“Discounting calories” (Breatharians)

SKELDRINKI prefer to be involved in topics I post about, so I decided to experiment with being a Breatharian, one who attempts to survive without food. To help me along, I sought out those who practice this. However, I could only find four persons worldwide who were confirmed Breatharians. An additional complication was that all of them were dead.

Britons Verity Linn, Timo Degen, and Lani Morris, along with an anonymous woman in Switzerland, all perished from the practice. Morris kept a diary of her attempt, reporting that she became incontinent and lost use of her legs. She also began coughing up a black, sticky fluid, which presumably was her common sense.

She and the other Brits were disciples of Ellen Greve, who said becoming a Breatharian is done in stages of increasingly-restricted diets. Stage one is to become a vegetarian. Hey, at this rate I’ll be done in 10 seconds. Step two is to become a vegan. My breakfast is vegan except for egg whites, so I substituted Shredded Wheat and soy milk, and stage two was complete.

Some Breatharians have been disproven without having to die. Wiley Brooks, who also claims to access the fifth dimension, was caught eating at McDonald’s. He said this was because those restaurants are “constructed on properties that are protected by fifth dimensional high energy spiritual portals,” so food eaten there doesn’t count.

Meanwhile, Greve attempted it herself. The Australian version of 60 Minutes put her to the test, during which she suffered severe dehydration. She blamed this on city air, so she was moved to the country. There, here condition deteriorated, with dilated pupils, slurred speech, a doubled pulse rate, and signs of kidney failure. 60 Minutes stopped the experiment on what it called ethical grounds, and on what Greve called fear of her eventual vindication.

Naveena Shine of Seattle attempted it in 2013. She planned to live only on water, tea, and sunlight. Her logic was that, “Plants live on light, then we eat plants. Are we accessing our inherent ability to live on light?”

Of course, plants also need their version of food, soil nutrients. If you pull a geranium up by its roots and lay on the sidewalk, daily watering and a constant breeze and sunshine will be useless. She was undeterred and pondered how much more lovely Earth would be if we needed no land for farming. “If humans did not have to eat, we could turn our planet back into a place of beauty,” she said. If she wanted a place where humans don’t eat, she could have left Seattle for rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Shine reported that she received a call from the universe telling her to go for it. She also received calls from doctors telling her to knock it off. She declined the advice, saying, “A doctor can’t see living on light because he looks at it through different lenses.”

Those lenses also revealed that Shine lost 20 percent of her body weight in five weeks. Other afflictions were a severe lack of energy, dizziness, sensations of freezing, and vomiting bile. On the plus side, she reported that her skin felt better. Despite the improved dermatology, Shine pulled the plug on the experiment before someone had to do the same to her.

She gave up, but I’m still at it. I’m ready for stage three, raw food.The next step after that is becoming a fruititarian. I decided to speed things along by tackling those stages simultaneously and having tomatoes for lunch. Quite tasty, actually. It may have helped that they were part of a veggie cheesesteak with tater tots.

Human death by starvation poses a sizable obstacle for Breatharians, who offer differing reasons for their practitioners’ 100 percent fatality rate. Some say the deceased failed to access life-sustaining energy from an invisible spaceship. Others say the secret is tapping into prana, Hinduism’s vital life force. Another subset prefers to stare at the sun at dusk or dawn in an attempt to gain nourishment. This has never worked, which practitioners say is because the technique takes years to master. A more likely factor is the eye’s inability to photosynthesize. Maybe man will evolve that ability if we stare at the sun long enough.

During the documented attempts, Breatharains became painfully thin, with sunken eyelids and quivering limbs. As to what was going on inside, the body attempts to maintain glucose levels when denied food. It starts by breaking down glycogen, a form of energy storage. If it’s still not being fueled, the body starts feasting on protein, muscle, and fat. Next, the liver helps out by turning fatty acids into nutrients. This works for a while, but it eventually leads to ketosis, a fatal chemical imbalance. It takes a lot of UFO vibes to counter that.

At any rate, I’m ready for stage five, the all-liquid stage. Looks like I chose a good day to grab a Samuel Adams seasonal sampler.

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