Let them eat cak
Have you ever had an irresistible urge to eat something you shouldn't. I'm not talking about that extra slice of chocolate cake or the 'Big Kak, Mega Lard Burger'. I'm thinking non-standard food items, such as paint, soil or animal faeces. If so, take heart, as you are not alone. The ingestion of non-nutritious and unusual items is part of a condition called, Pica.
Pica is fairly standard behaviour in some animals. Domestic dogs are not only fond of rolling in animal dung but are also known to ingest faeces, either their own or other animal faeces found, fortuitously. Why they do this is a mystery especially as the average domestic hound is adequately nourished. Must be something in their dark evolutionary past. Behaviour which seems inexplicable to us is explicable to nature.
Young children are curious concerning the environment they inhabit. Left to their own devices the under two squad will sample the delights of their immediate vicinity with relish and aplomb (steady Flaxen). Thus, soil, sand and the local fauna will end up endlessly masticated by dirt besmirched jaws. Strictly, this is not a manifestation of Pica, just bad parenting.
Pregnant women are known to crave certain food items such as pickles, spicy food or ice cream. Sometimes the foods are combined into unusual associations not considered normal culinary fare. Why pregnant women have these, often intense, cravings is not really known. Some doctors postulate that it is driven by lack of minerals or vitamins but the evidence is lacking. Perhaps it is related to the hormone helter-skelter women experience during pregnancy? The honest answer is that we just don't know. Generally this sort of behaviour is not harmful if not carried to excess. Problems occur when pregnant woman crave non-food items. Strangely, the most common substances ingested are dirt, mortar, laundry starch and clay. Eating compounds such as dirt and mortar can erode teeth and cause periodontal disease. Ingesting, unsterilised soil, straight from the veggie patch, has the additional risk of parasite infection. Generally the cravings disappear once the brat has escaped the womb.
Intractable Pica is for adults who should know better and are not mad; not mutually exclusive. That said, Pica has recently been described as a mental disorder. Anything these days can be described as a mental disorder as long as you can find 'none mad' advocates who need to fund a lavish life-style; ain't dat the sad truth. And of course, we need to exclude 'inappropriate ingestion/indigestion' due to cultural reasons. As an aside, cultural Pica often has a very practical application. The ingestion of clay by certain African tribes is prudent if a catholic diet of the prevailing fauna is a necessity. Clay adsorbs toxins present in plants and aids digestion; break out the bicarbonate of soda and bismuth. Charcoal serves a similar role, although carcinogenic, allegedly. When rooting for subsistence, cancer/chancre is the least of your worries.
So, the watchword(s) be: not eat shit (literally and metaphorically); don't get pregnant; do not undergo childhood, under any circumstances and don't become mad unless you are wealthy enough to afford a good psychiatrist like the good Professor, Mugumbo: 230
an hour, not including rest breaks. Arse akimbo. Guineas