In her book 'Feeding the Soul,' Tabitha Brown talks breaking barriers as a Black woman in wellness

Advertisement
In her book 'Feeding the Soul,' Tabitha Brown talks breaking barriers as a Black woman in wellness
Tabitha Brown's book "Feeding the Soul" is a New York Times bestseller. Paul Archuleta/Getty Images
  • Tabitha Brown's book Feeding the Soul includes recipes and life advice.
  • The actress spoke to Insider about her book and how veganism helped her with chronic pain.

Tabitha Brown, the food and life guru who's breaking barriers as Black woman in wellness, offers a bounty of mouth-watering recipes, including vegan fried carne asada jackfruit tacos, in her new book Feeding Soul.

"You know when you're watching your favorite TV show, and you're like, 'On Thursdays, Grey's Anatomy comes on, I gotta get my food,' well at the end of each chapter, maybe there's a recipe that will become your favorite thing you can watch with your favorite show," Brown told Insider.

Yet Feeding the Soul, which was released last month, is not a traditional cookbook, though Brown said she was initially approached to write one and plans to eventually do so.

Advertisement

The New York Times bestseller is as full of life advice and personal anecdotes as it is the innovative and healthy recipes that made Brown famous on TikTok.

I belong in every room I step my foot in Tabitha Brown

"I hope that my book feels like a friend in the hand and that it feels like a little piece of me you can take along with you," Brown said. "And everytime you need a little pick-me-up you can turn the page and get it."

Brown has been a working actress since the early 2000s, but she became well known in 2017 after posting a viral video of herself reviewing Whole Foods TTLA (tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, and avocado) sandwich. She was subsequently hired as a brand ambassador for the company because her sheer enjoyment of the sandwich inspired others to post videos of themselves trying it out.

Advertisement

"Good God, almighty," Brown says in the viral video. "I told myself I was gonna eat half now and half later … but honey, listen."

Last year, Brown experienced a social media breakthrough when she started posting to TikTok, where her humorous and inspirational videos garnered her a following of approximately 5 million followers.

However, Brown didn't just stand out on the platform for uplifting social media users during a particular difficult and confusing time at the beginning of the pandemic. She attracted attention as a Black woman in the wellness industry, emerging as a prominent voice in a space where women of color are vastly underrepresented.

Advertisement

"I've been in many rooms where I'm the only Black woman, especially as a vegan, and I'm alright with that," Brown told Insider. "I belong in every room I step my foot in."

A lack of representation in wellness affects Black community health

The US healthcare system has a longstanding legacy of mistreating and misdiagnosing Black people, which has led to comparatively worse health outcomes and the erosion of trust in Black communities.

One recent study that showcases the inadequate care Black patients can be subjected to involved medical practitioners receiving a case of either Black or white patient with a torn ACL. The results showed that participants generally assigned lower pain ratings to the Black patients, thereby downplaying the play they were actually experiencing.

Advertisement

"The stated purpose of healthcare is to reduce pain and suffering and so to condone healthcare inequalities is to condone the pain and suffering of Black and brown people," Sophie Trawalter, and one of the authors of the study, said during a virtual discussion of the research.

While Brown does not bill herself as a medical expert, she does provide general guidance regarding how people can take care of their mental and physical health. Her content specifically focuses on food because she said turning vegan was the only thing that helped her with her own chronic illness.

In her book 'Feeding the Soul,' Tabitha Brown talks breaking barriers as a Black woman in wellness
The cover of Tabitha Brown's new book "Feeding the Soul" Courtesy of William Morrow

"I was very sick for a year and 7 months," Brown told Insider. "I had this terrible headache in the back of my head and that headache was accompanied by chronic fatigue and chronic pain."

Advertisement

She recalled going to numerous doctors, but "they couldn't figure out" what was wrong with her since her blood tests and MRIs didn't show any abnormal results.

"I'd taken every drug the doctors had given me," Brown said. "I was a guinea pig because I was desperate for an end to the pain."

It wasn't until her daughter came home from high school several years ago and suggested the family watch ​​What the Health, a documentary about reversing and preventing chronic diseases.

Advertisement

Brown and her husband decided to do a "30-day Vegan challenge" and by day 10, Brown said she was no longer experiencing debilitating headaches.

"It's been over four years now and I haven't looked back," Brown said. "I hope that people, especially in the Black community, see someone who looks like themselves and says. 'Oh wait, she talks about food differently and maybe I can try that. Maybe I can help some of the ailments that are running in my family by changing what I eat.'

Feeding the Soul showcases a different side of Brown

While Brown is often portrayed as an overnight success, Feeding the Soul provides insight into the many challenges she encountered on her way to becoming the social media creator whose content resonates with people globally.

Advertisement

From discussing her mother's struggles with ALS to her son's diagnosis of motor tics, Brown said she decided to share the fullness of her story to "help others."

Each chapter in the book not only delves into a personal anecdote of experience, but offers a pithy lesson, including "no shame in putting yourself first," "running only leads you back to you," "mind your business with love," and "freedom is knowing you're enough."

I hope that people, especially in the Black community, see someone who looks like themselves and says. 'Oh wait, she talks about food differently and maybe I can try that. Tabitha Brown

"One of the most difficult parts to write was the story I tell about my son," Brown said. "It was difficult for me to write about it because I realized how much I was holding it, but when I finally wrote it, it was freeing."

Advertisement

Brown said that there's another part of her story readers might be surprised by.

In the introduction, she talks about having the gift of supernatural sight, one that enabled her to prevent her daughter from falling out of the backseat of a friend's car.

"I've never really gone into detail about my gift of seeing, but I chose to do that in the first chapter because I wanted people to know from the beginning and decide, do you still want to walk with Tab on this journey?" Brown said. "If you're alright with it, then let's keep walking."

Advertisement



{{}}