The Surprising Foods Tabitha Brown Can't Live Without - Exclusive

As a child, TikTok influencer, actress, and author Tabitha Brown never met a crab leg she didn't like (or, for that matter, a chicken leg or slice of turkey bacon). Yet, despite having grown up a country girl in North Carolina at a time when meat-eating was a given, Brown had a hunch that plant-based eating was where it was at and went vegetarian at age 15, sticking with it 100% until age 20. The star told Mashed during an exclusive interview, that's when she went back to eating fish and chicken (albeit never red meat or pork), and all seemed fine — until it didn't. During her mid-30's, the now 42-year-old began experiencing relentless headaches and chronic fatigue, and doctors could neither pinpoint the cause nor offer relief.

"I was very sick, and I thought I was going to die," Brown shared with Mashed. Those dark days lasted more than a year and a half, until her daughter, Choyce, suggested a 30-day vegan challenge. Within 10 days, Brown's symptoms had abated, and she was on the road to a full recovery. As it was so clearly a matter of life or death for the influencer, Brown doesn't dwell on the foods she no longer eats. Rather, she craves the foods that she has in her life which support her robust health.

Tabitha Brown's "can't live without" foods are surprisingly simple and very very green

Since 2017, Tabitha Brown has been following a textbook vegan diet (via VegNews), meaning she consumes nothing derived from animals — not milk, not eggs, not honey; she doesn't even buy leather. At the outset, she put some effort into finding vegan substitutes for her favorite non-vegan foods — and would recommend the same approach to newbie vegans "because that helps with your cravings." That's how she came to discover Greenleaf Foods' Field Roast and Lightlife lines of plant-based protein options, with whom she's in partnership and which she often refers to in her TikTok vegan-cooking tutorials. But as much as she loves grilling with Field Roast's veggie sausages, the foods Tabitha Brown says she cannot live without are much simpler. 

"I don't know if I could live without avocado," Brown told Mashed, sharing that she loves to top the fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) with Caribbean-influenced jackfruit. "And I love a pickle," she added. "I grew up on dill pickles. You from the country, you go to the little corner store and you can pick your own pickle out the big old jar with the little thing. And honey, that's how I grew up. So I just love them." But just to be clear, we're talking full-sour pickles here. "I want all of the sourness. Yeah, absolutely."

For more Tabitha Brown, follow her on TikTok and pre-order her book "Feeding the Soul" before its release in September 2021.