Social media influencer and actress Tabitha Brown has garnered viral fame through her inspirational and vegan videos on Instagram, thanks to her cheerful personality and infectious smile. Now, she is entering a new phase in her life as an author. The 42-year-old released Feeding the Soul on Sept. 28 and recently shared an emotional video of herself after finding out her book was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
The vegan influencer spoke with Yahoo! about what led her to make the lifestyle change to vegan, which helped her mental health and ultimately led her to be successful. Tabitha reflected on her "lowest moments" that influenced her decision to go vegan and the result of that.
"One of the lowest moments for me was during the time when my mom was sick. It was really hard to focus on anything other than her and the thought of, Oh my God, how am I going to live without her? I think I had my first panic attack when my mom was sick and I realized [that it was] really weighing heavy on me. But then living through that with her, it taught me that life is so short, I have to pursue my dream."
Her mom passed away from ASL, which is a disease that affects the nervous system, weakens the muscles and limits physical function.
The actress also began to experience more panic attacks and chronic pains.
"I got really sick. And when you're sick and you don't know what's wrong with you, it really messes with your head. And for me, it caused me to be very depressed along with being sick in my body. I think that was the lowest point of my life, and the darkest time. And I always just prayed, 'If I come out of this, I'm always going to choose light.' And thank God, I did come out of it, and I've been choosing light and joy ever since. We all have times that are a little bit dark, but the thing that we must remember is: They're always temporary and they will pass."
And light is what her Instagram page is full of. The mother of two shares relatable content involving her family as well as words of encouragement to her fans. She also uses her social media platforms to share her vegan recipes and recommendations. The Chi actress credits her vegan diet for bettering her overall health.
"I was having major anxiety and panic attacks and I was suffering from depression. And after going vegan and starting to feel better, it's like I stopped having panic attacks. I mean, I was having severe, manic panic attacks, like 50 a day sometimes, where I just couldn't breathe. That disappeared, and the depression just lifted. Light just overtook the darkness."
"Honestly, one day I was in prayer and it was like God reminded me of the old saying 'you are what you eat.' And I thought about the animals. And I don't usually talk about this because I never want people to feel like I'm judging them or making them feel bad about their choices, because that's not my intention ever. But I thought about all the animals. And they have so much anxiety because they're afraid and they know they're going to die. And I was eating the depression and I was eating the anxiety.
"And when I stopped eating that, [and] I started eating life and plants and things that don't have those emotions, my depression and my anxiety went away. And when I heard God say, 'Remember, you are what you eat,' I was like, Oh my goodness. It made so much sense to me, and it definitely changed everything, so it did play a huge role in my mental health. And when you feel better, honey, your mind feels better too. When your body feels good, your mind feels good as well."
While Tabitha is an advocate for veganism, she also says that she doesn't want to put veganism on others, ('cause that's your business), but she does enjoy helping people by sharing her journey.
"I never say you need to go vegan. No, absolutely not. I would never do that to someone. But our minds can all be open and we can all try something. Even if it's one meal a day, we've done something."
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