A vegan raw food influencer who lived on an ‘extreme’ diet of exotic fruit has reportedly died from starvation and exhaustion.
Zhanna Samsonova, originally from Russia, had been on the raw plant-based diet for 10 years that consisted of fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices.
There were also periods when the 39-year-old would practice ‘dry fasting’ – where she would refuse to eat or drink anything for days.
Zhanna, who hadn’t drunk water for more than six years and instead replaced it with fruit and vegetable juices, died on July 21 in Malaysia.
The influencer, who had over 10,000 Instagram followers and had been travelling across Asia for the past 17 years, reportedly died from a cholera-like infection that was exacerbated by ‘exhaustion of the body by a vegan diet’, her mother told Russian newspaper Vechernyaya Kazan.
Zhanna’s official cause of death has not yet been determined as her family try to get her body back to Russia amid bureaucratic delays.
Food influencer Zhanna Samsonova (pictured) who ate a strict raw food vegan diet allegedly died of ‘starvation and exhaustion’ on July 21
Originally from Russia, Zhanna had been living in South-East Asia eating a raw vegan diet consisting of ‘fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices’ for the past five years
The food blogger’s mother Vera Samsonova told local news outlets Zhanna was supposed to fly home to Kazan on the day of her death.
Vera did not approve of her daughter’s extreme diet and tried to convince her to introduce more balanced eating habits but she refused.
Zhanna moved from veganism to a purely raw food diet consisting of vegetables and fruit, with the influencer sharing what she described as ‘healthy ‘ recipes on her Instagram profile.
The influencer, who appeared increasingly emancipated in her social media videos as time went on, would post footage of her eating her lunch which consisted of a whole melon and carrot juice at times.
In another video, Zhanna told her Instagram followers how she was having cherry tomatoes, an avocado and avocado juice for lunch.
‘Despite the fact that I cook fancy raw dishes, I eat very simply myself. My food is simple, no oil, no salt, no dehydrated food and no protein,’ Zhanna wrote in a post. ‘Today for lunch I have delicious avocado kefir, sweet cherry tomatoes and ripe avocado. Bon appetit.’
Her friends and family warned her against her extreme diet, but she refused to listen and it proved fatal after she reportedly died of an infection and exhaustion exacerbated by her raw food diet.
Zhanna’s friend, who she met in Thailand, told Russian news outlet 116.ru: ‘It was scary to look at her, to be honest, her hands were like those of my 12-year-old sister, thin.’
Another friend said they saw Zhanna a few months ago in Sri Lanka ‘looking exhausted’.
‘They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified,’ they said.
Her eating habits became worryingly restrictive in the last few months of her life according to her friends. Zhanna’s official cause of death has not yet been determined
In a post published on June 7, Zhanna said she was excited for fruit season in Thailand saying it was ‘time to gain weight’
‘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,’ the friend added.
Zhanna had been following a vegan diet for about more than 15 years starting out by allowing herself fish and dairy occasionally.
However over the years, her restrictive eating became more and more extreme and she eventually only ate raw fruit and vegetables alongside juice.
She had claimed that her ten years on a raw plant-based had meant she was ‘in perfect health’ and ‘never got the usual seasonal cold’.