Bananas in pajamas

June 3, 2009 at 03:19 PM ·

There have been several threads discussing stage fright and bananas have been mentioned frequently as being beneficial in relieving symptons.When is the best time to consume the banana ? In the morning of the concert or audition , a few hours before or directly before? Does the banana have to be thoroughlty digested before releasing its relief giving agents?Also how many should one consume?Thanks in advance for any replies to this thread.

Replies (37)

June 3, 2009 at 09:03 PM ·

I think thats bunk,

If anything a banana might make you sleepy,

you may be better off taking a B vitamin complex suppliment instead,

Better yet, eat a 1/2 pound of prunes, You'll be so distracted by the result that you'll forget all about the stage fright.


June 3, 2009 at 10:54 PM ·


I`m inclined to agree thta eating a banana is somewhat overrated but just one will proabably  not make you sleepy.   There shoudl be a nice energy boost.  You have to go a little higher up the glycemic scale to get the sugar crash.

When I am cycling long distances (100km plus)I eat a banana every hour.



June 4, 2009 at 09:17 AM ·

I suppose you'd have your banana(s) as and when you'd normally eat.  I've certainly found that light foods eg just a salad do me more good than a 'regular' meal and I don't suffer from lack of energy during the concert.  Also, have you tried the Bach Flower Remedies - Rock Rose and Rescue Remedy are the ones to use, they make you aware you're nervous so you're not 'in denial', or something ...

June 3, 2009 at 11:11 PM ·

Probably 30-45 minutes. The sugar is good for energy, it includes the 8 amino acids that your body doesn't make (which can't hurt), and what helps is the melatonin. Not enough to make you sleepy (who is going to fall asleep while playing an audition or concert anyway). Generally, it's too MUCH adrenaline which is the problem, and the melatonin just helps to take down those adrenaline peaks a bit. It isn't a miracle, and certainly doesn't replace preparation or focus (or centering). For the latter, see Laurie's blog on the Don Green session at the Starling-Delay symposium last week.

June 3, 2009 at 11:28 PM ·


about 1 hour.

Check out the following:



June 4, 2009 at 12:01 AM ·

>I`m inclined to agree thta eating a banana is somewhat overrated but just one will proabably  not make you sleepy. 


I disagree.  Eating a banana by itself is a blood sugar disaster, and will absolutely make you sleepy.  It will also make you fat.  During intense exercise (e.g., cycling), your body will burn the extra carbs.  It actually needs the extra carbs, but during normal daily activities (e.g., playing violin), solo carbs are a very bad idea.  You should always have some high quality protein if possible before you eat your carbs.  Note, I am a certified nutritionist, so I'll have an opinion on anything having to do with nutrition.


June 4, 2009 at 12:04 AM ·


Tom Venuto's book is great.  I agree with a lot of the concepts in it for getting lean.  There are many diet books that are completely unscientific (hogwash actually), but Tom Venuto's book is on the mark.



June 4, 2009 at 12:17 AM ·

The sugar is good for energy, it includes the 8 amino acids that your body doesn't make

What??  How does one go from talking about sugars to amino acids?  One is a carb, the other is a protein, totally different molecular structure. 

June 4, 2009 at 01:11 AM ·


Smiley,  thanks for the feedback.   My respectful response is to simply ask `when does theory conflcit with actual experience?`  By this I mean that I have experimented with eating a banana before playing and not found it makes me sleepy.  Indeed,  eating only a banana never makes me sleepy.  However,   I accept  your point is completely valid in the case of a couch potato.  There is not much point in sitting down and watching TV.  That energy is there to burn.   (I note in passing  that a banana also contains protein.)

For sure,  do it too often,  and you are going to get fat.  But that is not an indictment of eating carbs although you are very wisely raising issues about simple versus complex. 

I am certainly not going to kncok you being a nutritionist.   But nor am I going to accept that as being the be all and end all.  Your nutritional knowledge  is based on a specific approach to nutrition I suppose?    But it will be only one way out of many.  I have studied nutrition in depth for tweny odd years (odd being the operative word) including nurtuturing myslef an dother people back to health with the guidence of a top student of Paul Pitchford.    The basis of that is strict vegetarianism or veganism.  I have also worked on the diametrically oppsed system (!) of Cousens who advocated at least 90% uncooked foods.   The interesitng differnece is what?  Ptchford has consistently lived in cooler wetter climates and Cousens works in very arid regions.  That in itslef is wortha  book.

Just for me,  if your position advocates eating any kind of animal product then it is not a road to optimal helath as far as I am concerend although from what I have seen you write it woudl be invaluable for radically improving the health of most people in the western world. Protein and junk is so over consumed .... 

This kind of differnece may well be a nasis for friendly and useful exchange but I have looke d at so many nutrition programs and talked to so many nutritionsits whose ideas are just plain wrong according to my ideas for what they are worth (milk to prevent osteothingamyjig for example) a certificate in itself means nothing to me except that you have put in the time and are therefore worth listening to.  Then the Japanese school food is seriously designed by profesisonal nutritionsits yet it is largely junk. White rice for example. Its only virtue is that it is very low in calories compared to western school lunches.  Occum`s razor. It is the simplest answer that eludes.

It is only the actuall knowledge and experience of the person behind it. Thankfully that is you.



June 4, 2009 at 01:49 AM ·

Bananas good, its a great source of potassium, which is great for cramps. Maybe, that is for, and not really for sugar effect.

You, being sleepy, everytime you eat it, might not be that your sleepy as in tired, but, more like, relaxing before performance.

If you happened to watch Apollo Ono, (the skater), he yawns all the time before the meet, that his way to relax his muscles, and have bananas and energy drinks before for hydrations.

Buri, you eating bananas during your ride, is a great thing,that is for your large muscles not to cramp during the ride, I am sure your drinking lots of fluids too.

Hope it helps.

just my 2 bits.

June 4, 2009 at 02:20 AM ·

Banana's do have protein.

1 med size is approx 1.3 gr of protein, the same approx. amount in 3 almonds!

So a physically active adult requires about 1 gram per kilo of body weight. So if you weight 180 lbs you need to eat about 90 bananas per day to get your daily requirement of protien,

Better ways to get protein, Banana's are mostly carbs, sugars


June 4, 2009 at 04:03 AM ·

Protein and junk is so over consumed ....


Actually, the biggest reason for the obesity epidemic here in the US (and throughout the world), is the overconsumption of processed carbs and unhealthy fats.  Protein is not the problem.  It's all the fat that usually comes with it.  A typical steak is over 70% fat. 

If you think about a typical dinner here in the US, people drink some alcohol, then scarf down a basket of bread, followed by a salad, then a tiny portion of protein for the entree, served with rice pilaf, or a baked potato or pasta, followed by dessert.  This meal consists of a MASSIVE dose of carbohydrates, and relatively small amount of protein.  And the types of carbs in this "typical" meal are high in calories, and low in nutrients (with the exception of the salad).

I have coached many people in nutrition and the key is to achieve the correct balance of protein, carbs, and fat.  Most people are getting WAY too many calories from carbs and fat, and not enough from protein. 

I will not argue against a vegan lifestyle; however, I will say that I do not advocate it either.  Getting adequate protein from  vegetarian sources is a tricky proposition.   Take soy for example.  It is missing one of the 8 essential amino acids required by the human body (methionine).  You can compensate for this by eating whole grains, which are also an incomplete protein (missing Lysine).  So if you eat both, you get all 8 amino acids.  But even so, the bioavailability (e.g., absorption) of the protein is much lower than from animal protein which are complete proteins (e.g. they contain all 8 amino acids). 

I know several people that are former vegans, and they all have similar experiences.  When consuming a purely vegan diet, they complained of lower energy levels.  Once animal protein was reintroduced in their diet, their energy levels increased.  Protein is a key building block of the human body.  We need a good supply of high quality protein to sustain bodily functions. 

Regarding bananas and whether they make you sleepy.  I ate a banana a couple of weeks ago because I didn't have anything else to eat, and it almost knocked me out.  I have an ectomorphic body type; which means that I am fairly sugar sensitive.  Different foods affect different people in different ways.  That's why glycemic index charts are only approximate.  One food may cause a big glucose spike in one person, but may have relatively little affect on someone else.

If a banana does not make you sleepy, there could be several explanations.  You may have a more mesomorphic body type (e.g., less sensitive to sugar), or you may have had something in your stomach at the time to moderate the glucose spike that would normally occur when eating a banana.  Or you may have been in a hightened mental state (example, if someone is pointing a gun at your head and you eat a banana, you probably will not get sleepy).  But the point is not just getting sleepy or not, it is the issue of keeping you blood sugar stable.  Even if you do not get sleepy, eating carbs by themselves is a good way to spike your blood sugar, so is something that is best to avoid.

By the way, I practice what I preach.  I am personally about 9-10% body fat (I was down to 6% body fat at one point, but my wife didn't like me quite so lean), and I have the best blood panel you will ever see.  People that have followed my recommendations also achieve similar levels of fitness.

If anyone is interested in getting in shape, feel free to email me, and I will be happy to share my nutrition recommendations.


June 4, 2009 at 04:00 AM ·

(milk to prevent osteothingamyjig for example)

Yes, I agree.  There is little evidence to suggest that consumption of dairy products prevents osteoperosis.  Yes it is high in calcium, but the key is bioavailability.  The calcium does you no good if it goes right through your body and is excreted.  Same holds for vitamin supplements.  You are much better off getting your vitamins and minerals through your diet.  Just popping a pill does not make up for a poor diet.  So eat those fruits and veggies.

Back to the banana.  There are certainly better choices, but if it comes down to eating a banana or eating a donut, or a bagel, go for the banana. 


June 4, 2009 at 05:58 AM ·


Dang, Smiley I wrote a really detailed response to your comments and it got lost.  Gist of it was I agree with just about allof the above re Stabdard American Diet- SAD.   Get rid of simple carbs and junk is key issue.  Don`t agree with comments on protein. It is actually very hard not to get enough protein on a well thought out vegetarian/vegan diet. Problem is still too much protein for most people. Result- cancer. Here is a quiuote from Macdougall who is recognized as one of the worlds leaidng nutritionsits*

Furthermore, all plants contain all of the amino acids in proper balance for ideal human growth. In other words, it is impossible to make up a diet deficient in protein or individual amino acids from any unrefined starches (rice, potatoes) and vegetables. You must get over this common myth in order to comfortably follow a diet that is best for you and the family. The only real problems with protein come from eating too much.

I agree about issues of bofy type. Thes eare crucial. Ayurvedic medicine has chapter and verse on this and it is quite possible that someone who becomes a vegan without researching what best to eat for them could be run down or over stimulated.

Incidentally, one point you are actually not correct.:whole grains contain Lysine. Information on this can be found at*

 Also I`m being real lazy today but yep, vegans who don`t do it right can be a lot more unhealthy than you are by a long way. Just stumble don this one which is one way....





June 4, 2009 at 05:15 AM ·

I frequently use bananas to help my system adjust to altitude change more quickly; I do not know if it works, or if it is voodoo, but if I supplement my normal meals with a couple bananas a day, I adjust to altitude much more quickly. This does not affect me when I do not exercise, but when I am chasing a couple 85 pound puppies to see who can reach the creek first, it makes a big difference.

June 4, 2009 at 05:53 AM ·


one of the danger sof eating bananas which hasn`t been mentions by the way, is taht they contain some of the most concentrated accretions (?) of agricultural chemicals.  ow there `s a good high for you.



June 4, 2009 at 06:16 AM ·

So is the general consensus that bananas have no tranquilising effect at all? Apart from a palcebo effect maybe ?Other remedies I've heard about are a few drops of Fiore di Bach before a concert but I've not noticed these have any effect at all.

June 4, 2009 at 06:29 AM ·


actually they do contain trypho something or other which stimulates productipon of serotonin whihc is the feel good agent.



June 4, 2009 at 11:41 AM ·

keep this going people,,, this is interesting stuff. since my kids are involved in competitive golf, i am always looking out for a better diet that not only provides physical endurance (a round can take up to 5-6 hours) as well as mental clarity (tough to think clearly when you are tired).

June 4, 2009 at 12:23 PM ·

Nutrition is important to violinists, and to everyone!

Just a small side note about Smiley,

I have been in contact with Smiley for a while now and he has shared with me his guide to proper nutrition.

As a Certified Nutritionist, he has given me a greater insight into proper eating.

I have followed the guide he emailed me, and I can tell you that I have lost weight, my energy levels have shot through the roof, and my mental attitude has improved to a huge degree. I used to think I ate well, I was wrong.

I can't say enough how much of a postive change I have had by following his recommendations.

 My family and myself are very appreciative of his advice and knowledge.

If you are interested in losing weight, high energy, and general improvements in health, I suggest you contact him and ask for his guide.

I hope Smiley doesn't mind me posting this, but his knowledge about Nutrition has such a major benifit to me that I can't help but want to share my thoughts.




June 4, 2009 at 04:00 PM ·



Thanks for the kind words.  Aside from getting a nutrition certification, I have spent a great deal of time reading and learning about nutrition and it is a joy to share my knowledge with others.  I am delighted that you are experiencing first hand the benefits of healthy eating.




I don’t want to turn this into a debate about vegan vs non-vegan lifestyles.  I personally choose to get my protein from animal sources (note: a banana is not an animal, and from a nutritional standpoint, it is a carb not a protein).  But the links you provide really hit on a very important problem in the nutrition world -- the fact that there are so many conflicting views on what is right and what is wrong, what is healthy and what is not.  When I first became interested in nutrition a number of years ago, I found all this conflicting information very confusing, impossible actually.  But over the years, through lot’s of reading, and personal experimentation, I feel that I am starting to see through the dense fog of nutrition, and to me, it really boils down to common sense.  This is an oversimplification, but basically, try to eat foods that are minimally processed, relatively low in calories, and high in fiber and nutrients.  Duh?!  Nobody needs a nutritionist to tell you that right?  Well, the problem is most people don’t do it.  That’s where nutritionists come in.




I am a golfer myself and there is no way I can play 18 holes without some form of nutrition during a round.  If you ride a cart, there is nothing better than an ice cold protein shake on a hot summer day.  I make my own shakes, and put them in a small cooler and throw it in the back of the cart.  If you walk, that may be too much weight to lug around, so here’s a suggestion.  Get an empty water bottle and put 1 scoop of high quality whey protein in the bottle.  And bring along a couple of apples or bananas.  When you need nutrition, fill the water bottle, shake it up, and drink it down, then eat your apple or banana, you’ve got high quality protein and carbs.  To round it out, eat it with a few raw almonds or cashews or walnuts to get some healthy fat, and you are good to go.  There are quite a few PGA tour players that drink protein shakes during their round.



June 4, 2009 at 04:06 PM ·


One other thing, a protein bar would be great, but unfortunately, I have yet to find one that is healthy.  Most have WAY too much sugar, and are made with inferior forms of protein, and are relatively low in fiber.  If anyone knows of a truly healthy protein bar (besides homemade), please let me know.  I have been looking for years and still have not found one.

I personally do the protein shakes during my golf, but sometimes, I'll bring a cooler with some grilled chicken and an apple with raw nuts.  I have eaten protein bars, or granola, but only as a last resort.  Anything is better than getting hungry.  I'll even eat a hot dog before I allow myself to get hungry.



June 4, 2009 at 10:09 PM ·

Smiley, how long does it take for food to have beneficial effect after having been consumed?If a banana were to have any effect at all ,either inducing sleepiness, or calming down frayed nerves, does it first have to be digested before any effect would be felt ?

June 4, 2009 at 10:54 PM ·


Eating a banana on an empty stomach causes a glucose spike (blood sugar increase).  In response to the sudden increase in blood sugar, your pancreas releases insulin, which results in a blood sugar crash.  It is that crash that results in sleepiness.  It can take anywhere from a few minutes to as long as an hour for that crash to occur, depending on the person and the type of food consumed. 

I know this thread got off on a tangent with all the nutritional talk, but in case you did not get my message, as a nutritionist, I strongly advise against eating a banana all by itself.  Aside from making you sleeping, the insulin spike feeds the inflammation pathway.  That not only makes you fat, but  scientists are now realizing that inflammation is the root cause of all degenerative disease; that includes, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, alzheimers, cancer, and all the nasty stuff that will eventually kill you when you get old.


June 4, 2009 at 10:58 PM ·

Eat anything that feels good to your body. Some have low or fast metabolism. Some are naturally warm  (I do not refer to the warmth of the personality here :) while others are little icebergs on two legs...  For sure, you cannot feed all these different people with the same food.  Can you feed all dogs with the same food? No!   Also think that anything who works psychologically is very helpful too.  If bananas are a symbol for you, do it as a ritual.  This is as valuable as taking walks, doing yoga, talk or give a big hug to your violin before concerts (I do often, chut..... :).  etc By the way, every athlete or artist have rituals, it is a well knowned fact.


June 5, 2009 at 12:41 AM ·


I agree completely.  If the banana works, even by placebo, then do it.  I feel the same way about having a glass of wine. 

June 5, 2009 at 11:31 AM ·

lol! Yes sure!  


June 5, 2009 at 02:28 PM ·

No comment on the merit of bananas but based on the advice of Emil Chudnovsky who used to post here regularly, I resolved to eat one before a recent performance. I asked my wife to buy a couple but my nerves were too wound up before the performance to remember to eat it. 

So my advice is don't forget the banana. It can't do anything if you don't eat it.

June 5, 2009 at 03:15 PM ·

I originally had a bunch of ideas for this post, but (frankly) they're not very appealing. So I think I'll just slip out and split rather than continue to monkey around with tallying me ideas on this topic.

June 5, 2009 at 04:39 PM ·

thank you smiley for your helpful advice.  i have also found personally that protein prior to carbo tends to hold my hunger better and possibly decrease the overall portion. but  i am curious that since the immediate currency is glucose, then glycogen, then fatty acids, etc,  how does protein come into the immediate energy providing equation?  (you can tell i did not pay attention when learning the kreb cycle:)  funny how on those wilderness shows, you see the guys eating any critters they can find and sigh: man, that was a good source of protein:). 

i will have to look into the protein powder thingy since the concern is more for my kids with golf.   do they come in fruity flavor?  they usually say no to funny tasting stuff :)

i also find that this society sweetens things up way too much (i don't mean giving feedback after violin performance:) ,,,it's like sugar is free or something.  you know, it may not be a bad idea for an entrepreneur to come up with an energy bar that is not sweet but slightly salty. or even spicy!

have tried couple protein bars,,either too sweet or tasting a bit like medicine with that chalky after taste.

June 5, 2009 at 04:38 PM ·

 Okay, how many puns can the rest of you find in Sandy's post? 

>I originally had a bunch of ideas for this post, but (frankly) they're not very appealing. So I think I'll just slip out and split rather than continue to monkey around with tallying me ideas on this topic.

I found five and I have a hunch there's more. But my brain's gone dead and I'm sleepy. (Tme for another banana. Or wait. Maybe it's the after-effect of the last banana.)

I also want to say that I LOVED the title of this thread, Janet. Lots of fun to repeat out loud. : )

June 5, 2009 at 04:41 PM ·

does that include the sound of PEEL in appealing? :)

June 5, 2009 at 05:29 PM ·

I'm here at work since 4 AM mountain time and Sandy wrote"...tallying me ideas anyway...""Day light come and I wanna go hooooome!" 

Though not a bannana pun: I'm behind on reading this thread! I need to make like a squashed tomato and Catch-up! ;)

AL KU-  Whey protien comes in chocolate, and vanila flavors but are for adding to milk (soy or rice is ok, it doesn't have to be dairy).  If there are others that you just add water I would like to know since I hike, bike & hunt in the rockies!  I know what wild plants I can use as food and medicine with great results, but durring the winter I carry food and fluids in always packing out what I use.  Carrying powdered milk to mix the whey powder with weighs nothing but it does take up space in my pack!!!!!

June 5, 2009 at 05:46 PM ·

You guys are spoiling me rotten!

June 5, 2009 at 07:39 PM ·

>i have also found personally that protein prior to carbo tends to hold my hunger better and possibly decrease the overall portion. but  i am curious that since the immediate currency is glucose, then glycogen, then fatty acids, etc,  how does protein come into the immediate energy providing equation?

Al, here is a link with information about protein.  This also happens to be the protein powder that I use.  It is expensive, but is the best quality whey that I have found.

Protein, besides being a key building block of every cell in your body, slows down gastric emptying (e.g., digestion).  That is why it holds your hunger longer and also keeps your blood sugar stable.  Think of it like this, the protein takes the carbs that you've injested and delivers it to your body slowly over time.  Without it, the carbs run amok, slamming your blood stream with glucose, which then causes an insulin spike, which in the short term, leads to sleepiness.  But in the longer term, leads to obesity, diabetes, and all the nasty things associated with these conditions.


June 8, 2009 at 03:33 PM ·

Just don't eat them on stage, as the skins can result in an inartistic glissando.

June 8, 2009 at 04:56 PM ·

lol!!! Imagine if you take prunes and banana on stage... an accelerando + an inartistic glissando!!!

Well maybe it has something positive ,  you can go faster to the washroom!

So funny!!!


This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine