Tia Mowry on Why Cooking Is ‘Therapy,’ and Reclaiming Her Identity

Updated: Jan. 13, 2023

Actress, cookbook author and YouTube chef Tia Mowry talks about family togetherness in the kitchen—and time for herself as a mother of two.

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Dealing with a dietary allergy or sensitivity can be, well, sensitive—even though it’s rather common. Regarding lactose intolerance in particular, the National Library of Medicine suggests about 30 million Americans have some degree of this intolerance by age 20. Dodging some dairy products can take a lot of options off the proverbial (and literal) table.

Actress Tia Mowry, first known for starring in Disney’s Sister, Sister and Twitches, has revealed she made her own lactose-sensitive discovery in her twenties which today also affects her two children. She’s devised clever solutions, with a cooking-focused YouTube channel and two cookbooks: The Quick Fix Kitchen and Whole New You.

Mowry recently chatted with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest about the ways she’s learned to manage her family’s lactose sensitivities—so well that she calls time in the kitchen therapeutic—and the daily habit that makes tough days a little easier.

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Tia Mowry’s key to navigating lactose intolerance

Though many people with lactose sensitivities—and some without—have turned to plant-based milk, Mowry says Lactaid is her preferred choice. “I thought that I couldn’t have a relationship with dairy because of my stomach discomfort, but that’s actually not true,” she says. “I actually can enjoy an entire glass of milk and put milk in my mashed potatoes, [and] make my smoothies with milk, because it was the lactose that was giving me that sensitivity, not necessarily the dairy itself. I’m a foodie. I love to cook, and milk offers many benefits, especially the texture.”

Mowry’s son, 11, is a young athlete who she says needs the bone-healthy benefits of dairy, minus the stomach sensitivities. “It’s easy to digest whenever I’m making some dishes for my family and myself.”

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Tia Mowry on family time in the kitchen

Mowry says her favorite way to get her kids invested in their own nutrition is bringing them into the kitchen. “It’s also kind of like a science experiment when it comes to having them in the kitchen. And kids, they love science.”

Growing up with two working parents in the military, she says they would gather in the kitchen as they cooked to catch up at the end of a long day. “It was our kind of therapy sessions.” As a mom, she says, “My love language is nurturing, so I love to nurture. So feeding my children, making sure that they’re fed and happy and their bellies are full before they go to bed, puts a big smile on my face.”

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Tia Mowry on self-care and motherhood

Mowry said that amid the demands of work and motherhood, plus her pending divorce from Cory Hardrict that was announced in October 2022 after 22 years together, she makes a priority of taking time for herself—asking: “What is it that Tia likes? What is it that she loves? What is it that makes her happy?”

Regular meditation has helped her “turn off the noise,” along with exercise and eating well. Another practice she loves is morning affirmations to set an intention for herself each day. “For example, an affirmation could be, ‘I am enough,’” she says. “I will take that affirmation with me throughout the whole day. So if something arises or something happens where I start to get a little insecure, I go back to that metaphor, that affirmation, and I tell myself: No. I am enough.”

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