Published April 27, 2013
This is turning out to be a big, busy year for Jewel. Not only has the singer-songwriter, 38, been touring for her latest album, Jewel Greatest Hits, but this month she'll star as legendary country artist June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash, in the Lifetime biopic Ring of Fire.
Her secret? She's balancing it all with a super healthy diet full of grass-fed meats, organic vegetables, and herbal home remedies. She also works out when she can, forgives herself when she can't—and is grateful every day for the little things. Here's her guide to happy living.
Eat back to basics
"I try to follow a 'biblical diet,' which has nothing to do with religion, but with eating things as they originally came out of the ground, before there was genetic altering of food. I think we out-clever ourselves with food: We have become more obsessed with having a shiny apple than with having an apple that doesn't give us cancer. We need to realize that nature really got it right."
Go with the exercise flow
"I love to work out. I can't say I've been the best at it since I've had my son: I used to run three miles every morning, but with the baby, I've been walking three miles in the mornings with him. If I wake up early, I'll do yoga or the Nike Training Club app. I love hot yoga, but with my son with me on tour, I honestly doubt I'll be able to work out a bunch. So I try to forgive myself when I can't, and do it when I can."
Get little, happy lifts
"I think a lot of times we focus so much on our dissatisfactions that they start to become all we see. Instead, change your focus; find pleasure in common things. Whether it's just the way the sunlight is streaming in the window, or how an orange tastes when you're really hungry, try to vampire all the pleasure you can out of those moments, and you'll find you get little, happy lifts throughout the day.
Be patient when sliming down
"I was 37 when I had my son, so I wasn't expecting to bounce right back as if I were 21. My friend told me, 'It took you nine months to get into this position, so give yourself nine months to get out.' And I really try to use that as a mantra, and be patient and kind to myself. ...
"I won't say I lowered my expectations... but that's kind of what I did! [Laughs.] I stayed away from processed foods and let myself eat as much good food as I wanted. I worked out when I could. And if I had an extra chance to sleep in, I let myself. And it felt great."
Let your body be your workout guide
"If I need a big boost, extreme cardio gives me energy. If I'm anxious and feeling drained, I'll do yoga, because it is really calming, and it gives me a nice, peaceful energy."
Be grateful for relationship grit
"I never really wanted to marry a celebrity. Not that there aren't fantastically deep and intelligent celebrities; it's just that what's important isn't fame and isn't power—it's grit. I guess because I was raised on a ranch, I feel like the things that lie underneath are what guarantee longevity. How determined is he going to be to work through things when they're hard? ...
"Because it isn't all just sunshine and roses. It's a lot of sunshine and roses—don't get me wrong!—but love is this living, breathing organism. It has growing pains and you have to have grit to make it through them. That's what I was really looking for in a partner and what I value in Ty."
Don't lose the romance
"Ty and I write each other love letters for holidays instead of doing gifts. It's sincere and sort of gives us an emotional touching base about what we value about each other. Plus, after 14 years, I don't know what we would get each other anyway!"
Love your body (imperfect abs and all)
"We can't let ourselves be the victims of what's in vogue. Because it's so arbitrary. Out of the spirit of defiance, if nothing else, accept yourself. Like, I've always had a little belly. It's the first place I gain, and it's never going to be a six-pack, no matter what. But it's very feminine, I tell myself. [Laughs.] That's just my belly, and I gotta love it. If I gain 5 pounds, it will be in my waist. But then I wear a shorter skirt!
"Also, people have always loved my snaggletooth, which is hilarious. It should be my logo! I've never felt like it didn't make me sexy."
Love each other's curves
"Our bodies are our bodies. And they're beautiful, whether you're more hippy or bosomy, or you've got a belly. I love J.Lo's body. I will never have her little waist or her abs, and I'll never have her booty. But I have other assets, hopefully! I love Beyonce's body, too. They are healthy, beautiful women. I've seen J.Lo gain 5 pounds, like we all have, and she looks great. She owns it. She's just like, 'Yeah, there it is. Boom.'"
Build slowly to good health
"One of the best pieces of advice I got was that 'hardwood grows slowly.' Things that last take time. Hardwood will live 100 years, but it takes a long time for that to mature, whereas a softwood grows within weeks. I was heavier when I got into the business, and I remember getting written up as the 'chubby Renee Zellweger.' I was either going to turn to bulimia (which most of the other girls that I was around were doing) or to diet pills (which most of the celebrities I knew were doing). Or I was going to do it the right way, because that's the only way that will last. That attitude helped save my health in the long run."
Make progress bit by bit
"When I'm taking a physical step—not just wishing mindlessly, I wish things were different—I feel better. You actually have to take a step. It doesn't have to be the whole mountain that you're conquering that day, but take a step toward it, and that will give you some comfort that you're getting toward your goal. As long as you do one every day, you are going to get there."
Journal before bed
"I find it calming to take five minutes and write the things that I was thankful for that day, or what I hope to achieve the next day. So often, you just feel like a zombie, going day to day, that you sort of forget to be present. I even write in my BlackBerry if that's what I have on me before I go to bed. It makes me feel peaceful and happy."
Flip the positive 'light switch'
"Whenever I feel like my destiny is in my hands, I feel the healthiest. And I really learned that when I was homeless [at age 18]. ... You talk about a really hopeless feeling? But I turned it around by learning to change my thoughts. I decided that my fear was a lot like the feeling of excitement. So I painted a 'light switch' in my brain and every time I was gripped by fear and panic, I would just flip the switch and tell myself I was excited. Instead of looking for all the bad things, I started looking for exciting opportunities. We are never powerless over our lives."