In addition to being known for her hit talk show, being a hilarious comedian and standing up for gay rights, Ellen DeGeneres is also recognized for her animal activism and maintaining a vegan diet. However, the journey of going vegan wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows for the 54-year-old.
Growing up in New Orleans and Texas, DeGeneres was used to eating meat and heavy dishes like steak and sausage-laden red beans. In an interview with the Associated Press, she revealed her first attempt to go vegan was 15 years ago, but after six months it came to an end.
So, what changed her mind and officially made it stick? Four years ago she had an epiphany. “I’ve always called myself an animal lover. And yet I ate them,” she explained.
“Until four years ago I would be driving past these cows on pastures, and think ‘What a lovely life that is,’ and I’d go and order a steak. It takes a click, just one light bulb, and you’re like ‘I can’t do that anymore.’”
What really clicked for DeGeneres was the subject of chickens. “Someone mentioned ‘If you knew what chicken looked like or you knew how chicken was made, you’d never eat it again.’ Something snapped.”
After the light bulb went on and educating herself through undercover documentaries and books, she and her wife Portia de Rossi became full-fledged vegans. Of course, they had a little help from their personal chef and author of “Vegan Cooking for Carnivores” Roberto Martin.
He cooked up sliders with veggie patties, Greek salad with vegan feta cheese made from tofu and he also reinvented DeGeneres’ favorite rice and beans.
“It’s like anybody who’s trying to make a change, especially a habit like eating food every day,” she said. “It’s hard to make a change.
“I know it’s hard for people to digest. No pun intended,” DeGeneres said.
Even though it was hard for DeGeneres to change her diet, she’s embraced it wholeheartedly. She’s promoted a vegan lifestyle through her own vegan website “Going Vegan with Ellen” and is also set to open a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles.