Addiction to food and other strange things is a huge health concern. Addiction is usually associated with drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, shopping and other harmful habits. Food addictions take on many dimensions and strange behavior when a person limits their intake to a specific food. Some people focus on only eating such things as French fries or pizza, as it becomes the only type of food they will touch. Ignoring all fruits and vegetables to the point where texture, temperature or taste cannot be tolerated, food addiction takes on many forms.
A young girl in the UK, Georgi Readman, admits to only eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of her life. From the time she was five, Readman has not eaten anything but the prepackaged noodles. She will not eat in restaurants or with friends, preferring to eat alone with her noodles. She is paying a high price with her noodle habit and she has become malnourished. Her health has deteriorated to the point where her body is like that of an elderly person. Even though she’s well aware, she continues to live off the salty noodles.
Ramen noodles are inexpensive and easy to prepare, but extremely high in sodium. The pre-fried noodles are usually mixed with a high salt seasoning, adding more concern about high blood pressure and renal failure. Readman’s choice of food is a type of addiction that has prohibited her from normal social interaction and she has become totally dependent on the noodles. A food addiction such as this has long-term detrimental effects and often requires counseling and relearning how to eat normally.
Another woman in the UK actually passed away a few years ago from consuming almost nothing except nearly 10 liters of Coca-Cola a day. The mother of eight was only 30 years old when she died of cardiac arrest. She also was a heavy smoker and ate very little food. She was addicted to the sugar-laden beverage and the large daily quantities contributed to her early death. The body can only take so much.
Addiction to food and other strange things is cause for concern. Aside from obsessing on a certain item, people have been known to eat some very odd things. Such weird cravings have been documented on The Learning Channel’s (TLC) My Strange Addiction, a reality show that focuses on various odd addictions, including consumption of non-edible items. Anywhere from eating toilet paper, cat fur, vapor rub and shredded tires, these people have developed strange and harmful habits.
One woman was shown eating her late husband’s ashes. She reportedly missed him so much that she would carry his urn with her to the store and the movies, ultimately stooping to eating her dead husband’s ashes by dipping her wet finger into the urn. The final remains after cremation weighed approximately six pounds. At the time of the show, the ashes left in the urn weighed only five pounds.
For someone who has a disorder such as pica, which means consumption of clay, dirt and chalk, craving odd material that is not edible is a psychological disorder. It is often a result of poor nutrition and the body lacking minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. To be diagnosed with pica, the patient has to exhibit strange eating behavior for at least a month. Such patients are checked for intestinal blockages and toxins in the blood. Counseling and retraining on how to eat proper food is a long process toward recovery.
Although My Strange Addiction is entertaining in its strangeness, viewers are fascinated and skeptical by the show. TLC puts out casting calls for all types of reality shows, including the worst tattoo, real cheapskates, trouble with in-laws, odd relationships and many more. Some of these things are not made up by the writers and producers. There are some really strange people in the world, and some of them eat some really strange things.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol is surely a major health hazard. Addiction to food and other strange things such as inedible items can be an equally deadly addiction. Admitting there is a problem with addiction is always the first step toward healing and enjoying a healthier life.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon