It’s no question that Black people hold food near and dear to their hearts. Food is an integral part of Black culture; it ties us back to our roots and reminds us of who we are through where we came from. From flavors to textures and colors, Black people have personalized and popularized their cuisine to the richness of our culture and people. With all that in mind, it’s also understandable as to why many black people are apprehensive about changing their diets and adopting healthier food habits.

A survey from the Pew Center reports that only 8 percent of African Americans are vegan, although the number is increasing. The rise is credited to Black people being influenced by the vegan lifestyle, commonly seen through social media, entertainment, and music culture. Throughout the years many celebrities have discussed being Vegan such as Mya, SZA, Erykah Badu, Russell Simmons, and more. When Beyonce revealed that she went on a vegan diet to prepare for Coachella, the Beyhive flocked to try it.

The latest person inspiring people to hop on the vegan lifestyle is Actress, Tik Toker, and Social Media personality, Tabitha Brown. After videos of her making quick vegan meals went viral on Tik Tok, Tabitha became the face and voice of easy vegan eating as well as a source of joy and life inspiration for all.

Tabitha was put on to Veganism by her daughter, Choyce Brown. After watching the documentary What The Health on Netflix and learning about the flaws in the food industries, Tabitha asked her family to join her in going vegan for 30 days. After their experiment, Tabitha decided to stick with it.

It may seem more difficult for someone Choyce’s age (19), to have transitioned into veganism later in life,  but from the way she looks at it, “there are only three things you can’t eat, everything else is up for grabs,” Choyce told Ebony.

In addition to her diet Choyce has incorporated veganism into her overall lifestyle. She sticks to using vegan and animal cruelty-free products. She’s even starting her own skincare line (SkinbyChoyce) that is centered on being vegan, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. “We’re in the process of formulating all the products; the line will start off with face wash, a moisturizer and a mask,” Choyce revealed to Ebony.

Photo By: Jacob Webster

For anyone contemplating trying out veganism—especially young people—there is much to be learned from Choyce’s journey.

What was the transition like?

For Choyce the transition was fairly smooth; going cold turkey is not the move. For a while, her mother was vegan while her father had not yet adopted the lifestyle so she had the choice to eat vegan some days while still maintaining her normal diet. “I wasn’t quite ready yet,” said Choyce who made the transition to veganism a year after her mom. Her dad followed soon a year after that.

How did Becoming Vegan Change Your body?

One of the biggest draws to a vegan lifestyle is being physically healthier and even losing weight. However with any change in diet, the body can have a hard time adjusting. For Choyce, her body took naturally to the change. “My energy level is the first thing I saw drastically change,” Choyce told Ebony. “I felt so much more energized and less sluggish.” Choyce found that with a vegan diet the sensation of “the itis” or being very tired or sleepy after a meal didn’t happen. Choyce also found that her skin looked a lot clearer when she fully cut out dairy, which is common.

Do you ever wish you could go back?

I really miss crab legs,” Choyce told Ebony. “Any kind of seafood, shimp, lobster”

“My favorite food like ever is hotdogs,” Choyce told Ebony. Even after going vegan she didn’t have to sacrifice that. When it came to meat alternatives of fake meat, Choyce and her family tried several options, finding some along the way that they liked and others that they didn’t. Many meat alternatives are made of soy protein, tofu and beans. It’ll all be about finding what works for you. “Anything can taste good if you season it well,” said Choyce. 

Why Should People Go Vegan?

I basically transitioned for better health,” Choyce told Ebony. There are so many benefits to living a vegan lifestyle. According to Medical News Today, a vegan diet can improve heart health, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of type two diabetes.

Choyce’s biggest advice for anyone wanting to go vegan is to just experiment. There’s only three categories of food you can’t eat and there’s a world of food to explore. She even got her best friend to become vegan. “There are so many things people don’t realize are vegan,” says Choyce. When she increasingly buys schedule and social life, she finds that it’s not that hard to maintain. “When I’m traveling, I’ll usually get french fries at the airport or something with avocado,” Choyce told Ebony. Even when going out to eat she knows that if nothing else she can always order french fries or a salad. Maintaining a vegan diet can seem challenging at first but it’s all about intentionality. And most importantly “you can make anything taste bomb if you season it right”