Breatharian Parents Claim They Rarely Eat, Live Off 'The Energy Of The Universe'

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 

Couple claims they’ve barely eaten for nine years

We’re all about encouraging families to choose healthy lifestyles, even if our particular lifestyle includes plenty of caffeine and cheese doodles (caffeinated cheese doodles, we’re ready for you). But while going organic, for example, has a lot of benefits, we tend to believe those benefits end when you go so organic that all you’re ingesting is sunlight and air. That’s the way of life for so-called “Breatharians,” and we here at Scary Mommy are going to go out on a limb and declare it “poorly thought out” and “a good way to be so unhealthy that you are, in fact, dead.”

Breatharian couple Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello have gained quite a bit of notoriety since an article about them was published in The Sun a few days ago. The couple, who have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, believe that human beings don’t need food and water and can instead survive on nothing but the energy of the universe. Costello says in an interview with The Sun that “…humans can easily be without food – as long as they are the connected to the energy that exists in all things and through breathing.”

The couple, who met in 2005, then married and became Breatharians in 2008, claim that they ate nothing at all for three years and now subsist on a small piece of fruit or some vegetable broth no more than three times a week. They began as vegetarians, then became vegans, and then ate only fruit before completing the “21 Day Breatharian Process.” Here’s how the process works, and it sounds delightful:

1. “For the first seven days, nothing is consumed, except air.” We’d like to interrupt and note that the inclusion of the words, “except air” is misleading because air is not food and if you’re not “consuming air” then this process becomes significantly shorter than 21 days.

2. “[For] the next seven days some water and diluted juice.” Oy.

3. “[For] the last seven days diluted juice and water.” Now, admittedly we are not good at math, but to us, that sounds like 14 days of diluted juice and water. Or water and diluted juice. Which we’re pretty sure are the same thing.

Okay. Fine. But what about their kids? How has Breatharianism influenced the way they raise their kids?

Well, to start out, Costello says that she ate only five times during her first pregnancy. “I didn’t feel the need or desire to eat solid food during the entire nine months and so I only ate 5 times, all of which were in social situations…Hunger was a foreign sensation to me so I fully lived on light and ate nothing…And I knew my son would be nourished enough by my love and this would allow him to grow healthily in my womb.”

(By the way, her use of the phrase “solid food” raises a bit of suspicion. Last time we checked, milkshakes and yogurt were both considered non-solid foods. But carry on with your sunlight and air, Breatharian.)

Fortunately, and we mean very fortunately, the couple does allow their children to eat whatever and whenever they want. Says Costello: “We would never try to change them and we let them eat whatever they want – whether that be juices, vegetables, pizza or ice-cream! We want them to explore the different tastes and have a healthy relationship with food as they grow. It would be unfair to impose Breatharianism upon our children now but maybe as they grow, they will get deeper into the practices.”

Let’s be real clear, here: this is a bunch of bull…dangerous, life-threatening bull. First of all, there is no way these people are eating as little as they say they are and maintaining what appear to be normal weights. Second, there’s zero chance that this woman only ate five times during her pregnancy and gave birth to a full-term, healthy baby boy, as she claims. Third, when you don’t eat or drink, you die. Period. It is generally accepted that while human beings can live for as long as a month without food, without water that survival time is cut to about one week. Costello and Ricardo claim to have a mostly “food-free lifestyle,” and it’s possible that they are taking in very little food but drinking enough water and juice to survive, but it seems most probable that — given that the two aren’t skeletal and are able to function in their day-to-day lives — they are eating more than they say, or perhaps think, they are.

Snopes did a great fact check about Breatharianism and found that not only have people died trying to live as Breatharians (because that’s what happens when you try to live on air,) but also that Breatharians are generally not telling the whole truth about what they do and don’t eat. “Jasmuheen, an ex-business woman and founder of the movement,” writes Snopes, “has never proved she doesn’t eat, demonstrates signs of eating, and nutritional experts believe the claim may be a delusion shared among individuals who underestimate their ‘occasional’ eating.”

Costello and Ricardo may not be intentionally lying about their diet; they may, in fact, believe that they didn’t eat for three years and that they barely eat now. What they definitely are, however, is misguided. Promoting a way of life in which one lives off nothing but air, or only eats a little bit of fruit a few times a week, is irresponsible and dangerous.

Luckily for Ricardo, Costello, and their children, they appear to be healthy and happy. But don’t mistake this as a Breatharian success story — it’s not. A true Breatharian success story ends in organ failure and death. Don’t do this. Have a caffeinated cheese doodle instead.

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