Nutrition For Drummers: Recharge Your Life Battery

Hans Selye, the scientist who received a Nobel Prize nomination for his work on the nature of stress, observed that every organism has a sort of “life battery” that stores life energy in the same way an electric battery stores electrical current. He wondered what the biochemical basis of this life battery might be and how it might be recharged when run down.

Just like any other battery, your life battery has two poles: a positive and a negative pole, between which a current of energy flows. In nutrition terms, it is protein that has a slightly positive charge, and fats and oils that form the negative pole. During conception, protein and fats join to form new life. Sperm, composed largely of protein, fertilizes the ovum, consisting mostly of fat.

Protein and fat are the structural materials of the body. In short, we are made of the stuff. Many of us, especially those who experience high stress, don’t obtain sufficient amounts of quality protein or essential fats to keep our batteries charged. Many are also lacking in the vitamins and minerals that keep the current flowing between the two poles. Vitamins and minerals don’t provide energy. They act as catalysts, making it possible to extract energy from food.

To keep your battery properly charged, I suggest that you have 3—4 ounces of lean meat or poultry or 4—6 ounces of fish at most of your meals along with some healthful, essential fats. Two or three eggs several times per week will also satisfy the protein requirement. Essential fats can come from olive oil, salad dressing, avocado or 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds.

Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, contain essential fats. Don’t forget the fresh veggies and fruits – they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals. When trying to keep hunger at bay during a long gig, I advise my clients to bring along nuts or a thermos containing a protein shake. Be sure to add some essential fats to the shake in the form of either flax or hempseed oil. This eating approach will help you manage stress better and protect or restore your health.