70 Years Between Meals? Indian Mystic Promotes Atmosphere Diet

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Hindu holy man Prahlad Jani

AFP / Getty Images

I don’t know if it’s just me, but all the 80-year-olds in my life have an obsession with food. Eating more, feeding more, pushing favorite recipes on anyone who comes within earshot of the porch swing. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this story about Prahlad Jani, the 82-year-old mystic in India who is boasting loudly that he hasn’t eaten a morsel of grub since 1940. Yep, as in the last 70 years. As in since he was 12.

His variation on the South Beach diet? Air and meditation. Jani claims to be a “breatharian.”

Apparently this isn’t the first time he’s made the claim – nor are we betting that it will be the last. Back in 2003, his consumption was closely monitored by observers for a week straight, during which time he did not apparently eat. But the fact that he did lose weight suggests that his body had not equalized on air and meditation alone. I’m wondering how much of that week-long weight loss can be attributed to sheer water loss; if you are situated in a 90-degree (fahrenheit) climate and sitting in the shade, you can only last about seven days without water.

Then again, if Jani has indeed been able to survive since before World War II without a single drop of liquid, he certainly warrants study by the Indian military. But if he’s anything like Wiley Brooks, founder of the Breatharian Institute of America, mark me down as less than convinced. Back in 1983, Brooks was seen buying a Slurpee, hot dog and twinkies at a Santa Cruz convenience store. Apparently he later claimed that he must periodically pause his fasting for a quick cheeseburger and coke.

Now that sounds a little more like the life for me.