vegan bowl
© iStock
Australia’s vegan community is quietly imploding after the last week.


A controversial video of a famous "vegan" Instagrammer eating fish was just the start of the empire's demise - now things are really imploding.


Let's talk about vegans.

No really, don't roll your eyes, we need to.

Not because they can be insufferably righteous or because they have a propensity to make everything out of cashews.

Right now there is some serious drama going on in the hardcore herbivore world and it affects us all.

(It's worth pointing out here, that I'm talking about people who are vegan for health reasons, rather than those who eschew animal products for ethical reasons. You know, the people who have recently been storming farms like pleather-wearing commandos, or blocking major city roads. I respect their commitment but have serious questions about their tactics.)

Last month, Yovana Mendoza, a prolific YouTuber whose 2.5 million followers know as "Rawvana" across her Spanish and English-language channels, flew to Bali.

It was, she told fans, a destination that had long been on her "bucket list" because it was "plant based paradise".

I know, I know, you can practically feel the praying hands emojis being doled out with glee.

The shots Rawvana posted to Instagram (where she has 1.3 million followers) were standard influencer fare: Highly stylised pics of her by a luxury pool washboard abs on proud display, in a bikini next to a waterfall and beaming with a smoothie bowl.


The message was clear - if you want to be hot and healthy, all you need to do is become a raw vegan!

Shortly after this, Colombian influencer Paula Galindo posted a video of Rawvana at lunch. Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to point out that there was something on the 28-year-old's plate that should not be there. Namely, a piece of fish.



In a video Rawvana quickly posted after the incident she explained to her fans that she had been eating eggs and fish for about two months, on doctor's orders, because she was not getting her period, was "basically anaemic" and was having serious thyroid issues.

She also has significant issues with intestinal bacterial growth, a condition that can lead to malnutrition.

Other vegan social media stars were quick to castigate her and according to The Washington Post, she received thousands of angry comments, some calling her a "liar".

Let's also take a minute to note that the venerable D.C paper has taken time to report on this situation.


Right now from the outside, it would seem that the vegan influencer world has started crumbling.

Let's rewind to 2014, when author and blogger Jordan Younger, then known as "The Blonde Vegan" revealed to her 300,000 followers that she had been suffering from an eating disorder and was transitioning away from veganism to help with her recovery.

She got so much traffic in the aftermath that her site crashed.

It was the first time a high-profile public 'grammar and blogger had gone public, saying that maintaining her public persona was taking a significant personal toll.

She was trolled online and had death threats from militant vegans - it even warranted getting the police involved as her address was being leaked by brands she had been working with, Jordan told women's website Entity last year.

Jordan Younger
© Instagram
Jordan Younger, now known as ‘The Balanced Blonde' was once a popular vegan blogger.
It would have been possible to suggest that Younger's situation was a one-off, if not for the events of the last six months or so.

In quick succession, a number of high-profile vegan-influencers have admitted that they are no longer subscribing exclusively to a plant-based diet because following the regimen was affecting their wellbeing.

There was Alyse, a YouTuber who goes by "Raw Alignment" (763,000 subscribers) who was "caught" adding egg recipes to a Pinterest board.

She confirmed this year that she was no longer vegan for health reasons.

Around the same time, YouTuber KasumiKriss (47,000 subscribers) revealed she had started eating meat after four years of being vegan.

Posting side-by-side photos before and after her diet change she wrote, "Skin improving, less puffy face. But the best of all, I don't feel like dying anymore."

Posting on Instagram she wrote: "I think I fell into an eating disorder for sure. I was delusional. I got insecure. I lost my hair, my boobs, my muscle, my hobbies and my sane mind. I lost myself."


In January this year, Bonny Rebecca, a YouTuber posted a video explaining that digestive issues were the reason she had decided to no longer follow a strict vegan lifestyle.

In March, Dana Shultz who runs the Minimalist Baker, a vegan recipe blog, and has 1.5 million Instagram followers, admitted that she was not a vegan, saying: "Right now it's not sustainable for me to eat vegan 100 per cent of the time, and I'm OK with that."

Her confession sparked a wave of criticism from followers.

This all might sound like a storm in an acai bowl, but this furore is a reminder that following a dietary regimen simply on the advice of photogenic women who are good at marketing can come at a really high cost.


I know we all know that social media is crummy for our mental health, but this whole sad situation underlies just how toxic the effect social media can be on our wellbeing.

When even the bloggers and Instagrammers are suffering serious consequences from their lifestyle choices, it is time to call its quits on the wellness influencer paradigm.

Also, women putting their physical and mental wellbeing at risk, consciously or not, so they can promulgate their personal brand is deeply upsetting.


This whole situation is a glaring reminder that we have to be critical consumers of information when it comes to guidance about what to put in our body.

We need to do what feels right and listen to people who have undergone years of study in this field.

So stop listening to the others out there who have done a six-week online course in "Holistic Wellness", own a Vitamix and know their way around a sweet potato.