Simple Nutritional Tips To Keep Us at Our Peak

By Luga Podesta, M.D. and Teresa Schwartz
Originally published in DRUM! Magazine’s November 2006 Issue

Hours kept by musicians can be grueling. Limited sleep, long nights, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits can lead to disaster. Drumming is a physically demanding activity requiring adequate intake of calories (food) and fluid. Good nutrition is an important component of staying healthy and is manifest in functioning efficiently and effectively. Eat poorly and the body performs inadequately and is subject to weakness and fatigue.

Travel can add extra stress to our bodies. Time zone changes, changes in routine, different foods, and variability in work schedule interrupt our usual eating routines and may even discourage eating well. Many of these challenges can be resolved by thinking ahead. These simple recommendations can help us maintain our nutritional needs while away from home and on the road.

While Traveling. Don’t drink alcohol or carbonated beverages in flight. Alcohol increases dehydration, compounds jet lag, and adds little to no nutritional value to the diet. Carbonated beverages can contain lots of sugar (approximately nine teaspoons) and result in increased gas production making the traveler uncomfortable. Drink water during flights.

In-flight food is well known for its mediocrity, better yet, bring your own. Turkey, lean meat, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread or in a salad. Dried fruits, sports bars, nuts (walnuts and almonds contain the “good fats”) and ready-to-eat vegetables, travel well. Keep in mind; dried fruits and nuts are high in calories so eat in moderation.

At Your Destination. Get a room with a refrigerator, find a grocery store, and purchase raw vegetables and fruit. High-fiber cereals provide carbohydrate for energy and fiber for regularity. Yogurt (check the sugar content) and peanut butter (with whole grain bread) are easy, portable sources of protein and can hold off hunger until mealtime. Skip the chips and crackers (nutritional zeros).

Eating Out. Look at menus and select a restaurant with a least two fruit or vegetable servings that you will eat. Skip the fries and order a salad (no one needs the saturated fat). Seafood, chicken, turkey, egg whites, beans and tofu are lower fat choices for protein. Beef, pork and fried foods are higher fat protein sources. Fruits and vegetables supply carbohydrates and provide the body with energy, fiber, vitamins, and some minerals. Make them a part of your snacks and meals.

Following these recommendations can help us to maintain our stamina, keeping us drumming.