Before becoming wildly successful, Ellen DeGeneres was a college drop-out, who began by working odd jobs painting houses, waitressing, and bartending. She became a standup comedian and eventually starred in her own sitcom and later, her own talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She has earned multiple awards and in 2016, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ellen is proof that you don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful in life if you have drive and charm, and she has plenty of both! She is not only an entertainer, but also a philanthropist, promoting her lifestyle brand called “ED by Ellen DeGeneres” and her own line of products for cats and dogs at PetSmart.

However, her true key to success is a healthy mindset, which involves being true to herself and staying kind.

I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”

Take me or leave me:

On her sitcom, both Ellen the character and Ellen the actor came out as a lesbian. While this caused some initial resistance among some viewers, Ellen eventually gained the support of the public and became a household name. She has continued to advocate being true to one’s self.

“Don’t worry about what people say about you. Let the naysayers nay. They will eventually grow tired of naying.”

Ellen doesn’t define herself as an activist, but she has been outspoken about rights for the LGBT community and for the moral and humane treatment of animals. 

“I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights. I care about animal rights.”

Ellen is also a philanthropist, generously contributing to over 50 charities, including The Elton John AIDS Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and PETA. Her motto is “be kind to one another,” and she is ready to put her money where her mouth is!

She incorporates her beliefs into her daily routine:


She starts every day with a yoga session that lasts one to one hour and thirty minutes. Originally, she did more intense “power” yoga but opted for a more relaxing, “hatha” routine so that she would be able to unwind at the beginning of her day. She has also spoken about the positive impact that Transcendental Meditation has as a method to reduce stress. This is a method of meditation that is done twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. TM touts itself as being effortless because it doesn’t involve a lot of thinking or focus, but rather places emphasis on letting the mind easily quiet itself. Ellen had tried meditation before, but was not very successful because she had trouble focusing on her breathing. With TM she was able to be quiet and still. Here she talks about the important benefits of TM and the role it has played in her life with TM expert Bob Roth.

According to the official website on TM, the technique is proven to have advantages in brain function including the management of stress and anxiety, and has even been known to improve cardiovascular health.

Along with yoga, Ellen incorporates crunches into her morning routine.  According to Self, two of her dogs Kid and Auggie have been known to insert themselves into her morning crunches. Ellen and her wife Portia also have three cats, Chairman, Charlie, and George, but they probably don’t have the same hustle as Ellen and the dogs to get up and work out!

Ellen sometimes also does a more intense workout routine, which involves jumping on boxes, machine biking, and jumping on the trampoline, as can be spotted in the background of her crunches post. Here is the video explaining her more intense workout:

Vegan diet

Ellen started a vegan diet in 2008 because of her love of animals and the responsibility she felt to them to stop eating animal products. Ellen noticed that a benefit of going on a plant-based, vegan diet is increased energy. When discussing the boost this diet gives her with Shape, she says:

“Food used to be really important to me. I loved steak, I loved hamburgers, I loved all that stuff. I can’t believe how irresponsible I was, eating what I ate . . . I want to be on my toes; I want to have energy. And as much as the [vegan] diet seems like a sacrifice, it’s helping me.”

For breakfast, one of her favorites is vegan banana and oatmeal pancakes. Although these are whipped up by her personal chef, anyone can easily follow her simple recipe.    

She’s sweet, but her food isn’t:

In the same interview, she told Shape magazine that sugar and processed foods are not a typical part of her diet. She’s dedicated to her health! “No animals, no dairy, nothing processed; a lot of soup, veggies, rice, beans, legumes.” A common lunch for Ellen might be tofu or roasted roots.


She is jovial, her career and personal life being full of smiles and laughter. Here, she talks about the health benefits of laughter.

Dancing Queen:

Before every episode of her talk show, Ellen has her DJ blast some music and busts a move with the audience, showing her energy off and keeping her mind and body youthful.

Dinner may be one of her favorite vegan dishes called pasta arrabiata. Arrabiata translates to “angry” in English, which is ironic given Ellen’s sunny disposition.


Ellen puts the stressors of the day aside and snuggles into bed by 10pm every night to curl up with a nice book. She is an avid reader, her favorites including “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt and “Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao” by Wayne Dyer.

However, her peaceful nightly routine might be disrupted when she’s up binge-watching her favorite shows with Portia, like Orange is the New Black. The call of TV can be strong, so the struggle is real!

Staying healthy can be difficult, but Ellen recognizes that health is the foundation for everything else in your life.

“It’s hard, but you have to make time to take care of yourself. Only after you’re taking care of yourself can you take care of other business.”

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