‘Empire’ Actress Taraji P. Henson Details Health Scare That Inspired Her To Become Vegan

Taraji P. Henson attends the World Premiere of Disney's 'RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET'.
Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

When most people think of actresses making drastic changes to their diet, they assume it’s for the purpose of a role they’ve landed. But for Taraji P. Henson, things were quite different. According to the famed Empire actress, the decision could have likely been a matter of life and death. During a recent interview with InStyle magazine, Henson opened up about the health scare that ultimately motivated her to make healthy lifestyle changes.

After experiencing stomach pains, Henson decided it was time for a trip to the doctor’s office. The words the doctor told her changed her entire perspective of life and how she viewed food. The doctor reportedly warned Taraji of the long-term possibilities she could face if she continued down the path she was on. For the past year, Taraji Henson has maintained a strict vegan diet and the actress has confirmed that this will be a long-term change because she has a desire to live a healthy life. She also admitted she actually feels “much better” since making the change.

“It took a doctor in Macon, Georgia, to say, ‘If you don’t change what you’re doing, you’re going to get stomach cancer.’ I said, ‘Say no more.’ So I switched everything up out of necessity. I want to live. Thank God, because I feel so much better.”

Taraji P. Henson has joined a long list of celebrities have who opted to take the plant-based approach to nutrition. According to Live Kindly, filmmaker Kevin Smith took to Instagram earlier this year revealing he’d suffered major heart attack. The health crisis and his daughter, Harley, who is also a vegan, were motivating factors for his life change. “She’s been my role model for my plant-based lifestyle,” Smith said in an Instagram post. “Had no idea that having a kid would indirectly save my life, but she did.”

The latest news follows a string of reports detailing Henson’s interest in health and wellness. Over the past year, the Curious Case of Benjamin Button actress has been more focused on raising awareness about the importance of healthy living. According to Essence magazine, in September of this year, she launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, a new organization focused on addressing the disheartening ignominy around mental health in the African-American community.

During the interview, Taraji discussed why people don’t typically seek help. The famed actress also pointed out how people are typically encouraged to deal with mental illness. “For so long we’ve been told to pray our problems away, or we looked upon it as a weakness, or we were demonized for even expressing our feelings, therefore we don’t talk about it. We sweep it under the carpet,” she said.