Tabitha Brown has gone viral on TikTok for her vegan recipe videos. Here's how and why she went plant-based in the first place.
tabitha brown
Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer
| Credit: Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer

With more than 4.5 million followers on TikTok, @iamtabithabrown has been on a proverbial rocket ship through the social media space this year. We're huge fans of Tabitha Brown's warm personality, down-to-earth vibe, infectious laugh, body-positive messages and creative and colorful recipes (vegan "shrimp" tacos, anyone?). Apparently Steve Harvey is too, since he recently invited the actress/mom/recipe queen to join him on his Facebook Watch show, STEVE on Watch.

"How does a Southern bell turn vegan?" Harvey asked.

"I was very sick for six or seven months. Could not get well and honestly thought I was going to die," Brown told Harvey. "I went to the doctor week after week, month after month and everything would come back normal."

Brown's daughter Choyce, now 19, watched her mom battle depression, chronic fatigue, vision challenges, major anxiety and more. So when she watched What the Health (a Netflix documentary that proposes some possibly controversial concepts about the link between diet and disease), she asked her mom to check out the movie for herself.

"We watched it and it was pretty instant to me," Brown said, noting the early death trends within her family and their consistent meat-focused meal plans. "It was the only thing I hadn't tried, so I told my husband, 'You know what? Let's do a 30-day vegan challenge. I don't have anything to lose at this point."

In the first 10 days, Brown was able to make her persistent dull headache finally disappear for the first time after struggling with it for 19 months. She noticed increased energy and decided to continue on with the vegan lifestyle on day 31—and for life. Her husband of 20 years decided to incorporate meat back into his diet, and Brown decided to "go on the journey alone. It changed my entire life."

As for her advice for others who are considering starting a vegan diet, Brown recently told our sister magazine Health that "food can be medicine, or it can be the thing that puts us in the ground...You have to start with your 'why.' My why was that I was sick. My why was life or death. I chose life," Brown said. Sure, it will be challenging at first. "Do I still get cravings? Yeah, girl, right now I could see myself dipping a crab leg into some butter. But my why is strong enough. I say: 'Be easy on yourself. Take your time. Don't be hard on yourself. The world is hard enough already.'" Truer words have never been spoken, Tab.