New Age group preaches starvation, insists humans can feed on air and sunlight

According to a bizarre, potentially lethal philosophy known as “Breatharianism,” the human body can sustain itself without physical foods of any kind. Followers of this belief contend that prana – a Sanskrit word meaning “life air” or “life force” – is the key. An ancient Hindu concept, prana is cosmic energy derived from sunlight. In 1992, businesswoman Ellen Greve, who would eventually change her name to the strategically more exotic Jasmuheen, turned the breatharian lifestyle into a lucrative industry, some might even say “cult.” She became a guru for the New Age movement. Her infamous Prana Program sets out a gradual conversion process, advising people to first become vegetarians, then vegans, then turn to only raw foods, fruits, and liquids, then to prana itself.

Unsurprisingly, a number of tragic deaths have been directly linked to this extreme lifestyle. But the obvious dangers are apparently not enough to dissuade people like Kirby, a breatharian who was profiled on the National Geographic Channel’s “Taboo USA.” He claims to live off of 500 calories a day, sometimes less, and this radical diet has allegedly sustained him for the last five years. The only thing he usually eats is his daily communion – a small sample of bread and wine. As far as I can tell, none of these claims have ever been scientifically verified.

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