Sunday, 18 May 2014

Why can't people eat grass?

My grandma died last week. On Thursday, my mom got a call from a nurse and then she cried. I wasn't quite sure what to do. But my mom said that it was important she got some flowers. At my grandpa's funeral a few months before, she didn't bring any, and her sisters started to make fun of her. I thought that was pretty ugly...

I liked my grandma. I still haven't cried or anything. But I've been thinking about her a lot. We used to visit her when I was little. I spent some of my summer holidays with her. I remember that she had a drawer with all kinds of fancy chocolate...

One day, the police found her outside her house eating her lawn. She hit one of them when he tried to pull her away and that was when they realized she was a little crazy. My aunt had her put in a mental institution. I always thought it was a bit odd to hospitalize someone just because they were eating grass. But my mom later told me that it wasn't just the grass. Grandma had some sort of schizophrenia. (If you want to find out a little more about schizophrenic people, check out this helpful website). I think my uncle also suffers from it; although he never tried to eat the grass in front of his house (check out my post on the number 13 in case you want to know more about my strange Uncle Herbert).

Anyway. All this thinking about my grandma made me realize that no one has ever explained to me why people shouldn't eat grass. My friend Steve thinks it's because people are told not to (Steve has a few crazy ideas, but he's a genius inventor. You should read up on what he said in Sunday school a few months ago).

I didn't believe he was right, so I did a little research... First I tried some of the grass in front of our house. It was awful!! I think the grass we have isn't meant for eating at all! My teeth turned green and my mom thought I was going crazy too. I also got a horrible stomach ache and had to fart like crazy for the rest of the day...

The sheep seem to like it. And so do the cows. But that's only because they can digest the grass much better than we can. People can actually eat grass. It's not toxic or anything. But it doesn't do them any good because they can't digest it. Cows and sheep are ruminating animals. They have several stomachs and they ferment the grass before it gets to their main digestive system. (Check out this Wikipedia image for some funny names and a cool example of a 'ruminant stomach').

There is also another problem with eating grass (if you're not a cow or a sheep). Grass contains an awful lot of silica. Silica is an abrasive macromolecule that can be found in sand and glass. This means that your dentist wouldn't want you eating grass because it will grind down your teeth. Cows and sheep can grow new ones in case this happens. But humans can't. (For all the chemistry freaks: silica is actually silicon dioxide. Check out this interesting blog to find out a bit more on its use and where it comes from. You can also find out some more info about its chemical structure on

As it turns out, my grandma actually was a little crazy when she tried to eat the grass. But I don't think that was the real reason why she was put in a mental home. I miss her a lot. I also found out that there are quite a lot of other crazies who eat grass from time to time. Check out this article from the Daily Mail, for example. It's about a South African preacher who made his congregation eat grass so they could be 'closer to God'. Now - how is that for crazy?

If you want to read a little more about religious fanatics, you can have a look at my post on 'So, when was God invented, then?'. For more information on grass eating, you should have a look at this short article on In case you are looking for help with schizophrenia or for more info, check out this NHS site.

I took the flower picture from the Telegraph's website. The sheep came from a New Zealand website on sheep and farming called I found the silicon dioxide structure on and the crazy religious fanatic came from the Daily Mail article.