How Ellen DeGeneres Followed a Strict Vegan Diet and What Made Her Quit After Eight Years


Ellen DeGeneres is well known for the hilarious pranks she pulls off on her unsuspecting celebrity guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

But what most people don’t know about the 60-year-old comedian and television host is that she became a strict vegan for eight years after watching a documentary which showed the cruel ways animals are killed for food.

Journey to Veganism

Raised between the states of Texas and New Orleans, DeGeneres developed an appetite for red beans and rice with sausage as well as delicious steaks while growing up. But she decided to give up eating her favorite dishes and switched to a plant-based diet in 2008.

This wasn’t her first attempt at cutting out meat from her diet though. She initially tried vegetarianism for about eight months after reading John Robbins’ book, “Diet for a New America”. She would only fully commit to a vegan diet after watching “Earthlings, a documentary on animal rights.

The transition was not easy for DeGeneres, who resorted to a limited diet of kale salad and quinoa, in the beginning. Fortunately, she had wife, Portia de Rossi, as a support system during their shift to a vegan diet.

De Rossi said that they began their vegan journey by getting rid of all their fur and leather-made clothing items.

Having author and vegan chef, Roberto Martin, by their side was also a relief. Martin helped DeGeneres come up with healthy and delicious vegan recipes. He even made a vegan version of her favorite dish, red beans, and rice. Martin also introduced the couple to staples like smoked tempeh, veggie patties, and tofu to give their meals variety.

Both vegetarians and vegans turn to meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh, and even mushrooms to recreate dishes which originally use animal meat.

Vegan Wedding

Showing commitment to their new lifestyle, the couple even made sure that their wedding menu was vegan. Their intimate wedding’s 19 guests were treated to a meal of “beef” sliders and spring rolls especially prepared by their chef, David Silberkleit.

The couple also chose a vegan red velvet cake from Sweet Lady Jane as their wedding cake.

The then-newlyweds, later on, made the news once again when they adopted two cows, Madonna and Holy, from an animal sanctuary which works to connect troubled and disadvantaged kids with rescue farm animals.

Shifting Away

After eight years as a vegan, DeGeneres dropped the bomb that she has started eating fish and poultry again in 2016.

The television host, who’s also known for voicing the forgetful fish Dory in the “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” animated movies, admitted that she found it difficult to maintain her vegan diet especially while eating out. Still, she praised her former vegan lifestyle for keeping her in top shape all those years.

With veganism gaining popularity through social media in the past years, vegan food sales and demand spiked by 140% in 2017. Plenty of vegan restaurants and specialty grocery stores have also popped up to meet the demand.

This might have been one of the reasons why she and De Rossi have decided to team up with other entertainment industry personalities to open a vegan restaurant in the San Fernando Valley are of Los Angeles.  The team also includes Tal Ronnen, who is Oprah Winfrey’s favorite vegan chef.