The most nutritious non-food

Which substance that we don’t normally eat would be the most nutritious if we ate it? Take into consideration protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.

Let’s rule out animals that are eaten by non-Western cultures, and cannibalism.

You could probably survive for quite a while on nothing but cornstarch packing peanuts and water.

I don’t understand the question. Food is pretty much plants or animals, which we eat. And almost anything that people can eat, people do eat.

Amniotic fluid?

Cardboard. Oak leaves. Owls.

3 examples disprove that rule.

You can’t eat cardboard. It’s pure fibre with almost zero starch. It you tried to eat it would kill you even before you starved to death. Ditto for oak leaves, except these would kill you even faster. And non-western cultures certainly eat owls.

I gotta go for ivn1188 on this one. If people can eat something, they will eat it. The exceptions are going to be mostly things that people can’t get. For example, I’m sure that there are many deep see animals that are perfectly nutritious, but that aren’t eaten because we can’t find them. But basically if something is available and nutritious, somebody is eating it.

Why would oak leaves kill you?

Because they are full of toxins. Eat oak leaves for a few days and your kidneys and other organs will start to shut down. Heck, even goats get poisoned form eating oak leaves, and that’s saying something.

It’s pretty much true that all tree leaves are toxic, as are 90% of herbaceous plant leaves. Plants just don’t want their leaves eaten.

Never been to China, have you?

I’m thinking Dragons would be good to eat if prepared correctly. Also gnomes and elves (not really canabalism ?? ).

As has already been commented, if it can be eaten, it probably has been eaten somewhere. If we confine this to “things nutritious but not customarily eaten anywhere in Western Civilization,” there are some candidates:

[ul][li]Dog meat[/li][li]Rat meat[/li][li]Millet[/li][li]Acorns[/li][li]Kelp and other seaweeds[/li][li]Edible fungi other than mushrooms and truffles[/ul][/li]
There are probably a lot more that might be added to that list.

How about paste / elmer’s glue? I bet you could get some decent nutrition out of that…

You also might be able to eat some oil-based paints, if they’re made from linseed oil.

Leather shoes/belts…

Come on people, get creative here!

Just thought of another one: Play-Doh. It’s pretty salty, though, so keep hydrated. It’s pretty much just flour, so it’s gotta be decently nutritious.


In the hospital, they can give you nutrition through an IV (total parenteral nutrition). I bet that’s pretty good for you and no one eats it. Heck, I bet with a Sigma-Aldrich catalogue and enough time I could whip up some sort of glucose based survival paste that’d keep you alive indefinitely.

American Cheese?

Actually, although a life-long “westerner” I do, in fact, routinely eat millet and various seaweeds (even have a stash of kelp and such in my pantry right now… mmm, good!) Which just further underscores the idea that if it CAN be eaten someone IS eating it, somewhere, probably right this very minute.

Is there any nutritional value in byproducts of the human body . . . things like nail clippings and hair?

(I will not provide a link to the pan-fried semen thread.)


[li]Eaten voluntarily by non-Westerners[/li][li]Eaten for money by Westerners[/li][li]Inadvertently eaten in other foods by everyone[/li][/ul]

Does anybody remember the sitcom from the 60’s called Hal?

“Hal, why are you biting your fingernails?”
“I need the calcium.”

You could probably get some nutrition from horse’s hooves.

“[If you think eating insects is gross, you may be in the cultural minority. Throughout history, people have relished insects as food. Today, many cultures still do]( you think eating insects is gross, you may be in the cultural minority. Throughout history, people have relished insects as food. Today, many cultures still do.).”