Studies have shown the health benefits of brief periods of intermittent fasting, but one couple has gone one step further and claim they live a “food-free” life.
Camila Castello, 34, and Akahi Ricardo, 36, are what is known as “Breatharians” – they eat just three times a week, and only ever a piece of fruit or some vegetable broth at a time.
The couple, who live between California and Ecuador, claim they have forgotten what it feels like to be hungry, and Castello says she only ate five times throughout her first pregnancy.
But with NHS figures showing that around 6.4 per cent of Brits show signs of eating disorders, they’re dangerous claims to make.
Castello and Ricardo say they survive on the “energy that exists in the universe and in themselves” and that they are sustained by “cosmic nourishment.”
“Humans can easily be without food, as long as they are the connected to the energy that exists in all things and through breathing,” Castello said.
The couple also make the outrageous claim that they didn’t eat at all for three years.
“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,” Castello said.
“With my first child, I practiced a Breatharian pregnancy. Hunger was a foreign sensation to 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.”
She says she was open to changing her food-free lifestyle when she became pregnant, but she just never felt hungry.
“I didn’t feel the need or desire to eat solid food during the entire nine months and so I only ate five times, all of which were in social situations,” she said.
“And I knew my son would be nourished enough by my love and this would allowed him to grow healthily in my womb.
“I went for regular pregnancy check-ups and my doctor confirmed the above average growth of a very healthy baby boy.”
The couple have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, but they don’t impose their Breatharian lifestyle on the children:
“Our children are aware of Breatharianism and the energy that exists in the universe and in themselves,” Ricardo says.
“But we would never try to change them and we let them eat whatever they want – whether that be juices, vegetables, pizza or ice-cream!
“We want them to explore the different tastes and have a healthy relationship with food as they grow. It would be unfair to impose Breatharianism upon our children now but maybe as they grow, they will get deeper into the practices.”
The couple met in 2005 and first discovered Breatharianism in 2008. They eventually transitioned from vegetarians, to raw vegans, to fruitarians and finally to Breatharians.
Ricardo says he hasn’t felt hungry since 2008.
By not eating, Castello and Ricardo say they have more money for travelling.
“There is a freedom that comes with not being attached or dependent on food,” Ricardo says.
“Obviously, our living costs are a lot less than most families and that has allowed us to spend our money on things that really matter like travelling and exploring together.
“It’s given us a clear sense of what we want in life. Anyone can live a Breatharian lifestyle and feel the benefits. It’s not about never eating food again, it’s about understanding cosmic nourishment (not just physical nourishment) and living without limits.”
Castello also says her health has increased despite not feeding her body any nutrients from food:
“Since Breatharianism, I feel healthier and happier that I’ve ever done before,” she said. “When I was younger, my weight fluctuated but now after having two children, my body bounced back to its natural shape immediately.
“I never suffer from PMS symptoms any more and I feel more emotionally stable.”
Many people have reacted with disbelief to the couple’s claims though.
According to the NHS, “eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health.”
They recommend a balance of fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, dairy or dairy alternatives, protein, unsaturated fats and plenty of fluids.