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Her Instagram is curated perfectly to show her raw vegan lifestyle to her more than one million followers. Her recipes on eating clean and an ebook body challenge promise big results if you too shed the junk and turn to raw vegan foods. Now, a vegan YouTube star is defending herself after having eaten seafood.
Last week, Yovana Mendoza, also known as Rawvana, was featured in a video with what some say was a plate of fish in front of her. Some even point out how uncomfortable she looked when the camera panned to her.
In a 33-minute-long video posted to YouTube, Mendoza explained that her change of diet was doctor recommended after she found out she had a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), something eggs and meat could help mend.
Mendoza said she started to experience more extreme symptoms after incorporating a 25-day water fast to her vegan diet. She said she didn’t feel well, and she started to skip her menstrual cycles.
“I decided to put my health first. That’s exactly why I hadn’t shared it with you. For me, it’s still an experiment,” she said in the video.
Two months before she was outed on YouTube, she began to incorporate those foods back into her diet but said she felt shame for adding back in animal products.
The explanation was too little, too late for many of her followers. Her Instagram comment section, once full of praise for the beautiful photos, is now covered in fish emojis and harsh criticism.
One user @lalakittymew points out, “it’s not about that(sic) she ate fish, but because she lied all this time selling an image and diet that she had stopped herself just for the money. She’s a hypocrite and scammer.”
Others simply have commented the word, “fake” or “liar.”
Mendoza doesn’t see it that way. She told BuzzFeed that she just wasn’t ready to go public yet about her change in diet.
“I wanted to make sure this is something I really had to do, and would really make me feel better before sharing it publicly,” she explained. “I’m listening to my body and learning to adapt to eat without self-judgment towards myself and others.”
Beyond the YouTube video, Mendoza hasn’t posted anything to her once very active social media pages. She told BuzzFeed she is taking “private time” time right now as she deals with her dietary changes.
She does say she still advocates for the vegan lifestyle although it may not be the healthiest choice for her right now.
“I do feel this diet has incredible benefits, and the vegan lifestyle brings a greater awareness to the way we live our life that we can all learn from and grow,” she told BuzzFeed.
Mendoza did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily Dot.
Elizabeth VanMetre is a reporter based in Wyoming. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared on ETOnline, the New York Daily News, Yahoo Travel, and more. She hosts a local morning show in Wyoming.