Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
February 1, 2016IM -
by Karen Wang Diggs, nutritionist and author of Happy Foods: Over 100 Mood-Boosting Recipes
You want to perform your best on stage. But you’ve got jet lag, spent a fitful night in a hotel room with paper-thin walls, and have heartburn from pizza you gobbled down before rushing to the theater. While it’s hard to maintain equilibrium and eat healthy on the road, there are things you can do to buffer stress, boost energy, and keep your immune system strong, in order to perform at your best.
1) Get a lemon water jump-start. Upon waking, have an 8 oz. glass of room temperature water with two or three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. This hydrates you first thing in the morning, detoxifies your liver, and alkalinizes your body.
2) Protein-based breakfast is best. Avoid bagels, donuts, and other starch-laden/sugar-drenched baked monstrosities for breakfast. The double whammy of carbohydrates and sugar will spike-up your blood sugar, and cause low energy, and possibly, mood swings. Not to mention, pastries are calorie-dense, but nutritionally empty. Instead, enjoy eggs, sausages, oatmeal with yogurt and nuts, or a protein-based smoothie.
3) Ditch the diet sodas. You may think that switching to sugar-free soda and snacks is better, but artificial sweeteners actually confuse our brain and body by tricking you into thinking that you are consuming real sugar when it’s fake. This leads to metabolic confusion and overconsumption. Even though we know that sugar is bad, it does provide fuel in the form of glucose and fructose. So, when you drink a diet soda your taste buds sense sweetness and send a signal to your brain that energy is on its way. However, since artificial sweeteners are devoid of nutrients and filled with toxic chemicals, your entire physiology gets whacked out. Your cells are expect fuel, but there’s nothing coming, so you overeat to compensate for the fraud. Instead, enjoy sparkling mineral water with lemon slices, kombucha (in moderation), or coconut water.
4) Banish candy bars. Most of them are made from high-fructose corn syrup and other unnatural ingredients that are toxic to the liver and cause binging and weight gain. Instead, enjoy dried dates with unsweetened peanut butter, tahini, or cashew butter. Or make and pack your own healthy sweet treats. (Go to www.InternationalMusician.org/Top-10-Healthy-Touring-Tips for a recipe for Coconut & Date Kisses.)
5) Cut out conventional chips. These are made with vegetable oils such as canola, or corn that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. High omega-6 intake leads to inflammation, which can cause joint pain and heart disease. They also contain artificial flavors that cause binging and zap your energy. Instead, enjoy raw nuts and seeds.
6) Curb coffee after 3:00 PM. While a jolt of caffeine can give you a boost, caffeine in the afternoon can upset your sleep, remaining in your system for six to eight hours. Coffee is acidic and drains needed minerals from the body. Instead, enjoy black or green teas if you need an afternoon lift. Teas also contain a unique amino acid, L-theanine, which boosts concentration while keeping the mind relaxed with alpha brain waves.
7) Take Vitamin C. This helps to keep your immune system strong, and buffers physical stress. Choose a brand that does not contain GMO ingredients and is made from natural sources such as citrus or rose hips.
8) Probiotics please. Good gut health is the key to digestion, and also prevents constipation.
Probiotics also balance our gut terrain and keep harmful bacteria at bay. Choose a brand that does not need to be refrigerated and contains multiple strains of cultures, including: L. acidophilus, B. lungum, and B. bifidum.
9) Less EMR (electromagnetic radiation). According to some studies, radiation from cell phones, laptops, other wireless devices can cause subtle damage to our cells over time. It can also interrupt the production of melatonin. Place your cell phone and laptop far away from your bed at night.
10) Detox after touring. The angst of traveling and performing can create a lot of toxins in your cells. Over time, this can lead to physical illness and negative moods. Choosing the right detox can be confusing. It should be gentle and support your body with all the nutrients that it needs. The book Happy Foods contains safe, effective detox advice.
YIELD: approx. 24 pieces
Once they are well coated, they magically transform into Coconut & Date Kisses! Yummy.
(Recipe from Happy Foods)
—After graduating from California Culinary Academy, Happy Foods author Karen Wang Diggs flew to Hong Kong where she worked as a chef for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and helped open two eateries. After certification as a nutrition consultant, Diggs began merging her culinary skills with her knowledge of holistic nutrition, helping people achieve optimal health through detoxification and nutrition. She lives in San Francisco, California.