Legendary rock band Metallica is in the middle of a world tour, performing high-energy sets across eight countries, often two nights in a row. Over the last four decades, many of the band’s performances were fueled by alcohol and drugs. These days, Metallica members—Lars Ulrich (59), James Hetfield (60), Kirk Hammett (60) and Robert Trujillo (58)—are turning to healthier habits, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
What fuels Metallica now? Getting plenty of sleep along with exercise regimens such as swimming, yoga, body-weight workouts, and Peloton rides. The band is also conscious about getting enough time between show dates to prioritize family and well-being.
Another trick to leading healthier lives on and off stage is consuming a healthy diet that includes tofu, a powerful plant-based protein. The band is touring with personal trainers and chefs who prepare organic meals to help Metallica’s famous members maintain these lifestyles so they can continue to entertain their fans on tour.
“Ultimately, more than anything, you want to try to stay sane and healthy,” Ulrich told the WSJ. “That’s the number one thing.”
Tofu: the rock star of plant-based protein
Metallica’s selection of tofu is noteworthy given the mounting evidence about the role of soy protein in both muscle maintenance and metabolic health. A recent study from China examined how plant-based proteins affect China’s older population in terms of muscle mass.
This study found a positive association between higher plant protein intake and muscle mass, particularly among those who consumed higher amounts of total protein.
The multifaceted role of soy protein becomes even more compelling when you consider a recent study led by Elvira de Mejia, a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Here, researchers found a link between consuming the plant-based protein and lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
“As we hypothesized, soybeans’ effects on cholesterol metabolism are not only associated with their protein concentrations and composition but also with the peptides embedded in them that are released during gastrointestinal digestion,” de Mejia said in a statement.
This research further strengthens the case for Metallica’s choice, as soy protein’s benefits extend to lipid regulation and potential prevention of metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis and fatty liver disease.
With research uncovering the multiple health benefits of soy, from decreasing heart disease risk to lipid metabolism regulation, Metallica’s decision to embrace tofu is a science-backed strategy for long-term health.
Rock stars turn to plants
Throughout modern music history, many artists have followed and promoted meat-free diets, most notably Morrissey, Moby, and Paul McCartney. And these days, other artists are looking to plant-based protein to keep them on top of their game.
British musical artist Gavin Rossdale—frontman of ‘90s cult-classic rock group Bush—is exploring plant-based proteins in recipes for his favorite dishes. In 2021, People invited Rossdale to share a video of what he really cooks for dinner. He chose to share a plant-based bolognese made with meatless beef grounds and Miyoko’s Creamery Butter, served atop his homemade pasta.
“I’ve grown up having bolognese and I just thought that coming on here I just wanted to do something a bit more mindful,” Rossdale shared in the video. “Making vegan bolognese is the future.”
And then there are rock stars who have been on the vegan kick for a while. Lenny Kravitz has been thriving on a plant-based, mostly raw, diet since at least 2016.
“My best shape is not behind me. It’s in front of me right now. We keep moving that bar as we get older,” Kravitz told Men’s Health in a 2020 interview, adding that he is “very careful about what I put into my body and how I take care of my body.”
Kravitz, who recently turned 59, is a fan of green veggies such as broccoli, kale, and cucumbers, along with fruits such as soursop—which is popular in the Bahamas, where Kravitz spent most of his time during the pandemic lockdowns.
Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker went vegan after surviving a plane crash in 2008. The drummer is back on the music scene with Blink 182 as the legendary band is currently on a world tour, bringing its electrifying shows to 17 countries.
Ellen von Unwerth
What fuels Barker’s memorable drumming? These days, the 47-year-old is a fan of vegan chicken made by Daring Foods, a company he and his wife, Kourtney Kardashian Barker, promoted in a racy campaign right after their elopement in Las Vegas last year.
He’s also known to stop by Los Angeles vegan chain Monty’s Good Burger, which offers an oat matcha latte that bears his name; and Crossroads Kitchen, a fine-dining restaurant he helped open with chef Tal Ronen.