In this, the 3rd and final installment in what I’ll call the “singer’s diet” series, we’ll focus on beverages. If you’ve been paying attention and playing along on your board games at home, you know that I’ve taken a rather general approach to these articles rather than give you a hard and fast list of food items to go by. Why, because everyone is different and different foods and beverages affect everyone different ways. No sooner than I tell you to absolutely avoid something, someone will come along and tell you they have it all the time with no problem.
So instead, let’s start with a short list of general guidelines to consider when choosing something to drink:
1. Anything really cold should be avoided. Constricts the throat muscles
2. Caffeine should generally be avoided. Caffeine is a diuretic, so caffeinated drinks will dry out your throat. These drinks also dehydrate you, and make you go more often; which you don’t want to be worried about when you’re on stage. Include in this category all of the artificial sugars and sweeteners. Avoid those as well.
3. Acidic drinks (anything high in acid) should generally be avoided for pretty-much the same reasons. Acid can sort of “burn off” some of the protective coatings that keep you cords lubricated. And yup, we’re talking about acidic juices like orange juice and lemon juice.
4. Carbonated drinks like sodas should be avoided . Aside from the caffeine, there’s the carbonate. Which tends to bloat you and make you gassy and belchy (yes, I made that up, lol). Not something you want to be doing on stage.
5. Alcohol should be avoided. Besides the fact that you don’t want to be toasted while you’re up trying to perform, alcohol has many of the same effects as caffeine. It will dehydrate you and dry you out.
So if you’re thinking “well geeze, what does that leave me?!” Well, pretty-much anything you want that’s not one of those things. And there are always exceptions. For example, some say lemmon juice is nice to drink when you have a lot of phlegm, because it helps cut through it. You may, however, be helping one problem and causing another one with that scenario.
If you really want to simplify your life, drink room temperature water. Simple as that. But in order for water to really benefit you, you have to be drinking it on a regular basis. DO NOT load up on a ton of water right before going on stage, unless you want to be running for the bathroom halfway through your second song. Rather, you should sip on it to keep your mouth from becoming dry.
But in order to reap all of the many benefits of drinking water, you must try to stay hydrated as a general rule. Drink water on a regular basis. Your vocal cords will be moist, excess mucus from colds will be much thinner, and your voice overall will be cleaner and more crisp.
At the end of the day though guys, you really do have to become a student of your own body and your own instrument here. There are hundreds of people who will disagree with every point in this blog simply because they personally have never had a problem with it. Use this as a general guideline of all the common things that are true for most people. Then tailor your routine to what works best for you. Don’t make it so strict that you don’t even enjoy singing anymore. Singing isn’t supposed to be that way.
Enjoy your life! Just remember, not only your voice but your whole body is your instrument. Try not to take it for granted.