Health

Vegan Social Media Star has Gone Back to Consuming Animal Products

Early Menopause Blamed on Vegan Diet

A Finnish award-winning blogger known as Vanelja who has over 164.500 Instagram followers and four cookbooks to her name has started eating animal products again after building her career championing a vegan diet. 

Virpi Mikkonen, 37, has revealed that she found that we was getting unwell despite her healthy lifestyle with a diet free from animal products, gluten, grain and refined sugar. Feeling run-down with a host a nagging health issues including hormone levels indicating the onset of the menopause, she sought the advice of a Chinese medicine specialist. She was diagnosed with a “yin deficiency” and told to turn her back on the backbone of her diet – raw food – and to start eating animal products daily. 

That’s quite an existential conundrum for an entrepreneur once dubbed ‘social media gold’ by Vogue. She was shocked, of course. ‘I felt I had run out of fuel, totally,’ says Ms Mikkonen ‘I was empty.’ 

Now after her move away from veganism she declares that the effects of her revised diet have been excellent. ‘It’s amazing. I feel energetic, motivated. I’m sleeping better, the hot flushes and aching in my body have stopped.’ Most importantly she recalls dancing around her flat with joy when her periods returned. 

It’s a Pleasure Cookbook by Virpi Mikkonen Photo: from VIrpi Mikkonen’s page on Amazon

Mikkonen now emphasises that veganism does not work for everyone. “It didn’t work for me” she says. Part of her explanation is that it was not necessarily the vegan diet that was the problem. It was added together with a stressful demanding lifestyle. She had produced four books ion two years and was suffering from burn out. 

Extreme Diet

This story has received wide publicity with certain commentators appearing to want to jump on the “veganism really isn’t that good for you after all” bandwagon. But as ever the devil seems to be in detail. From what she has said it does appear that her diet might have been a bit too extreme. She was primarily eating raw food with a lot of juicing. She points out that you can still have a poor diet as a vegan and cautions young people in particular to make sure that if they are going to be a vegan, to “do it right”. 

Eating only raw foods is an extreme diet, and there are some who can carry it off. But those people will need to be very nutritionally aware and take a great deal of care to obtain proper nutrition. If done without adequate knowledge then it can cause health problems. So the first impression is that Virpi’s health issues were likely not necessarily to be because she was unable to incorporate a healthy balanced vegan diet into her lifestyle. 

Mikkonen has yet to reveal the full story from a raw plant food diet to eggs for breakfast and meatballs or chicken for lunch. She has a certain reluctance to reveal the full story looking to find the right time, though there is the likelihood that she will then receive more angry messages as she says that ‘vegans can be really judgmental.’

The entrepreneur originally became a vegetarian aged 14.

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Jacobus Lavooij

Jacobus is an experienced editor and writer whose interest vegan issues began with understanding the environmental consequences of the food industry. He loves vegan food and is a passionate communicator of its benefits. He is a Dutch national and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Contact: jacobus@vegansbethechange.com

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