8 Humans Whose Eating Habits Would Make a Goat Puke
Lots of people have their own personal diet plans, and nutritionists don't always agree on which one is best. Nutritionists do agree that everything on this list is a bad idea, but some outstanding individuals have managed to damn nature and logic enough to survive on some seemingly fatal meal regimens. And by that we mean ...
Henry Ford Ate Weeds from His Yard
Henry Ford, like a lot of innovative minds, had an eccentric side. This may explain how he managed to combine adamant pacifism with being a part-time anti-Semitic dick with Nazi sympathies.
"Those Nazis, they've got a real handle on this 'peace' thing."
Things only got weirder at dinner time ...
Although one of the wealthiest men of his time, Henry Ford could not have been less interested in food. Having made his living designing cars, he came to see the human digestive system as a kind of combustion engine that just needed fuel, and as far as he was concerned, that fuel was all around him.
Ford and Hitler: Proof that all vegetarians are racists.
Following that logic, he decided there was no point visiting the grocery store when his garden was full of weeds that were just sitting there being useless.
Ford was a good friend of George Washington Carver, the famous ex-slave botanist, who knew the nutrition that many of these misfit plants offered if only one had the stomach and lack of dignity. Henry Ford was that man, and so Carver and Ford took to regularly eating sandwiches stuffed with random weeds, freshly plucked straight from the ground and seasoned with mustard.
"You can have any sandwich you want, as long as it's riddled with pesticides."
Ford's "roadside greens," as he would call them, were offered as salads and stews, sandwiches and boiled monstrosities -- much to the chagrin of his wife, friends and even hapless guests who were just thankful that he never thought to explore the nutritional properties of earwax.
Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister Consumed Jack and Meat
Lemmy Kilmister was the frontman of Motorhead, an all around hard rock legend and a lifelong poster boy for friendly mutton chops. He was one of the very few true rock 'n' roll icons of the olden times who not only graced the land of the living for far longer than anyone expected, but did it actively doing his thing.
Here, the alpha male violently disposes of the pretender.
He was also, with the possible exception of Keith Richards, by far the most unlikely person to actually do so.
Jack Daniels, meat, cheese, drugs.
Lemmy drank at least one bottle of whiskey a day, and did it for over 35 years. The food he consumed was equally unhealthy: He loathed vegetables and ate mainly meats and cheese, with the occasional cake or biscuit thrown in, administered on a "however much he likes, whenever he likes it" basis. He'd been smoking since he was 11. He did copious amounts of drugs daily, and did so for decades.
What, no 'ludes?
If that sounds like the lifestyle of every rock star on earth, you're partially right. But what set Lemmy apart was his apparent good health. His liver was completely fine. As were his kidneys. And lungs. In fact, the man was pretty much as healthy as he'd ever been -- the few times he'd actually been ill were everyday performer stuff such as a lung infection and stage dehydration. Even then, he maintained a schedule that would have exhausted a person half his age.
His beard survives by absorbing other beards.
There was evidence that he was only human, though: Sometimes, when the concert conditions got unbearably sweaty, he was known to hydrate by adding a couple of extra ice cubes to his onstage Jack and Coke.
Charles Darwin Ate Every Animal He Discovered
Explorer, scientist, possessor of extraordinary beards, Charles Darwin is one of the most recognizable names of the 19th century. You'd think you'd have to really love animals to study them for so long and in so much depth. And you'd be right.
Darwin really loved animals.
The entire evolutionary ladder.
"Would a monkey eat his own ancestor? Damn right he would."
Charles Darwin ate a sample of any and every animal he discovered. During his studies at Cambridge University he joined the Gourmet Club, whose mission statement was to go forth and eat as many rare and unusual animals as possible. It was basically a 19th century Epic Meal Time.
He enjoyed his time with them so much that when he set off in the Beagle for South America, he ate everything -- armadillo ("Tastes like duck"), agouti and veal. Oh wait, did we say veal? We meant a meat that Darwin thought to be veal that later turned out to be puma.
"My conclusion is: chicken. We're all descended from chickens."
Nothing quite sums up Darwin's rampant attempted extinction of South American fauna by way of his digestive system like his search for the lesser Rhea, an animal known to exist but that had not been studied by science. After weeks of chasing the bird in what we can only assume was a Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner-like sequence, he gave up and settled down to a nice meal of greater Rhea. He was half way through it when he realized he was actually eating a lesser Rhea, gathered up what he hadn't eaten and sent it to England for study.
The official natural state of the Rhea is flame-grilled and tooth-marked.
Darwin didn't always manage to stop eating the animals he was supposed to be studying, though. Of the 48 giant tortoises brought back on the Beagle by Darwin, not a single one actually made it off the ship.
Benito Mussolini Ate Milk and Crackers for a Year
We've already discussed the ways in which Mussolini, the Italian dictator and slightly embarrassing third arm of the Axis powers in World War II, resembles a wannabe comic book supervillain. But along with his more nefarious quirks, there was at least one aspect of his eccentric personality that made him seem downright adorable, namely ...
Milk and crackers.
Cookies made him too hyperactive, and no one wants a bouncy mass murderer.
Behind his state-enforced front of never being ill or tired and being free of all addictions and vices, Mussolini was secretly nurturing what is perhaps the most pathetic addiction in the history of mankind. Insiders say that he suffered from chronic stomach pain, and the only thing that brought him relief was drinking gallons of milk. He preferred this over every other form of nourishment to such an extent that for a whole year, he actually subsisted almost entirely on milk and crackers.
Understandably, he felt the need to hide his crippling lactose habit from the public. The cover story was that he was a kind of humble, dignified leader who didn't have time or interest in the luxuries of food.
Constipation and fascism go together like, well, milk and crackers.
Nevertheless, his diet eventually messed up his health just as badly as if he'd lived on bacon and Mountain Dew. Turns out milk alone doesn't exactly cover a balanced cross section of the food pyramid, and therefore Mussolini, in his later years, found himself bedridden with an inflamed liver and constipation-inducing calcium knots all over his intestines.
For maybe the first time in history, his doctors actually had to wean him off milk like it was a narcotic, a tactic that even Mussolini himself, in a rare bout of levelheadedness, was forced to admit was a pretty good move.
And then he ate his hat.
A French Soldier Ate Live Animals
Tarrare was a 17th century French soldier with a literally insatiable appetite. Kicked out of his home when his family couldn't afford to feed him the full body weight of food he demanded each day, he wound up joining the French Revolutionary army, where he found his way into the history books for being some kind of goddamn freak.
Everything that wasn't chained to the floor.
And we're not talking "He ate raw eggs and moldy bread!" here, we're talking "The dude ate live animals."
Give the man a lute and he's an old-timey rock star.
History doesn't record exactly what Tarrare's malfunction was, but he quickly became renowned not just for being unable to satisfy his hunger, but for being able to eat anything that was or wasn't classified as edible. Once, while in a hospital for an unrelated reason, doctors decided to test just what the limits to his appetite were. They failed to find those limits.
This started with the doctors innocently placing a live cat in front of Tarrare. Let's just say that his reaction would have driven PETA to guerrilla-style vigilantism. Rather than saying, "Holy shit, this guy is obviously freaking insane" at Tarrare's terrifying owl impersonation, the doctors decided to place in front of him a veritable pet shop of live cuisine, from lizards and snakes right up to puppies and eels, all of which he ate without question.
"Wow! Quick, someone throw trash at him!"
Hospital employees began to regret their experiment when Tarrare's appetite started to get even more out of control, and he would escape and drink the blood of those in the bloodletting ward, as well as take bites out of the corpses in the morgue. When a 14-month-old child went missing from the hospital, all accusing eyes fell naturally on the puppy-eating mental patient with cold, dead eyes. Tarrare was banished from the hospital and forbidden from returning.
Not that it was all horror and accused cannibalism; his "talent" was such that the French military used him to smuggle secret documents inside his stomach to be pooped out at an opportune time.
"Right, men, we march to Camp Sweetcorn Sweetcorn Bloodclot."
An Italian Soldier Ate Rocks
Francis Battalia was an Italian soldier who is basically unknown to history but for one socially awkward habit.
But only the hardest ones, which come from the East, apparently.
According to eyewitness reports that we admit come from an age when they took dragons seriously, Francis Battalia was a renowned stone eater. We don't mean that as some kind of humorous analogy for his wife's cooking; we mean he was basically that monster from The NeverEnding Story. Local registers from around the time he was alive recorded this behavior with surprisingly few old-timey ways of saying "What the freaking hell?"
And before you call bullshit on this one, keep in mind that eating stones isn't unheard of, and the urge to do so is often related to a lack of certain minerals in the body. It's just that when most people do it, it's not as badass as Mr. Battalia.
Excluding Mr. Rock-Biter, sir.
He was supposedly not only able to eat stones, but also actually seemed to gain nourishment and no doubt rock-based superpowers from them. Apparently he would wash the stones down with a copious amount of beer, and later would shit a bucket of sand like a human cement mixer. We figure he was useful to the military, because eating rocks and shitting sand is a pretty good way to intimidate your enemies.
"I will gravel over your lawns, you sons of bitches!"
Roman Emperor Heliogabalus Ate Bird Brains and Gold
The emperors of Rome aren't exactly remembered for their restraint. Your typical social occasion in a Roman palace involved lavish feasts and orgies, often at the same time. But it all paled in comparison to the feasts of Emperor Heliogabalus, who made the average Roman banquet look like something from a prison cafeteria.
Stuff even the Roman Empire couldn't afford.
And these are the guys who could afford heavily pixelated parties.
Heliogabalus rose to the Roman throne at 14 years old and proceeded to run the palace like, well, a 14-year-old. It's said that his dinner guests would often find whoopee cushions on their chairs as they sat down to eat. As for the meals themselves, Heliogabalus dined with such ridiculous excess that it was enough to make even other Romans go "Whoa, dude, a salad every once in a while wouldn't kill you."
During his four-year rule, he never once spent less than 10,000 sesterces (roughly $1,000) on a single meal. Some examples of a typical menu include conger eels fattened on human slave meat, a whole pig stuffed with live thrushes and sow's breasts with Lybian truffles.
"I miss the days when we only threw up three times a meal."
For some reason, he developed a particular taste for birds' brains. He ate the brains of thrushes, parrots, peacocks and pheasants, and at one point ordered 600 ostrich heads solely for brain consumption, like some kind of eccentric zombie.
In addition, he financed and held private fishing fleets for the sole purpose of obtaining a specific type of caviar, and if he ever had to offer something as mundane as mere rice, he'd artificially upscale it by sprinkling it with pieces of gold.
His anus became the first royal mint.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Heliogabalus' rule came to an abrupt end via assassination after just four years after nearly bankrupting the Roman Empire for the sake of ostrich brains.
William Buckland Ate a Human Heart
Victorian-era scientist William Buckland was the first person to publish a scientific study of the dinosaur. It's about the closest thing to a 10-year-old boy's dream career of studying living dinosaurs and also riding them and making them battle. Buckland also happened to be crazier than a shithouse rat, which he would also have eaten.
One of every animal, also a king's heart.
Those hyenas don't stand a chance.
Buckland was a man on a mission, and that mission was to eat one of every species in existence. His role in the Society for the Acclimatization of Animals meant he was allowed to import species from around the world for study, a fact which he abused immensely in order to get every species imaginable down his gullet. The reports of what he ate cover just about everything, from puppies to panthers.
"The only thing this creature is acclimatizing to is my stomach. Yeah, it's extinct now."
He didn't just stop at the meat of animals, either. While on a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral, a strange mark was found on the floor. A debate broke out as to what the stain could possibly be, at which point Buckland got on his hands and knees, licked the stain and confidently announced it to be bat piss.
But the craziest thing Buckland ever did, at least before he spent the remainder of his days in a lunatic asylum, was at a dinner party hosted by a Lord Harcourt. Rather foolishly, considering his most famous guest's notorious palate, Harcourt spent the night showing off his collection of rare treasures, one of which was the preserved heart of Louis XVI of France.
"Would you, uh ... turn around for a second?"
Buckland didn't even wait for it to be cooked.
Pauli Poisuo disapproves of diets (among other things) on Year of the Fat Bastard. Karl has both Facebook and a blog.
For more unusual behaviors, check out The 6 Most (Certifiably) Insane Tales of Rock Star Behavior and 6 Artists Whose Weird Fetishes Defined Pop Culture.
Check out Robert Evans' A Brief History of Vice: How Bad Behavior Built Civilization, a celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time.