Check out the video of Yovana getting caught eating fish!
Video credit: Vegan Bean
Yovana Mendoza Ayres is a popular vegan influencer known for selling her vegan diet plans and claiming that they really worked. Which is all well and good until a YouTube video surfaced that showed her eating fish. That video triggered a firestorm of criticism that Yovana tried to quell with an apology video but only succeeded in making things worse.
The 33-minute apology video is titled “This is what is happening.” In it, she tries to explain what’s been happening to her and why she decided to keep her health issues a secret.
To start with, Yovana adopted a raw vegan diet six years ago. After a year, she did a 25-day water fast and claimed that she felt amazing but lost her period. A discussion with “other people in the movement” convinced her that was a good thing but two years of not having her period made Yovana dig deeper into what was happening.
After getting tested, doctors told her that “her hormones were out of whack.” She was even diagnosed as pre-menopausal which she thought was weird because she felt so good.
But realizing how serious her condition was, she began to tweak her diet by increasing fat levels and adding salt. And contrary to her public “raw” lifestyle, she started eating cooked food.
After that diet change, her period came back within two months but was still very irregular. Yovana thought her body just needed time to heal but her period stopped again after a year. By 2017, her hormones still weren’t back to normal and she wasn’t ovulating. “I was basically anemic,” Yovana said.
Doctors recommended a regimen of testosterone and thyroid pills. Yovana also admitted that doctors had also been telling her from the start that she needed to eat eggs but she had refused because she believed she “could do it with a plant-based diet.”
“So the doctors were like ‘You need to gain more weight, you need to take the testosterone, the thyroid medicine, and these supplements, and also it would really benefit you if you ate some eggs.’” But she always replied: “No, no, no … I’m gonna seek out some different information and talk to someone who actually understands my diet.”
Those other people advised her to take iron supplements and increase her protein and fat intake. She gained 6 pounds because of that and got her period back by April 2018. “This time it came back good,” she said.
However, she increasingly started to feel more fatigued. “I would film a video and I would get really tired after that.” Workouts also took more out of her than normal but Yovana just thought it was because she was tired from all that traveling she did. But by July of that year, she noticed painful cuts on her vagina which doctors later diagnosed as Candidal Vaginitis.
Once she got through that, she then developed digestive issues. “I was getting very, very bloated from basically everything that I ate. I was feeling constipated. I was getting diarrhea. I was having a lot of gasses, a lot of burbs.”
Yovana was then diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) which happens when bacteria from one part of the digestive tract makes its way to the small intestine or when naturally occurring bacteria in the small intestine multiplied too much. “I paid attention to it, obviously I was treating it,” Yovana said. “But I tried not to put too much energy to it.”
She started doing different types of cleanses to reset her digestive system but at the end of it all, she decided that it was best to just eat a balanced diet.
Yovana was desperate enough that she started entertaining thoughts of including animal products in her diet. “I thought about the fact that I was a woman and I want to bring a baby into this world … if I’m not good how can I expect to bring a child into this world?”
This is all well and good as she was making decisions about her own health.But the problem is that she kept all of these issues secret even as she continued selling her all-vegan diet plans.
In fact, her website contains all sorts of “challenges” and “plans” made up of vegan meals for up to $99.“I wasn’t considering all of the options and for me, it was now an option, I was seeing it as an option. And that’s exactly why I haven’t shared it with you because for me it’s still an experiment, for me it’s still a process, I’m still figuring it out.
I’m not gonna sit in front of the camera and tell you like, ‘oh, I’ve been eating eggs and fish for the past two months and everything is better and everything is good, and the plant-based diet doesn’t work.’ No. I’m not saying that at all.
I’m saying that I’m trying to figure it out.”
The problem is that when you’re trying to sell a particular lifestyle, it doesn’t look good when you’re practicing the exact opposite.
“My hope is to go back and eat the way that I love to eat,” Yovana concludes. “I am grateful for this opportunity to improve my health, I’m grateful for taking the route of self-love and I feel that I’m doing this out of self-love, because I want to be better, I want to be healthy and because if I’m not healthy then I have nothing to give to this world.”
While she has every right to choose what’s better for her health, the problem is that she continued making money out of a lifestyle that just wasn’t working for her. And that just smacks of hypocrisy and practically all of her followers seem to think so, too.
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