Living on light — a new diet, political movement, or an eating disorder?

Naveena Shine, 65, has established Living on Light, an experiment and movement that will test the bounds of her body and of humanity. She intends to do this by only consuming tea, water and light for as long as possible. Her effort is focused on showing the world that our bodies are meant to provide for themselves, and if we spent less time providing for our bodies, we would all enjoy life more.

"If you look at food as an addiction, then when you get off the addiction, what I'm suggesting is that there is another source of nourishment that is already installed within our bodies," Shine said, "but of course we eat, we suppress it, we don't use it."

However, an improved enjoyment of life, or even the quality of life on this diet, has not been proven. Shine has taken it upon herself to run this light consumption experiment on herself for four to six months. Quoted on her website, she stated, "The only way to prove it is by doing it." She claims that nearly 40,000 people are now "living on light".

She plans to alter the paradigm of living on our planet. Shine envisions that eventually, people who live on light, termed Breatharians or Sungazers, will reach new levels of spiritual clarity by abstaining from foods filled with "pollutants of the modern world" and the worries of providing food for oneself and one's family.

She has also gotten the public involved in monitoring her progress. Viewers and supporters can log in to her website or personal Facebook page to offer encouragement. Shine has also chosen to allow livestream monitoring of her diet in her home, uploading directly to her website, to ensure the transparency of her experiment — in other words, so people will know she is not cheating and secretly eating in the middle of the night. She also uses these venues to update others on her progress: on the 32nd day of her experiment, she admitted on her Facebook page to having lost 20 lbs. in the past month.

But how safe is this diet?

Shine, and apparently 40,000 others, are not eating for weeks on end. While Shine has chosen to stay hydrated with water and teas, her body will start to deteriorate much in the way eating disorder patient's bodies do. While living on light in Shine's case should not be mistaken for an eating disorder, as she appears to be more concerned about changing the energy of the Earth's inhabitants than losing weight, it could still lead to serious health deterioration. In a video update after the first four weeks of her diet, Shine admitted that she needs more rest than usual, cannot get up too quickly, and experiences leg cramps often — issues which are warning signs of poor health.

People with eating disorders are any individuals who have anxiety about food consumption and spend much energy altering their intake by eating extremely small amounts of food, not eating, or severely overeating. Each disorder leading to the cessation of eating, whether based on a disorder or a choice, leads to serious health issues like heart failure, brain damage, brittle hair and nails, low blood pressure, osteoporosis, lethargy, anemia, and muscular weakness. In Shine's video, she admits to having many of these symptoms, like lethargy, low blood pressure, and weakness.

However, she remains undeterred. Shine is determined to complete her experiment so everyone else can realize new possibilities for existence on earth. However, whether she will healthily make it to the end of her experiment, given her age and the many signs of her bodily deterioration thus far, is not quite guaranteed.