Woman stops eating solid food and claims she gets her energy from breathing
Fad diets are ten a penny, and they seem to get more extreme with every passing year. But has one young woman taken things too far?
Audra Bear identifies as a breatharian - people who claim that food, and in some cases water, are largely not necessary for survival, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana, the vital life force in Hinduism.
When a person lives by pranic living, they live through the energy they breathe in and absorb from the nature around them.
The 25-year-old, from Minnesota, does daily breathing exercises for one to three hours, only occasionally eats solid food when she is with her family or friends for celebratory reasons and says she once fasted for 97 days straight because food gets in the way of her enjoyment of life.
She has tried and tested various ways of living over the past four years, this including veganism and raw veganism - but eight months ago, she took up breatharianism and now her daily diet consists of tea, smoothies, pureed fruit and vegetables, and air.
However, some have suggested the diet is a dangerous hoax that simply deprives the body of the nutrients it needs.
Speaking to Fox News, Joy Stephenson-Laws, founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH) and co-author of Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy, said breatharians have a fundamental lack of understanding about how the body works.
"This is a dangerous practice and perhaps stems from a fundamental lack of understanding of how the body works," Stephenson-Laws said. "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. Depriving our bodies of these six categories of essential nutrients will cause us to be physically and mentally imbalanced and ultimately die."
Furthermore, the NHS classes Audra's eating habits as a very low-calorie diet that is normally adopted by someone who is obese, and should be clinically supervised by a medical professional.
They add that the maximum time spent on the diet should be 12 weeks or intermittently – two to four days a week – and it should not be the first option people turn to when it comes to losing weight.
Nonetheless, Audra can't speak highly enough of her newfound eating habits, saying in an Instagram post: "The more I breathe, the less I need."
In another post, she gave an in-depth update on how breathing changed her life:
"If you’ve had any sort of conversation with me lately, you know you cannot shut me up about the power of breathwork in my life.
"3 months ago I was $13K in credit card debt, binging to stuff my emotions, drinking every night, an [awful] friend to those around me and living in a place that was not in my alignment.
"I learned that the breath is the source of all abundance and I became debt free for the first time in years, stopped drinking and eating completely, moved to one of my favorite states, and I’m experiencing more love and abundance than I ever could [imagine] - it’s simple and everyone has these tools inside them, don’t underestimate the power within"