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Inedia is the alleged ability to live without food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

. The word was first used to describe a fast-based lifestyle within Catholic tradition, which holds that certain saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s were able to survive for extended periods of time without food or drink other than the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

.

Breatharianism is a related concept, in which believers claim food and possibly water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 are not necessary, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana
Prana
Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" .It is one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, viz. prana "breath", vac "speech", chakshus "sight", shrotra "hearing", and manas "thought" Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" (from the root "to fill", cognate to Latin plenus...

 (the vital life force in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

), or, according to some, by the energy in sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 (according to Ayurveda
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

, sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 is one of the main sources of prana
Prana
Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" .It is one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, viz. prana "breath", vac "speech", chakshus "sight", shrotra "hearing", and manas "thought" Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" (from the root "to fill", cognate to Latin plenus...

). The terms breatharianism or inedia may also refer to this philosophy practised as a lifestyle in place of the usual diet
Diet (nutrition)
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management...

.

The consensus of the scientific community is that "breatharianism" is potentially lethal pseudoscience, but some promote the practices of breatharianism as a skill which can be learned through specific techniques, which are generally revealed on payment of a substantial sum of money to the claimant.

Scientific basis


Nutrition
Nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

al science indicates that fasting for extended periods leads to starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

, dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

, and eventual death. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the body's only observed sources of energy. In the absence of calorie intake, the body normally burns its own reserves of glycogen, body fat, and muscle. Breatharians claim that their bodies do not consume these reserves while fasting.

Few breatharians have submitted themselves to medical testing; of those that have, including a hospital's observation of an Indian mystic surviving without food or water for 15 days, none have undergone peer review with results independently reproduced. In a handful of documented cases, individuals attempting breatharian fasting have died, and among the claims investigated by the Indian Rationalist Association
Indian Rationalist Association
Indian Rationalist Association is a voluntary organisation in India whose 100,000 members promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims. It publishes books and magazines, organises seminars and lectures and its representatives regularly appear in TV and print media exposing...

, all were found to be fraudulent.

Ram Bahadur Bomjon (The Nepali 'Buddha Boy')


Ram Bahadur Bomzan is a young Nepalese Buddhist monk who lives as an ascetic in a remote area of Nepal. Ram Bahadur Bomzan appears to go for periods of time without ingesting either food or water.

Jasmuheen


Jasmuheen
Jasmuheen
Jasmuheen is an Australia-based proponent of "pranic nourishment" or breatharianism, defined as the practice of living without food or fluid of any sort...

 (born Ellen Greve) was a prominent advocate of breatharianism in the 1990s. She claimed "I can go for months and months without having anything at all other than a cup of tea. My body runs on a different kind of nourishment." Interviewers found her house stocked with food; Jasmuheen claimed the food was for her husband. In 1999, she volunteered to be monitored closely by the Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n television program 60 Minutes for one week without eating to demonstrate her methods. Jasmuheen stated that she failed on the first day of the test because the hotel room in which she was confined was located near a busy road, causing stress
Stress (medicine)
Stress is a term in psychology and biology, borrowed from physics and engineering and first used in the biological context in the 1930s, which has in more recent decades become commonly used in popular parlance...

 and pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 that prevented absorption of required nutrients from the air. "I asked for fresh air. Seventy percent of my nutrients come from fresh air. I couldn’t even breathe," she said. The third day the test was moved to a mountainside retreat. After fasting for four days, Dr. Berris Wink, president of the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association, urged her to stop the test.

According to Dr. Wink, Jasmuheen’s pupils were dilated, her speech was slow, and she was "quite dehydrated, probably over 10%, getting up to 11%". Towards the end of the test, she said, "Her pulse is about double what it was when she started. The risks if she goes any further are kidney failure. 60 Minutes would be culpable if they encouraged her to continue. She should stop now". The test was stopped. Dr. Wink said, "Unfortunately there are a few people who may believe what she says, and I'm sure it's only a few, but I think it's quite irresponsible for somebody to be trying to encourage others to do something that is so detrimental to their health". Jasmuheen challenged the results of the program, saying, "Look, 6,000 people have done this around the world without any problem." Though she claims thousands of followers, mostly in Germany, there has been no verification that any have lived for extended periods without food.

Jasmuheen was awarded the Bent Spoon Award
Bent Spoon Award
The Bent Spoon Award is an award given by Australian Skeptics, "presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle". The name of the award is a reference to the spoon bending of Uri Geller...

 by Australian Skeptics
Australian Skeptics
The Australian Skeptics is a non-profit organisation based in Australia which investigates paranormal and pseudoscientific claims using scientific methodologies.-History:...

 in 2000 ("presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle"). She also won the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize
Ig Nobel Prize
The Ig Nobel Prizes are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think"...

 for Literature for Living on Light. Jasmuheen claims that their beliefs are based on the writings and "more recent channelled
Channelling (mediumistic)
In spirituality, channelling or channeling is the belief that communication of information occurs by or through a person , from a deity, spirit or other paranormal entity outside the mind of the channel...

 material" from St. Germain
St. Germain (Theosophy)
Also see Count of St. Germain for more information.The Count of St. Germain has been variously described in secular histories as a courtier, adventurer, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, pianist, violinist and amateur composer. Under the name "St...

. She stated that her DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 has expanded from 2 to 12 strands, to "absorb more hydrogen". When offered $30,000 to prove her claim with a blood test, she said that she didn't understand the relevance.

Deaths of Jasmuheen's followers


The deaths of 49-year-old Australian-born Scotland resident Verity Linn, 31-year-old Munich preschool teacher Timo Degen, and 53-year-old Melbourne resident Lani Marcia Roslyn Morris while attempting the breatharian "diet" advocated by Jasmuheen have elicited criticism. Jim Vadim Pesnak, 63, and his wife Eugenia, 60, went to jail for six and two years on charges of manslaughter for their involvement in the death of Morris, when Pesnak delayed seeking medical attention. Jasmuheen claimed that Linn's death had a psycho-spiritual, rather than physiological, source.

Jasmuheen has denied any involvement with the three deaths and claims she cannot be held responsible for the actions of her followers. In reference to the death of Lani Morris, she said that perhaps Morris was "not coming from a place of integrity and did not have the right motivation".

Wiley Brooks


Wiley Brooks is founder of the Breatharian Institute of America. He was first introduced to the public in 1980 when appearing on the TV show That's Incredible!
That's Incredible!
That's Incredible! was an American reality television show that aired on the ABC television network from 1980 to 1984.-Synopsis:In the tradition of You Asked For It, Ripley's Believe It or Not! and Real People, the show featured people performing stunts and reenactments of allegedly paranormal events...

. Brooks stopped teaching recently to "devote 100% of his time on solving the problem as to why he needed to eat some type of food to keep his physical body
Physical body
In physics, a physical body or physical object is a collection of masses, taken to be one...

 alive and allow his light body
Subtle body
A subtle body is one of a series of psycho-spiritual constituents of living beings, according to various esoteric, occult, and mystical teachings...

 to manifest completely." Brooks claims to have found "four major deterrents" which prevented him from living without food: "people pollution", "food pollution", "air pollution" and "electro pollution".

In 1983 he was reportedly observed leaving a Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California in the US. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 59,946...

 7-Eleven
7-Eleven
7-Eleven is part of an international chain of convenience stores, operating under Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd, which in turn is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co...

 with a Slurpee
Slurpee
A Slurpee is a flavored frozen drink sold by 7-Eleven. In 1967, 7-Eleven licensed the product from the ICEE Company, and began selling it as the Slurpee.-Slurpee history:Machines to make frozen beverages were invented by Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s...

, hot dog
Hot dog
A hot dog is a sausage served in a sliced bun. It is very often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish and/or sauerkraut.-History:...

 and Twinkie
Twinkie
The Twinkie is an American snack cake made and distributed by Hostess Brands. They are marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling".-History:...

s. He told Colors magazine in 2003 that he periodically breaks his fasting with a cheeseburger
Cheeseburger
A cheeseburger is a hamburger with cheese that has been added to it. Traditionally, the cheese is placed on top of the patty, but the burger can include many variations in structure, ingredients, and composition...

 and a cola
Cola
Cola is a carbonated beverage that was typically flavored by the kola nut as well as vanilla and other flavorings, however, some colas are now flavored artificially. It became popular worldwide after druggist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886...

, explaining that when he's surrounded by junk culture and junk food
Junk food
Junk food is an informal term applied to some foods that are perceived to have little or no nutritional value ; to products with nutritional value, but which also have ingredients considered unhealthy when regularly eaten; or to those considered unhealthy to consume at all...

, consuming them adds balance.

On his website, Brooks states that his potential followers must first prepare by combining the junk food diet with the meditative incantation of five magic "fifth-dimensional" words which appear on his website, some of which are words from Kundalini yoga. In the "5D Q&A" section of his website Brooks claims that cows are fifth-dimensional (or higher) beings that help mankind achieve fifth-dimensional status by converting three-dimensional food to five-dimensional food (beef). In the "Question and Answer" section of his website, Brooks explains that the "Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese" meal from McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 possesses a special "base frequency" and that he thus recommends it as occasional food for beginning breatharians. He then goes on to reveal that Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

 is "liquid light". Prospective disciples are asked after some time following the junk food/magic word preparation to revisit his website in order to test if they can feel the magic.

Brooks states that he may be contacted on his fifth-dimensional phone in order to get the correct pronunciation of the five magic words. In case the line is busy, prospective recruits are asked to meditate on the five magic words for a few minutes, and then try calling again.

Brooks's institute has charged varying fees to prospective clients who wished to learn how to live without food, which have ranged from US$100,000 with an initial deposit of US$10,000 to $1,000,000,000.00 USD (one billion dollars), to be paid via bank wire transfer
Wire transfer
Wire transfer or credit transfer is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or institution to another. A wire transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account or through a transfer of cash at a cash office...

 with a preliminary deposit of $100,000.00 USD, for a session called "Immortality workshop". A payment plan was also offered. These charges have typically been presented as limited time offers exclusively for billionaire
Billionaire
A billionaire, in countries that use the short scale number naming system, is a person who has a net worth of at least one billion units of a given currency, usually the United States dollar, Euro, or Pound sterling. Forbes magazine updates a complete list of U.S. dollar billionaires around the...

s.

Hira Ratan Manek


Hira Ratan Manek (born September 12, 1937) claims that since June 18, 1995, he has lived on water, and, occasionally, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, and buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

. Manek states that sunlight is the key to his health, citing the Jainist
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 Tirthankara Mahavira
Mahavira
Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan...

, ancient Egyptians
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, and Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 as his inspiration.

According to his website, three extended periods of his fasting have been observed under control of scientific and medical teams, the first lasting 211 days in 1995–96, in Calicut, India, under the direction of Dr C. K. Ramachandran. During that period he is reported to have lost 41 kg.

The second study lasted 411 days in 2000–2001, in Ahmedabad, India
Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

, under the direction of a 21 member team of medical doctors and scientists led by doctors Sudhir Shah and K. K. Shah, a past President of the Indian Medical Association
Indian Medical Association
The Indian Medical Association , the national organization of “Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine”, was organized in 1928, and currently IMA has around 1,78,000 members belonging to different branches of medical profession and function through a network of more than 1700 local...

 and current Chairman of the Jainist Doctors' Federation (the latter group aims to "Promote scientific research and medical education based on principles of Jainism"). Dr K. K. Shah said "Fasting is a method of curing the meditation of mind and body which has been proved by great jain monks, sanyasis and munis of ancient times. There is a need to propagate these methods during this age of increasing diseases of the body and mind due to over consumptions and increasing with fasting would help maintain perfection.". Dr Sudhir Shah was also involved in the study of Prahlad Jani.

The paper published by Dr Sudhir Shah makes it clear that dozens of people had access to Hira Ratan Manek during the study and he went on at least one excursion: "Most surprisingly, he had himself climbed the famous Shatrunjay mountain (Palitana hill) on 4.4.01, on 401st day of his legendary fasting along with 500 fellowmen without anybody’s help, within 1.5 Hrs. only". The paper reports that the subject lost 19 kg of weight during the study period. Neither the experiment, as described in the paper, nor the paper itself have been validated by any other well-known scientific or medical journal.

A third study allegedly lasted for 130 days in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

, at Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University is a private health sciences university in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. The university consists of six constituent colleges and schools, Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson College of Graduate Studies, Jefferson School of Health...

 and the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 under the direction of Dr. Andrew Newberg and Dr. George C. Brainard. Dr Sudhir Shah, who led the previous study, acted as an advisor and consultant to the USA team. However, Dr. Andrew Newberg said that Hira stayed at the University of Pennsylvania only for brain scans on studies of meditation, not his ability to fast indefinitely. Following that statement, Newberg denied ever undertaking the 130-day study.

Prahlad Jani ("Mataji")


Prahlad Jani
Prahlad Jani
Prahlad Jani, also known as "Mataji", is an Indian sadhu . He claims to have lived without food and water since 1940, and says that the goddess Amba sustains him.-Early life:...

 is an Indian 81 year old sadhu
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

 who has claimed to have lived without food and water for the last 70 years. His ability to live without food and water was investigated by doctors at Sterling Hospital, Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

, Gujarat in 2003 and 2010. The research team reported that he did not consume any food or water during the testing periods, although they could not comment on his claim of having been able to survive in this way for 70 years. The study concluded that Prahlad Jani was able to survive under observation for two weeks without either food or water, and had passed no urine
Urine
Urine is a typically sterile liquid by-product of the body that is secreted by the kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through the urethra. Cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products, many rich in nitrogen, that require elimination from the bloodstream...

 or stool
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

, with no need for dialysis
Dialysis
In medicine, dialysis is a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood, and is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with renal failure...

.

Interviews with the researchers speak of strict observation and relate that round-the-clock observation was ensured by multiple CCTV cameras. Jani was reportedly subjected to multiple medical tests. Jani's only contact with any form of fluid was during gargling and bathing, and the doctors said they measured the fluid that Jani spat out.

The case has attracted criticism, both after 2003 tests and after the recent 2010 tests. Sanal Edamaruku
Sanal Edamaruku
Sanal Joseph Edamaruku is the founder-president of Rationalist International. He is also the president of the Indian Rationalist Association. He is the editor of the internet publication Rationalist International, author of 25 books and numerous articles....

, president of the Indian Rationalist Association
Indian Rationalist Association
Indian Rationalist Association is a voluntary organisation in India whose 100,000 members promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims. It publishes books and magazines, organises seminars and lectures and its representatives regularly appear in TV and print media exposing...

, criticized the 2010 experiment for allowing Jani to move out of a certain CCTV camera's field of view, meet devotees and leave the sealed test room to sunbathe. Edamaruku stated that the regular gargling and bathing activities were not sufficiently monitored, and accused Jani of having had some "influential protectors" who denied Edamaruku permission to inspect the project during its operation.

Christianity


Some Christians, such as Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

ism and Eastern Orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, also have traditions of fasting, in which saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s, as well as Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, are claimed to have been able to go for a period of time (without any food, or with no food but the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

). Such saints include:
  • Alpais of Cudot
    Cudot
    Cudot is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France....

  • Catherine of Siena
    Catherine of Siena
    Saint Catherine of Siena, T.O.S.D, was a tertiary of the Dominican Order, and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian. She also worked to bring the papacy of Gregory XI back to Rome from its displacement in France, and to establish peace among the Italian city-states. She was proclaimed a Doctor...

  • Elisabeth the Good
  • Helen Enselmini
    Helen Enselmini
    Blessed Helen Enselmini of Arcella , also known as Sister Elena Elsimi, was a Catholic Saint. She was born in Padua, Italy, and became a Clarisse nun at age 12, receiving the veil from Saint Francis of Assisi at San Nicola Arcella, near Padua, Italy. She is said to have had the gift of inedia,...

  • Lydwina of Schiedam
  • Mariana de Jesús de Paredes (Mary Ann de Paredes)
  • Marthe Robin
    Marthe Robin
    Marthe Robin was a French Roman Catholic mystic and reported stigmatist. She became bedridden when she was 21 years old, and remained so until her death. According to EWTN she reportedly ate nothing for many years except receiving Holy Eucharist.In 1928, she entered the Franciscan Third order...

     (allegedly 53 years)
  • Nicholas of Flue
    Nicholas of Flue
    Saint Nicholas of Flüe was a Swiss hermit and ascetic who is the patron saint of Switzerland. He is sometimes invoked as "Brother Klaus."...

     (According to legend, he survived for nineteen years with no food except for the Eucharist.)
  • Therese Neumann
    Therese Neumann
    Therese Neumann was a German Catholic mystic and stigmatic.She was born in the village of Konnersreuth in Bavaria, Germany, where she lived all her life. She was born into a large family with little income. She was a member of the Third Order of St...

  • Alexandrina Maria da Costa
    Alexandrina Maria da Costa
    Alexandrina Maria da Costa , also known as Blessed Alexandrina of Balasar, was a Portuguese mystic of the Eucharist, who was born and died in Balasar . Alexandrina left many written works, which have been studied mainly in Italy by Fr. Umberto Pasquale and Signorile couple...

  • Mary of Egypt
    Mary of Egypt
    Mary of Egypt is revered as the patron saint of penitents, most particularly in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.-Life:...

  • Theoctiste of Lesbos
    Theoctiste of Lesbos
    Theoctiste of Lesbos is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the communion of Eastern Catholic and Latin Rite Catholic Churches.Born on the island of Lesbos, Theoctiste was orphaned as a child...



However such claims should not be confused with those of the inedia practitioners, since the Christian fasters have not traditionally claimed that it "is possible to live without food", but that it is rather a sacrifice to the human body which can lead to risks for the health.

Hinduism


Hindu religious texts contain account of saints and hermits practicing what would be called inedia, breatharianism or Sustenance through Light in modern terms. In Valmiki's Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, Book III, Canto VI, an account of anchorites and holy men is given, who flocked around Rama
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

 when he came to Śarabhanga
Śarabhanga
Śarabhanga is a saint and anchorite mentioned in Book III of Ramayana. He is visited by Rama during his journey through the Dandaka forest. Lord Indra appears at his hermitage prior to Rama's visit. Śarabhanga's last wish was to put his eyes on Rama before leaving the mortal world...

's hermitage. These included, among others, the "...saints who live on rays which moon and daystar give" and "those ... whose food the wave of air supplies" (English quotations are from Ralph T. H. Griffith's translation).

Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda , born Mukunda Lal Ghosh , was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced many westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a...

's Autobiography of a Yogi details two alleged historical examples of breatharianism, Giri Bala and Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann was a German Catholic mystic and stigmatic.She was born in the village of Konnersreuth in Bavaria, Germany, where she lived all her life. She was born into a large family with little income. She was a member of the Third Order of St...

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See also

  • No Way To Heaven
    No Way To Heaven
    No Way to Heaven is a 2008 documentary feature about people allegedly living on light , directed and produced by Swiss filmmakers Janos Tedeschi and Christof Schaefer. It is the world’s very first full-length film on this topic....

    , a 2008 documentary on breatharianism
  • In the Beginning There Was Light
    In the Beginning There Was Light
    In the Beginning There Was Light is a documentary film by Austrian director P. A. Straubinger on the subject of inedia. Straubinger visits several people who supposedly nourish themselves with "light" and tries to find possible explanations on how inedia might work. P. A. Straubinger worked on...

    , a 2010 documentary
  • Fasting girls
    Fasting girls
    Fasting girls is a Victorian term for young females, usually pre-adolescent, who, it was claimed, were capable of surviving over indefinitely long periods of time without consuming any food or other nourishment...

  • Sungazing
    Sungazing
    Sungazing is a practice that includes gazing at the sun for nourishment or as a spiritual practice.Looking into the sun is dangerous, and can cause solar retinopathy and lead to permanent eye damage or blindness.-Purpose:...

  • Johnny Lovewisdom
    Johnny Lovewisdom
    Johnny Lovewisdom , born John Wierlo, and known as Hermit Saint Of The Andes, was an American-Finnish author who wrote about diet, health, natural living, religion and spirituality.-Early diet ideas:...

  • Ram Bahadur Bomjon: Feats of inedia

External links