Saturday, June 24, 2017

Don't hold your breath for breatharianism...

Over the past couple of weeks or so, a number of news outlets have reported on a couple that claims that they and their children live solely on air.  This practice, known as "breatharianism", involves getting energy from the universe.  I had heard of breatharianism before, but it always seemed a bit like bullshit to me.

The most recent news item about breatharianism comes from Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello, a young American couple with two children.  They say they have barely eaten anything since 2008 and Camila was supposedly able to maintain a healthy pregnancy without eating.  Of course, this story also turned out to be bullshit.  The couple had told their story to a British content creation company, which then sold it to several major media outlets.  Ricardo and Castello have a business that teaches people how to live solely on air and apparently that was the motivation to give the interview.

According to the article I linked:

In their eight-day programs and four-week online video courses, which cost from around $200 for a video course to more than $1,700 for an eight-day session in San Francisco, the couple claims they teach people to "increment the energy" they receive through conscious breathing techniques and other exercises.

Later, they clarified that they do eat sometimes.  But they claim they just eat fruit or vegetable broth every once in awhile.  Not sure I'm buying that, since they both look pretty healthy.  And eating the odd fruit and bowl of vegetable broth for eight years would likely cause them to become emaciated.

This couple promotes breatharianism as a way to save money for travel and/or promote good health.  They allegedly went from being vegetarians to vegans and then became breatharians after a 21 day process.  The first week, they supposedly took nothing-- no food or water.  The second week, they had water and diluted juice.  The third week, diluted juice and water.  And now, they supposedly get most of their energy from the sun.  Ricardo and Castello say they don't make their children practice breatharianism.  Their kids eat what they want... for now.

Sorry... this is absolutely absurd.  And the fact that they have children and are supposedly promoting this lifestyle is concerning, especially since a Belgian couple was convicted last week after their seven month old baby died of malnourishment due to the parents' insistence on feeding him nothing but vegetable milk.  Baby Lucas was only about 9.5 pounds when he died; only a kilogram more than he weighed at birth.  His organs were half the size they should have been.

This isn't to say that I have anything against veganism, especially for adults who can choose it for themselves.  I don't think there's anything wrong with vegetarianism, either.  But babies need total nourishment from a variety of food sources.  The Belgian couple did not consult a doctor before they put their son, Lucas, on his diet.  They got their information from the Internet and people who shopped in their "health food" store.  And when Lucas clearly wasn't growing, they continued the diet until he died.

Breatharians, who claim they only subsist on energy from the sun, could be promoting similarly dangerous ideas to parents of infants, who need solid nutrition in order to grow.  And then there are people in the world who can't afford to eat and may see this ridiculous practice as a way to live without a major expense.

Even if breatharianism wasn't total bullshit, I can't imagine why anyone would want to forego eating simply to save time or money.  I can understand why people with eating disorders do it-- but why do it for any other reason?  Eating is pleasurable.  Good food is one of life's best treats.  I enjoy traveling myself, but part of the experience is the food.  Why go to a foreign place and simply subsist on sunlight when you could be enjoying the local cuisine?   

Seems to me that just the first week of the breatharian transition could be fatal.  Human beings can't live for long without water.  And yes, people who have tried to become breatharians have actually died.  I hope anyone reading this is smart enough to know better than to try to live like a plant.  



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