DeGeneres went vegan back in 2008 after reading books like "Skinny B*tch," "Diet for a New America" and watching documentaries "Earthlings" and "Meet Your Meat." In a new interview with the Washington Post, however, the 54-year-old says the transition wasn't easy.
“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.”
For DeGeneres, who loved eating steaks and sausage with rice and beans, that moment of change came when she looked deeper, beyond her food. “Someone mentioned ‘If you knew what chicken looked like or you knew how chicken was made, you’d never eat it again,’” she said. “Something snapped.”
As the Washington Post article points out, DeGeneres' switch to veganism was made all-the-more easy by one gigantic addition: a private vegan chef. That reveal makes it a bit harder to sympathize with her "it was hard" position, but I credit her and Portia's dedication nonetheless.
Which brings us to the point of this interview in the first place. That vegan chef, Roberto Martin, has a new book "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores," featuring some of the recipes he made for Ellen and Portia.
“They were over-the-moon happy,” said Martin, who says the key to making the transition easier is creative substitutions for traditional dishes. Portia provided the foreword to his new book, while Ellen contributed an afterword.
"Martin uses tofu, beans, faux meat substitutes, vegan mayonnaise, butter and cheese, and milk substitutes like soy and almond to make dishes that will appeal 'to carnivores,'" writes one reviewer on Amazon. "He does not include a recipe to make your own seitan — a basic vegetarian protein — however. In other words, he keeps it simple."