What do you call someone who doesn’t eat?

An Inediate.  It’s a word I’ve only recently come across although I’ve been aware of the phenomena of light diets, pranic nourishment and breatharianism for some time.

An Inediate is not someone who is on a fast, starving or anorexic.  An Inediate nourishes their physical body through means other than food and, sometimes, fluid.

There have been reported cases in history of such people:  Saint Nicholas von Flue was a Swiss hermit who apparently lived the last nineteen years of his life without food.  More recently, Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth who died in 1962, declined food and drink for 35 years.  Both were deeply religious, had a strong faith that they were being nourished by spiritual forces and Neumann showed symptoms of stigmata regularly.  Other examples are also of mystics or Yogis – not your average person.

However, recently there seems to be a small but surprising ground swell of people who find this belief acceptable, some will try it but not succeed and resort to eating again and some have made the conversion and claim to live very healthily without food.  If these people go public they are often treated with derision or ridicule, accused of being fakes and scammers or perhaps deranged. 

Surprisingly, those that offer themselves to be researched and investigated have, in the main, been ignored.  I say ‘surprisingly’ because, if living a normal healthy life without food is at all feasible, it could have a positive impact on the growing issues of hunger, starvation, drought and human health.  So why aren’t we more interested in if and how it works?

 I recently read Light from Life by Michael Werner, a German chemist who claims to have lived with virtually no solid food since 2001.  (Life from Light: Is it Possible to Live without Food? – A Scientist Reports on His Experiences)
Light from Life details his ‘journey': his life before and after, the everyday details we all wonder about such as how his choice affects his family, how he feels about food and even details of his bowel movements!

One striking message that came through for me from the book was how food is so pivotal to every aspect of our lives.  Think about all the time you would have if you didn’t have to shop, prepare cook, eat and clean up afterwards.  I was left wondering how I would fill that time.

Then there’s the social aspect: eating together breaks down many barriers and forges friendships and alliances.  Sitting at a table not eating whilst your friends are tucking in is awkward for both your and them as every determined dieter would confirm.

On a more extreme note, Werner describes how some people’s reaction is one of anger.  This only makes sense if food is considered a fundamental requirement not just for our bodies but for society in general.  Can showing that food is not a necessity of life threaten to undermine our current science, mindset and life as we know it?  If we are afraid to consider the alternative this would explain the lack of interest in researching this way of life.

Are Inediates just on a fast?  Apparently not.  People who fast lose weight, their bodies react differently and they lack nourishment whereas Inediates who have had basic tests carried out show that their bodies are behaving like a normally nourished person.  The differences are the same between an Inediate and a starving person.

Are Inediates fakes or scammers.  Possibly.  It’s amazing what some people will do or claim for their 15 minutes of fame.

Perhaps Inediates are pioneers: a small group of people who, through trying something new, experimenting with their own bodies and looking at the world in a different way might just break the ground for the next phase in human evolution.  It happened before when some of our ancestors started walking on two legs.  Why not now?

Jackie Notman is a copywriter, feng shui consultant and e-commerce retailer.  This article is from her blog ‘Life – and everything else’ where you’ll find an eclectic mix of articles and information.

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