Zooey Deschanel is an original. With her retro-chic style and girl-next-door vibe, the indie sweetheart has charmed more than just her romantic co-stars in films like (500) Days of Summer and Elf. And later this year, shell do it again, enchanting James Franco (and the rest of us!) in the fairy-tale comedy Your Highness.

But the 30-year-old Los Angeles native—one half of the band She & Him, along with M. Ward—is also proving to be a force on the music scene with the recent release of her second vintage-flavored album, Volume Two. Here, the actress/singer/songwriter (and newlywed!) reveals how she lives it up the smart way. (Memo to other rock stars: you can eat healthy and get to bed early on the road).

Q: Youve carved out hot careers in movies and music. If you had to choose, which would it be?
A: I dont think its really necessary [to choose]. But writing music is my favorite thing to do. With acting, youre carrying out someone elses vision—and musics mine. Being an actor is like a lot of stars have to align to make a really satisfying experience.

Q: Like (500) Days of Summer?
A: Yeah. That was a really fun movie.

Q: Is it harder to eat well when youre touring?
A: I find that Im almost healthier because I have to be really disciplined. I cant eat too much before a show, [or] you go on stage feeling terrible. And I almost always visit health-food stores in every city Im in, just to make sure theres stuff on the bus I can eat—vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and nuts.

Q: Thats interesting. We always hear how hard it is for musicians to eat well on the road.
A: Its so easy! These people, I dont know who they are, because there are health-food stores in every city! The other thing is, I dont go out after shows.

Q: So youre not partying afterward?
A: No, Im not [laughs], because if I were to do that I probably wouldnt be able to sing the next day. The whole thing is, youre touring to perform, and you owe people because they pay money to come and see you play. I literally go to sleep after shows. And I always make sure to exercise.

Q: You used to be vegan right?
A: Not anymore. My older sister, Bones star Emily Deschanel, has been a very, very committed vegan since high school. I wish I could be like that, but Im not. I have a lot of food sensitivities—I cant eat wheat or soy—and it was very difficult to eat and get enough calories. It was even impossible to eat at a vegan restaurant. [Laughs.]

Q: You love to cook. What do you make?
A: I dont really like sweets that much, but I find it really satisfying to bake for other people—cupcakes and cookies and cakes. I make a good quinoa spaghetti with pesto and zucchini. Pestos one of those things you can experiment with, and one day I was like, What if I used hemp seeds instead of pine nuts because theyre more nutritious? Ive made it for a lot of dinner parties. It was a hit!

Q: Do you have any other healthy-snacking secrets?
A: I try not to snack a lot. I know that sounds weird—some people think you should snack all the time. If I start to snack too much, I dont have an appetite for meals. So I eat three square meals a day, and if Im hungry, I have an apple.

Next Page: Q: So, no guilty pleasure foods? [ pagebreak ]
Q: So, no guilty pleasure foods?
A: Actually, theres a bakery called BabyCakes in New York, and one in L.A. now. They make amazing gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies. I like to keep things like that in my freezer, just so I know its there, but I almost never touch it. Its weird. The knowledge that its there is enough, its almost more satisfying to me. Once its gone, then you dont have the option anymore. I like having the option.

Q: What fitness routine works best for you?
A: I really mix it up. I hike, run, bike. I do an hour a day, and then have a day off a week. And I took six years of tap dancing, and I love it! Its a good cardio workout.

Q: Sounds like variety is key for you.
A: Yeah, sometimes its even just a walk. Its just about being active. When I was a kid, I went through a period where I just liked to sit in a closet reading all the time. And then in seventh grade I joined a swim team, and it really was so great for me. It just made me feel so much better. It changed my personality.

Q: Wow, really?
A: Oh, yeah, totally. Before the swim team, I was kind of high-strung. Afterward, it just made me super-relaxed. [Exercise] is the best mood stabilizer.

Q: Whats your secret to staying motivated?
A: Meeting a friend to exercise. Sometimes I have friends come to my house to do a little circuit. And if theyre coming over, you have to do it. You cant bail out when theres someone else coming! [Laughs.]

Q: You recently got married [to Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard]. What about your husband made you decide to take the leap?
A: Hes a great human being. And he makes me laugh.

Q: Are you thinking about kids?
A: You get married, and immediately everyone starts asking about that! Its like, I just wanna be married and work right now. Kids are way far off.

Q: Are you good at taking time for yourself?
A: Im not a spa girl. And I sort of go insane if I go to a place thats too remote. Just being at home and getting to have a couple hours where theres nothing planned is completely relaxing to me.

Q: Whats the best thing about being you?
A: I find the more I get to know myself, the happier I am—and the better I am. I think thats true of everyone.

Q:When do you feel most at peace?
A: When Im playing music, I definitely feel really happy.

3 Things You Dont Know About Me

  1. I dont sleep in. Im a go-to-bed-early, wake-up-early kind of person. I hate the feeling of waking up at noon. I always set an alarm, even on off days.
  2. Healthy cupcakes are my thing. Its called “crazy cake,” because no eggs are needed—you use the protein in the flour to basically bind the cupcakes. It just has cocoa powder, baking soda, flour, a little bit of oil, and apple cider vinegar. Theres a version in the book The Joy of Vegan Baking. Theyre always a hit!
  3. I play the ukulele. I was just playing it this morning, actually!