On first thought, we wouldn’t choose to follow the lead of Steven Tyler or Tommy Lee when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. But when you learn that Dr. Gabrielle Francis, a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, licensed acupuncturist and certified massage therapist, is the voice behind their eating, sleeping and exercise habits, their on-stage personas become just that — personas. In her new book, The Rockstar Remedy, Francis shows us a whole other side to her rock star clientele (who she regularly tours with) and what we can learn from their unbalanced lifestyles.
We caught up with the author to find out why anyone would want to diet like a rock star. (Trust us, you do!)
theFashionSpot: First of all, how can our readers relate to a diet plan based on a rock star’s lifestyle?
Dr. Gabrielle Francis: Most of the time, as is [probably] the case with your life, there are outside influences in musicians’ lives that set them back a bit, making it impossible to be perfect in their goals for healthy living. The glamour you see onstage is far from their experience on the road. Their hard-core schedules require long days that end at 4:00 a.m. and the days, which can include an 8:00 a.m. lobby call, are filled with travel between cities, little sleep or exercise, back-to-back media interviews and preparation for the next show. This is not to mention the after-show parties and revelry. Then there’s the time when the musician is “off tour” and they’re either recording music or catching up on their health and family obligations.
My guess is that your life can get pretty crazy, too and probably also follows a similar ebb-and-flow of extremes. Whether you’re a working professional or a full-time parent, you are in demand. Then your life may also swing into the other pendulum when you are “off tour.” Now, you have a breather at work and it may be summer vacation for the kids. This is when people usually think about doing more health-focused things.
tFS: What kind of effect does this on-again, on-again lifestyle have on our health?
GF: Your health exists on this type of spectrum with complete vitality, energy and happiness on one end and sickness and disease on the other. Most of us, celebrities included, are somewhere in the middle, moving toward “perfect health” when we take good care of ourselves and toward sickness when we don’t. My goal for you, the same one I hold for my rock star clients, is to constantly shift away from the disease side of the spectrum and toward good health even when you are “on tour.”
tFS: How do you recommend your clients create a balance on tour and off?
GF: It’s so simple, it can be your plan for life: 10 percent of the time you do what you want. You don’t worry or limit yourself about the food or indulgences at events, concerts, parties, restaurants or ice cream runs with your kids. You can participate in, and on occasion relish in, the extravagances of life — as long as you’re making healthy choices the other 90 percent of the time. This is what I call “maintenance mode” and it begins after you’ve detoxed and begun to practice new healthy habits on a daily basis.
You may be willing to sacrifice how you feel because you’re having so much fun, but ultimately that adds toxicity to your body. Keep in mind that ultimately the good must outweigh the bad.
tFS: What advice do you give to your clients about drinking alcohol?
GF: I’ve created countless signature tricks — called Harm Reduction Techniques — and test driven them on tour over the past two decades that are designed to make some of your not-so-healthy vices and habits a little less toxic. [Three examples are listed below.]
- Hook up with free spirits. Go gluten-free. Think potato-based (vodka), juniper-based (gin) or agave-based (tequila) options. They’re more distilled than rye, barley or other grain-based liquors, so they’re cleaner and easier on your liver.
- Hear it through the grapevine. Good news: Wine is an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-aging compounds. Bad news: It can be loaded with pesticides. The key is to look for organic or biodynamic varieties. Choose Old World brands from France, Spain or Italy, which contain fewer toxins.
- Live by my grapefruit trick. When grapefruit juice is mixed with spirits (say, vodka and grapefruit juice), the naringenin in the citrus causes the liver to slow its metabolism of alcohol, therefore keeping it in the bloodstream longer. This means you need half the amount of alcohol to feel the same socially lubricating effects.
tFS: When most of us overindulge (on many a weekend!), our first thought is to detox on Monday. What’s your opinion on strict detox diets like juice cleanses?
GF: One thing to consider about green juice in cleanses is that the greens are natural chelating agents, which pull toxins out of our cells and into the bloodstream. From the blood, the toxins get filtered in the liver and then dumped into the gut. If the liver and gut are healthy, then the toxins will be eliminated. The problem is that most people have compromised liver and gut function and their body cannot handle the load of toxins being eliminated. This puts more free radicals into the system and they may feel more sick while on the cleanse.
I recommend the functional food products in my RxStar Remedy detox shake to support the repair and function of the liver and gut so that the toxins can head straight to the exit and not go back in the blood.
tFS: What’s something you’ve learned while working with rock stars that’s surprised you?
GF: Well, I am surprised that there have been very few of them in my 30-plus years of working in the music industry that I have not liked. They are really great people! In general, I find them to be soulful, spiritual and very family-oriented. They are also very sensitive (which makes them so creative) and this also gives them a sense of compassion and certain social responsibility to try to make the world a better place. Almost every artist/band that I have worked with has some charity organization that they are passionate about and they try to use their influence to help others. I love that in a person!