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Drummer Shares Tips for Healthy Living While on the Road

By John Fred, Black Stone Cherry

Tags: healthy living, juicing, travel, fruits, family health, nutrition, apple cider vinegar, Kentucky, John Fred,


Read John’s previous thoughts on healthy living, One Man’s Search for a Healthier, More Sustainable Life.

Eating Well While on the Road

I love the idea of continuing the legacy of the Native Americans and living off the land, hunting and gathering. Overall, by changing my diet and cutting out fast food and soft drinks, I lost about 50 pounds. Being a touring musician poses its own set of challenges. Nurtition wise, I’m always trying to figure out how to get the vitamins and nutrients I’m used to without having to carry a garden behind the tour bus.

The answer for me is juicing. I started juicing organic beets, organic appeals, organic carrots, celery, ginger, and turmeric. Turmeric is extremely great for inflation — it’s been used for thousands of years in the East and is particularly important for me as a drummer.

I can definitely feel it if I haven’t juiced in a while. Ginger is also great for immunity. If I get sick, I mix hot water, ginger, lemon, and honey, and it’s such a wonderful remedy. The juicing helps me to stay energized, and it’s incredible the amount of micronutrients you can ingest that way. If I actually ate the number of carrots of apples or celery that I consume through juicing, I wouldn’t be able to stand up.

Apple cider vinegar is another one of my favorite remedies on the road. When I’m starting to feel sick, I’ll mix some hot water with organic Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, lemon, and SCOBY — similar to kombucha — and it tastes like hot apple cider, but the health benefits are incredible.

Nowadays, there are many healthy options on the road. Even the airports have juice bars and other healthy alternatives. Of course, you need to make sure the juices you drink aren’t chock full of sugar and are being made with well grown vegetables that aren’t filled with pesticides.

When I’m on the road, I always try to find local restaurants that are off the beaten path, as opposed to the easy, fast food options. It’s so interesting to find cultures and communities of people in almost every area of the country who are trying to grow and eat organic. There are even some apps now like "Around Me” that can help you find healthy options, whether it's a vegan restaurant, a Whole Foods, or a local farmer’s market.

I’m a coffee nut, so I’m always trying to make sure the coffee we consume is healthy and high quality. We have a Kuerig on the bus, but instead of using the regular k-cups, we go out and get organic coffee, grind it with a small coffee grinder, and use a real filter to make our own coffee in the machine.

I like to use my own mug, as opposed to using Styrofoam, which of course you can’t recycle.

Sustainable Drum Sticks

There are things you can do in almost every profession to live more sustainably and help the environment. Since I’m a drummer, I decided to switch to a drumstick company called Vater, that makes their sticks out of hickory.

One of their employees goes to the factory every month and brings all of the excess hickory wood shavings to a local farm to be used as animal bedding. Hickory is also great for drummers because it’s very shock absorbent. The hickory tree grows at a nice rapid pace, so it’s very sustainable. It’s great to find like-minded companies that are aware of their environmental footprint and can help us live more sustainably.

Healthy Living During Pregnancy and Parenting

My interest in healthy lifestyle increased exponentially when my wife became pregnant. My daughter is doing so well, and I think that’s because my wife lived such a clean, organic lifestyle while she was pregnant.

We tried to eat all organic — it’s so important for mother’s to consume the right nutrients and minerals for fetal development. She also took a great organic prenatal vitamin, as opposed to the typical over the counter vitamin you get from the pediatrician.

She had an all-natural birth, without an epidural or pain medication. We're also strong believers in the importance of breastfeeding, if it’s an option for your family. It’s amazing how the mother’s milk provides the exact level of nutrients, vitamins, and cholesterol the baby needs.

We try to stay away from cow’s milk, because of all the stuff that goes into it, and are very conscious of the water we drink, making sure we aren’t consuming fluoride.

I like to use a copper mug, because the copper has antimicrobial properties that kill germs. We only get fluoride-free toothpaste and try to use diapers that are made with more environmentally conscious materials.

You can’t do all of this overnight. There are times when I kick myself for not doing enough to keep my family healthy. But we can’t be perfect. There are many steps that we can take to stay healthy, no matter what our lifestyle and personal challenges are, and we have to take it one step at a time.

This guest blog post for MOTHER EARTH NEWS was written by John Fred, drummer for the band Black Stone Cherry. The band’s new albumKentuckyis on sale now.

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