Editor’s note: We completely understand why people love Chef Babette Davis. At age 72, she’s a health coach, lifestyle TV guest, international speaker, and head chef and co-owner of the plant-based restaurant Stuff I Eat in Inglewood, California. She’s also brightened the feeds of her hundreds of thousands of social media followers with her posts about running uphill in L.A.’s Griffith Park (in cute two-piece sets, no less), her transparent reflections on life and her sister-friendly shares on the correct form for push-ups.
But Davis has experienced hard times too. In this as-told-to account (lightly edited for length and clarity), she explains why she has no regrets. Why she’s content. And why she’s happy to continue her journey.
Nutrition and knowledge is power. That is why I share whatever it is I can share. And I make sure that what I ingest, for the most part, gives me good nutrition.
I got my very first email address when I was 62 years old. Then I got the Instagram page. My daughter and I had absolutely no idea what we’re doing, and my daughter’s like, “Mom, I can’t take care of this social media page for you.” I’m like, “OK.” So I got my little iPhone 4, and I started snapping up pictures of every dessert, every dish I was doing. Then all of a sudden I just started posting everything about myself. I just wanted to be me.
[Fast-forward to 2020], and my 70th-birthday photo shoot kind of went nuts on TikTok. And then, [a website] reached out and asked if I would make a video talking about age. That really went viral; I got millions of views on that one. And I didn’t have to change how I talk. I did not have to sound like anybody but myself.
If you can learn to hang out in the present, life is so much different.
I wasn’t always no chef. Me and my husband came up with some vegan dishes. We had a cart on the church lot for years. That did pretty well, and then we found a building. We opened the store up [in 2008], and I became Chef Babette.
As for my early life? Let’s start at age 5. Molestation and then had to go live with a godparent — emotionally abusive. Then mother married somebody brand new, and then that’s some more abuse. First husband, he got his issues, we’re too young. Youngsters acting like youngsters. That was a hell of a time in my life. Then I hooked up with somebody else that liked to hit on you. That was a horrible time. But then I became a flight attendant. Getting better. Then I became a hairstylist. Much better. You understand?
I have absolutely no regrets, because I would not be who I am today had I not experienced everything I experienced. The journey is the journey, and I just happened to be strong enough to deal with all the crap because my mother always told me the darkest hours are just before the dawn. There’s always the sun shining, baby; someplace on the planet the sun is shining.
My message, it’s quite simple: self-love, self-care. I love myself. I care for myself. I can always do better. And when I learn that I’m doing something incorrect, I better that.
As life goes on, things begin to change. What I initially got my Instagram page for, it’s totally different now. Now it is about inspiration, and now that I am 72 years old and I’ve experienced so much of this thing we call life. That’s why I post my workout. Ain’t nobody going to get up in the morning and work out for me, baby. I’ve got to get down there and do the push-up. So I understand that. And I’m such a lover of life. That is why veganism works for me: I have to take care of all of life. I’m responsible for that because I’m a part of that life.
Anyway, my message, it’s quite simple: self-love, self-care. I love myself. I care for myself. I can always do better. And when I learn that I’m doing something incorrect, I better that.
Life does not care about your sensitivity. You are here one second with your heart beating strong, and the very next second you flatline it. So you might as well deal with the truth about who you are and what you are.
I’m always doing my best to keep it real. That is very important to me. I was supposed to be here. I’m so grateful because I didn’t get hate-filled after my challenges. I continued to do what I was created to do, and that’s love, and understand why I went through what I went through.
I’m just experiencing the journey called life. That’s all I’m doing. And that’s all you should be doing and not being scared. I believe that because I am energy and consciousness in a form, I’ve always existed. But we are all terminal in this form. And so we need to deal with what we have — the moments we have right now.
We live in the past: We live 20 minutes ago, or we worried about the rent on the first. If you can learn to hang out in the present, life is so much different. So much. We’re beat up because of what happened in the past, and we’re scared to death of what might happen.
So, hang out now.