These days, actress Tia Mowry is a mom who models clean eating, but as she reveals in her first cookbook, that she only changed her diet after being diagnosed with endometriosis, and learning she could be infertile.
In the book Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You, released on Tuesday, Mowry provides tips and recipes for clean eating. But the host of the Cooking Channel’s Tia Mowry at Home didn’t always have a healthy relationship with food.
Mowry says in Whole New You, that she learned poor eating habits as a teen on the set of Sister, Sister.
“TV sets are always catered, so I was surrounded by junk food 24/7. To my teenage self, it was like living in a Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,” Mowry writes. “Everything I wanted was at my fingertips: Twizzlers, M&M’s, Starbursts, potato chips, you name it. And if something I craved wasn’t there, all I had to do was ask: ‘Chocolate chip cookies, please?’ And they simply appeared. It was heaven. If heaven leads to health problems, that is.”
To counterbalance her junk food intake, Mowry admits she used diet pills in her late teens.
“I didn’t feel fat, but the pressure of being on television and wanting to look sexy and beautiful took over,” she writes. “I’m not proud of it. I got skinny, true, but the pills caused my heart to race, and I knew in my gut that I was hurting myself.”
It was only after taking at psychology class when she attended Pepperdine University that she stopped using the pills.
“I had never told anyone about the pills, but I got honest in class,” she explains in the book. She followed her professor’s advice to write “Give up diet pills” on a piece of paper and throw it into her fireplace.
“As I watched the paper crackle and burn, something in me released,” she adds. “I haven’t touched diet pills since that day, and thankfully, I haven’t wanted to.”
Soon after, while Mowry was still in college, she started experiencing extreme abdominal pain. After an appointment with an ob-gyn, Mowry learned she had endometriosis. She had two laparoscopic surgeries to help ease the pain before her doctor offered her a different option: Mowry needed to change her diet and stop eating dairy (which caused painful inflammation).
“It had never even occurred to me that something I had always eaten (so innocently) could be causing me such harm,” Mowry writes. “Now here was a well-respected doctor telling me that my problem — my big, you-may-never-get-pregnant problem — came down to my favorite foods: butter, cheese, and gelato. It was like a slap in the face.”
Her co-star, Brittany Daniel, recommended she talk to Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet. After meeting Gates, Mowry was able to make drastic changes to her lifestyle, she explains. No longer was she eating “processed foods, refined sugar, and dairy.”
She writes that her desire to get pregnant was a big motivator. Then, after six months of dieting, her eczema and migraines disappeared, and she lost weight easily. Slowly, Mowry started to “find natural foods delicious and truly satisfying,” she writes.
“As if that wasn’t enough, I got a bigger surprise about a year after I began eating this way: I started to feel deeply, thrillingly alive,” she adds, “I had more energy than I remember ever having…”
And those weren’t the only positive results.
“The cherry on top of this dairy-free sundae is that I got pregnant. Quickly,” she explains. “Given all of my health issues, I hadn’t expected it to happen so fast — if at all — but after I’d been following my new regimen for just twelve months, Cory came to visit me in Atalanta, and a few weeks later, we got the happy news!”
“I was on this detox for a year trying to get pregnant and after this detox, I ended up getting pregnant right away and my doctor said it was because of my diet,” said Mowry in an interview with Parade.
Whole New You by Tia Mowry hit stores on Tuesday.