The untimely death of Vegan Influencer Zhanna, a vegan influencer known by her handle Zhanna D’Art, highlights the dangers of excessive reliance on vegan foods, which reportedly led to her death due to starvation. Samsonova's online followers had noticed her gradual decline, with her posts showing an increasingly emaciated appearance. Even during her tour in Southeast Asia, her health deteriorated, evident from her swollen legs and lymph leakage. The New York Post, reported her close friendalso expressed concern after seeing her condition in Phuket.
The influencer had been adhering to a completely raw vegan diet for the last four years, consuming mainly fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies, and juices. She believed that this diet had brought about a positive body transformation and made her look younger than her peers. However, her quest for what she considered a healthy lifestyle turned out to be the opposite, leading to severe health consequences. Tragically, Samsonova's mother stated that she succumbed to a "cholera-like infection."
A vegan diet excludes animal-based foods and your food choices are limited to plant-based options, which include:
Foods You Can Eat
Nuts and seeds
Fruits and vegetables
Grains such as bread, rice, and pasta
Legumes like peas, beans, and lentils
Dairy alternatives like soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk
Foods You Can't Eat
Eggs, cheese and butter
Poultry like chicken and duck
Fish and shellfish, including crabs, clams, and mussels
Mayonnaise (due to egg yolks)
Beef, pork, lamb, and other red meat
Honey, milk, cream, ice cream, and other dairy products
Mindfulness and a Vegan Diet Go Hand In Hand
When following a vegan diet, it's essential to be mindful of certain nutrients to prevent potential nutritional deficiencies. Here are some key points to keep in mind to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients:
Include a variety of protein-rich plant foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, quinoa, nuts, and seeds. Combining different protein sources throughout the day can help ensure you get all essential amino acids.
This vitamin is primarily found in animal products, so it's crucial for vegans to obtain it through fortified foods like plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast, or through B12 supplements.
Consume iron-rich plant foods like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, spinach, fortified cereals, and pumpkin seeds. To enhance iron absorption, pair these foods with a source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, or bell peppers.
Get enough calcium from sources like fortified plant-based milk, tofu, tempeh, leafy greens (e.g., kale, bok choy), almonds, sesame seeds, and fortified orange juice.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Include plant-based sources of omega-3s, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements that provide EPA and DHA.
Vegan sources of vitamin D are limited, so consider fortified plant-based milk or supplements, especially if you have limited sun exposure.
Use iodized salt or eat seaweed (nori, kelp) to ensure sufficient iodine intake.
Consume zinc-rich foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Vegan sources of K2 are limited, but it can be found in natto (fermented soybean) and some fermented foods. Alternatively, consider a vegan K2 supplement.
Include foods like lentils, beans, leafy greens, fortified cereals, and avocados to meet your folate needs.
Include foods like tofu, quinoa, broccoli, and peanuts to ensure adequate choline intake.
Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes to maximize nutrient intake.
It may be beneficial to take a vegan multivitamin or consult with a healthcare professional to determine if specific supplements are necessary based on your individual needs.
Pay attention to food labels to check for hidden animal-derived ingredients in processed foods.
Cook at Home
Preparing meals at home allows you to control the ingredients and ensure a well-balanced diet.
Remember that proper planning and awareness of nutritional needs are essential for a healthy and well-rounded vegan diet. The case of Zhanna Samsonova death emphasizes the importance of seeking expert advice from qualified nutritionists and healthcare professionals when embarking on dietary changes. Extreme diets, especially those devoid of essential nutrients, can have dire consequences on one's health, and it is crucial to prioritize well-balanced and sustainable eating habits over fads promoted on social media platforms. If you have specific health concerns or dietary questions, consult with a registered dietitian at Dr Trust 360 who is knowledgeable about vegan nutrition and can help you create a personalized eating plan.