Nafsika Antypas went from new vegan to executive producer and host of the popular A&E series, Plant-Based by Nafsika, and founder of a vegan cheese line, Nafsika’s Garden in under five years. With the buzz growing around the first and only mainstream vegan lifestyle TV show, we sat down with her to learn more about her mission to bring veganism to the mainstream.
Let’s start with your A&E show, Plant-Based by Nafsika, which is entering its fourth season. Where did this idea come from?
About seven years ago, I went vegan—overnight. I was watching a documentary, and it opened my eyes to the cruel animal industry. I was nursing my son at the time, and because I was nursing, I had that connection right away, and I knew I wouldn’t want to give my milk to other people. Right then, I went vegan—completely and entirely—and I researched nutrients and what I would need, but I wished there were a show that could help people transition to vegan. I was surprised to find none! So, two years later, in 2015, I started Plant-Based.
It was important to me to make veganism more mainstream; that was always my mission, to make it mainstream. I located a producer in New York, paid for the production services, and became and independent producer. We pitched the show to three or four networks, and I decided to go with A&E. Six months later, in the summer of 2016, it began airing nationally. It’s the first, and still only, vegan lifestyle show on a major TV network.
Tell us about your show.
It’s fun and informative, and the whole point of my show is to make vegan mainstream. I interview people, ethical and sustainable companies, and celebrities, and I invite chefs to demonstrate how to cook delicious vegan meals—and many with cheese! I think people can relate to me because I am not only purely vegan, I am the face of my brand—people can see who I am and hear my story, one that for many new vegans sounds like their own. As you mentioned, we’re getting ready to put together season four, and it is going to be exciting. A lot more vegan companies are opening, and existing companies are coming out with new vegan lines.
Let’s talk about your vegan cheese brand, Nafsika’s Garden. What led you to create a line of cheeses?
Two things led me to cheese. First, cheese is the hardest thing for people to let go of during their transition, so I wanted to create a product that not only tastes authentic, but is good for people. Second, I wasn’t getting as much support from the vegan industry that I had hoped. The sponsors I had found were ethical, sustainable vegan companies, but the big vegan cheese companies wouldn’t consider sponsoring my show, and for me, it was super important to take care of one of issues that stop people from going vegan—cheese.
Not only were vegan cheese companies not supporting me, but I also couldn’t find a cheese that I actually loved, so I made my own brand of vegan cheese, Nafsika’s Garden, in 2018, and it went national to mainstream markets in five months. The cheese has an authentic taste. The difference is it is not only dairy free, but it is also free of all major allergens, including lack of dairy, soy, gluten, legumes, lentils, peas—and there is no palm oil, no GMO. It’s in stores all over North America. We launched in the US just this year.
You are obviously committed to help people go vegan. What are some other ways in which you’re helping them make the transition?
As a certified health and lifestyle coach, I also do plant-based coaching. I have a program called Make the Plant-Based Switch. It is a platform that gives people access to six weeks’ worth of video, audio, and information to help them go vegan. I also have new exciting products coming out, all of which people can see on the website when they subscribe.
Your trademark for Plant-Based by Nafsika is “If you plant it, it will grow!” What does this mean to you?
This is what inspired me for the show. It felt like what I had been doing all along was planting seeds. And now, I’m looking always to plant seeds with companies and people that hear my vision.
Do you support non-vegan companies that have vegan food lines?
Yes, I support anyone who makes the vegan option available. The world is slowly transitioning to this vegan lifestyle, so it is time for all companies to start offering vegan options, so I will support any company that is doing that. They’re listening to the demand, and I am raising—no, changing—the demand.
If you would like to advertise or guest on season four of Plant-Based by Nafsika, please contact: email@example.com.
Founder & CEO — Nafsika, Inc.
LinkedIn: Nafsika Antypas
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Nafsika's feature on page 10.