Steve Barney Juicing & Health Tips with Ben Stone

Ben Stone (Tom Jones, Mike & The Mechanics)
Ben Stone (Tom Jones, Mike & The Mechanics)

Hey drummer friends!
My guest this blog is a British drummer who I've admired for a long time.
We first 'connected' at various music trade shows where he was a clinician (and product developer) for Roland.

More recently, he's been touring with Sir Tom Jones, Mike & The Mechanics and Rick Wakeman.
He's done TV shows, Whites (BBC2) and Nodyn (S4C) and has been a composer and musical director for stage musical A Breath of Fresh Air, as well as doing writing, producing and mixing music for various TV promos/ads.

In July this year, we hooked up again together… this time as like-minded juicing drummers at the UK launch of Joe Cross's Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead movie at London's Odeon Leicester Square.

Friends, a warm welcome to Ben Stone!

Photo: (c) Dave Phillips

My journey with juice and drumming

"My journey with juicing started just under a year ago so I'm a relative newbie when it comes to juicing fruits and vegetables. My journey with drumming started from birth and my health and juicing activities now fuel my drumming and music career like never before!

"My interest in fresh good food started many many years ago when I was a child and, I hate to say it but I am a bit of a 'foodie' which doesn't always go hand in hand with good health. I'd always cooked from about the age of 13 and we've had restaurants in the family pretty much since I can remember so I'd always see food being prepared by my mum and grandmother, both very much into cooking. When I moved out of the family home I really started to develop my interest in cooking with good healthy ingredients and I always made my wife, daughter and I food from scratch with no pre-packaged ingredients. I always felt that freshly cooked food was a better choice and feeling lethargic after eating processed food is not really an option for us. In the music business it's very easy to be unhealthy so eating the best ingredients you can is especially important when you have to be on top of your game 24/7 on a gig or in the studio. Energy levels are so important and mental focus is required daily in this industry."

Why I started juicing

"As a touring drummer I spend a lot of time on flights and travelling across country. Very early mornings and late nights are normal. This can take its toll on the body if not handled properly as I found out! At the start of 2013 I was taken ill for the first time whilst on a two month-long show and had to put a dep in for the last week. I couldn't even lift a pair of drum sticks, I could hardly walk and my immune system had obviously takena hammering. I spent three days in my hotel room unable to eat or drink and ended up in hospital. Recovery time was two months where I was on doctor'sorders to rest until my energy levels were back to normal. It was at this time that I took it upon myself to ensure this didn't happen again. A combination of not getting enough sleep, working too hard and not eating enough of the correct foods had finally caught up with me leaving me susceptible to illness and not being able to work!"

Enter the juice

"I needed more knowledge about foodandits effect on the body. I had to focus more on my health rather than focusing on cooking like a Michel Roux wannabe. One of the great things about the music biz is you meet some great people (and occasionally some not so great) and if you need help with things there is always someone who has done it and is willing to help you out. I started asking about various friends' and musicians' health and eating habits. I read a lot about diets, illnesses and conditions including what foods would help combat certain problems. After seeing the documentary by Joe Cross, Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead, which really made me open my eyes, I settled on juicing fruit and vegetables and alongside juicing I now eat balanced meals and cut out almost all dairy and processed foods."

I say yes to...

1. Lots of water

2. Lots of ginger

3. Lots of fresh raw vegetables and fruits (about 2/3 veg and 1/3 fruits and organic when possible)

4. Hemp or nut milk

5. Coconut oil (great to eat for good fats, and as a moisturizer for your hair and skin)

I say no to...

1. All bread

2. Cows' milk (or any animal milk)

3. Definitely no soda or energy drinks ever

4. Vegetable oil or food containing it

5. Refined salt and sugars/sweeteners and food containing it (including things like supermarket bacon)

"I very rarely eat thingslike pasta anymore although if I eat it I'll have made it myself from scratch and I'm still working on cutting out the cheese and red wine. I've yet to totally eradicate certain 'bad' things from my diet. My health is a long-term commitment and an ongoing refinement of doing the right thing which is routed quite often in habits and emotional connections. Little steps lead to bigger steps and it's all going in the right direction!"

A typical juicy day

"My day will consist of a juice with some fruit in the morning and a more vegetable based juice in the afternoon. When I'm not on the road touring I tend to be in the studio so depending on what my activities are at any given time I'll change my eating/juicing habits and include more smoothies with more good fats like coconut oil, carbs and protein (pea protein) if I'm playing drums. If I'm mixing or producing I'll tend to juice more vegetables and slightly lower my intake of natural sugars and fats whilst trying to stay totally hydrated all of the time.Meals tend to always verge on the raw side of things and I try to eat as little red meat as I can.

"I'm not perfect but try to make informed decisions and always stay away from the harmful foods like soda, refined salts and sugars in favor of natural sugars in fruit and natural salt that I'll add to my food alongside good fats like avocado and coconut oil. So far the benefits are proving to be very noticeable and incredibly positive:

Increased and more even energy levels throughout the day (great for long days in the studio);

Weight loss of 12kg in the last 6 months with no more than my normal exercise which includes running and some weights as often as I can;

Absolutely no illness since I started juicing and paying more attention to what I'm fuelling my body with. Not even a cold or flu which I used to get regularly;

I'm hitting drums better and I'm able to focus more whilst I'm working;

Better skin condition;

Hopefully less risk of diabetes and heart disease

"Ultimately I'm hoping the choices I'm making with food and my health will mean I can do more for longer with my young family as we get older and I can keep playing drums and making music for as long as I'm alive. I also really love that juicing is a great way for kids to get more of the nutrients they need which can help with behavioural issues and ability to focus on different tasks. This is important to me as a father and I feel a lot of today's young and older people have really missedthe point with health. It's not just about how you look or how many hours you spend in the gym getting ripped! Although exercise is extremely important, health really starts with what you fuel your body with.Food should be
NATURAL, FRESH and prepared by you and not bought in a packet or at a drive though. Make time to cook and learn about food, it's a great way to spend more time with family and friends."

Ben's favourite recipes

Beetroot & Ginger Juice Shots

1 small apple

1 kiwi (peeled)

2 thumbs of ginger (peeled)

1 large lemon (peeled)

1 large beetroot

Makes roughly 20 shots depending on size of beetroot and apple.

Banana & Avocado Smoothie

Into a high speed blender:

1 frozen banana

1/2 small avocado

1/3 ripe mango

1 tbs coconut oil

1 tsp of 10+ or 15+manuka honey (or the best you can afford)

1 1/2 cups hemp milk (add more or less hemp milk depending on desired consistency)

Additionally add a couple of spoonfuls of raw organic cocoa nibs or raw cocoa powder for a chocolatey version.

Joe's Mean Green Juice

1 cucumber

4 celery stalks

2 apples

6 Kale Leaves

1/2 lemon

1 tbsp ginger

Contact Ben on Facebook and check him out on YouTube!