I Want to Eat… Dirt?

I want to eat... dirt?So you’re pregnant and have an intense craving.

You would love to munch on something refreshing, and full of minerals. But you really want this snack  to be natural tasting… or maybe dark, like chocolate, but not quite the same… and crunchy.

Wait.

Are you craving dirt?

Don’t be alarmed. Research shows you are not the only one longing for this earthy compound. Also known as geophagy, munching on dirt and clay has been documented throughout history as a way of regaining minerals, particularly in tropic environments. Soil often holds high levels of iron, copper, and calcium, all of which are hugely important during pregnancy.

While this craving is less publicized in the United States, women here on our soil (and  apparently eating our soil) still admit to wanting a dirty, little snack on occasion. According to some reports, this was most common in the South and throughout other warm states.

Recent studies have also acknowledged the possible benefits of this atypical behavior. Uncontaminated dirt and clay may build the immune system and even provide necessary vitamins to the consumer.

But before you grab a bowl of dirt from the backyard, and curl up on the couch with a big spoon, remember that most studies are still in their infancy stages. Though geophagy is not a new concept, we don’t recommend trying it – the idea of eating dirt is definitely unconventional in mainstream medicine practices.

What do you think? Is this research completely bizarre, or have you and your friends ever experienced these cravings?

[Photo credit: Jim Franco]

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  1. by Adrienne

    On June 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    How do they distinguish between geophagy and pica?

  2. by Britney Fitzgerald

    On June 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Geophagy was often described as a form of pica for those only craving dirt or clay. Pica was typically defined as cravings for many different substances such as chalk, dirt, sand, coal, etc. In some cases, pica was described as a “disorder” where as geophagy was talked about as a “cultural practice.” But by and large most sources used the two terms interchangeably. Hope that helps!

  3. by Bob

    On June 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Interesting article… I can’t imagine saying, “pass the dirt please” but you learn something everyday!!! Thank you!!

  4. by jan

    On April 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    how can you make your dirt edible? Can you put it on a cookie sheet and bake it? would that kill any of the bacteria and then make it edible?

  5. by Leslie

    On December 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Jan.
    Yes bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for a few minutes.

  6. by Leslie

    On December 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    If you would like to buy some Georgia White Dirt/Clay email me at Lesliecinga@yahoo.com

  7. by Clayeaterforlife

    On March 12, 2013 at 9:26 am

    http://www.georgiawhitedirt.com/

    I love the taste of dirt. I buy it bake it and eat it. If you crave it just be safe and moderate in your indulgence.