1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A fruit smoothie — with pineapple, bananas, and coconut milk.
2. How do you tend to cook and eat at home?
I love traditional family-style food with a healthy twist. So I might do spaghetti and meatballs, but I’ll make the meatballs out of turkey, add spinach, and use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs.
3. In your new cookbook, you credit clean eating and changing your diet with helping you keep some health issues in check. Tell us more about that.
This cookbook was really personal for me. As I started to make healthier choices in my own life, I saw things — like my endometriosis or my migraines — be put at bay. And that was amazing to me. So I wrote this book based on the concept that food can be medicine in its own way; that it can worsen or help with an existing condition. That was my experience, and I’m hoping that writing about it can help others too.
4. What would you say to readers who want to start eating healthier but feel like they don’t know where to start?
Honestly, that was me. I was told not to eat dairy — after I’d been eating it my whole life — and it was overwhelming. But two things really helped: first, changing perception. Believing in the idea that food can fuel you, because if you don’t believe it to begin with, you won’t put any action behind it. Second, start slow. Find recipes that you can identify with, then just test them out and see how they make you feel. For me, I immediately started feeling less sluggish, and that was enough to make me want to explore more.
5. You have a 5-year-old son, Cree. Has he changed the way you cook and eat?
Yes! He’s made the kitchen even more fun. I love to incorporate him into making stuff, and I know he’s more likely to enjoy it that way. If you hand a kid a green juice, they’ll just stare at it. But if you have them in the kitchen making it with you, they’ll really get into it.
6. Best tip for parents who are raising picky eaters?
Introduce them to new foods at a young age. Kids only know what you put in front of them.
7. You’ve dabbled with veganism in the past. What were your biggest takeaways from giving up meat and dairy for a bit?
I went vegan for a while because I wanted to detox. I’d started to feel sluggish every day because I was overworking myself. And I knew, just from experimenting with food in the past, that plant-based foods gave me more energy. But I ultimately stopped [being vegan] because I’m anemic, so I need a good amount of protein in my diet. Everybody’s different, but that’s what I needed to do for me.
8. Quick-fire! Last show you binge-watched on Netflix?
9. If you could be on any reality show on TV, which one would you pick?
The Amazing Race.
10. And who would your partner be?
My brother Tahj. I don’t think my husband would survive!
11. What’s the deal with those Sister, Sister reunion rumors?
Let’s just say… that we’re working on them not being rumors any longer.
12. So the wheels are in motion?!
[laughs] We’re putting things in motion. At the same time, anything can happen because it’s business — but we’re definitely trying to make the fans happy here.
13. Favorite lipstick that you know won’t budge?
Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick. My go-to is a bold red — it’s lasted through entire spin classes.
14. One junk food you know you could never give up?
Red velvet anything. So good!
15. Favorite food to cook with that comes in a can?
16. Favorite emoji?
17. Workout of choice?
Yoga. I do it every day. It tackles everything: body, mind, breathing. We hold our emotions in our muscles, and for me, yoga’s the best way to release and reset.
18. Who is your celebrity girl crush?
19. On Instagram, you’ve said, “In a world that’s obsessed with perfection, I’m taking a stand and will not be retouching my photos.” What made you decide to do that?
I’d gotten body-shamed [on Instagram], and I’d called out the person for calling me fat. And I got some heat for it. Some said, “You’re an entertainer. You should be able to take this”, and I just thought, Nope! I’m human. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, in high school, or in the spotlight — words can hurt. So my response was about taking a stand, showing support for other women, and debunking the idea that everyone should be perfect. Because that’s a dangerous standard to set.
20. And finally: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Your circumstances right now don’t have to be the prerequisite of your future.” If things aren’t going well for you right now, that’s OK. Don’t get caught up, know that things can change — and keep moving forward.
For more on Tia, follow her on Instagram or pick up her cookbook, Whole New You, out this week.