Chef Babette’s Secret to Looking 40 at 72

Chef Babette’s Secret to Looking 40 at 72
In a warm and personal episode of Vkind Connects, friends and colleagues Dr. Shabnam Islam and Chef Babette Davis discuss surmounting addiction, self-love, establishing a plant-based restaurant, and new beginnings later in life.  Author: Colleen Kane As a world-class, 72-years-young vegan chef, Chef Babette took social media by storm with her youthful appearance and fit physique. After she co-founded the vegan restaurant Stuff I Eat in Inglewood, California, she was featured on the Tamron Hall Show and Rich Roll Show and appeared as a host on the set of Peeled. While she has been successful in her career later in life, Chef Babette shared that she dealt with drug abuse and addiction in her youth. Yet, reflecting back on it, she feels she has been able to bring good out of that experience by sharing her journey with others dealing with addiction. 


What does it take to achieve such energy and vitality in one’s seventh decade? According to Chef Babette, practicing self-care includes being confident in who you are and trusting who you know you are, even when others make hurtful comments. It has to do with how you speak to yourself and think about yourself. And, of course, it includes exercise, eating a healthy plant-based diet, and getting enough rest.  When Chef Babette went vegan at age forty and established an exercise routine, she changed her life. Now, at seventy-two, the only health condition she manages is stiffness. And as Dr. Islam points out – even young people in desk jobs can experience that same stiffness!

The creation of Stuff I Eat restaurant

After being vegan for years, Chef Babette and her husband, Ron, felt the need to do something about the lack of healthy vegan food in their community. While people doubted the ability of a vegan restaurant to thrive in Inglewood, California – a place filled with fast-food restaurants – the two of them pushed past doubts.  Despite being older and having no business experience, the two of them established their brick-and-mortar vegan restaurant, Stuff I Eat, in 2008. Their mission was to bring clean, healthy, plant-based food to their local community.  Patrons (like Dr. Islam!) rave about their dishes, like walnut-mushroom burgers, soul food platter, mock chicken quesadillas, enchilada pie, sandwiches, soups, salads, tacos, and burritos. Afterward, customers can round out their meal with Chef Babette’s specialty: gorgeous raw desserts!  Chef Babette made sure to credit Chef Tanya from a restaurant where she used to eat, whose nut loaf inspired her Nut Burgers. She is also proud that her dishes are clean and simple, with few ingredients that she can generally count on one hand. 

Chef Babette’s daily regimen

So, what’s the secret to looking as vivacious as Chef Babette into your seventies? While a plant-based diet is paramount, other keys are to keep a healthy circadian rhythm, be active on a daily basis, and make time for yourself.  For Chef Babette, this means waking up between 1:30-2 am to be at work prepping food by 3:30-4 am. Afterward, she heads to Dr. Islam’s gym for a workout, takes video calls and tends to business, and then spends time with herself in the evenings. She emphasizes that she shares how incredible she feels not to brag but to inspire others to make lifestyle changes that will allow them to feel the same. 

What other projects has Chef Babette been involved in?

Beyond being involved on the set of Peeled, where Chef Babette and Dr. Islam met, Chef Babette was also featured in a docuseries called The Heart and Soul of a Champion. This series follows the journeys of athletes with advanced health conditions who reverse their diseases through diet and lifestyle changes. Rather than medication, Dr. Baxter Montgomery of Montgomery Heart and Wellness helps them heal with a raw food diet and exercise. She was also featured in The Wright Turn Series, where she played a jazzy older businesswoman who provides private cheffing. In April this year, she spoke at the Vegan Health and Fitness Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. And, come October, you can catch her speaking at the Girlfriend Getaway, an annual health and wellness retreat in Jamaica. 

Chef Babette’s philosophy on loving oneself and loving others

In Chef Babette’s work, she often helps people connect the dots between how humans treat themselves, animals, and the planet. She says, “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. If we can’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of other species and the planet?” 

A legacy of positivity, healing, and love

With all the accolades to her name, Chef Babette shared that she would simply like to be remembered as someone who loved the human experience and shared her life in a positive, healing, and loving way. That value motivates her to take care of her community with her food and the world around her with her inspiring words.  Chef Babette’s example helps us all reimagine how good older age could be when we commit to a healthy lifestyle.   Connect with Chef Babette on her Instagram, TikTok, and at her restaurant: Stuff I Eat, at 114 North Market Street in Inglewood, California. Author Bio Colleen Kane is a vegan activist, blogger, and public speaker. She writes about the power of veganism to promote social justice, health justice, and climate justice on her blog, Veganspired. You can connect with her on LinkedIn for guest blogging and speaking requests. 


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