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Korn Keyboardist Fuels His Onstage Fury With a Plant-Based Diet

Traveling the globe and playing an intense, long set in front of massive crowds is something keyboardist Zachary Baird does everyday with furious accuracy and intense showmanship. As the touring keys man for the hugely successful band Korn, and member of Fear And the Nervous System, Zac endures one of the most rigerous and physically endouring schedules in rock. He's a new husband and dad balancing life's duties with the demands of his musical journey and fueling his life with a holistic plant-based diet that keeps him fired up for the fury of the stage & the adventures of parenthood at home. I've always admired Zac for this and view his attitude towards overall wellness as an inspiration. I recently asked him to share some insights on how he maintains a healthy diet and exercise routine while on the road with Korn and here's what he had to share with us.

Zac's view from this years' Mayhem Festival stop in Phoenix, AZ

* First off I'd like to congratulate you on your recent marriage and the birth of your daughter! I think I saw that she is around 3 months old now? I know myself that the first 3 months can be one of the hardest periods of adjustment and the lack of rest really creeps up on you fast! How has it been trying to take on all the duties of a new Dad and Husband alongside of touring and doing so much travel, and what things do you do to create a balance while living such a fast paced life?

Well, thanks Scott. My daughter just turned 4 months old and we are having a lot of magical moments. My wife, who is vegetarian, has been taking care of her the most, along with help from family, while at the same time getting adjusted to living in the US. We’ve got about three major life events happening here while juggling my Korn tour schedule and being a musician. Balance is certainly the key, and I can't say that I have mastered it yet but I do believe that through exercise like running and weight lifting, along with the choices I make when fueling my body help create a good foundation to discover balance.

* So I always see all these amazing Vegan/Vegetarian dishes that you post online while on tour with Korn and I'm always taken back by the variety of stuff you find. It appears you have a knack for arriving in a new place and finding these healthy gourmet spots. Living in such a fast food driven, carnivore catering culture, I find it tough sometimes to find REAL health food at restaurants or when on the road. What's your secret to finding the good stuff and what exactly do you look for?

Well I can credit the Internet, a few Apps and having GPS. But I do my homework to find plant based restaurants and honestly they are everywhere, even if I have to dig them up. As soon as I get into these towns or hotels I do two things - 1) look up running paths and 2) try to find out what cool plant food options are in the area. It’s part of my adventure and something that makes touring exciting. The travel offers me a chance to go out and run in these amazing new places and what better way to fuel my body after a killer run than a dope plant based meal.

BLOW YOUR MIND!! Vegan Nachos - oven baked corn chips w/ black beans smothered in vegan cheese. Topped w/ jalapeño peppers, guacamole & vegan cashew sour cream!! #scream @vegiebar #soundwave#australia2014 #korn @korn_official — at Vegie Bar - (One of Zac's many delectable plant based food posts).

I also use a Nutri Bullet on the tour bus and have a few items that I try to purchase along the way so I have back up when I can’t find something. The Vitamix is my go to at home, but a Nutri Bullet costs only about $100 and has been surprisingly convenient for travel. Plus, the more I look around I find organic and plant based items at convenient locations like Target, Walmart and GNC, even Bio Markets in Europe. It used to be I could only get things on days when the bus or hotel just happened to be near a Whole Foods, but more often I am surprised at what I can find if I just take the time to look around. More people want these kind of options so many other business’s are finally seeing they need to have it too.

Here’s a few Apps I use:

* What made you decide to go Vegan and how challenging was the shift for you?

Yeah, I am "plant based”. Most of my meals are based around items that only consist of plant food. Plant based milks, plant based cheeses, vegetables and fruit, stuff like lentils, black beans, & new words like quinoa . Sometimes gluten-free, but mostly I try to limit myself to plant based foods. I was searching for things to help me improve my workouts. Doing research on the internet, watching documentaries on everything from marathon runners to juicing and also reading a lot of books by athletes. I came across a very inspiring book called “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll. This guy was a LA Entertainment lawyer turned Ultra runner who went plant based and started blowing minds. As I was looking for ways to take myself to the next level with my exercise, he inspired me to give plant-based eating a try. I was already limiting my diet to certain foods and decided that once the chicken breast, and dairy was out of the fridge I wouldn’t buy it any more. It wasn’t so hard for me, as I was already was into plant based milks and often ate vegetarian, I just had to do some research on nutrition. Check him out, - his podcast is amazing and complements my quest for new ideas and inspiration.

Another delicious plant-based food sampling!

* I know allot of people that choose a Vegetarian or Vegan lifestyle also seem to integrate other elements into their daily practice such as meditation, yoga, mantra, or other areas of spiritual and self-discovery are there any of these things that you're passionate about in regards to your overall well-being?

For me it’s really been running, running, running. Weight lifting and swimming are in there too. I view all of it as a way to improve my strength for my favorite, SNOWBOARDING. Yoga has been something I like to do as well, but I often need a class or DVD. With running I can just go. Running I can do on tour, when I am home or wherever. It’s also a kind of meditation, all of these are. Although I am hoping to begin making time to actually meditate as well. I’ve been reading more and more about how that can bring focus into your life.

Enjoying a fun day of snowboarding!

* Being a father myself (my daughter just turned 3), I feel a tremendous obligation to not only just feed her right, but to teach her the value of raw, natural, organic, foods and help her to grow into her own love of leading a holistic lifestyle. What are your thoughts on this and how do you feel we can work together to raise awareness that we have better food options to optimize our health and keep us growing in health alongside the next generation?

Yeah, I am into that too. When I was a kid my parents would shop at natural food stores. They are not even vegetarian but they would shop at these places. I ate carob chips, sesame honey sticks. I ate Whole Wheat bread! I mean I was the kid at school who had these huge brown bread sandwhiches and apples when other kids were eating white bread with the crusts cut off and twinkies. When I joined the soccer league my parents told the coach that they didn’t want me drinking any Cokes or dark colored sodas. Some parents thought I was diabetic or something strange. Personally I never felt weird but I guess some families wondered what was going on. Fast forward to today, I think those kinds of parental choices fueled my path to eat clean and made my decisions more clear. So, my wife and I plan to teach this to our daughter as well. Lead by example. If all our daughter sees is her mom and dad eating plants, and the only kind of milk she knows is coconut, or almond milk then she might grow up not even knowing why people think meat is so great. Sure one day she might give it a try ... but I think eventually, when she is really old enough to be making her own choices, this kind of groundwork will help influence her to make the choice she feels most comfortable with.

Lookin Mean and Lean onstage with Korn!

* I started Holistic Musician on the principle of living a WHOLE life of mind body and spirit and learning how to cultivate and express that through our music to give it greater power and presence. What advice or sentiment would you like to offer your fans in regards to this idea of being a holistic musician?

Well, music is a spiritual thing and when we are born we understand rhythm and sound. It’s very basic and in our core ... born with us. As we get older some of us forget or lose our connection to rhythm. Sometimes life takes over, stress takes over and we just forget. But music is the eternal youth. If you are not someone who plays an instrument then try to reconnect with music another way. Make time to listen to your favorite songs or try to learn to play. You will feel it then and it will make your life better and more rich.

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