Posted: Jul 29, 2019
**Guest post written by Electra (The Rock-n-Roll Health Chick), an Integrative Health and Nutrition Consultant and Coach, specializing in the health of musicians.
"I’m not really your mother of course, but let me know if you need one. You may have flashbacks if she nagged, I mean urged, you to take care of yourself and “eat your veggies.” If not, I will gladly fill that important void. I do nag, because I care!
I know you’re all “grown up” and either dreaming of rock stardom, reaching for it or have already “arrived.” Even when you’re a rock god, your mental and physical health can go either way. We all need a little help sometimes. So, I’m going to share the Top Three valuable and doable actions that will help you think and feel your best while you’re on the road, playing a gig, practicing in your room or just watching your favorite band. If you don’t take care of your body and mind, you won’t be able to think, write, perform or live well. Where’s the fun in that?! If you’re my age, you’ve seen our musical heroes dying left and right. YOU don’t want that and I don’t want that for you, so let me help you help yourself.
Who am I and why am I here? Well, I wear many hats. I am the mom of two young men and they got “helped” plenty. They’d rather me nag, I mean help, you now.
Music and health rule my world. I am known as the Rock-n-Roll Health Chick. One of my many hats is as an integrative health consultant, coach and journalist. I write for magazines and blogs, like the excellent one you are reading. I helped create and now run a radio health show. I specialize in the health of musicians, but also focus on general health. I also work as a private care manager for the elderly. Trust me! You want to take care of yourself now to avoid more suffering later.
When I’m not doing all that, I help run an indie music, internet radio station that my husband and I created. I totally get the struggle of busting your ass, day after day, trying to get to “the top,” whatever that is. It’s exhausting, but I’m working hard to help, ‘cause I know how hard you work too! If you change the three things I share, not only will you feel and think better, but you’ll be a better musician!
Let’s start with tip #1. I know you’re busy and need to focus on a lot of things, so we’ll get together a few times to make it easier to absorb…
If you’d like to learn more and get more details than I discuss here, check out the book Quench. In the future you can hear my interview with the author on Rockin’ Your Health. Check her out HERE for optimal hydration information.
Since we can die of dehydration in a few days or less, I’m going to say that staying hydrated is the most important step to being your best. Sorry, beer doesn’t count! Alcohol de-hydrates us.
Our bodies are about 65% water. Our brains, all our bodies’ systems and cells need water to function and work. We’ve heard of not enough, but did you know there is such a thing as too much? So, what should we drink and how much?
You probably guessed that alcohol and soft drinks aren’t the answer. But did you know that most sports drinks are unhealthy? Just because something claims to be good for you, to replenish electrolytes and rehydrate, that may not be true. It can be a lie. The sugar and cheap versions of vitamins and minerals that attempt to act as electrolytes, mixed with dyes and preservatives, make most sports drinks a flat-out NO! The good news is that you can make your own. It will be cheaper, healthier and will probably taste better. Eight to twelve fl oz of plain or coconut water, a pinch of Himalayan salt, a squirt of lemon and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup will do the trick when you would usually reach for that commercial crap. Beware! Sea salt contains micro plastics now, so it’s not a good choice.
You may have heard that water is the best choice throughout the day, but water alone lacks the key nutrients we need for optimal hydration. Getting liquid from our fruits and veggies is even better. However, it would it be difficult to reach our target amount of hydration through food alone.
Water without electrolytes can pass right through and do little to no good. Not getting exercise can also keep us from absorbing adequately. Proper hydration is actually more complex than it seems, and there is new research and information on the subject. But I’ll try to keep it simple.
When you first wake, drink 8-16 fl oz of water that has a pinch of Himalayan salt and a little splash of lemon juice added. This helps you hydrate after a long period of no input. Also, our bodies detox overnight, and we need to hydrate to flush out the day’s waste. If you have a gig that night, increase your hydration early in the day and back off several hours before the show. Eating hydrating foods early will help even more. Play with this schedule to find what works best for you. You’ll feel better, have more energy and rock their world.
On non-show days drink 6-8 fl oz of the lemon-and-salt water, or plain water, before every meal. Have 8-16 fl oz every hour, depending on your level of activity. If you’re working hard/sweating a lot, go with the larger amount. Get plenty of vitamins and minerals daily, ideally through diet, but a high-quality supplement works too. We’ll discuss this next time.
Make sure you have full-body movement, including your neck. This helps get the liquids where they need to go. Too bad, but traveling the roads and moving equipment just aren’t enough.
By the time you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated. Pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If it goes back quickly when you let go, that’s good. If it “tents” you’re dehydrated. You can also apply pressure to your fingernail for five seconds. The color should return in one to three seconds. Typically you want slightly yellow pee. However, some supplements and medications can alter the color at times. Too light or too dark are not good. These “tests” don’t promise accurate results, of course.
When I say “water,” I’m not talking just any water. We need clean water and not from plastic bottles. Most plastic is carcinogenic. Many types leach into the water you drink or food you eat, especially when heated or containing acidic foods or liquids. Bottling uses petroleum and depletes our precious and limited resource of groundwater. Bottled water is often the same as your water at home. Processing uses three times the amount that is bottled. The bottles contribute to the seas of garbage that are choking our oceans and sea life. Stainless steel water bottles are everywhere now and very affordable online. It’s way cheaper to invest in one of these, since you only have to buy it once. If you’re prone to losing things or having them “walk away,” get one with a handle on top, so you can tie it down if need be. Plus, you can put band stickers on them when your guitar case gets full!
Much of the country’s tap water is contaminated, so a really good reverse osmosis filter is best. If you can’t afford that, I feel ya! We’re saving up for one. A lot of grocery stores have machines that filter water. It’s around $.99 a gallon or less. We take our own glass, gallon jugs. If you’re too busy or can’t find a filtration station, try the pitcher or tank filters you can use at home or on the road. They’re not the best, but are much better than the tap.
If you sweat your ass off at a show or elsewhere, try the homemade electrolyte water. You can also go for a high quality coconut water. Good coconut water tastes good, is refreshing and full of electrolytes. It is only found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Not all are created equal. I like this information as a guide.
This gives you plenty to work on. “Mom” says your assignment for the week is to focus on your hydration! You’ll look, think and feel so much better if you can get to an optimal level. Any improvement you make will help! You can even write a song about it on your way to the top. Don’t forget me when you get there!
Tune in next week. We’ll cover Healthy Food Choices. Same Bat time, same Bat channel…"
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