In addition to Janek Gwizdala’s blog post “Musicians Nutrition”, I would like to share my own experiences. I think that it is a very important subject which is often neglected and underestimated. But simply said: the better you feel, the better you function and of course the better you are able to make music. The human body needs food and liquids and the better you choose them, the better you feel. Musicians often don’t have the possibility to choose their food properly, because when on the road, we sometimes are forced to eat a lot of crap and also at times that won’t help a healthy nutrition… having a steak after your gig or in the middle of the night is absolutely the right thing to do, if you want to have a heart attack! 😉
The same thing it is with body motion. We underestimate what we are doing with our muscles as musicians. But in fact it is nothing different than a top athlete or a football pro. Only that we use the very small muscles in our hands, arms, lips, tongues… We often play or practice a few hours a day. Well, imagine a tennis player training as much as we musicians do. He simply couldn’t. But we have to be aware that our muscle strain does not become unbalanced. That means we really have to pay attention to the rest of our body and all the muscles we don’t use when playing our instruments. Therefor it’s important to take the time and do some sports… running, swimming, biking, fitness, yoga… there are a lot of possibilities. Like Janek said: you just have to commit to it and do it!
When it comes to healthy nutrition, I think that there are a lot of ways to live “healthy”. It is also a very personal thing, because you have different kinds of types of body shapes and food combustion. What works for one person, might not help another. But what really helped me a lot to understand all that was the book: The Tao of health, sex, and longevity by Daniel P. Reid. It is about nutrition, your body, history of health and the balance between those things. Very very shortly said: to digest different kinds of food, the human body needs different enzymes. To digest meat (proteins) you need a different type of enzymes than digesting carbohydrates. That means that it is not possible for your intestines to get the best out of the food when you combine these two. You have to eat them separately. First, it is kind of weird, because the evolution of food brought us to Hamburgers and Spaghetti Bolognese and other “delicious” meals in the european/american kitchen, that are actually not heathy at all, but we keep on eating them every day, because we don’t know better. Unfortunately there is still no proper education about nutrition in schools. There are a lot of combinations of food and alternatives that are healthy and the nice thing is: you don’t have to leave out anything. You can eat all you want, BUT not at the same time! This understanding helped me a lot to be aware of what I eat.
This is a simple chart of what to combine.
I also started to check what’s inside all the food I buy. It is really shocking! When you’re reading the ingredients of the things you consider healthy, you will recognize that we are poisoning ourselves every day with a lot of stuff. All the preservative materials inside our food are a complete disaster! Try to find a cheese without artificial ingredients. Check the labels of the meat you’re buying! And to go one step further: also check and learn what the preservative materials mean! Download an app to your mobile phone where you can learn that for example MSG Monosodium Glutamate (E621) causes cancer and still is in A LOT of all our food.
Actually, it’s really not that difficult to have a healthy nutrition and a healthy body. It is all about the balance. Eat balanced and varies and move/exercise balanced varies and you will really start to feel great, focused, concentrated and healthy in no time! And just be aware of what you eat. That way you’ll learn to leave out unhealthy food and eat fruits and vegetables instead.
And for your inspiration: this is a very nice TED talk from Graham Hill about the weekday-veggy. 😉
As always, please leave your comment and let me know what’s your opinion and experience!