How Danny Elfman Got That Coachella Body


Just the miserable combination of less food and more exercise. I’d love to hear what you were just describing with the water.

It’s an old olympic weightlifting/boxing trick—you drink two liters of water for a few days, and cycle it down to a quarter liter, and it flushes the water from your body. You lose a few pounds in a few days if you do it right.

Oh, I didn’t know that. I did it the old school, miserable way. Controlled diet, up the cardio, old school.

Are there foods you stay away from or avoid? Any eating protocols on top of the intermittent fasting?

It’s funny: Since years ago, when I was in my 40s and trying to get into shape, I went on this high protein diet, at the time called the Zone, and it really fucked up my digestion. It didn’t work well for me, so I abandoned it for a high fiber vegetable diet, and I kind of became over the years something of a pescatarian. I don’t eat dairy, I’m also gluten free, because of minor allergies, the kind that don’t make me sick but were enough to get off the stuff. And I’m a sugar addict. Back before my 60th, that was the big one, giving up processed sugar completely. That was the hardest. 

I was at 4th of July with my family, and all the pies come out—seven, eight really tasty pies—and I’m watching everybody cutting their slices, and a friend of mine tells me that this is like my version of porn. I’m watching everybody chowing down on these creme pies, [in a raspy voice] “Yeah, have another slice, go for it.” I’m not touching it. But I’m taking pleasure watching everybody. And there’s some truth in that, I was almost salivating and grinning.

Do you have cheat days? After the show, are you taking your foot off the gas?

Yeah. I believe in cheat days for everything. “Everything Bad in Moderation” would be my motto: I eat beef maybe once a month. But twice a year, on my birthday and Labor Day, I have a full-on fucking cheeseburger, with the bun, with everything. Fuck the gluten, fuck the cheese, lay it on me. And I’m dreaming about that cheeseburger months before my birthday. And also, then and on Thanksgiving, I have whatever dessert I want. Pecan pie, smothered with whipped cream, fuck it. But I reserve these splurges for special occasions. If I survive Saturday night at Coachella, I’ll probably have an early birthday cheeseburger.

Do you go anywhere—are you hitting The Apple Pan?—or do you make the burger?

I usually make it. I make myself a rare bison burger, smothered in cheese. But that’s funny you say that, I’ve been thinking about The Apple Pan, because that’s where I grew up. I used to go every Sunday night with my friends and I’d do the hickory cheeseburger with the pecan pie. Sunday night they’d make it fresh, smother it in whipped cream.



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