This Woman Embarked On An Extreme Diet And Now Claims She No Longer Needs Solid Foods To Survive

At some point, you’ve likely decided to change your eating habits – whether that’s because you’ve wanted to drop some pounds or just simply to get a little healthier. It’s fair to say, though, that Audra Bear has taken that notion to extremes. You see, the Las Vegas resident has pretty much overhauled her entire relationship with food – and, needless to say, that radical move has caused some controversy.

Prior to embarking on her most recent regime, however, Bear had already been health-conscious. She had often monitored what she ate, in fact, and ultimately became a vegan back in 2014. Then in 2018 she heard about another diet that seemingly piqued her interest.

Curious, Bear started to do some research on the practices of breatharianism and pranic living. Proponents of breatharianism – known as “breatharians” – believe that humans can solely subsist on a type of energy called prana, with this substance thought to act as a valid substitute to food.

ADVERTISEMENT

And while Bear was a little hesitant at becoming a breatharian at first, she eventually adopted the unusual regimen in late 2018. Then, after performing some of the breathing exercises, she noted that her appetite was changing. Perhaps most unnervingly of all, though, she would ultimately abandon solid food completely for close to 100 days.

But, of course, Bear isn’t alone in wanting to stay healthy. And while breatharianism is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre regimes available, there are plenty of other alternatives out there to help us stay fit and in shape – as just one look online will tell you.

ADVERTISEMENT

That said, some have made healthy living into a real focus of their lives, meaning as a result that they boast much more knowledge on the subject than those that are just starting out. And Bear could probably count herself within that category, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bear has been health-conscious ever since she was young, in fact. And that passion has led her to embark on related studies at eCornel University – where she learned about plant-based nutrition – as well as enrolling at London, England’s Health Sciences Academy back in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

Following that spell, Bear continued her studies a couple of years later at New York’s Institute for Integrative Nutrition. But while the Las Vegas resident was building up her knowledge, she didn’t forget to put her research into practice.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2014, you see, Bear became a vegan in a bid to keep fit and well. And much like several other eating regimens, veganism has strict rules that people ought to follow – whether they choose to do so for ethical or health-based reasons.

ADVERTISEMENT

In contrast to vegetarians, vegans don’t just cut out meat and fish, but they also avoid foods that are produced directly by or from animals, such as milk, butter, eggs and honey. Meanwhile, the word “vegan” itself was coined by Englishman Donald Watson in 1944 – the same year in which the Vegan Society was founded.

ADVERTISEMENT

The first of its kind, the Vegan Society now acts as a charity headquartered in Birmingham, England. And on the organization’s official website, there is a definitive description of veganism by which any vegans can define their cause.

ADVERTISEMENT

“[Veganism is] a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude ‒ as far as is possible and practicable ‒ all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose,” the definition reads. “By extension, [it also] promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Vegan Society’s definition also touches upon the most famous aspect of veganism. “In dietary terms, [veganism] denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals,” it reads. As it happens, then, Bear would have to implement those instructions in her everyday life.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Bear would embark on a distinct strain of veganism: she would eventually become a “raw vegan.” In essence, then, she would not only be avoiding consuming anything that had once come from an animal, but she would also have to monitor the way in which her food had been cooked.

ADVERTISEMENT

As the name suggests, being a raw vegan means eschewing food prepared over a certain temperature. If the heat involved is too great, it’s believed, the product’s micronutrients are eliminated. And while the practice of raw veganism is still uncommon, restaurants tailored to the practice do exist.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet as Bear continued to live by her raw vegan diet, something else caught her eye at the back-end of 2018. At that time, the health enthusiast began to read up on a fascinating regimen known as breatharianism. And unlike her previous routines, this one was far more radical in its application.

ADVERTISEMENT

You see, while most diets require a change in eating habits for a certain period, breatharianism requires cutting out solid foods completely. Taking inspiration from Hinduism, so-called breatharians believe that their sustenance comes from something called prana instead.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prana is looked upon as a form of energy that people breathe in throughout the day, and breatharians are of the opinion that they can live on that alone. Bear was a touch hesitant before she eventually adopted the practice, though, owing to her passion for food.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet despite Bear’s initial concern, she soon got into the swing of things. And when talking to The Sun in June 2019, she described her new form of sustenance in greater detail. “Prana is another word for energy, also known as qi or chi,” she explained to the newspaper. “It is a life-giving force that flows in, through and around all things.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bear continued, “[Prana is] in the air we breathe, the sunshine, nature, connections with people and all living things. It is a powerful energy that actually has the ability to fuel and sustain us as humans. Living a pranic lifestyle is about shifting your focus from nourishing your body with denser sources (food) to less denser sources (energy).”

ADVERTISEMENT

At that point, though, Bear wanted to make something clear: food isn’t a detriment to the human body. Yet while she insisted that those who practice the pranic lifestyle can still eat if they feel like it, prana remains breatharians’ primary energy source.

ADVERTISEMENT

And Bear has also reflected on her mindset prior to starting the extreme diet. “I had heard about people living this way, but I never thought that would be me!” she told The Sun. “I used to love eating. It wasn’t until I started practicing the breathing exercises that I realized I had no appetite for solid or dense foods.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bear additionally spoke about the exercises that she did in the early stages of being a breatharian. She claimed, for example, that this “breathwork” had helped her relax and centered her mind, with the result being that she ultimately reached a place where she felt she didn’t need food to sustain her anymore.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Breathwork helps you to realize who you are and what you need or don’t need,” Bear told the newspaper. “I never intended to ‘quit food.’ I just started practicing for 40 minutes a day, and after about five days I no longer had a hunger for dense foods. My first fast lasted 97 days.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Off the back of that incredible declaration, Bear touched upon the process that she goes through to get her sustenance. This method she calls “conscious breathing,” and in her opinion a lengthy fast wouldn’t be possible without it.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Breathwork is the base of healing and detoxification for the physical and emotional body,” Bear explained. “It gently guides your body into [the] parasympathetic nervous system, which relieves stress, aids digestion, stops cravings, increases mental clarity and happiness. [However], I wouldn’t recommend anyone [to] fast, cleanse or restrict [calories] without first learning about the breath.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bear then added, “You can also experience prana through time in nature, sunbathing, earthing, creating and playing.” Yet while the Las Vegas resident freely admitted to not touching much food, a few healthy drinks were seemingly permitted.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Most days, I just drink teas, fruit juices, green juices and fresh coconut waters,” Bear revealed to The Sun. “I do eat occasionally now but more for celebratory reasons. My energy is heightened, my senses are stronger, and I’m feeling the healthiest I’ve ever been. I feel relaxed about life and [have] a deeper connection to myself.”

ADVERTISEMENT

However, there are many people within the science community who don’t agree with breatharianism. Essentially, experts have claimed that individuals such as Bear are damaging their bodies by not eating – or at least not eating in sufficient quantities. And the British Nutrition Foundation’s Helena Gibson-Moore is certainly skeptical that breatharianism is beneficial to living a healthy life.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Everyone needs energy (calories) for our bodies to function properly,” Gibson-Moore told the Daily Mail. “There is no scientific evidence that we can get the essential nutrients needed for good health from air alone.” The nutrition scientist cast an eye over the types of drinks that Bear consumes day to day, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

“A diet that only includes fruit juices and teas is likely to be low in energy,” Gibson-Moore opined. “So although initial weight loss may occur [on a breatharian diet], in the long term you will be missing out on important nutrients for good health.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And Gibson-Moore’s thoughts didn’t end there. “Only consuming one food group – such as fruit and vegetables – in a specific way – such as juicing – without balancing it with other food groups is not healthy and can be harmful if sustained over time,” she explained. Those words were subsequently echoed by another specialist, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yes, The Sun’s food expert Amanda Ursell also weighed in on the discussion. And much like Gibson-Moore, she didn’t believe that Bear’s health would benefit from the breatharian lifestyle in the long run. The nutritionist made a damning assessment of the practice to boot.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No one can defy the laws of physics like that,” Ursell told the newspaper in June 2019. “We need protein for maintenance and growth of muscles and tissue in our body; we need vitamins, [and] we need minerals. Sailors got scurvy in the 1700s because they didn’t have enough vitamin C.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Ursell then went into further detail on that latter point, explaining why vitamins are so important to the human body. “If you don’t eat vitamin C, your teeth fall out and your wounds don’t heal,” she continued. And the specialist raised another important issue.

ADVERTISEMENT

In essence, Ursell believed that breatharians would start to show indications of malnutrition if they didn’t eat for a significant period of time. “If [breatharians] were surviving on very little food, they would have deficiency symptoms. It is just [a] fact,” she added. “It is not possible to survive as a breatharian.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite such words of warning, though, Bear continues with her unorthodox regime. In her opinion, breatharianism has done wonders for her health. And along the way, the Las Vegas resident has shared her progress on social media; at present, she has close to 14,000 followers on Instagram.

ADVERTISEMENT

Furthermore, in her interview with The Sun, Bear outlined what she perceived to be the positive effects of her chosen diet. “This lifestyle is about playing and having fun [and] doing the things that you truly enjoy doing,” she explained. “I enjoy making my own juices, so fruit and veg shopping is always fun to me too.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bear added, “I believe everybody already is [living like this] in some way. We all breathe every day; it’s what keeps us alive. I feel so much abundance living this way because it is about enjoying the things you love in life: traveling, creating, dancing and playing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And after touching upon the financial advantages that also come with not buying food, Bear summed up her thoughts on breatharianism. “Living in this way is a very big step away from a traditional life, but the lifestyle also brings about so much abundance, health and happiness,” she concluded. “That is where my focus will always be.”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT