Oh my god. Flashback! I just cam across this article on I Fucking Love Science:
WTF is “breatharianism”? If you are not familiar:
Breatharianism, in the traditional meaning, is a belief that it’s possible for humans to survive without eating food. Breatharians claim that food, and sometimes even water, is not necessary for humans to live, and instead people can keep themselves alive with breathing and sunlight.James Felton in Please Do Not Attempt The Breatharian Diet, You Need Food To Live [iflscience.com]
I know this delusional bullshit from a IRL encounter with a practitioner before Instagram, before social media, in the age of dialup. I can’t believe this story is not already posted here, but back when I sold fish for s living I met a “breatharian” so here is a factionalized account of that encounter…
It was a slow weekday at the shop, the dry stock delivery was tagged and shelved and it was only two PM. By some coincidence the shop still had a full house: J—- was working. I wasn’t working but O— and I were just hanging out with J—- after lunch till it was time for him to head to work. J— and D– were waiting for J—‘s Girlfriend S—- to come by the shop and they were going off somewhere or other to play tennis or mountain bike or something.
S—- is important here so some backstory: S—- was an ex-marine, single mom who was becoming ever more obsessed with new age natural healing. S—- was cool but even among a group of liberal vegetarians we all agreed she had jumped right off the deep end into crystals and raw food diets to try and fix her hypochondriac illnesses. At this point she had been on raw food for a few weeks or a month.
When she showed up at the shop that afternoon she had a friend none of us knew with her. I don’t remember how the conversation went up until S—-‘s friend said something to the effect of “I’m a breatharian.”
J—: “What is a breatharian.”
S—-‘s friend: “It’s a movement to free us from our fear of starving and remind us that all we need is to be open to the Universes energy.”
I think D– finally said something like “what?”
S—-‘s friend: “Yea. You see everything your body, and your mind, needs for nourishment it can get from just breathing in the energy of the universe.”
Beggs: “But you have to eat. Or you’ll starve to death.”
S—-‘s friend: “No, no, no. That’s just fear. The companies and the government they teach everyone this and we all develop this fear of starving if we don’t eat. But it’s just fear. You don’t need to eat or drink.
Beggs: “That’s just not how biology works…”
S—-‘s friend: “That’s just fear and lies. See the founder of Breatharianism, he’s been living without food and water for decades. And he’s not even aging.”
O—: “That’s because he’s fucking dead.”
J—-: “So, like, how long have you been starving yourself?”
S—-‘s friend: “I’ve been training for a year now. I still can’t break the fear. Sometimes I go a week without eating, I just drink juices.”
O—: “So you cheat. You should commit to it, one less crazy in the world in a few weeks.”
J—-: “You really believe you can live off sunlight?”
S—-‘s friend: “It’s not photosynthesis, it’s not sunlight it’s more than that. The universe is filled…”
This exchange went on for some time, round and round the loony bin as we all stood around the counter. Eventually it got a bit hostile, S—-‘s friend and Owen raising their voices. As S—- was extracting her friend and heading towards the door O— had the last line, “if there was a way to live without food and water, it wouldn’t have been discovered by some nut in Australia, the Ethiopians would have figured it the fuck out in the eighties!”
D–: “You know, the more I meet S—-‘s friends the more I understand how the Branch Davidians could exist. And the more I realize there is nothing wrong with S—- a cheeseburger wouldn’t fix.”