Musicians such as Adele, M.I.A., Iggy Pop, Jimmy Buffett, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon are swapping booze and craft services for nutritious meals and throat-soothing teas, Lisa Tolin reports
ustin Vernon, front man of Bon Iver, steps up to the microphone with a song in his heart and, more often than not, honey-ginger-lemon “tea” in his belly. Clichés about subsisting on sex and drugs aside, many performers seem more like athletes when it comes to the way they eat. They talk of small meals, balancing protein with carbs, preferring whole grains and sustainable food, and avoiding anything heavy before taking the stage.
You were expecting something a little more rock ’n’ roll? “Well, you obviously aren’t hip to the fact that nerds are the new rock stars,” says Andy Ross, the guitarist for OK Go and a follower of the Paleo—a.k.a. Caveman—diet, a hard-core regimen long on protein and raw foods.
Today, touring performers seem to go for healthy eating habits, with a side of practicality. Acid reflux is a danger taken seriously by opera singers, and with that in mind, tenor Joseph Calleja won’t eat for four hours before a performance. Other musicians fear sluggishness onstage or, like neofolk singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten, nerves-induced nausea. “I keep to food that settles my stomach, like bread or bananas,” notes Van Etten, who also swears by a bowl of pho to clear her sinuses.