LaTocha Scott-Bivens’ powerhouse vocals made supergroup Xscape a force of nature on the 90s R&B music charts. But once she stepped down from the stage and the spotlights turned off, the Georgia native wasn’t happy. “To be quite honest, I was really tired of being called the ‘big girl’ of Xscape,” she says about how some fans identified her from the other female members of the multi-platinum-selling music quartet. “I would always come home frustrated.”
So in 2008, Scott-Bivens did something about it. She began a fitness program, changed her eating habits, and switched to a plant-based diet she maintains to this day. Along the way, she lost the weight and in 2020 wrote a self-published vegan cookbook, “LaTocha’s Planted Lifestyle,” to share the benefits of a vegan diet with her audience.
“We really need to pay more attention to the things that are going on with our health. I really do feel that health is wealth,” shares the star who will be back on the small screen this season on Bravo TV’s six-part limited series, “SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B.”
The Vegan Journey Begins With Baby Steps
If the idea of a plant-based lifestyle seems daunting, Scott-Bivens can relate. “People always think, ‘Oh, you just go in and stop eating everything.’ That’s not how it happened,” she says with a smile. “Baby steps at first, like cutting out pork entirely—that was the initial thing for me to choose a vegan lifestyle.”
Keeping an open mind for change is also a key factor. “I had to find my way in the kitchen and be creative coming up with meals. But that helped me, too, because I started to learn more about what I was putting in my body,” says the singer/author.
A Strict No-Preaching Policy
When it comes to serving vegan dining options to non-vegans, Scott-Bivens would rather show than tell. “I just cook,” she laughs. “I cook and I don’t really tell people that it’s vegan. One of the dishes that I like to make for people is spinach dip. Everybody loves a good dip. That’s why I don’t preach. I just try to be a billboard or that voice for people who want to know more about how being vegan works. You just remove the hurdles. To be honest, there’s no right or wrong way.”
As for whether a vegan menu is something the Black community would accept, the entertainer is hopeful. “I think we’re slowly starting to embrace a plant-based lifestyle…So, I think it’s a slow transition, but it’s happening. And once we continue to post the narrative of eating healthier and [its] benefits, people will embrace it even more. In my community, in my neighborhood, my husband will invite people over and I’ll cook dishes. I think people want to know what it [vegan food] tastes like. For some reason, I think they think it’s not tasty and that’s so far from the truth. I like to say that I like to ‘veganize’ recipes.”
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Since the kitchen has always been a place of comfort and creativity for this entertainer, it’s a good bet that fans can expect another vegan cookbook. “I’m actually starting next month. I have so much on my plate right now, but I definitely want to do that for the holidays,” confirms Scott-Bivens, who’s recently shifted musical genres from R&B to gospel music and plans on dropping her first solo gospel album in April on her Made Girl Music label in partnership with Motown Gospel (a division of Capitol CMG/Capitol and Universal Music Group).
“I want to do something involving holiday meals—incorporate Thanksgiving, Christmas—as well as more breakfast options and seasonal desserts. Most people think that vegans can’t enjoy that,” details the singer about plans for her next self-published cookbook, which she hopes to release later this year.
For Scott-Bivens, writing her cookbooks and “veganizing” recipes is a way to give back and build community at the same time. “I began to create the first cookbook for people to understand it’s possible to find there are different menus and dishes that you can make that make you feel like, ‘I still can enjoy those foods that I like!’”
She notes that individuals who follow her on social media often send her photos of their own “veganized” meals and share their successes (or failures) with plant-based recipes. “I tell you, I love that, and sometimes we email [fans] or DM and I’m seeing I’ve sparked dreams. That makes me feel good. I’m still walking in my purpose. I still want to be able to give in a way that people can make changes in their lives and I’m ecstatic about that, I really am.”
For more on LaTocha Scott-Bivens, catch her on Bravo TV’s “SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B,” premiering March 5 at 9:30 ET/8:30 CT. Listen to her new gospel music single “Stay With Me” releasing March 3 and her new solo gospel music album The Invitation, A Conversation With God releasing April 7.
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Find her cookbook, LaTocha’s Planted Lifestyle, on Amazon and latochalifestyle.com and follow her on Instagram for both food and musical updates.
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