Vegan YouTuber Rawvana had some explaining to do to her fans this week after she was caught on video eating meat.
The rising YouTube star, whose real name is Yovana Mendoza Ayres, has gained a large following with her videos advocating for the vegan lifestyle and selling vegan food plans on her website. As the New York Post noted, she amassed a following of more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube and Instagram with her vegan-centric videos.
In a recent Instagram post, Ayres showed off to fans that she was on vacation to a “plant-based paradise” of Bali, Indonesia, but while in the tropical locale, Ayres apparently dabbled in a non-plant-based diet. In a YouTube video from her trip, fans noticed that there was something unusual in a salad that Rawvana was eating — which turned out to be fish.
The video created a stir among the fans who felt betrayed at Rawvana so sharply breaking from her plant-based lifestyle, and by slipping it into a video without even a warning to her followers.
Ayres later posted a YouTube video apologizing for the slip-up and explaining that a doctor actually explained that her vegan lifestyle had left her protein deficient and with an overgrowth of bacteria in her small intestine.
“I wasn’t ovulating,” Ayres told her fans. “I was basically anemic and my thyroid levels were low. It was really bad, but it was borderline.”
The fish she was seen eating in the video was part of the protein-infused diet recommended by the doctor, but Rawvana still told followers she was behind the vegan lifestyle.
Ayres is far from an outlier in adding a bit of meat to an otherwise vegan lifestyle. A 2014 study from the Humane Research Council (HRC) found that the vast majority of people who identify as non-meat eaters will eventually go back to their old ways. The HRC study noted that 84 percent of people eventually go back to eating meat after trying vegan or vegetarian diets. One-third of them had reverted back to eating meat within three months, and half had given up the plant-based lifestyle within a year.
That could also be a function of the increasing popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. The study found that more people were trying out vegan and vegetarian diets, and of the people who tried it and strayed back to eating meat, 37 percent said they planned on returning to a plant-based diet sometime in the future.