DailyDirt: Eating Actual Dirt
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
People eat a lot of weird things: bugs, fungus, all kinds of fermented stuff. However, the craving for dirt is a real phenomenon, and people do actually eat various kinds of dirt. There’s some evidence that our ancient ancestors — 2 million years ago — (aka homo habilis) ate dirt. Dirt is even sold for eating in the USA right now. If you’d like to learn more about eating dirt, here you go.
- People in the southeastern US eat “white dirt” — a soft, chalky clay also called kaolin. No one really knows why people started eating dirt, but there are some suggestions that dirt could have protected people from poisons. That’s probably not a good reason to start consuming dirt now, though. [url]
- Pregnant women sometimes crave dirt or mud. Eating dirt is “geophagy” or is called “pica” as an eating disorder. Some people think women crave dirt while pregnant in order to get pre-natal vitamins. [url]
- In 2008, poor Haitians resorted to a traditional remedy for hunger — cookies made of dried yellow mud. Apparently, these mud cookies cost about a nickel each — and leave a lingering aftertaste. [url]
- Maybe we’ve eliminated a bit too much dirt from our diets, and the lack of exposure to various microbes is causing an increase in the prevalence of allergies. Gut microbes may be important to our overall health, and consuming a narrower population of microbes might be problematic. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
Filed Under: dirt, eating, edible, food, geophagy, kaolin, pica, white dirt
Comments on “DailyDirt: Eating Actual Dirt”
Kaolite-eating a mystery?
It used to be one of the two main ingredients in Kaopectate. It helps relieve mild diarrhea, and likely helps deal with some toxins. Kaolin-eating, in smallish quantities, is not pica.
A local well-stocked bulk- and strange-food store sells 120g bags of ‘Pure Kauw’ imported from Ghana – along with the usual fufu, akyeke, ognono, and egusi. Y’know, your basic everyday foods.
Observant Africans and South Americans may have watched parrots eating it, and found it helpful.
Much of this can be traced to iron deficiency
This is fascinating stuff and accurate. People do crave dirt
(among other strange things). Most commonly this is from iron deficiency anemia, but other conditions can lead to it as well. Cravings for bizarre foods and the craving to eat non-foods are strange but real phenomena.
So, its not just tech dirt people crave hehe.
Omar Manejwala, M.D.