Chaka Khan: “I Remember Thinking, ‘I Can’t Live Like This’”

With songs like, “I Feel For You,” “Angel” and “Through The Fire,” living legend Chaka Khan is undoubtedly one of the best voices of our time. Through her over 40 years of entertaining, Chaka went through a period that she was letting her health go. But, in the past five years, Chaka Khan dropped over 75 pounds, was able to keep it off and now living her best life yet!

But if it wasn’t for a surprise diagnosis, the “I’m Every Woman” hit singer would have never made the commitment to change what she was doing or eating.

The 69-year-old Khan credits a strict liquid diet, and then protein, well lack thereof (her vegan diet), for her weight loss.

“I felt like I needed to heal my body, so I would just fast and eat no meat, no dairy. I’ve never been a fan of meat, dairy and sugar. And when I developed diabetes I said, ‘Oh OK, I’m not going to be here long. A change is coming,’” told Khan to lifestyle website

Once she identified that her diet and lifestyle habits needed to change, Khan took some drastic steps. “I went on a radical change of lifestyle. I was on liquids for a year, and that gave me a good jump-start. It sort of changed my whole way of thinking. You have to get the mindset first,” Khan said, reports The Detroit News.

“A lot of doors have opened significantly for me since I dropped the weight,” Chaka admits. “And I have mixed reactions to that, but I’m going to strike the iron while it’s hot. So there’s been lots of meetings with lots of people.”

The singer also now has a perfume line called, Khanasutra, a line of candles, and Chaka Lips for the holidays.

“My weight loss had to occur because I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes and I also had high blood pressure. And I’ve been on medication for that since last year until the beginning of 2012. And I ended up going, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, this is enough. I can’t live like this.’ And I have a new little daughter to raise [my granddaughter], I adopted her so I have to be here. … [She] was really my first and major influence to lose weight and get healthy so I can be here for her. What I did was stopped eating and went on a strict unconditional fast for a couple of months. And went off meat, became vegan, stopped all the dairy, stopped all the meat.”

Chaka’s doctor prescribed medication, and she began to make important lifestyle changes. For instance, she swore off…

white flour and loaded up on produce. Her idea of a delicious snack? “I’ll get a big bowl of string beans and make a dip with a wasabi mix. Or I’ll cut up some sweet potatoes—a little nutmeg, cinnamon, nondairy butter—honey, that’s a wrap!”

But it was that prescribed medication that would later be a hindrance to Chaka.

In 2016, Khan reportedly said she has been battling an addiction to the same medication that led to Prince’s death and that his passing had spurred her decision to seek treatment. Prince died from an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller at age 57 at his Paisley Park studios in April.

A rep for the singer said Khan has struggled with prescription pain medication dependence and has “voluntarily entered” a treatment program “to get healthy and stay that way.”

“Chaka Khan has entered an addiction rehabilitation and aftercare program which will cause her to postpone all dates scheduled for the month of July,” her rep said in a statement with E! News. “Chaka has struggled with a dependence on prescription pain medications and has voluntarily entered the program to get healthy and stay that way. As part of the ongoing outpatient treatment, the doctors have urged her to resume recording mid-July and all performances beginning August 1st and onward.”

Now, Chaka is out of rehab and doing great!

Although the singer says she rarely goes to a gym, her work involves a lot of physical activity. “Forget about being on stage,” she says. “Walking through airports is great exercise!” And as the grandmother of four, one of whom—Daija Jade, 12—she’s adopted, Chaka is always on the go. “People who have children have it made because their exercise program is built right in!”