Having emerged from a turbulent childhood into a successful entrepreneur and government advisor, Kirby de Lanerolle has done a lot to be proud of. Currently he and his wife Fiona are the founders of the Warehouse Project, a Non-Profit charity which handles food distribution and microloans along with a cooking and recreation space for the impoverished families of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Oh, and he also claims to go several months at a time without eating a single thing except wind, light and the power of god.

In the beginning Lanerolle spent his youth doing drugs and getting into brawls. Then he had a realization that only he could change the path his life was on. He took his talent for beating people up and began applying it to sports. Winning medals in several national and provincial tournaments in shooting and boxing, he began to develop self confidence.

He would later go onto manage companies and was a high-level advisor at the Ministry of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources. In 2011, Lanerolle cofounded the Warehouse Project which provides assistance to the poor by offering volunteer education, food relief and clean cooking spaces while operating out of a renovated colonial warehouse.

According to a speech given at TED in Colombo earlier this year, Lanerolle got into breatharism, the practice of gaining energy without eating through spiritual or light energy, five years ago. He claims that last year he completed a half-marathon after eating nothing for two months.

Breatharianism has been around for some time now. Its most famous advocate was Jasmuheen whose efforts to not eat have earned her both the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize and Bent Spoon Award. One among the few of her followers who have died was also nominated for a Darwin Award but didn’t win.

In an interview with National Geographic, Lanerolle said while the average person in 10 months “eats 900 meals; I had only seven meals for the last 10 months.” He also said that each of those meals were under 500 calories.

Naturally videos such as these have met with a large amount of skepticism including new and creative ways at using “BS”, and Lanerolle’s case is no exception. One source of criticism was an appearance he made in early 2012 for Good Morning Sri Lanka, where he and his wife were promoting the Warehouse Project. Only a year and a half ago Lanerolle was looking rather ripped for someone mostly living off of light and air.

During his TED speech, Lanerolle said that he got interested in becoming a breatharian after comparing a modern diet to the way people used to eat and reading about how these diets lead to complications such heart disease and cancer.

Surely for a large majority of us the notion of breatharianism is really hard to swallow, and nutritionists pretty much unanimously denounce it as a dangerous practice. Still, one thing we can learn from Kirby de Lanerolle is the importance of considering what we eat, they way we eat it, and how it affects our bodies.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my sunshine break.

Source: Entabe (Japanese), National Geographic (English)
Videos: YouTube: TEDxYouth, warehouseproject1

Kirby and Fiona de Lanerolle on Good Morning Sri Lanka

Kirby and Fiona de Lanerolle on Made in Sri Lanka