Meet Akahi Ricardo, 36, and his wife, Camila Castello, 34.
They live between California and Ecuador, are parents to two children, and have been married since 2008. They also happen to be ‘breatharians’ – meaning they prefer to live off the ‘energy of the universe’ instead of regular meals.
The couple say they only eat food around three times a week (yep, three times, meaning three meals of vegetable broth or fruit. Not three days) and claim to have previously gone three years without eating anything.
Akahi and Camila first discovered breatharianism through a friend while travelling in South America.
They’d been vegetarians for years, then switched to a raw, vegan diet before eating only fruit. In 2008, they went through a 21 day breatharian process, which involves consuming nothing except air for seven days, followed by some water and diluted juice for the next seven days, and more diluted juice and water for the final week.
‘It led us to explore the breath and its presence within our lives, showing us that we could easily be without food as long as we had air,’ said Akahi.
‘I used to eat a lot but I haven’t felt hungry since that process in 2008.’
In 2011, Camila fell pregnant, and while she says she was open to changing her diet for the child’s health, she simply didn’t feel hungry – so had a breatharian pregnancy.
‘Hunger was a foreign sensation to me so I fully lived on light and ate nothing,’ said Camila.
‘My blood tests during all three trimesters were impeccable and I gave birth to a healthy, baby boy.
‘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.
‘I knew my son would be nourished enough by my love and this would allowed him to grow healthily in my womb.’
After their son’s birth, Akahi and Camila relaxed their diet so they could enjoy food as a family, but only ate very small meals.
For Camila’s second pregnancy, she ate only pieces of fruit and vegetable broth.
Now the couple eat three times a week ‘at the most’, and claim that their lifestyle has improved their health, rid Camila of PMS, and allows them to spend money they would have spent on food on travel instead.
The children are allowed to eat what they like, as the couple want them to explore different tastes and have a ‘healthy relationship with food as they grow.’
‘Whenever I eat now, it’s not because I’m hungry,’ says Camila. ‘I just don’t remember that sensation.
‘Humans can easily be without food, as long as they are the connected to the energy that exists in all things and through breathing.’
‘It’s given us a clear sense of what we want in life,’ says Akahi.
‘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.’
If you or anyone you know is struggling with disordered eating, head to the BEAT website for resources and support.