Kids eating chalk were quite common back in our school days, and we often used to even laugh at them. We’re not sure we want to laugh at 21-year-old Kerry Trebilcock, though. The young dental nurse from England suffers from pica – a real disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that aren’t considered food. Trebilcock’s preferred choice of non-food? Soapy sponges.It all began when Trebilcock picked up a hookworm infection while on vacation in Morocco. After that, she began craving junk food, but then one day something strange happened. In an interview with the The Sun, she says:

“After one dinner where I ate a double helping of lasagne and a tub of ice cream, I still felt hungry. To distract myself, I decided to wash the dishes. I took out a new sponge from a packet and had an overwhelming desire to eat it. I sat down with a glass of water and chewed the sponge until it was gone. It tasted of nothing, but I found eating it enjoyable. Finally my hunger was gone and my stomach felt satisfied.”

Trebilcock initially hid her odd cravings fearing her friends and family would consider her, well, odd. She  eventually had to make numerous visits to the doctor, who warned the young woman she could damage her digestive system if she continued eating cleansing products.

Doctors have since placed Trebilcock on counseling programs and vitamins to help with her recovery. And to cope with the lack of sponges and soap in her diet, Trebilcock has been substituting her cravings with a candy called Floral Gum, which she says “taste like soap.”

Makers of Floral Gum, you have your next spokesmodel.

[Via The Sun]