Everyday, millions of people eat earth, clay, nasal mucus, and similar substances. Yet food practices like these are strikingly understudied in a sustained, interdisciplinary manner. This book aims to correct this neglect. Contributors, utilizing anthropological, nutritional, biochemical, psychological and health-related perspectives, examine in a rigorously comparative manner the consumption of foods conventionally regarded as inedible by most Westerners. This book is both timely and significant because nutritionists and health care professionals are seldom aware of anthropological information on these food practices, and vice versa. Ranging across diversity of disciplines Consuming the Inedible surveys scientific and local views about the consequences - biological, mineral, social or spiritual - of these food practices, and probes to what extent we can generalize about them.