An Instagram influencer from Minnesota who is promoting a diet called “breatharianism,” a weight loss technique which believes that humans can survive without eating food, shocked her followers. The 25-year-old, Audra Bear, claims that she doesn’t eat solid foods and relies on breathing for energy and can undergo fasting up to 97 days.
Bear stated in one of her Instagram posts that she was previously following a vegan and raw vegan diet before shifting to breatharianism eight months ago. She claims that “Breathwork helps you to realize who you are and what you need or don’t need. [She] never intended to quit food, [She] just started practicing for 40 minutes a day, and after about five days, [She] no longer had a hunger for dense foods.”
She also told her 13,700 Instagram followers that “Breathwork is the base of healing and detoxification for the physical and emotional body. [And] 70% of toxins in the body are released through respiration.”
She was able to survive fasting for 97 days with the help of teas, juices, and smoothies — but some health experts disagree.
What is Breatharianism?
Breatharians mainly believe that humans can live with breathing and sunlight. Some insist that to solve hunger and food-related illnesses; people should stop eating.
To its devoted followers, breatharianism is not just a diet, but a way of life. According to its founder, Wiley Brooks, humans can give up food and water, instead of live with prana, the Sanskrit word for “life force” or “life force.” Prana is the energy that connects all of creation, and it can be inhaled through breath and sunlight.
The concept of prana is similar to other religious beliefs such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. For some religious individuals, fasting is a way to abstain from food or other pleasures to worship or glorify their God more. But other people claim that the teachings of breatharianism are cult-like, linking the diet to possible physical and mental harm. For example, breatharian’s approach to fasting is different from other religions; it has no end. It includes total fasting for life or rather as long as you live practices.
Since breatharianism involves fasting for life, there have been a lot of cases where its followers died. A 49-year-old woman named Verity Linn died in 1999 while attempting to convert to Breatharianism. The officials found her diary and found that during her last days, she firmly believed that she could achieve spiritual cleansing and “recharge physically and mentally” by not eating or drinking.
Other breatharians include Valeria “the human Barbie” Lukyanova and Hira Ratan Manek. However, a documentary entitled Eat the Sun caught Manek eating a large meal at a San Francisco restaurant.
Another famous breatharian is Jasmuheen, also known as Ellen Grave. She advised her followers to shift to breatharianism — be a vegetarian gradually; eat raw vegetables, fruits, then switch to liquid-only diet and lastly, live with prana ONLY. By doing this, air and light could replace physical food.
She stated in one of her books that “If a person is unprepared and not listening to their inner voice there can be many problems with the 21-day process, from extreme weight loss to even loss of their life.”
She took the seven-day challenge from Australia’s news program 60 minutes to prove that her claims are correct. But the show’s doctors told her to stop the experiment since, after a few days, she became too dehydrated, losing a lot of weight, and affecting her speech.
What happens to our body if we don’t eat and drink water?
When a person does not eat and drink, the human body loses water through sweat and urine. The person’s blood will be thicker due to uremia (buildup of toxins). In the end, the person will suffer a slow death due to dehydration and organ systems failure.
As common sense suggests, individuals who had experienced and survived this diet are either lying or dead. A person could survive without food but not water. Without it, one will die after a few days or two weeks at most.
According to the founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH) in the US, Joy Stephenson-Laws, some breatharians don’t realize that they are following a “dangerous practice and perhaps stems from a fundamental lack of understanding of how the body works.”
Stephenson-Laws is also the author of Minerals — The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy. In her book, she stated that “there are six basic nutrients we need to live healthily. We need water, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. We get these nutrients from the foods we eat or drink and we need them in the right balance.”