Voice health musts & mustn’ts

Sounding cold-free/allergy-free is pretty much vital as a voice-over actor.  And, there are three things that I can’t live without when it comes to my vocal health.  As it turns out more importantly, there are three things that I need to live without

My three no-no’s used to be controversial, but lately it seems there are a lot of people on the band wagon. While I have a weakness for them, they make me weak in body and mind.  In no particular order, they are (decadent) dairy, (wicked) wheat, and (astonishing) sugar.  Without those three elements in my life, I am strong and healthy. Anyone can find information on the “cons” of all three of these foods.  I won’t profess to know all the answers, but I know I feel like a million bucks when I’m on the wagon.

My three must haves?  One is obvious, perhaps the others are not…

#1 – Sleep – There is nothing that ruins my voice more than lack of sleep.  At best, I sound like a late night DJ, at worst, I sound like I might be undergoing electric shock therapy. I am short of breath, have a jagged, wavering tone, and my ability to process the words from script to brain to mouth just doesn’t happen very well.

#2 – Fresh Ginger – In my humble opinion, fresh ginger is an extremely healing, super-food.  Though I don’t see it on many lists, it is a proven anti-microbial. I’m no doctor, but I … stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Just kidding.  Some freshly grated ginger in a smoothie or boiled into a tea is my secret weapon.

#3 – Ricola Lozenges – If I am ever sick, which thankfully hasn’t happened in a long time thanks to fresh ginger, I cannot live without my sugar-free Ricola lozenges. Sugar-free is important to me, as a lozenge with sugar seems to defeat the purpose, actually making me cough.

My final bonus, “can’t live without”?  No surprise…I can’t live without just a little bit of dark chocolate…MY vitamin C…a little every day!

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  1. Mary Jane Copps

    A lack of sleep has a similar impact to my phone voice, Natasha, so I’m thinking I should follow all of the advice you’ve shared in this post. Thanks!

  2. Teresa

    I love ginger in my morning juice …. that and tumeric are my go to foods these days. I may need to chat with you about vocal exercises. Since my surgery my voice just gets tired/weak. I think I may have mentioned that to you.

    • natashamarchewka

      Hello Dear Teresa!
      My instinct is that you may need to simply rest your voice, and possibly your body, for a good year before you become concerned about building up your strength. There are always gentle exercises you can do for overall health, but given your surgery, I wouldn’t work on anything vocally except to speak from your diaphragm instead of from your throat. Simply, this means to keep good posture, try to avoid shallow breathing, and use your stomach muscles to support your voice, becoming very aware not to make your throat do all the work. Let’s talk more if you want more help with this!!

  3. Lisette van Raadshooven

    Wonderful advice Tash! There are not many that realize that health includes vocal health. We tend to take our voices for granted. Thanks for your healthy reminders.

    • natashamarchewka

      Thanks for your comments and loyal readership, Lisette!!!

  4. Drew

    Enjoyed the comments, but you caused me to burn up an hour, listening to old Nilsson songs! (I had forgotten about some of the classics the guy wrote. RIP)

    • natashamarchewka

      Funny how we can get lost in music, the internet…time just slips away!


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