The singer says he has “to be more vigilant” to keep his cholesterol down

By Julie Mazziotta
March 19, 2019 06:45 PM

John Legend has a good reason for eating salad for breakfast each morning — even if wife Chrissy Teigen thinks it’s weird.

The singer, 40, started his green habit after talking to his doctor.

“My doctor told me that I needed more antioxidants in my diet because I had hereditary cholesterol issues, and he told me that adding vegetables was a good way to address it, so I started having something green with every meal,” Legend tells PEOPLE. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Legend says that his doctor’s suggestion “was a wake-up call.”

“A lot of people, their behavior affects what they do, but also their heredity is involved in people being more prone to certain conditions,” he says. “We have a history of heart and cholesterol issues in my family, so it makes more sense that I have to be more vigilant. So whenever you can learn that early in your life and do things behaviorally to combat that, I think it’s a good thing.”

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His breakfast salad is pretty simple — “leafy with a little vinaigrette,” Legend says. “Not much else.” But it was still a surprise to Teigen at first.

“The shock has worn off, but when I started doing it she was like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” he says with a laugh.

Legend is all about taking small steps — like eating more leafy greens — to improve his health. That’s part of why he’s teaming up again with juice company Naked on their However You Healthy campaign.

“This campaign is about celebrating and supporting people making both big and small choices in the direction of living a healthier life, whether that’s in the direction of more exercise, or eating more vegetables or fruit,” he says.

For Legend, living a healthier life means getting regular exercise, eating his greens and playing with his kids, Luna Simone, 2½, and Miles Theodore, 10 months. He also wants to set the record straight on the highly caloric — but delicious — meals that Teigen frequently cooks and posts on social media.

“We show a lot of the things we cook, but there’s a lot we don’t show,” he says. “And even if we’re making things for the cookbook, that doesn’t mean we’re having massive portions of it. Everything’s in moderation. I think that’s what the campaign with Naked is all about. Obviously, we have moments where we want to have fun and indulge, but if you take those small steps to have some balance in your life, all those steps can be helpful.”

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He’s also happy to live on the other side of the food spectrum, and says that he would do another juice cleanse like the one Legend did for a week before his live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar.

“It was great,” he says. “It’s a way to focus and consume less calories and focus a bit. It leaned me out right before the show. I had to show off my naked chest and abs during the play [laughs], so it was a good thing to get me ready for that.”

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