Popular social site has become the “in” place to find resources and chat about a plant-based lifestyle
Millions of Americans now consume plant-based diets. And a growing number of people are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. For Nafsika Antypas, the nationally recognized founder of the Plant-Based by Nafsika TV show, going vegan was easy. In 2013, she made the transition overnight. But she soon realized that it’s not as simple for most people. Many face the same inevitable challenges. So, after living the vegan lifestyle for a while, in 2015 she created The Struggling Vegan. It quickly became a popular online community for life-long vegans as well as the veg-curious who want to learn about everything from diet to fashion and beauty.
“I wanted to help people transition to the vegan lifestyle and strengthen the vegan community,” she explains. “The Struggling Vegan is a place where vegans and non-vegans can engage with one another, share tips and strategies about how to be vegan, and get advice from medical professionals about their health, lifestyle and diet.”
Taking it one step at a time
While Antypas made her vegan transition quickly, she understands that most people will want to take a more gradual approach. To further help with their vegan journeys, she hosts Plant-Based by Nafsika, the world’s first vegan lifestyle TV series that focuses on a plant-based diet and vegan living.
She is excited to make the vegan lifestyle a simpler choice for others. Her 10 favorite tips and strategies are:
- Switch your milk first. “It is one of the easiest changes to make because there’s such a variety of alternatives available including almond, soy and rice milk.”
- Satisfy your chocolate cravings. “I either make my own chocolate or buy a semi-sweet chocolate that does not contain milk.”
- Add nutritional yeast to anything to give it a cheesy flavor. “And it has loads of vitamin B12. You can also make a mock-cheese with cashews.”
- If you want beef, choose a veggie burger. “Or, I’ll make a meat sauce with vegan meat. It tastes just as good or better. Plus, your palette changes. You’ll soon find that you stop craving certain things.”
- Scout out vegan-friendly restaurants. “The number of restaurants offering vegan options is rising dramatically.”
- Participate in parties and family get-togethers. “I will usually bring a plant-based dish that everyone will also try and enjoy. At parties, it’s often possible to make a meal out of appetizers.”
- Make sure you’re always eating a variety of foods. “Consider what did I eat yesterday? Then don’t eat it today.”
- Enlighten yourself. “Watching documentaries and hearing various points of view is helpful.”
- Block out negative critics. “Don’t let people discourage you. It might be smart not to announce that you are going vegan right away.”
- Make friends with other vegans. “There are countless vegan communities, such as The Struggling Vegan, that offer friendship, information and support.”
The Struggling Vegan offers more resources
Antypas created The Struggling Vegan after identifying her own needs and those of her vegan friends. The site takes the the topic to a new level, providing members with everything from recipes and an information-packed blog to access to healthcare professionals. Among those resources, The Struggling Vegan offers:
- Recipes: “The veg-curious may want to start by incorporating more plant-based meals into their lives. When you are eating a plant-based diet, you open your world to new recipes. Going vegan doesn’t mean deprivation. It adds variety to your diet. I’m eating things I never thought I’d eat, such as pesto wraps with sun-dried tomatoes and tofu. Vegan foods can also be less expensive. And there’s the fun of joining local CSA groups to get farm-fresh produce.”
- Daily menu plans: “We’ve made 14-day and 28-day vegan challenges available to help guide people through the vegan transition. Don’t worry: You won’t starve! I’ve always had a very healthy appetite. I’ve discovered that I’m getting more nutrition and more food, just without feeling heavy and bloated.”
- Health tips: “You’ll learn to be more aware of the nutritional value of what you’re eating. For example, chips may be vegan but not be healthy.”
- Vegan tips: “Food is social, and sometimes the most difficult part of becoming a vegan is getting others to understand your decision. We can help with that. There are also tips for balancing your diet. For example, many people are concerned about getting enough protein. But that’s not really a worry since there are many vegan sources including quinoa and beans. You are getting all the protein and iron you need, but you’re getting it throughout the day instead of one sitting if you ate a big steak.”
- Veg room: “This is a gathering place similar to a Facebook group page. This is where like-minded people connect to share recipes, vegan-friendly restaurants and other tips.”
- Direct messaging to plant-based doctors and coaches: “Premium members have 24/7 access to health coaches – mostly physicians – without leaving their home.”
She concludes, “Most vegans report that they feel better and look better. But it’s more than about your health. It’s about your impact on animals and the environment. Once people become vegan, it’s very rare for them to go back to their previous lifestyle.”
Biography: Nafsika Antypas
Nafsika Antypas is the host and creator of the world’s first vegan lifestyle TV series that focuses on a plant-based diet and vegan living. Nafsika has studied about olive oil and the Mediterranean diet in Greece through her father’s business, Pilaros Inc, a Mediterranean (and vegetarian) food importer, with which she has been involved for more than 20 years.
She created the TV show, Plant-Based by Nafsika which aired nationally in 2016, to change the world through food. This has not only sparked the interest of viewers around the globe but has planted some seeds helping veganism become more “mainstream,” a goal Nafsika conveys in her motto, “If You Plant It, It Will Grow.”
In 2015, Nafsika founded The Struggling Vegan, which helps people transition to a plant-based/vegan lifestyle while strengthening the vegan community in a public forum called, Veg Room. The Struggling Vegan offers daily menu plans, recipes, health tips and direct messaging to plant-based doctors and coaches.
Nafsika spends her spare time with her family, which includes her two young boys. She and her husband both cook plant-based meals at home and she’ll educate just about anyone who would listen about why it’s healthier to switch to a plant-based diet and why veganism is not just a diet but a way of life.