Having discussed the importance of keeping your voice well hydrated in my last post, I’m going to talk a bit more about the role fluid and food intake plays with regard to your vocal health.
The word “diet” can mean a lot of things. When I use the term I am talking not so much about the number of calories you should consume daily. That’s important, and so is eating balanced meals. Rather, I am talking about foods and liquids you should avoid, and particular times when they should be avoided:
- Foods and drinks with caffeine. (See my last post for more on caffeine.) These foods dry your system. Keep in mind that water is the best option. I like to refer to it as the elixir of vocal health. Remember, if your urine comes out yellow, you are dehydrated.
- Alcoholic drinks. These also dry out the voice and are best avoided. Beyond that, consuming alcohol before or after a performance is problematic in the following four ways:
— It is addictive. It will be all too easy for you to begin to depend on a drink to get yourself onstage. That may help you for a while, but in the end it will damage your performance.
— It engorges the blood vessels of the throat and vocal cords, which will render your tone harsh.
— It will interfere with your sleep patterns if consumed within two hours of bedtime.
— If taken shortly before bedtime alcohol can rise from the stomach up to the esophagus and onto the larynx, burning the vocal folds.
- Heavy meals. Eaten less than two hours before bedtime, heavy meals can cause the same problem as just described regarding alcohol.
To “fuel” your vocal system optimally:
— Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine
— Avoid drinking alcohol before a performance, after a performance, and shortly before bedtime
— Avoid eating heavy meals — especially fewer than two hours before bedtime