One-on-One with Jason Mraz
Known for his sunny, sexy songs,
such as the Grammy-nominated
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz, 31, had a
recording studio built on the 5 1/2 acre
avocado farm he owns outside San
Diego. Besides releasing a new album,
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things, last
year, Mraz published a thousand things,
an eco-friendly book of photography
documenting his world travels. Also last
year, the singer-songwriter embarked on
a raw food diet.
Q Do you consider yourself a strict
A The thing about my diet is I don’t
put a lot of stress on it. I eat raw
probably 75 percent of the time. I just
can’t deny myself warm food, like soup
or roasted vegetables, from time to time.
Q What inspired you to try a raw diet?
A A guy in my band found out that he
had type 2 diabetes and felt that the only
way he could help himself was to go raw.
I did it as a partner for him so it wouldbe a little easier.
In the meantime, I got
hooked. It was so easy to make the
world’s most delicious salads. We had a
raw food chef on the road with us for a
month who turned us on to making our
own hummus and cheeses and a bunch
of alternatives to dairy, bread, and sugar.
Once you kick sugar, you won’t want it,
because there are so many other sweet
things to eat. Raw desserts? Forget
Q Speaking of raw desserts, you
posted a recipe for “Chocomole” on
your blog. What is that exactly?
A It’s the easiest vegan dessert I can
make on the road. You mash up a bunch
of avocados until they become a
pudding, then add dates, agave nectar,
some coconut oil, and raw cacao. You
mix that up, and suddenly you have a
delicious chocolate mousse. I discovered
that I could truly kick sugar when I
started to satisfy my sweet tooth with
Q You’re on the road for months
at a time. How do you stick to your
diet while on tour?
A I travel with a very large knife and a
Vita-Mix 4500 blender. I love my Vita-Mix blender.
Q How do you get the knife
A Oh, I check it. I also check a special
flight case that holds all my [raw food]
powders and mixtures.
Q On your blog you describe what’s
in your flight case as The Movable Feast.
Could you be more specific?
A I pack Vitamineral Green by Health-Force Nutritionals, Nutiva brand hemp
protein powder and coconut oil, and fresh
bee pollen, which I’ve been lucky enough
to get at farmers’ markets. Then, for omegas, I use Barlean’s Omega Man,
which has flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil,
and lignans. For a sweetener, I prefer a
dark raw organic agave. I also bring along
maca powder and cayenne pepper. And I
always travel with plenty of nuts.
Q Do you prepare a lot of your
own food at home?
A Three of us live in my house, and we
all pitch in for dinner, which is when my
subscription to Vegetarian Times comes in
handy. One of my roommates is always
challenging himself to try the recipes
and make them look like the photos. We
start in the kitchen around seven o’clock,
and it just becomes a mad cutting,
chopping, stirring, and simmering hour.
Then we sit down to eat, and it feels very
sacred and familial. Another roommate is
a raw foodist who makes the most
incredible desserts, like coconut cream
pie, brownies, cookie dough, and
chocolate mudslides. They’re so
decadent and sweet; we have them for
Q You took a year off after you
fi nished touring in support of your
2005 album, Mr. A-Z. Why?
A I wanted to write a new album based
on human experiences, not on experiences
in the music industry. It had been
years since I’d cooked anything in my
kitchen or slept in my own bed. I
needed to do those things. I needed to
check in with myself and say, “Who am I
now? What would I do if I went to the
grocery store?” Because I had been living
on room service and catering for so long,
I needed a lifestyle change. So I just
hung it all up and went home. It
reminded me of the importance of what
we call normalcy.
Q What propelled you to publish
a photography book?
A Well, I’ve got shoeboxes full of
Polaroid pictures, and someone said,
“Hey, these are great, you should share
these.” I just wanted to let people see
some of the things I’ve seen. The book
contains images I’ve taken all over the
world. Something catches your eye,
and you stop and take a picture of it.
Q Why was it important to you
that the book be packaged in an
environmentally friendly way?
A I just think it’s necessary to find an
alternative solution so we can have less
of an impact on our community. If
everybody does their part, it makes life