Humans have eaten earth, on purpose, for more than 2,300 years.
They also crave starch, ice, chalk, and other unorthodox items of
food. Some even claim they are addicted and "go crazy" without
these items, but why?
Sifting through extensive historical, ethnographic, and
biomedical findings, Sera L. Young creates a portrait of pica, or
nonfood cravings, from humans' earliest ingestions to current
trends and practices. In engaging detail, she describes the
substances most frequently consumed and the many methods (including
the Internet) used to obtain them. She reveals how pica is
remarkably prevalent (it occurs in nearly every human culture and
throughout the animal kingdom), identifies its most avid partakers
(pregnant women and young children), and describes the potentially
healthful and harmful effects. She evaluates the many hypotheses
about the causes of pica, from the fantastical to the scientific,
including hunger, nutritional deficiencies, and protective
capacities. Never has a book examined pica so thoroughly or
accessibly, merging absorbing history with intimate case studies to
illuminate an enigmatic behavior deeply entwined with human biology
Subjects: Health Sciences, Anthropology, Sociology
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