Tabitha Brown, dubbed “America’s Mom”, is perhaps known best for her fun, accessible vegan recipes and engaging internet persona. Brown’s debut memoir, Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business), incorporates these elements while also sharing intimate details of Brown’s life journey. First and foremost, this is not a particularly vegan book. In fact, many purists will likely be put off by the lack of vegan discussion. Feeding the Soul, as the title suggests, is very plainly a Christian self-help book. Though Brown is a figurehead within the world of vegan influencers, readers seeking vegan-centric text will be disappointed. With that said, Feeding the Soul is not entirely without substance for vegan and vegan-curious readers.
Though sparse, Brown’s incorporations of vegan recipes favor quality over quantity. Her recipes, sprinkled between chapters and accompanied by personal anecdotes, are quick, flavorful, and require little technique. Brown is steadfast in her assertion that veganism is ideal for physical health, but rarely, if ever, wades into discussions of animal liberation. Her recipe anecdotes similarly reflect these values. Brown often discusses her favorite animal-product inspired dishes before providing her vegan alternative. Again, many vegans may find these stories polarizing. But Brown’s strength does not lie in promoting animal rights, it lies in introducing the concept of veganism to a wider audience and making plant-based recipes accessible. Hand in hand with Brown’s ability to reach a wider audience is her ability to spread positive messaging about human rights to her avid followers.
Within Feeding the Soul are beautiful affirmations for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, rape survivors, and people living with disabilities. Often Brown’s inspirational writing can feel a bit cliche and overly-generalized, a common flaw of many self-help writers seeking a large audience. However, this flaw is overshadowed by Brown’s very poignant messaging about our collective need to accept and embrace LGBTQIA+ members of our community. Similarly, Brown’s detailing of her sexual assualt, subsequent trauma, and affirmations to all fellow rape survivors is done masterfully. But perhaps the most touching anecdote in the story is that of Brown’s deaf aunt, in which Brown ruminates on disability and survival.
Though Feeding the Soul is really not a book rife with vegan discourse, it is an easy, lighthearted read for those interested in the work and perspective of someone who is both proudly vegan and Christian. Brown is likable, engaging, and one of the few influencers currently on the social media landscape providing allyship to the vegan movement. Feeding the Soul, like Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joyful Vegan, is the perfect reprieve when you find yourself inundated with environmental anxiety and need a break from trauma-dense vegan reading. Feeding the Soul is not without flaws, but is a very interesting indication of what is to come from Tabitha Brown.