A FORMER vegan who lived off a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, meat-fee and refined sugar-free diet has ditched the plant-based regime and started eating burgers.
38-year-old Virpi Mikkonen – who has been described as the “Finnish equivalent to Deliciously Ella” – claims her vegan diet “brought on early menopause” leading to hot flushes and absent periods.
An award-winning blogger who championed plant-based eating, Virpi’s vegan diet – along with her four cookbooks – earned her hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
Thinking she was eating the best possible foods, Virpi – also known as Vanelja on Instagram – never imagined that everything she promoted, could be making her drastically ill.
But when she developed a rash on her face, she immediately sought the help of a specialist in Chinese medicine, who told Virpi she must stop eating so much raw food and start eating meat.
Considering breakfast consisted of a cold-pressed juice of celery, cucumber, fennel and parsley and the blogger had barely eaten meat for 15 years – Virpi admitted she was “shocked” at the advice.
But determined to get better, the mum from Helsinki, Finland, followed the specialist’s advice, incorporating meat and eggs – which she once referred to as “miscarriages of chickens” into her diet.
Explaining the effects were dramatic, not only did Virpi feel more engergetic – sleeping better and noticing an increase in motivation – her periods also returned and the hot flushes stopped.
Speaking about the vegan diet, she told the Mail Online: “It doesn’t work for everyone. It didn’t work for me.
“The problem was not being vegan, per se, it was the vegan diet and my stressful lifestyle.”
“… It was a huge thing to think, this is where my fertility stops.
“You think you’re still young and then suddenly the doctor says, ‘You are in the menopause! You have to start taking HRT!’”
Virpi’s daily food intake now includes an omelette for breakfast, meatballs, chicken and veg for lunch and a meat broth for dinner.
She has also incorporated butter and goat’s cheese but still only drinks oat milk and avoids gluten, starch and refined sugar.
“Maybe if I’d had a super-relaxed lifestyle somewhere in Hawaii I wouldn’t have had any problems being vegan.
“But in this life I am living, the diet didn’t work for me and that is totally OK.”
What makes a healthy vegan diet?
For a healthy vegan diet, the NHS recommend:
- Eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (choose wholegrain where possible)
- Have some dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts (choose lower fat and lower sugar options)
- Eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
- Drink plenty of fluids (six to eight cups or glasses a day is recommended)
If you are considering a vegan diet, the NHS recommend ensuring essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12 are maintained. To find out more, visit the NHS website.
The 38-year-old isn’t the only vegan influencer to give up the diet recently.
One blogger with millions of subscribers was called a “fraud” when she revealed she’d been eating fish and eggs.
Yovana Mendoza Ayres was spotted in another blogger’s video with a plate of fish and later posted a grovelling apology video to her fans.
The 29-year-old claimed over the years she had been experiencing health problems including being “basically anaemic”, which forced her to add animal proteins back into her diet.
Meanwhile, YouTuber Tim Shieff, also known as the “vegan prince”, revealed earlier this year that he had given up the plant-based lifestyle because it was making him ill.
The influencer – who received similar backlash after revealing he had ditched the regime – told This Morning in April: “I had some joint issues, chronic fatigue, and mild depression. My whole body felt like it was shutting down.”
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