Is the ‘sunlight diet’ healthy?
Some spiritual people claim they avoid food entirely and get their nourishment from the sun. But is it safe?By Melissa Greer
Did you hear about the woman in Switzerland found dead in her home last year? She reportedly followed a “spiritual diet” described in a 2010 Austrian documentary, In the Beginning There Was Light. In it, Indian guru Prahlad Jani claims to have avoided food and drink for 70 years, his only form of sustenance being derived from spiritual means and sunshine. Jani is alive and well, but his story hasn’t been substantiated by medical authorities. The Swiss woman supposedly avoided all food and water, even spitting out her saliva. Her cause of death was ruled to be starvation.
Stephane Shank, a spokesperson for Health Canada, states the obvious: “This type of diet certainly goes against Health Canada’s advice to maintain healthy eating habits daily. There are risks that come as a result of not meeting the nutrients and dietary requirements laid out in Canada’s Food Guide.”
Known as “breatharianism” or “pranic nourishment,” the so-called sunlight diet also gained popularity through books by Australian “breatharian” Ellen Greve, who goes by the name Jasmuheen. (She has won a Bent Spoon Award, given each year by the organization Australian Skeptics to “the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle.”) Since the 1990s, at least three other deaths have been reported as being attributed to the practice of breatharianism.
So, eat, drink and be—alive!