Tabitha Brown Debunks The Biggest Myths About Being Vegan - Exclusive

When TikTok influencer, actress, and author Tabitha Brown first embarked on what has now become her 100% vegan lifestyle (meaning she doesn't eat, wear, or otherwise use anything derived from animals, not even a drizzle of honey in her tea), she was highly motivated. In large part, Brown told Mashed during an exclusive interview, that was a function of her feeling desperate to do something — anything — to feel better after almost two years of mysterious, autoimmune-type symptoms had left her wondering if she'd even make it to 40 (happily, Brown celebrated her 42nd birthday in February). At the same time, the star also found herself powering through a whole lot of misconceptions about veganism that threatened to thwart her efforts.

Despite the fact that Brown had stopped eating red meat and pork at age 15 (and had even followed a vegetarian diet from 15 through 20) some of those misconceptions came from her own preconceived notions about going vegan; others came from well-meaning friends and family. Now in her fourth year of veganism, Brown is in a great position to help clarify what is and is not true about the lifestyle that she feels certain saved her life.

Do you still believe this number one myth about veganism?

When Tabitha Brown embarked on her original 30-day vegan challenge, she was contending with some serious health issues she was hoping a vegan diet could eliminate. So, of course, her family was supportive, she told Mashed. At the same time, however, she noticed that other people were not necessarily feeling it. Well meaning friends and family told her she was "crazy" for going fully vegan, questioning if she was even leaving the turkey necks out of her greens. Apparently, the number one concern was the belief that it's impossible to get enough protein from an exclusively plant-based diet. 

But that belief is just a myth, Brown explained, pointing out to the nay-sayers, "a lot of people eat beef or steak for high protein, [but] what did the cow eat to give you that?" The answer is, of course, a plant-based diet, whether grain or grass (although grass-fed beef is particularly prized for its taste and higher levels of vitamins A and E and omega-3 fatty acids, all while being leaner than grain-fed). If you're a fan of beef, Tabitha Brown would like to remind you that – just like the cow that you're eating — you too can get everything you need from plants. 

Don't believe these other myths about being vegan

Other myths about being vegan that Tabitha Brown would like to debunk include that "all we eat is salad. ... Honey, I be eating good. I don't know about nobody else, child, but I be eating all kinds of stuff," she told Mashed. That includes the alternative meats Brown gets from GreenLeaf's Field Roast and Lightlife lines, which Brown uses in many of the recipes she shares with fans. 

Another myth that Brown wishes to debunk is that vegans are "crazy," which is something she, herself, once believed. "I also ... didn't know anybody Black that was vegan. I was like, 'I think that's just what white people do.'" Clearly, neither of those clichés is true, and Brown is actively helping to change the perspective of anyone who thinks so.

Nor is it expensive to go vegan, according to Brown, if you make sure to include "real food, real fruit, real veggies" in your diet. Just as your grocery bill begins to add up when you start buying fancy cuts of meat, it can also increase when you're subsisting primarily on meat alternatives. Although those are great for getting started with veganism, they're really only meant to be one facet of a vegan diet. 

Tabitha Brown debunks the vegan myth of the "should"

The final, and arguably most important, myth about being vegan that Tabitha Brown would like to debunk once and for all is that the word "should" is in any way associated with the decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Ultimately, the decision to go vegan is up to you, and the only right reason is that it's what you want for yourself. "What is your 'why?'" Brown asks. "There's always a wrong reason to do things. And that number one thing is because somebody else is doing it. That means you ain't going to stick to it."

"Some people ... like me, I started because of my health right? Some people do it for the planet. Some people do it for the animals. Some people do it to lose weight or different things like that. But it just has to mean something to you. But I think, if everybody does one meal a week or one meal a day, they make a huge difference in their own life and for the planet." Ultimately, you need to make the right decision for you and your lifestyle, in a way that feels sustainable.

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