After eating sand every day for the last twenty-five years, Hans Raj of Uttar Pradesh, India has been nicknamed ‘Sandman’ by his neighbors and boss. While such a diet would seemingly bring about illness, Raj claims that he never gets sick and that he lives better than people who eat ‘regular’ food.
Two decades ago, Hans felt compelled to start eating sand. At first, it was only a handful every day. Now he consumes at least a heaping plateful of sand during a daily meal. He has made numerous life-altering decisions in order to pursue his love of sand. For instance, he grew up as a farmer, but switched to being a mason. This decision was made easier as he used to wander around town, stealing parts of houses so that he could eat the stones. While he likes constructing buildings, the best perk of the job is the easy access it grants Raj to a variety of sands and rocks. However, the 45-year-old man feasts on more than just sand and rocks. He recently began eating bricks as well. His work supervisor initially attempted to pay Hans with sand and bricks, but this arrangement only lasted for two months before he demanded monetary payments.
Despite his regular consumption of hard substances, Raj has never had any problems with his teeth. They remain sharp and, he claims, capable of biting ‘into the hardest stone without a problem.’ Nor has his weird diet caused any harm to his mouth or stomach. Although they have spent years trying to get him to stop his bizarre eating habits, friends admit that Raj is never sick. He attributes his robust health to the minerals he consumes via sand and bricks, sometimes going so far as to add these substances to tea, bread, and soup. Doctors believe that Hans suffers from the eating disorder known as Pica, which causes the individual to consume non-edible objects.