Soil Science in the News: Eating Dirt

I came across an interesting story from NPR today, entitled “The Old And Mysterious Practice Of Eating Dirt, Revealed“. It’s about the ancient practice of eating soil (or mineral deposits), often called Geophagy. I’ve heard about this practice in a few of the soil science classes I’ve taken over the years, and in a “World Food Issues” class I took as an undergrad. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and from what I understand the cravings to eat soil, or kaolinite specifically (a phyllosilicate clay mineral) occur mostly in expecting mothers.

Source: The Augusta Chronicle

There is a documentary coming out soon that highlights this normally under-the-radar practice entitled “Eat White Dirt“. Here is the trailer for the film:

I’m looking forward to the documentary. If I ever see this Kaolin sold in a store, I just might have to try it out (for purely scientific purposes of course). Have you ever eaten “white dirt”? Tell me about your experiences in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Soil Science in the News: Eating Dirt

  1. My neighbor is an African American woman, aged 66, who grew up in Apex, NC. She said when she was young they would search for the white clay on the road sides where the earth had been excavated as the road was built. They would also bake it in the oven if it was too moist. She said it was highly addictive and she has not eaten this clay in a long time. She said she had to break the habit. She would crave it most when it rained and the scent of moist clay would waft in air.

  2. I eat white dirt daily. All throughout the day, after dinner, while I watch movies and when im stressed. Omg, i cant explain. The texture, crunchy and then smooth like peanut butter. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Im out right now but I ordered 10 lbs. It should ge here by the weekend. Im excited likeva kid on xmas.

  3. i love too eat that everyday its so mmmmh sweet sometime i stop like for one week but i cant stop eating it it like drugs i will like to stop because its not good to eat it eveydays

  4. I am 51, African American, southern. I crave chalky ,dirt and or flour. I ate dirt , it was red though from an deep embankment. My doctor says I have pica. I know I loose a lot of blood through my monthly cycle from fibroid tumors, may be a connection(iron deficiency). I have eaten fossil shell flour for years. The cravings are real.

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