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The Optimal Diet for Pianists (Read 2048 times)

Offline opus10no2

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The Optimal Diet for Pianists
« on: July 05, 2016, 04:21:54 PM »
As a former overweight person who has played piano for years, I've found that along with experimenting with dietary approaches for weight loss I've also found so much benefit in mental clarity and focus when it comes to practising.

I'm a big advocate of High Fat Diets and all of the mental-clarity benefits that come with a fat-fuelled brain.

Has anyone experimented with different diets - and pre-practice foods or drinks - such as coffee - that really help a session?

You may sound a little sceptical of the mental side benefits of adjusting your diet but don't knock it 'til you try it!
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #1 on: July 05, 2016, 11:28:38 PM »
As a former overweight person who has played piano for years, I've found that along with experimenting with dietary approaches for weight loss I've also found so much benefit in mental clarity and focus when it comes to practising.

I'm a big advocate of High Fat Diets and all of the mental-clarity benefits that come with a fat-fuelled brain.

Has anyone experimented with different diets - and pre-practice foods or drinks - such as coffee - that really help a session?

You may sound a little sceptical of the mental side benefits of adjusting your diet but don't knock it 'til you try it!
Thank you so much for your courageous post.

John Ogden ate and drank himself to death.  This phenomenal talent did so with most people commenting on it after he was gone.

Also, Vladimir Horowitz eating Dover Sole every day as part of his pianistic regimen was "performance related."

I started out as a hypoglycemic, wherein I was so depressed that practicing every day was sheer torture.  Over the years, I am now a hyperglycemic, with a high cholesterol level, and things have changed.

To give a direct answer:  you bet your life! (literally) that it makes a difference what you eat. And, it also makes a huge difference what daily exercise routing couples this diet.

I supplement my cholesterol medication (which robs the brain of its necessary fat) with diet supplementation.  Not only does this medication effect ones performance at the piano, it directly leads to an early onset of dementia.

Metabolism is not a PC term.  It is a scientific reality.

Offline ted

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 01:47:45 AM »
I have followed a balanced diet and a daily regimen of physical training for many years, but I cannot correlate specific intake to the quality of sessions at the instrument. I drink a moderate amount of coffee, which I find stimulates some mental processes but retards others. I am not teetotal but drink very little as it lost its charm decades ago. Exactly why good piano sessions occur is still a mystery to me but I concur that a healthy body and mind will be more likely to produce them. The quality of my sleep, especially dreaming, I suspect, might also have a significant impact on the creative faculty, but I cannot explain why.
"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #3 on: July 06, 2016, 04:30:22 AM »
There is no one-size-fits-all diet.  Your diet should be based on your individual gut flora.  Get that right and the world's your oyster.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 05:55:27 AM »
the digestive tract flora are certainly a critical component of what diet is best for each individual, and unfortunately childhood dietary habits can influence which flora flourish and which diminish. we're also genetically endowed with critical organs and endocrine systems which are also influenced by our habits during physical maturation and beyond, giving each of us different capacities for assimilating nutrients.    some of us have a low tolerance for consumption of sugars or starches before insulin resistance gets triggered and the calories get stored as fat.  o.t.o.h., eating fats is definitely necessary for our bodies and minds to truly thrive, but the quality and quantity that's best for each of us differs.

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 09:17:50 PM »
My health habits, and in this I include sleep, effects the entire quality of my life. 

I keep myself on a strict routine...getting up at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day.  I eat every 4 hours, typically a combination of a protein and produce.  I do not eat after 7 p.m.

I find frequent, small mini-meals not exceeding 250 calories keeps my mind "tuned up" better than the traditional 3 squares.

Also, I work out every a.m. for 60 minutes doing a combination of cardio and free weight training.  The cardio seems to help with the blood flow to the brain (it just wakes me up and keeps me awake) and the free weight training makes the hours seated at the keyboard easier since my whole body is stronger.

My next fitness challenge is Pilates, to really strength that core.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 09:24:52 PM »
a healthy diet in general is a good piano diet.
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 10:32:11 PM »
My health habits, and in this I include sleep, effects the entire quality of my life. 

I keep myself on a strict routine...getting up at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day.  I eat every 4 hours, typically a combination of a protein and produce.  I do not eat after 7 p.m.

I find frequent, small mini-meals not exceeding 250 calories keeps my mind "tuned up" better than the traditional 3 squares.

Also, I work out every a.m. for 60 minutes doing a combination of cardio and free weight training.  The cardio seems to help with the blood flow to the brain (it just wakes me up and keeps me awake) and the free weight training makes the hours seated at the keyboard easier since my whole body is stronger.

My next fitness challenge is Pilates, to really strength that core.
Thank you so much for your very sound advice.

As you reference in your text, the hominid structure is marvelous machine, which requires meticulous care.  And, a "body clock" is an essential part of this.

Historically, those who don't follow this philosophy pay a very heavy price for disregarding this dictum by living the so-called "fast life."

On personal note, I do very advanced daily stretching exercise, which took me a long time to develop.  So, in that you use free weights, my advice is to take it slowly with the Pilates in order not to tear/sprain a muscle, ligament or tendon.

Thanks once again for your sound advice to the OP.

Offline brogers70

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 02:19:26 PM »
It's not that I think diet is unimportant, but I've never noticed any major effects. I've lived in the U.S., Brazil, West Africa, and SE Asia. I always ate the local diet, so my diet has changed a good deal over the years. None of those changes effected my general sense of well-being, and certainly did not seem to effect my piano playing. A constant diet of cassava, plantain, and peanut stew in West Africa did seem to lower my cholesterol, though.

Just my own experience, there are certainly many who feel that sticking to very specific, strict dietary regimes has helped them, but I'm not among them.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 04:11:18 PM »
A regular diet of cassava and I sh*t bricks - not nice.
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #10 on: July 07, 2016, 10:34:04 PM »
Vis a Vis the OP:

"I'm a big advocate of High Fat Diets and all of the mental-clarity benefits that come with a fat-fuelled brain."

As a Hypoglycemic, I have utilized this type of diet for years.  Conversely, the extensive use of Statin cholesterol drugs robs the brain of essential fats.

Hey, this is a good idea:  When someone is up in years, let us just rob their brains of essential nutrients for good measure.  The plain fact is if you are in your 80's, you are not going to die of heart disease.

However, in recent years there has been an explosion of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.  And, in addition to robbing the brain of its essential fat metabolism, these statins lower their folic acid levels.

So, my hearty congratulations to the OP.  You don't need any dietary advice: you should be giving the advice.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #11 on: July 08, 2016, 05:19:20 PM »
I recall that Fats Waller played better with a beer and fried chicken.

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Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #12 on: July 08, 2016, 07:28:09 PM »
I battled anorexia on/off my entire life. I tended to suck when I ate less.
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #13 on: July 09, 2016, 01:11:11 AM »
I battled anorexia on/off my entire life. I tended to suck when I ate less.
Thank you for your very courageous statement.  I know that it was very hard for you to do so.

Accordingly, this is why I

Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #14 on: July 09, 2016, 01:18:31 AM »
I battled anorexia on/off my entire life. I tended to suck when I ate less.
Thank you very much for your courageous statement.  I know that it was a very hard thing to do.

Accordingly, this is why I recommend the Hypoglycemic Diet, which consists of high fat, high protein, and low carbohydrates.

Has anyone ever noticed when watching a major golf tournament that the leader folds and craters at the very end?  I have, and I know why.

Their blood sugar spikes (Gatorade) and then craters.  Then, their whole endocrine/brain metabolism goes into the toilet.  And, it very much works the same way in piano performance.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #15 on: July 09, 2016, 03:04:57 AM »
Calorie counting helps a lot (3.5k calories deficit is generally 1 pound of weight loss) aim for deficit each week and you will always lose weight. I would eat a ton of healthy fats from fish especially salmon, lots of protein from lean meat (the kj your body uses to digest protein is also very good) keep away from too much carbs, eat rye instead of normal bread. Stay away from sugar especially in drinks, I use to love drinking fruit juices until I stopped and read the sugar level! I lost 20kgs in 3 months following a stubborn regieme of just eating/drinking healthy, only drank water which cut my sugar intake down a huge amount, feel much healthy and never will go back to my old habits (although now I've lost the weight I do treat myself now and then as I don't need to lose any more weight now).
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: The Optimal Diet for Pianists
«Reply #16 on: July 09, 2016, 10:23:26 PM »
Calorie counting helps a lot (3.5k calories deficit is generally 1 pound of weight loss) aim for deficit each week and you will always lose weight. I would eat a ton of healthy fats from fish especially salmon, lots of protein from lean meat (the kj your body uses to digest protein is also very good) keep away from too much carbs, eat rye instead of normal bread. Stay away from sugar especially in drinks, I use to love drinking fruit juices until I stopped and read the sugar level! I lost 20kgs in 3 months following a stubborn regieme of just eating/drinking healthy, only drank water which cut my sugar intake down a huge amount, feel much healthy and never will go back to my old habits (although now I've lost the weight I do treat myself now and then as I don't need to lose any more weight now).
Healthy fats and no processed sugar:  a great way to live a fairly healthy life and have great energy at the same time.

Please notice that this post does not go over the edge with veganism and gluten free.  The overwhelming population of this planet has successfully eaten non-highly processed wheat for thousands of years because it works!

Excellent post.