The vegan community is mourning the loss of one of its influential proponents, Zhanna Samsonova, who reportedly died of starvation at the age of 39 after exclusively living off a diet of exotic fruits like jackfruit and durian. Samsonova, a Russian national known to millions as Zhanna D’Art on social media platforms including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, died on 21 July during a tour in Southeast Asia.
Friends and family expressed their concern about Samsonova’s health, especially after a recent visit to Sri Lanka, where she appeared exhausted, with swollen legs oozing lymph. Despite being urged to seek medical help, she tragically did not make it in time.
While her mother attributed her death to a “cholera-like infection”, the official cause of death has yet to be determined. Many of her friends believe her restrictive diet may be to blame.
Samsonova, a native of Kasan, claimed she ate a “completely raw vegan diet” for the last four years, including only “fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies, and juices.” However, a friend alleged that she had solely consumed the giant, sweet jackfruit and durian for the last seven years.
Known for spreading her raw diet doctrine on social media, Samsonova inspired many to follow a healthier lifestyle, often gushing about her transformative diet. “I love my new me, and never move on to the habits that I used to use,” she once said.
Though raw foods diets can have benefits such as weight loss, improved heart health, and a lower risk of diabetes, improper planning can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Experts warn of potential deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, needed for strong bones, and suboptimal B12 levels that can result in serious health issues.
A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients found that all participants on a raw vegan diet ingested less than the recommended 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day, further supporting the potential risks of such an exclusive diet.
“You don’t need to be a doctor to understand where this will lead,” said one friend, reflecting on Samsonova’s all-durian and jackfruit diet.
Samsonova’s passing has left many questions unanswered, and while some followers refuse to believe her diet led to her demise, her death serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers of extreme dietary choices.
Her life, filled with the passion for veganism, will continue to resonate in the hearts of those she inspired, but her untimely death underscores the need for balance and careful consideration in dietary choices.
Those close to Samsonova remember her vibrant eyes and gorgeous hair, overshadowing the dreadful sight of a body they perceived as tortured by her eating habits. Her friends and family mourn her loss, and the vegan community grapples with a tragic end to a life that was meant to inspire healthy living.
Image credit: Instagram (@rawveganfoodchef)