A vegan raw food influencer who lived on an ‘extreme’ diet of exotic fruit has reportedly died of starvation and exhaustion.
Zhanna Samsonova, originally from Russia, had been on the raw plant-based diet for ten years, consisting of fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices.
There were also periods when the 39-year-old practiced ‘dry fasting’ – where she refused to eat or drink anything for days.
Ms Samsonova, who had not drunk water for more than six years and 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 traveling across Asia for the past 17 years, reportedly died of a cholera-like infection exacerbated by her extreme restrictive eating, her mother told the Russian newspaper. Vechernyaya Kazan.
Ms Samsonova’s official cause of death has not yet been determined as her family tries to get her body back to Russia amid bureaucratic delays.
Food influencer Zhanna Samsonova (pictured), who ate a strict raw food vegan diet, reportedly died of ‘starvation and exhaustion’ on July 21
Originally from Russia, Zhanna had been living in South East Asia and eating a raw vegan diet of ‘fruits, sunflower seed sprouts, fruit smoothies and juices’ for the past five years
The food blogger’s mother Vera Samsonova told local news media that Ms Samsonova was due 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 adopt more balanced eating habits, but she refused.
Ms Samsonova went from veganism to a pure 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 emaciated in her social media videos as time went on, would post footage of her eating her lunch, which at times consisted of a whole melon and carrot juice.
In another video, Ms Samsonova told her Instagram followers how she had cherry tomatoes, an avocado and avocado juice for lunch.
“Despite the fact that I make fancy raw dishes, I eat very simply myself. My food is simple, no oil, no salt, no dehydrated food and no protein,’ Ms Samsonova wrote in a post. ‘Today for lunch I have delicious avocado kefir, sweet cherry tomatoes and ripe avocado. Good appetite.’
Her friends and family warned her against her extreme diet, but she refused to listen and it proved fatal after she reportedly died from an infection and exhaustion made worse by her raw diet.
Ms Samsonova’s friend, whom she met in Thailand, told the Russian news outlet 116.ru: ‘It was scary looking at her, to be honest, her hands were like my 12-year-old sister’s, skinny.’
Another friend said they saw Mrs Samsonova a few months ago in Sri Lanka ‘looks 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. Ms Samsonova’s official cause of death has not yet been determined
In a post published on June 7, Ms Samsonova said she was excited about the fruit season in Thailand and said it was ‘time to put on weight’
‘I lived one floor above her and every day I dreaded finding her lifeless body in the morning. I convinced her to seek treatment but she didn’t make it, the friend added.
Another friend said: ‘Ms Samsonova’s idle hunger made her melt before our eyes but she thought everything was fine.
Only her eyes, happy eyes and beautiful hair compensated for the terrible sight of a body tortured by idiocy. Forgive me if that sounds harsh’.
Commenting on Ms Samsonova’s latest post, one person wrote: ‘This is just pure hunger, not a healthy raw vegan diet. I’m sorry to hear it ended badly. I wish I could have helped you out of your eating disorder.’
Ms Samsonova had followed a vegan diet for about more than 15 years, starting by allowing herself fish and dairy products occasionally.
But over the years her restrictive eating became more and more extreme and she eventually ate only raw fruits and vegetables along with juices.
She had claimed that her ten years on a raw plant-based diet had meant she was ‘in perfect health’ and ‘never got the usual seasonal cold’.
But in 2021, Ms Samsonova traveled back to her native Russia for the first time in nine years, but immediately fell ill with the coronavirus.
Ms Samsonova said she had ‘ignored’ all Covid precautions before she was infected and bizarrely claimed she ‘cured’ herself of the virus by dry fasting – where she did not drink or eat anything for more than ten days.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘I was the category of people who were not afraid of being infected with viruses and ignored all the precautions, because during the last ten years on a raw plant-based diet I was in perfect health and I did it does not even get the usual seasonal cold.
‘And ironically… I still got sick (with Covid) and was in bed for ten days.’
Mrs Samsonova then went on to claim bizarrely: ‘I started to cure myself with dry fasting, as I have been practicing this method for a long time, as I can cure all ailments.
‘The disease gradually began to subside, already the days of dry hunger, and I got better and better every day… The most critical time is behind me, I have overcome this disease despite my unconventional treatment, which many condemn.’