The Moment when Portia de Rossi became Vegan.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 4, 2011
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Portia de Rossi’s story on, shared with me at The Sink tonight in Boulder by my friend Juliana, gave me chills:

…I’ve always seen myself as an animal lover, but honestly, my affection didn’t extend to all animals. I categorized them: Dogs were smart, loyal, and loving, so they were more valuable than, say, goats or pigs. I think that’s why I never thought twice about eating meat. Steak and burgers weren’t an everyday meal, but I definitely accepted meat as a necessary part of life. That all changed five years ago, when Ellen [DeGeneres] and I moved to a farm in California.

The property was beautiful, with plenty of land for our animals: We had four cows and two calves, and after a few months, we took in a 4-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare named Diva. The night she arrived, I was so worried about her that I couldn’t sleep. She had been hauled several hours to our farm, and I feared she might have colic. So at 5 o’clock in the morning, I went out to the pasture to keep an eye on her. I sat very still, watching her until sunrise. Everything was so quiet that I think the animals forgot I was there. Then I witnessed something extraordinary: The cows formed a single-file line, and one by one they touched noses with the new horse as a greeting. The calves wouldn’t approach on their own, so one of the cows nudged them forward. Each of the babies touched the horse’s nose, then jumped around and played like little children.

I started crying and thought…

For the rest, and it’s well worth it, click over to

Why is it that because animals can’t speak, well, English in our case, we assume they’re dumb or worthless? Unless we know animals—as we do in our daily lives with dogs, cats—we assume they’re fine to eat. So the question is: is veganism the way to go? What will happen to all the cows if we all go vegan? Wouldn’t they die off, anyways? Is there a middle way—or, as with slavery, is this a case of black and white?



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “The Moment when Portia de Rossi became Vegan.”

  1. Jen says:

    Waylon…. If everyone went vegan all of the pigs and cows would LIVE at sanctuaries, where the vegans would take care of them and give them the love they deserve! Sounds like a kick ass system to me.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Adenia: As excited as I am about Ahimsa, her vegan diet is just another eating disorder. Orthorexia is a fashionable celebrity accessory.

    Jenn M: Sorry but going vegan is not an eating disorder….

    Adenia: Jenn, for you perhaps not. She has a history of eating disorders. I working with many teens who view celebrity diets as the magic pill and don't eat a balanced vegetarian diet let alone understand the complexities of vitamin deficiencies of a vegan lifestyle. For my audience, celebrities actually hurt wellness.

    Katherine G: Are you her nutritionist or therapist? Yes, I worry about her too and choosing this, but at the same she has made strong progress. She has a wonderful strong partner and she has made some great progress. Instead of going through and just assuming it's a relapse and using her as "don't do this" example, use her as an example; state that it does require a feeding schedule (every two hours) and foods you would eat (algae source omegas!!!!)

    Katherine G: Also looking at her now, compared to when she was starving herself it a huge difference. Yes, she still is thin, but she is making progress. The celebrity I worry about with a history of eating disorder and De Rossi's co-star on Ally McBeal- Calista Flockhart. She is scary thin. I just wonder how Harrison Ford deals with it.

  3. BenRiggs says:

    Often times (like the Madonna yoga/airplane story) I think, Why do I care what a celebrity says or does. Or at least anymore than anyone else. The problem comes in when they present the fact that they are vegan or whatever and expect that to be cool BECAUSE they are a celebrity. This seems to often be the presentation.
    This story however was nice. She provides a wonderful explanation of how she came to this conclusion…

  4. Juliana says:

    You know…this story is from a quasi-cheesey celebrity and–Normally I wouldn't be into it at all, but the story actually really impacted me. I love the image of all the cows lining up single file to rub noses with the mare and then nudging the calves to do the same. It really made me realize that cows aren't just brainless, emotionless, edible beings but creatures capable of warmth and pain. Glad you posted it, Waylon.

  5. Juliana says:

    and btw, I haven't eaten meat since I read it.

  6. Adeline Bash says:

    Of course! That is precisely what I was saying. I believe they absolutely have the capacity to love and feel as much as we do and thus should not be subjected to the treatment they receive. I believe, however, that they express and feel these emotions in the same way and it is arrogant of us to assume they do.

  7. Verla Hudman says:

    This particular article is really interesting. Thanks for that. We need more sites like this particular. I commend you on your great content and excellent topic choices.

  8. Michelle says:

    I actually recently went vegetarian (not vegan) because of Ellen. I've seen her talking a couple of times about it and what she said just made sense. So….I cut out all animal products except milk and cheese about a month ago. It's amazing how much better I feel already. Doubt I'll ever go back to eating meat, although I think it would be hard for me to live completely vegan.

    But….thanks Ellen. If you hadn't kept talking about it I would never have really thought about it.