Living without food or water may sound absurd to some people, but for a group known as breatharians, this is how they attempt to exist. They believe everything a human body needs to survive is contained in the energy that surrounds it, and largely abstain from food and sometimes liquids. But breatharianism is not a diet, though it has been used as a weight loss technique. To its followers, breatharianism is a way of life.
There are probably many things you didn't know about breatharianism - like, for instance, that the idea is also known as "inedia," from the Latin for "fasting." It's worth noting that fasting is a component of many different religions. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, among others, all support specialized diets and periods of abstaining from food. However, not eating to support a belief in breatharianism is a fast without an end in sight.
Learning facts about breatharianism can also expose its dark side. Many people compare its teachings to that of a cult. And breatharians can suffer physical as well as mental harm - there are dangerous consequences to not eating.
'60 Minutes' Halted A Fasting Demonstration Over Health Concerns
In 1999, Jasmuheen voluntarily fasted for the Australian version of 60 Minutes to prove her breatharian theory. But, 48 hours into her fast, she began showing signs of dehydration and her blood pressure rose. Doctors feared Jasmuheen would suffer kidney damage, and demanded the test be stopped.
Jasmuheen said she believed 60 Minutes stopped the test out of fear it would succeed, not because her health was at stake. She also claimed the test was faulty, as she could not get any clean air at the facility at which she was staying.
Nikola Tesla Wrote In Support Of Breatharian Living
Later in life, famed inventor and electrical wizard Nikola Tesla began believing in the possibility of survival without food. In a 1901 article entitled Talking With The Planets, he wrote, "Why should a living being not be able to obtain all the energy it needs for the performance of its life functions from the environment, instead of through consumption of food, and transforming, by a complicated process, the energy of chemical combinations into life-sustaining energy?"
Prahlad Jani Claims To Be Proof Breatharianism Is Possible
Supposedly, the best proof that breatharianism is possible is Prahlad Jani, who claims to have not eaten for most of his life. As a child, a Hindu goddess told him he did not have to eat food. Jani has undergone several rounds of hospital tests, during which he is monitored while abstaining from eating and drinking.
After 10 days of fasting, Jani reportedly had not experienced any physiological changes. Doctors were astounded, but decided not to publish their findings in medical journals. However, the validity of these tests has been questioned; Jani may have gone to a quack doctor.
The Founder Of The Breatharian Institute Of America Eats At McDonald's
A self-proclaimed breatharian for over 30 years, Wiley Brooks founded the The Breatharian Institute of America. He believes himself to be the reincarnation of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. At one time initiation into his institute cost $1 billion.
Despite his breatharian beliefs, Wiley occasionally consumes Diet Coke and quarter-pounders with cheese from McDonald's, the only food he claims is not radioactive. When questioned about his practices, he replied, "But as far as breatharianism is concerned, I never, ever said anybody could live on breath - on this planet."