The self-proclaimed raw vegan food blogger had eaten only the giant, sweet jackfruit and the pungent durian for the past seven years.
Zhanna Samsonova, a Russian food blogger, has reportedly died of malnutrition, exhaustion, and infections.
According to reports, Samsonova, who had been living in South-East Asia, died on 21 July 21 from a reported ‘cholera-like infection’ which had been exacerbated by ‘exhaustion of the body by a vegan diet’.
The 39-year-old better known as Zhanna D’Art online was a passionate advocate of a raw vegan diet.
She also practiced ‘dry fasting’ – where she would periodically refuse to eat or drink for days.
Her journey with an all-raw vegan diet lasted for over a decade, as documented in her Instagram posts, where she claimed she ate a “completely raw vegan diet” for the last four years, consuming just “fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies, and juices.”
However, her friends said that Samsonova had eaten only the giant, sweet jackfruit and the pungent durian for the past seven years.
A friend on the condition of anonymity told Newsflash, “A few months ago, in Sri Lanka, she already looked exhausted, with swollen legs oozing lymph. They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified.
“I lived one floor above her and every day I feared finding her lifeless body in the morning. I convinced her to seek treatment, but she didn’t make it.”
What is a raw vegan diet?
A raw vegan diet is a dietary practice that involves consuming uncooked and unprocessed plant-based foods. In this diet, food is not heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit or 48 degrees Celsius, as it is believed that cooking can destroy the nutritional value of the produce. As a result, raw vegans consider cooking as a process that can harm the food.
This food philosophy is not a recent trend. According to the New York Academy of Medicine, the raw food diet dates back to the late 1800s, when Swiss physician and nutritionist Maximilian Bircher-Benner promoted it. It’s worth noting that not all followers of the raw food diet are vegan, as some choose to include raw meat in their diet.
Proponents of the diet claim that consuming mainly uncooked food can help maintain a healthy weight, prevent and fight chronic disease, and maintain the nutritional makeup of foods.
However, according to critics. It’s hard to get your macronutrients especially protein, and other essential micronutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and vitamin D if you’re not having foods like tofu, which tends to be cooked.
Furthermore, there are some foods that you really can’t eat raw. For instance, parsnips, as well as alfalfa sprouts, cassavas, kidney beans, and buckwheat are toxic if not cooked before eating.
Did Samsonova die because of a raw vegan diet or an eating disorder?
Samsonova’s tragic demise has sparked a debate online, with many people attributing her death to a vegan diet.
However, her dietary choices confirm that she was not vegan, but lived a completely unhealthy diet as a fruitarian.
According to her friends, she was suffering from an eating disorder and refused to seek help.
A friend commenting on her all-durian and jackfruit diet said: “You don’t need to be a doctor to understand where this will lead.”
“Zhanna’s idle stagnation was causing her to melt before our eyes, but she believed everything was fine.
“Only her eyes, merry eyes, and gorgeous hair compensated for the dreadful sight of a body tortured by idiocy. Forgive me if it sounds harsh.”
Is a vegan diet healthy?
According to health experts, a vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate and help to prevent chronic diseases. Moreover, raw foods diet can have multiple health benefits — including weight loss, improved heart health, and a lower risk of diabetes — however, there are downsides to this regimen, especially when not well planned.
Vegans should be mindful of the nutrients they need to maintain good health and well-being. Although research suggests that vegan diets are typically high in vitamins C, E, folic acid, and magnesium, other essential nutrients may not be present in sufficient amounts. For instance, studies show that vegans may have a greater risk of fractures due to decreased calcium intake. Additionally, some vegans may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders.
The British Dietetic Society says that people can be healthy at any age by eating plant-based foods, but vegans need to make sure they get enough of certain nutrients. These nutrients are vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, protein, vitamin D, zinc, iron, and selenium. People can get some of these nutrients from foods that are fortified or whole foods. However, experts recommend that vegans should consider taking supplements for vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids to make sure they get enough. Some companies also sell products that have all the necessary nutrients for vegans.
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