Nikoleta Kováčová is active on the vegan scene in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Her various roles (photographer, blogger, and YouTuber) have allowed many people to see the beauty of following a plant-based diet, and its positive impact on sustainable global developments. Through social media, Nikoleta also provides support for many friends with questions or difficulties concerning the diet. We interviewed her recently and would like to share her journey of promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle.
The Vegan Journey
Traveling around the world as a professional model, Nikoleta believed it was impossible for people not to eat meat. Perhaps it was destiny, but 2013 was a turning point in her life. While on a job in India, a good friend suggested she start a vegan diet since food supplies were scarce. Through study and research, Nikoleta learned that a healthy vegan diet doesn’t lead to malnutrition; instead, it has very positive health effects. What surprised her, even more, was that animal products caused continuous suffering for animals and an almost irreversible impact on the Earth’s environmental pollution. Aware of this, Nikoleta decided to change and become a vegan. Through her influence, her mother and cousins are now following a plant-based diet as well.
Last year, Nikoleta spoke at a TEDx conference in Slovakia. In her speech, she explained how a plant-based diet positively impacts our health and environmental protection, at the same time creating a more harmonious relationship between humans and animals. During our interview, she mentioned that it’s good for everyone to accept a plant-based diet, though she doesn't want to preach or push anyone to change if they don't want to (or aren’t prepared for it).
As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We share the planet Earth. Every human has the responsibility of making it a better, more civilized, and peaceful place. The infinite future is in our hands, so every individual decision matters. Diet choice is a step in the direction of where we want to travel in life.
In 2019, Nikoleta published Slo-vegan, the first vegan cookbook in Slovakia. 10,000 copies have been sold so far, and the second volume was published in September 2020. Unlike other international cookbooks of its kind, Slo-vegan introduced traditional Slovak fare. There are 156 exquisite vegan recipes in total, many of which were collected from her mother and grandmother. Replacing animal products in the traditional dishes required many attempts and readjustments, with some of the more complicated recipes taking even longer to perfect. Clearly, Nikoleta has dedicated a lot of effort and energy to bring her cookbook to readers. Her respect for life and sense of social responsibility has given her the strength to persist. It’s very probable that Slo-vegan will be published in English sometime in the future.
After a diet change, people feel their minds becoming clearer. A lot of Nikoleta’s thinking patterns changed quite naturally following her transition to plant-based foods. We live in a society where people think eating meat is both normal and necessary—that animals are raised solely for the purpose of satisfying our appetites and desires. What we don’t see is the lives, families, children, brothers, and sisters behind each piece of meat. Nikoleta believes that earning money, consumption and enjoyment is not the eternal meaning of life. In addition to our material development, changing ourselves, and doing good deeds for others can lead to spiritual development, making our happiness more complete.
As the old saying goes, “To see a thousand-mile view, climb to another floor.” If we want to expand the visibility in our lives, changing to a pure diet is inevitable. Through our own righteous efforts, the world has a chance of developing in a more sustainable, civilized direction.
Based on what we learned in the interview, we’re looking forward to the publication of Niko's third volume in her Slo-vegan cookbook series.
Thank you for reading!