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Craving earth : understanding pica : the urge to eat clay, starch, ice, and chalk

Author: Sera L Young
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, 2012, ©2011.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Pbk. edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Humans have eaten earth, on purpose, for more than 2,000 years. They also crave starch, ice, chalk, and other unorthodox items. Some even claim they are "addicted" and "go crazy" without these items. Sifting through extensive historical, ethnographic, and biomedical findings, Sera Young creates a portrait of pica, or nonfood cravings, from humans earliest ingestions to current trends and practices. In engaging  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sera L Young
ISBN: 9780231146098 0231146094
OCLC Number: 806349461
Awards: Winner of Margaret Mead Award 2013
Description: xiv, 228 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: What on earth? --
A biocultural approach : a holistic way to study pica --
Medicine you can walk on --
Religious geophagy : sacredness you can swallow --
Poisons and pathogens --
Dismissal and damnation : a historical perspective on the purported causes of pica --
Pica in response to food shortage --
Pica as a micronutrient supplement --
Pica to protect and detoxify --
Putting the pica pieces together.
Responsibility: Sera L. Young.

Abstract:

Humans have eaten earth, on purpose, for more than 2,000 years. They also crave starch, ice, chalk, and other unorthodox items. Some even claim they are "addicted" and "go crazy" without these items. Sifting through extensive historical, ethnographic, and biomedical findings, Sera 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 hook examined the enigma of pica so thoroughly or accessibly. Young merges history with intimate case studies to illuminate how pica is deeply entwined with human biology and culture.--P. [4] of cover.

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Young brings a fascinating story from the musty cupboard of old wives' tales into the bright light of science. With fluid prose, a storyteller's style, and a restless curiosity, she peels back the Read more...

 
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