If you’re a breatharian, and I hate that term, so let’s say you’re an inediate, how do you manage to have a social life? How will people react to your abstinence from food? These are questions you will eventually have to deal with if you are going to live without eating.
Let’s face it, most people who claim to be breatharian, or to live without food, are probably troubled. Some may be downright mentally ill. The whole movement is a bit wacky and the most famous proponents of breatharianism are hardly credible spokespeople. When people starve themselves to death in order to become a breatharian, how can that be seen if not as mental illness or a most severe eating disorder? And to people who love food, the sight of a person denying themselves seems more like a deep and pathological self-loathing than any kind of spiritual/physical evolution. All that talk of purity and how food is a poison really doesn’t help. It’s sounds perfectly loony.
Yet, you know there are inediates among us, and many of them are quite grounded, sane people. Why don’t they declare themselves? Who in their right mind would want to go public at this time?
If you’re like me, and just found this happening to you as a result of sudden enlightenment or spiritual awakening, you probably never had inedia as a goal. I never even knew it existed. So when it happens to you, it hardly feels like an achievement. It’s just another ultra weird side effect you have to manage. Indeed I find it a bit perplexing that anyone would actually aspire to this.
This post is addressed to those who are already breatharian, or inedic, or living on light or prana, rather than those who are trying to achieve that state. Since it really just happened to me, I have no advice for how it can be done. It was no more than a side effect, and not particularly a welcome one at that. But if you are inedic and haven’t got the social impact sorted yet, this post is for you.
There are some really good reasons not to just come clean. The people who urge you to just be yourself and embrace who you are have a point. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Realistically, the world for the most part is not going to be able to accept that who you are is someone who doesn’t eat food! So here are some of the downsides of coming out of the closet.
How will people react if you tell them you don’t need to eat food to live
- People will think you are mentally ill, that you are delusional, psychotic or anorexic. Who cares? Well, if you live in a monastery, maybe no one. If you have a family and a job and a regular life, having people doubt your sanity will definitely impact your life and the life of your family.
- People will think you are lying. Assuming they don’t think you are flat out crazy, they will think you are making false claims. And really, anyone who would bother to fabricate such a story, if not insane, then is at the very least not trustworthy.
- Or equally unpleasant, some people may become attracted to, fascinated or enamoured with you for this reason only. They may even become obsessed with you, either setting you up as some kind of guru or advanced human, or they may make it their mission to prove you are false.
Does any of this sound appealing to you? Probably not.
How will being a “breatharian” impact my social life?
You never realize how closely interwoven food is to nearly every form of social interaction until you become a vampire….or an inediate. It’s devilishly hard to have a social life and be fully inedic. You may find yourself in the following situations.
- People dedicate themselves to fixing your “problem”. This can take the form of constantly suggesting medical remedies or tests (“you’re probably allergic to wheat!”) or alternative therapies such as homeopathics or acupuncture or extreme bowel cleanses.
- People ignore it entirely. It’s as though their minds just can’t hold it. They are always inviting you to dinner and they act surprised when you explain again that you don’t eat, as if they forgot the last twenty times you’ve said it.
- People constantly try to feed you, to find the one thing you can eat. It’s not to be mean, it’s done in a spirit of caring. But they just can’t believe you don’t eat, so they give you food and say, “it’s just soup” or “it’s raw organic fruit, very healthy”.
- People stop inviting you to anything. You just drop off the radar. They don’t do it on purpose, but so much of what we do together has food in it. And while you may be completely at ease having a water or herbal tea while everyone else eats, it’s somehow uncomfortable for other people if you do that all the time.
- People become uncomfortable eating around you. They become very self-conscious about what they eat and how often they eat, even if you really don’t care.
- It’s common to make social overtures by inviting people to lunch or dinner. Especially when you are first getting to know someone, it’s very awkward not to eat. You end up having to either turn them down, or suggest something else, like taking a walk together, which is not a normal way for people to interact when they don’t know each other better.
- While being inedic is one small feature of your life, it becomes The Everything to some people. You suddenly find you have become “Susan, who doesn’t eat”, or whatever your name is. It suddenly becomes your defining feature, like being a bearded lady.
- People will feel the need to comment on your weight. Even if you are a completely normal weight (which I’m sure you are), people will insist that you are too thin. Every time you see them, they claim you have lost weight, when your weight is perfectly stable.
- People will feel the need to comment on your appearance. “You’re looking pale.” Um…right. I’ve always looked pale.
None of this sounds remotely appealing, does it?
So, how did I come up with the lists above of how people might react if you are up front about being inedic? These are things that actually happened to me when I explained to people I only ate once a day, and only the midday meal. Eating once a day seems so completely banal at this point. Yet people who eat two, three or more times each day had these kinds of reactions when confronted with a person who eats only once.
You can see why I am a bit skeptical about the “just be yourself” approach. If you live in an ashram it would be feasible. But what if you are a grocery store clerk with two school age children? Or a CEO?
So where does that leave us?
I’ve toyed with the idea of just telling people, but the only reason I’d do that is to make my life easier. I doubt an easier life would be the outcome, but I’m still leaving it out there as a possibility. Most inedics are still able to eat, unless they don’t eat for a very, very long time. They just don’t need to eat and often don’t want to. So you could limit yourself to eating socially once in a while, and making excuses the rest of the time…”that looks tasty, but I had a big lunch.” But eating, especially full on meals, can make inediates really sick. So if you take that route, try to eat as lightly and as infrequently as possible. Going from zero to lasagna could be problematic.
Another possibility is to tell people you are deathly allergic to several ingredients that are unavoidable in most foods. Basically, you’re saying you’ve got a rare medical condition that prevents you from eating food of unknown provenance. This could still result in being dropped from invitations to just about everything, but at least it is acceptable and will not land you in the mental illness/eating disorder category.
As you may have surmised, this is still a work in progress for me. My closest friends and my family are aware of my condition, and have no issue with it at all. I’m very fortunate! But that leaves the rest of the world to contend with. Living a non-eating lifestyle requires managing your social landscape in a very different way, and you’d be surprised to learn how much stigma and suspicion is attached to people who don’t eat.
Are you inedic? How do you handle it socially?