Breatharianism: The 'food-free' mother who claims she only ate five times during pregnancy

Camila Castello believes humans can exist without food [Photo: Instagram]
Camila Castello believes humans can exist without food [Photo: Instagram]

A woman is claiming she only ate a total of five times during her nine-month pregnancy.

Camila Castello, who lives between California and Ecuador, calls herself a ‘breatharian’.

Breatharians claim that food, and in some cases water, are not necessary for human survival and that it’s possible for a person to survive on sunlight alone. Scientists call it a lethal pseudoscience.

“With my first child, I practised a breatharian pregnancy,” Castello said. “Hunger was a foreign sensation to me so I fully lived on light and ate nothing.”

The 34-year-old mother-of-two also claims that although she did eat solid food on five occasions, it was only during social situations.

“My blood tests during all three trimesters were impeccable and I gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” she continued. “I knew my son would be nourished enough by my love and this would allow him to grow healthily in my womb.”

Castello’s husband, 36-year-old Akahi Ricardo, is also a breatharian and the couple claim that today they both exist on nothing but vegetable broth or fruit a handful of times a week.

Seeing as the couple’s claims – which have been published in multiple national publications – defy both logic and science, we have a sneaking suspicion they’re a load of rubbish.

Indeed, scientists regard the practice as a lethal pseudoscience.

The NHS frequently stresses the importance of healthy nutrition in pregnant women, and recommend eating a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. It includes info on fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, protein, dairy, foods that are high in sugar or fat, healthy snacks and how to prepare food safely.

For the full NHS pregnancy nutrition guide, including how to ensure your diet is balanced and which foods to avoid, click here.

Over the years, several people who have practised a belief in breatharianism have died from starvation and dehydration.

On 1998, an Australian woman Lani Morris was found dead after going for seven days without food or water as part of her initiation into the cult.

She was a follower of Jasmuheen, a Brisbane woman and author of the book “Living on Light”, who was a well-known proponent of the practice in the 1990s.

In 1999, having managed to build some publicity around her claims, Jasmuheen was challenged to be filmed adhering to her “diet” while holed up in a hotel room in which she was monitored and filmed by a documentary crew for the Australian current affairs programme, “60 Minutes”.

The experiment did nothing to give any credence to Jamuhee’s warped philosophy.

After four days, as her speech became increasingly slurred and her pupils more dilated, the doctor brought in to monitor her said the experiment should be brought to an end to prevent her health deteriorating any further.

Fasting itself plays a role in many religions and can be utilised as a form of penitence. It has also been used on numerous occasions as a means to further a political struggle.

Mahatma Gandhi famously undertook numerous fasts as part of his struggle for Indian independence. The longest period of time he reportedly fasted for was 21 days and, unlike Ms Castello, he wasn’t even pregnant.