A Singer’s Guide to Gut Health and Happiness

This article originally appeared in Classical Singer magazine. To subscribe to the print magazine, go to www.csmusic.info/subscribe.

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;… and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.” ~James H. West

Disclaimer – Always check with your doctor before trying any of these products or using any of these suggestions.

Cold and Flu season is upon us. Knowing how to recognize the first twinges of a cold or the flu and knowing what to do about it at that moment is really an important part of staying healthy as a performer. Others are able to be sick and continue to work, but as performers, that is out of the question for us. Being prepared whether at home or on the road should be considered a part of your career plan.

I have heard from several of you asking what to do about staying healthy. If you already have a tried and true system that works for you bravo, but if you don’t I will share my own ideas for staying healthy or at least nipping a cold or the flu in the bud.

Zicam – It works best and is most effective when you first start feeling symptoms like you are coming down with something like a cold. The longer you wait the less effective it is. So start using Zicam which comes in many applications today. It can be nose swabs, mouth spray, lozenges, etc. Find what works best for you and your life style. It is a method of adding zinc to help strengthen your immune system that can both dilute the strength of a cold and also shorten the time you have it by several days.

Oil of Oregano – We all have bacteria both good and bad in our guts. When the bad outweighs the good, our immune systems are on overload trying to deal with the bad bacteria, thus allowing us to be more prone to catching a cold or the flu. Oil of Oregano supports the good bacteria and gets rid of the bad. This is something you can add to your vitamin support regime and take it every day with using the dosage as directed.

Pro-Biotic – This is a great way to help support all the good bacteria in your gut which helps keep us in over all good health. The gut is where we absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. If it gets out of balance our immune system may become compromised allowing other irritants and germs to go unchecked within our bodies, which is how we get colds, etc. This is especially important if you have been given penicillin of any kind because this kills all the bacteria in our gut and leaves us venerable to disease and sickness. Pro-Biotics should be taken when using any type of penicillin.


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Oscillococcinum
– (also called Anas barbariae) Oscillococcinum is the brand name of a remedy widely used in the United States and Europe for treating flu symptoms. Research suggests that it has strong antiviral effects. You can find this at most Natural Food Stores. There are many other flu homeopathic products out there so do some research and ask those in a health store about them. If your Doctor is open to this type of practice, ask him/her questions as well.

Many of you have also asked about reflux issues. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me so well I rarely have a problem with this issue.

Wheat – The first thing I would suggest is that you stop eating all wheat products. The way it has been developed and changed especially in its processing and genetic engineering over the centuries, has created intolerance in our gut for digesting it well. This can cause reflux. There are so many great tasting products out there right now that are gluten free; it’s not hard to give this idea a try for say, one month to see if it corrects this issue for you. It doesn’t mean you can never eat wheat pasta or wheat bread again, but if you do it for 2 days in a row you will feel the indigestion and possible reflux. So it becomes a once a month type of indulgence.

Digestive Aids – The one I am going to suggest can be found on line at Jarro Formulas. It is called Jarro-Zymes Plus. This was suggested to me by a nutritionist years ago when I was experiencing reflux. I don’t use it much anymore, because I don’t eat wheat very often. But when I do, this product works great for me of course following their usage directions.
If and when you are traveling for auditions or performances, I was told at the beginning of my career to have a supply of health aids with me just in case there was a need. This is especially important if you are traveling outside the USA as health concerns are treated differently in different countries and you need to keep what works for you available as you need it.
Penicillin – Before an extended trip especially abroad, I would go to my GP and ask him/her for a prescription of penicillin to take with me, just in case I got a sinus infection or strep throat. This saved the day more than once for me.

If you are on medication of any kind, make sure you have enough to give you an extra week’s supply just in case there is some kind of unforeseen delay in getting back from where you are going.

Being prepared in this way allows you to feel more confident when you are away from home because you know and trust the medical professional who is willing to work with you in this manner to help alleviate any anxiety if you do happen to get a sick. And the most important element of staying healthy is to leap into your unknown strengths, follow your dreams, grow your gift and talent, embrace your friendships and loved ones, including of course the friendship with yourself and lighten up by laughing and smiling and do it a lot.

Happy = Healthy.

Ciao

Carol Kirkpatrick

For as long as she can remember, singing and performing have always been in Carol Kirkpatrick’s blood. From her beginnings in a small farming town in southeastern Arizona, through her early first-place triumph at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Auditions, and subsequent career on international stages, Ms. Kirkpatrick has thrilled audiences and critics alike. “A major voice, one worth the whole evening.” (The New York Times) Since retiring from the stage, she continues to be in demand as a voice teacher, clinician, and adjudicator of competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Combining her knowledge of performance, business, and interpersonal skills, she has written the second edition of her highly regarded book, Aria Ready: The Business of Singing, a step-by-step career guide for singers and teachers of singing.  Aria Ready has been used by universities, music conservatories and summer and apprentice programs throughout the world as a curriculum for teaching Ms. Kirkpatrick’s process of career development, making her “the” expert in this area.  She lives in Denver, Colorado.   YouTube.com/kirkpatrickariaready