How To Put Your Voice FIRST

I've had quite a few questions come in this winter about how to take care of your voice when you are feeling under the weather.

My coach taught me something priceless many years ago during a period of time when I kept getting sick, and it changed my life!

Here it is:

SELF CARE IS #1!

Self care tips for singers by Roxie Francis at I Heart My Voice

Being the go-getters we are, it can be tough to know when to stop or say no, even in the name of love!

I love singing, dancing in the rain, popping champagne and working my tail off! And there is nothing that I love more than helping others, but sometimes I have to put it all aside and gracefully bow out of my crazy superhero plans!

The best advice I can give you for a lifetime of healthy singing is to put your needs first!

 

If you eat well, sleep well and exercise everyday, the odds that you will catch a cold that could affect your voice in the first place are slim.

If you start feeling a cold come on, take a moment to check in with yourself to see what you need to feel better in that moment. Your power is in staying positive and making good choices in the moment. When you do this, you will be in control of your health!

My go-to faves when my voice needs a little self care are:

  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of room temperature water

    • Try warm water w/chopped ginger & squeezed lemon, or Traditional Medicinals' Throat Coat tea

  • Keep your diet light, with plenty of green smoothies

  • Protect your neck and chest with a large scarf

  • Get tons of rest: your body goes into super-healing mode only when you are asleep

  • Breath directly over a small portable steam inhaler for 10-15 minutes, several times a day

  • And if your voice is in any pain at all--go on vocal rest, meaning no singing or talking!

So take a moment and ask yourself: what you can do right now to put your voice FIRST? 

Nutrition Tips For Singers

There are those singers that can eat and do whatever they want and it never affects their voice.

And then there are singers like Taylor Swift, who, according to vocal coach Brett Manning, "...has a fantastic work ethic, and she's very careful about what she puts in her body."

 Apples are mostly water and will help hydrate your voice--Taylor knows!

Apples are mostly water and will help hydrate your voice--Taylor knows!

At the end of this article, I have uncovered nutrition and health secrets straight from the mouths of your favorite singing celebrities to inspire you to embrace your vocal health and transform your diet and lifestyle for great singing!

It can be difficult to know what to eat, but you have to eat well in order to sing well! Each of our bodies are unique, and with a little investigation I know you will figure out what works best for you! 

Eating a balanced diet before rehearsals and performances is absolutely crucial. 

And while I've covered this before, I can't stress enough that the single best thing you can do is hydrate, hydrate and hydrate your chords; even more than the suggested 8 glasses per day. 

Choose foods that are natural, easily digested, keep you hydrated and offer you energy. Food is your fuel--that's why it's directly related to your ability to produce vocal power! 

Here is my personal list of foods for a healthy and happy voice:

 Eat well to sing well!

Eat well to sing well!

Proteins: Fish and chicken, or if you are a vegetarian, try quinoa and soy products like Seitan.

Carbs: Whole grains, brown rice and  oatmeal. Avoid highly processed carbs like white bread, white rice, plain bagels, pasta and sugary cereals to keep your energy balanced, your body fortified with real nutrients, and your weight low!.

Hydrating fruits and vegetables: Apples, watermelon, bell peppers and cucumber are all mostly water. Stay away from citric fruits with high acidic properties. One of my favorites is organic applesauce--make sure there are no added sugars!

Soups: Vegetable or broth-based with noodles or pasta! Avoid creamy soups that sneak in extra cheese.

Salads: Almost any salad can be a good choice--just watch out for heavy dressings or fried proteins! Oil and vinegar dressings are the best choice. Vinegar balances your blood sugar and oils like olive, coconut and avocado oil provide provide the healthy monounsaturated fat your body actually needs, which will actually level your blood sugar and help with weight control!


So what do Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Beyonce have in common? 

Super-healthy eating habits! I have dug up the nutrition and health secrets of the stars!

Jessie J says, "I eat lots of fruit and veggies and drink a lot of water, but I love my carbs. I don't really eat junk food."

Ed Sheeran recently dropped from 210 pounds to 154 pounds by consuming raw vegetables, healthy green juices and eliminating late-night snacking. Sheeran told an Australian radio station, "The main thing I cut out was eating after shows. I'd get off stage and eat pizza. Now I eat before a show, play, go to bed." 

Ariana Grande is full of energy. She snacks on almonds and cashew, and she can't resist salmon or coconut water. "I always have a bottle next to me," reveals Ariana.  

Beyonce told Self Magazine, "I can't eat what I want, and I can't not go to the gym. It's more about your mental strength then physical strength. You have to push yourself. It doesn't matter what program you're on. You have to be healthy and make the right choices," she says.

Superstars, remember that self care is #1. What we consume directly influences our vocal sound! 

Write me and let me know if you've tried any of their tips and how it worked out for you. What nutrition tips have worked best for you?

Click here to schedule your first introductory vocal consult and receive our first-time client special offer!

The 7 Worst Foods For Singers To Avoid

There isn't one magic trick or pill that I credit my healthy vocal cords to, but I am happy to share what works and maybe more importantly here, what doesn't work. 

I am highly conscious about which foods I eat and which foods I avoid. 

Even when your body breaks down, there are a number of actions you can take to maintain your vocal health. To help inspire more healthy singing days, here are the 7 worst foods for singers to avoid: 

The 7 Worst Foods For Singers To Avoid!

1. Cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products can create phlegm and get in the way of your natural tone.

Singers should avoid dairy products

2. Green vegetables can create gas and bloating that distracts from your breath support.

Singers should avoid green vegetables

3. Nuts and snack foods can leave remnants in the throat that can cause you discomfort. You may need to clear out your throat, which can be damaging and abusive to your vocal cords.

Singers should avoid nuts and snack foods

4. Spicy foods can cause acid reflux and dry out and irritate your vocal cords. You may need to clear out your throat, which can be damaging and abusive to your cords.

Singers should avoid spicy foods

5.  Fruits that have acidic properties, such as oranges, lemons, grapes, and pineapple can cause acid reflux and dry out your vocal cords.

Singers should avoid acidic fruits

6. Fast food and high fat foods cause weight gain and extra strain on your body or voice.

Singers should avoid fast food and fatty foods

7. Very salty foods and caffeine (sorry, chocolate!), can dry out your body and dry out your throat.

Singers should avoid salty foods and caffeine

2 Bonus Food Tips

★ Do not perform on an empty stomach! 

★ Do not eat food before you sleep, especially foods with acidic properties. Digesting while sleeping or laying on your back increases your chances of triggering acid reflux. In severe cases, the acid from your stomach can float back up and directly damage your vocal cords. 

Superstars, remember that self-care is #1, and what we consume directly influences our vocal sound! 

Click here to schedule your first introductory vocal consult and receive our first-time client special offer!

The 7 Worst Drinks For Singers To Avoid

Singing is a labor of love. When singers express themselves with total freedom and no struggle, their message can resonate in the hearts of millions.

But no matter your level of singing mastery, you can still occasionally experience a tense and dry throat that makes it difficult for you to get in your zone! 

I can remember my very first jazz gig in Hollywood. One of my fans had given me a salt-rimmed strawberry cocktail right before my time to shine. I gratefully had a tiny sip and thought, "Now I'm ready to sing!" When the band started, I followed with: "...!"

Translation: "my voice cracked!" 

And this got me thinking...

How do world-class performers get on stage night after night and give a flawless performance? Do they possess some kind of super-human talent that I don't have? 

I researched the habits of the best performers in the industry, and this is what I found to be true:

Self-care is #1.

Have you ever woken up with an itchy, irritated or dry throat? 

I get asked this question all the time: "Help! Why is my voice not working the same as it did yesterday? Was it something I did?"

How do you implement vocal self-care into your life, so that nothing stops you from the best possible version of you coming forth when it is time for you to be center stage?

In honor of my infamous 1st-ever jazz performance, here is a self-care guide to which drinks you should avoid or minimize in your daily diet for optimal vocal health.

 Singers, rethink your drink!

Singers, rethink your drink!

The 7 Worst Drinks That Can Harm Your Voice

1. Coffee dries out the throat and can cause tightening and irritation in your throat. 

2. Dairy products produce mucus, which can affect the sound of your voice and range.

3. Fruit juices with acidic properties produce mucus, which can also affect your voice tone and range.

4. Green and black teas contain caffeine and can dehydrate your vocal cords, which can lead to sore throats, and worse, nodes.

5. Iced drinks or cold temperatures can affect your tone and vocal cords.

6. Carbonated or aspartame-containing drinks (NutraSweet and Equal) increase the amount of air in the stomach, which can affect your breath support system.

7. Alcohol dries out the throat, which can cause irritation and tissue swelling.

Out of all the side effects from beverages that can cause the voice harm, dehydration is the worst! Dehydration can cause the voice to lose vocal cord flexibility and become more susceptible to damage!

Don't wait until your throat feels dry and start chugging water! The vocal cords are one of the last places in our body to get hydrated.  

 Don't leave your vocal cords hanging out to dry!

Don't leave your vocal cords hanging out to dry!

You can't hydrate your throat until you have consumed enough water to hydrate all your vital organs. As you probably already know, we are largely made of water! So drink water when you wake up, and also throughout the day and night before your vocal coaching session, recording or gig! 

There are other natural remedies I could recommend to help you keep your voice in top shape, but the #1 thing you can do is:

Stay hydrated.

9 times out of 10 when my voice is feeling dry or irritated, it is because of something I consumed, and the remedy is usually to flush it out by drinking a ton of water.

Never struggle with your voice again because of what you consume!

To freely express ourselves, we need our bodies to feel good and support us. Take care of your body and voice; it is your instrument!

Click here to schedule your first introductory vocal consult and receive our first-time client special offer!