Eating is generally a good idea. Not only does it satisfy fundamental needs, but it can often be quite delicious, too.
Navenna Shine, however, isn't convinced.
The Seattle resident and British native recently embarked on an experiment, titled "Living on Light," in which she nourishes her body much as a plant would: on water, air, and "light." According to Shine, this isn't light in the conventional sense of sunlight, but "a nutritional source already embedded within our body/mind/Spiritual systems."
According to her Facebook page, the 65-year-old is now more than 32 days into the experiment. In order to prove her day-to-day activities don't include nourishing herself, she's posted eight cameras throughout her house, and she claims to never stray from them so as to prove -- definitively -- whether or not eating is a good idea. She's also posting incremental updates on YouTube.
On June 3, after having lost more than 20 pounds, Shine wrote, "I have the feeling that my body has reached a point where it has used up all its stored fats and is now looking around for what next to consume. I suspect this might be the point where it decides either to find and hook into the source where it is able to live on Light, or continue to consume the body for sustenance."
Food is a essential for survival, Jennifer Adler, a Seattle nutritionist explained to the Seattle Globalist. She cautions, “Eventually, if we continue not to eat our body decays from using its own stores, and our heart will stop working.”
Nevertheless, Shine believes she can continue the experiment for four to six months, after which, she says, we'll know "if it is really possible that a person can thrive without eating." To her credit, Shine intends to halt the experiment if she notices her health deteriorating (though she appears to have no medical supervision other than "access to Medicare," and a primary care physician who helped establish a "general health baseline").
Though she doesn't explicitly identify it as such, Shine's experiment dovetails with the ideology of a little-known sect of Yogis, called "breatharians," who, KCPQ-TV notes, claim to survive only on sunlight and air. (Many breatharians believe water is unnecessary.)
One of the movement's leaders, an Australian woman named Ellen Greve who now goes by the name of "Jasmuheen," claims to have survived on "light" since 1993. Gawker writes that Jasmuheen's "pseudoscientific claims are directly responsible for the deaths of several people."
The BBC reports it's possible for a human to survive without food for up to two months but only under extreme circumstances, and it's never medically advisable:
When the body stops getting food, it has to live on the stored sugars. The liver and muscles store glucose - the primary fuel source - as glycogen. This glycogen can then be converted into glucose. When this runs out, fat is then converted into a secondary energy supply called ketone bodies. After the fat runs out ... the body must take recycled protein from the system and eventually from the muscles to convert to energy.
After that, Scientific American notes, organ failure or myocardial infarction (heart attack) are common causes of death.
WATCH Shine's first video entry, explaining the "experiment" below:
Shine's latest entry, in which she's lost at least 20 pounds, below: