves are a major member of, are descended from the Dreamkin which are the dreams of early humans who separated themselves from mankind's subconscious and gave themselves physical form. The Dreamkin divided themselves into three tribes, The Tribe of Dawn which became the Elvenoids, the Tribe of Dusk which became the Goblinoids, and the Tribe of Earth which sired the Floranoids and Fey Beasts. The Trismegistus Idea is the ancestor of the Greek-Roman Fey, and was essentially a minor deity in his own right. The Elves are meant to be the most "human" of the Fey, but still distinct in their own right. All the Fey contain humanity in them, because they literally evolved from human dreams. However, none of the Fey are just humans in costumes or planet of hats. I want to make them interesting and distinct, but not friggin rodents! My apologies If I seem rude.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
No offense taken. Looks like I've got an idea for a christmas story setting.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>Elves have cultivated their own Elven strains of food
The solution to most of your questions lies right there. The Elven strains of food compensate for the lack of meat. It will explain the physique, give their teeth any shape you wish, and so on.

The fact that they cultivate this implies some specialties. They forage only in certain places, grow crops on elven farms, and so on.
 

Queshire

Auror
Well, for teeth I would expect them to not have canine teeth or premolars and instead have more molars or incisors instead. I don't think their stomachs would necessarily be different. Cows and such have multiple stomachs because the grasses they graze on are really hard to break down so it requires multiple stomachs. With their primary diet being grains & fruit Elves won't have that concern. I'm not sure about diabetes but I doubt anyone would question it if you just said that because they evolved to eat these sugary foods they've also evolved so that diabetes generally isn't a problem. I don't know enough about nutrition to know how a diet like that would affect their physique, but I doubt most readers would be any more informed. You could just have them, ya know, have the elven physique. For grocers it'd probably be the same as any other dietary restrictions. Mark the packaging as Elf safe, have a section of the store for Elf safe food just like there's generally sections for vegetarian food in real life, etc. You'll have to be the one who decides what other human foods they can't eat. Personally I have my elves eat meat but culturally their food is heavily skewed towards plant matter. For Elven parents teaching their kids... well, I imagine it'd be much like trying to teach kids anything else. Might take a session puking their guts out after trying meat in order to get the lesson to stick, but so be it.
 

pmmg

Vala
I bought that santa's elves could eat sweets all day and still look svelte (see Elf). But I will confess, when I read your diet above my first comment was wouldn't they get fat?

I dont know how a race with long life spans can have diabetes as a problem. That would tend to shorten it. Given the elves are usually immortal types, or near immortal, I think they would have to have some type of immunity to disease. Maybe they are just very active.
 
If your elves' stomachs can't handle meat, did they evolve as herbivores?

If so, they'd have herbivore teeth. No canines.

If their natural diet is high in fruit, they'd be evolved to handle it. The sugar in fruit wouldn't be problematic for them. They wouldn't be prone to diabetes. They'd probably have a higher tolerance for sweets than humans do.

Or maybe human-made sweets would be problematic for them, and they could get diabetes if they ate lots and lots of those over a long period of time, but elven sweets are not. How different are the elf-made sweets from ours?

Another possible way to forestall diabetes is to consume lots of insulin balancing herbs. Dandelions, nettles, and burdock are some examples, and far from the only ones. In humans with diabetes, regularly taking those herbs can reduce, and in some cases eliminate, their need for medication (for that matter, it also works on diabetic dogs). If those kinds of herbs are a regular part of the elves' diet, that might be a contributing factor in sugar not being such a problem. And would mean that sugar would be a bigger problem for them if they stopped consuming their herbs.
 
Elves are renown for archery. Now, archery doesn't appear as a defensive sport - it is generally (in human societies, anyway) developed for hunting, and indeed, in lots of stories featuring them bringing down game, once I remember shooting fish. g
Now, this is not definitive - they've been living next to humans for a long time (and hobbits a bit less) but I suspect all the hominids sharing an omnivorous ancestor.
And, the extended lifespans will slow evolution, meaning that any disappearance of a style of tooth will take millions of years, rather than the few hundred thousand required for non-modified humans (or orcs, for that matter).
The near eternal species give a worthwhile argument for creationism over evolution.
 

LunarRat

Acolyte
Most of your answers lie in your own questions! They are your elves, so technically you can hypothesize any reasoning behind what and how they eat, digest, etc,. However, teeth wise, herbivores don't have teeth, and when we think about it, evolution is the reasoning behind most of what we can and can't do. Diabetes? Who even has a pancreas in this economy anymore, right? 😂
 

Napalmtheelf

New Member
I have to say, this topic caught my interest.
I have always seen Elves as plant based pieces of evolution, so the idea of them eating a plant based diet as rather paradoxical. As a plant based race eating plant would tend to lean towards cannibalism. So, how about elves avoiding all that and only eating meat....anyone's meat btw!!!! This could include humanity.....consider the parallels?! If you decided to take this on board, then elves would be the ultimate carnivores. It would also link into some myths and fairy tales about the fair folk.
 
Canabalism is by species, not phylum, order family or genus; so, as an omnivore, if I eat a pork chop (which was once mammalian), a cabbage, botannical, or a chicken (avian) I can possibly be accused of numerous crimes, possibly even genocide if it were a very rare porcine breed (ah, no, not even I should eat pork rare). If I indulged in bushmeat, I might hesitate at anthropoid ape (or even politician).

But I can't handle a botanical elf, either. A nymph might have vegitable antecedents, though I doubt it - the highest probability is symbiosis. Symbionts can easily be of differing phyla. But I suspecy faerie is another phylum, independent of animal, vegetable, fungoid, bacterial or algae - can you imagine a photosynthsising elf?
 

Queshire

Auror
Well, I don't know if I'd treat photosynthesizing elves as the default, but I wouldn't question them if they showed up either. They're hardly more unusual than fungal Orks after all. That said, I'm not too fond of purely carnivorous Elves. It's too easy to make it a cheap way to portray Elves as evil or hypocrites.
 

pmmg

Vala
Would not plant based elves eating other plants be as similar to cannibalism as humans eating pigs or chickens? There are a lot of plants that would not be elves.
 
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