Of all the new and trendy diets it can be hard to keep up. There’s Meat-free, Plant-based, Gluten-free, vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Flexitarian, Flegan, Flexitarian, Juice diet, Raw, the list just seems to grow anytime you try to name them all. One diet that’s been around for a little while but is perhaps, the most niche, is Breatharianism. To put it simply Breatharianism is this: a lifestyle lived by a group of people who claim they do not need food to survive and therefore usually do not eat.
What Is Breatharianism?:
Founded by Jasmuheen, an Australian singer born Ellen Greve, Breatharianism is described as being the practice of sustaining life off of “pranic nourishment”. Prana is another work for “chi”, known as the life force that throughs through everything, according to eastern beliefs. Breatharians believe this can sustain human life and thus are able to live a food-free lifestyle. Instead of gathering energy from food and water, as most human beings do, Breatharians take a more plant-like approach. They aim to get their energy from nature. Without an appetite for solid foods, many people practice the Breatharian diet along with extreme fasting and breath work (i.e. breathing exercises).
People who’ve adapted this lifestyle have their own, varying approaches. Many breatharians endure extreme fasts starting at a few days to a month, some even fast for three months and beyond. Some Breatharians eat a piece of fruit from time to time or consume vegetable broth, smoothies or teas. They will do so for various reasons. Some eat just for the experience of “tasting something”, others do it in social settings.
Different results come from living this Breatharian lifestyle. As with many unique diets, some followers claim to be loving it. They boast of weight loss, mental clarity, emotion balance, higher credit scores, etc. However, there have been some not so pleasant side effects for some. In 2012, a total of five deaths were directly linked to Breatharianism. Meaning that people attempting the lifestyle died from it. These individuals often perish from lack of nutrients and dehydration. Breatharian founder, Jasmuheen, even experienced a few complications when attempting a public fast as proof of breatharianism’s legitimacy in 1998. The leader was found to be stressed, dehydrated, and suffering from high blood pressure after just two days. When questioned about her inability to complete the fast, she said it was due to “polluted air” and was rushed to a retreat area. Despite the relocation, Jasmuheen still struggled with her fast. She lost weight and even struggled to speak. She claimed she was fine although visibly she was not . Ultimately, the experiment was cancelled. Years later after some followers of Breatharianism died, she issued this statement.
“If you haven’t found the light that will nourish you, you may have the intention to become a breatharian, but in fact you may be putting yourself through food deprivation. There is one known case where a person died when trying to become a breatharian.
What Does Science Say About Breatharianism?:
For the most part the scientific community considers Breatharianism to be a complete and total pseudoscience. Jasmuheen was even given an award f or the best pseudoscience for this. Needless to say, there is not proof that breathing offers any nutrients. This is why the scientific community cannot back Breatharianism. That and the fact that it’s pretty much just obnoxiously named starvation.