‘We live on cosmic nourishment,’ say Camila and Akahi oblivious to their words’ potentially harmful effects.
‘We live on cosmic nourishment.’ These are the words of Camila Castello and Akahi Ricardo, who make the dangerous claim that they eat just three times a week. A piece of fruit or some vegetable broth and that’s it. Camila says she even lived like this throughout her pregnancy. But the reality is quite different: breatharianism kills. And if it doesn’t kill you, it’s because you’re eating, and therefore shamelessly deceiving everyone around you.
‘Hunger was a foreign sensation for me, so I fully lived on light and ate nothing. My blood tests during all three trimesters were impeccable and I gave birth to a healthy, baby boy,’ says Camila defying all common sense.
‘Humans can easily be without food, as long as they are connected to the energy that exists in all things and through breathing,’ says Akahi next to her.
The couple, who live between Ecuador and California, met in 2005, discovered breatharianism in 2008 and have gone from vegetarianism to raw veganism, then to fruitarianism and finally arriving at breatharianism.
The practice is a pseudoscience invented by Jasmuheen, actually born in Brisbane (Australia) as Ellen Greve in 1957. And, as is glaringly obvious since it has no scientific grounds whatsoever, it kills. In theory, while not physically drinking or eating, the body is supposed to feed off light and prana, which in Hinduism is the life force of the cosmos.
And that’s the story of this couple. At least, that’s the story they’re telling: ‘For three years, Akahi and I didn’t eat anything at all and now we only eat occasionally like if we’re in a social situation or if I simply want to taste a fruit,’ says Camila, now a mother of two children who, fortunately, are not having their parents’ beliefs forced on them.
Playground outlined the dangers of such an extreme practice in an interview with Doctor Carme Garcia: ‘Breatharianism is not a simple fast because of the obvious risks (…) Controlled fasting should not be mistaken for this dangerous and irrational technique.’
In other words, ‘Conventional nutritionists call it madness (…) Breatharianism is a fraud, but breatharians may be deluded,’ Doctor Dee Dawson told The Guardian, following the much publicised case in 1999 of Verity Linn. Following the advice of ‘Living on Light’, a book written by Jasmuheen, Linn was found dead in the forest after trying to live without eating or drinking for 21 days. More recent is the case of the so-called ‘Human Barbie’, which Playground reported on in 2014.
But what is true is that not even the founder herself has ever been able to substantiate her claims. When she tried to prove that she could live perfectly well without food or water on Australian television, the doctors monitoring her health urged her to stop the process because she was dehydrating, had lost weight and her speech was slowing down.
And that is the reality of practicing such prolonged fasting: dehydration, mental confusion from the build-up of sodium and potassium in the brain, weakness, vital organ failure and death. It’s worth recalling what the company Glorioso Super Nutrients explained to Playground last November: ‘The body enters into a state of shock when it ingests no food for between 48 and 72 hours. The cells undergo stress and your body begins to produce adrenaline and cortisol, which, in large amounts, are toxic.’