Learning points from a fraudelent vegan influencer

vegan influencerCC: Anna Pelzer at Unsplash

Did you know that 46% of marketers run influencer campaigns each year? It appears that social media stars hold a lot of selling power, especially when it comes to impressionable audiences. At the higher end of the scale, you can see individuals such as Kris Jenner flaunting potentially dangerous diets. Elsewhere, there’s the vegan influencer who recently made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Otherwise known as Yozana Mendoza, this one vegan influencer is now known to be a fraud. After promoting an aspirational lifestyle in which her wellness was attributed to vegan living, she was caught red-handed eating fish. According to Mendoza, she’d abandoned her vegan lifestyle on the advice of medical professionals. However, she didn’t reveal this advice to her scores of impressionable young followers. This falsely lead them to believe her thriving vitality was due to a plant-based diet.

Unfortunately, many people will follow feeds such as the one belonging to the vegan influencer and shape their lifestyles accordingly.

First of all, who is the vegan influencer?

Yozana Mendoza is the vegan influencer we’re discussing in this post. She also goes by the name Rawvana and has a strong following of 3-million people across YouTube and Instagram.

According to Rawvana, she promotes “a journey of transformation” and “improving our quality of life through a healthy lifestyle”. Like many Instagram celebrities, Rawvana flaunted her advice in the form of an aspirational lifestyle.

Her posts from idyllic locations around the world helped her amass her 1.3-million following on Instagram. As a vegan influencer, she was quick to claim that her approach to nutrition could cure everything ranging from alcoholism and stress to chronic illnesses. After making such statements, she would sell books and plans designed to help her following achieve the same levels of wellness she claimed to enjoy.

What was wrong with Rawvana’s claims?

Aside from having no solid foundation in science, Rawvana’s claims were untrue on another level. Behind the scenes of her 25-day water fasts and plant-based feasts, the vegan influencer was battling with gastrointestinal disturbances, and her periods had stopped. Upon visiting a physician, she was instructed to add meat to her diet. In other words, the lifestyle she was promoting wasn’t that healthy after all.

Despite being aware that she had a following hinging on her every word, Rawvana continued to promote her vegan lifestyle without disclosing what her doctors had said. Nor did she reveal how she was following their advice. Unfortunately for her, another influencer accidentally broadcasted her eating fish while they vacationed in Mexico. After becoming aware of what was happening, the vegan influencer attempted to cover her plate. By this point, many of her fans had seen the truth for themselves.

If millions of people were witnessing Rawvana’s excellent health and falsely believing it was arising from her vegan lifestyle, how many are now unwell as a result? According to one London-based nutritionist, there has been a surge in the number of patients who become unwell after attempting to mimic vegan influencer lifestyles. Fortunately, some social media stars have begun revealing the truth about their lifestyles before being caught. For example, Australian star Ruby Matthews has detailed how she and many other influencers maintain their svelte physiques using stimulants and cigarettes. Not through dieting.

Does this mean all vegan diets are bad?

It is possible to eat a vegan diet and remain healthy. However, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see examples of a healthy plant-based diet from any vegan influencer. Social media is often carefully curated to illustrate unattainable lifestyles, which is why many people are so fascinated by it.

If you do want to try a vegan diet, consider turning to expert resources or joining a local group. Remain mindful that stunts such as 25-day water fasts aren’t advisable, and maybe consult a professional nutritionist rather than a YouTuber.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.