They say junk food can kill you. But then you get to hear stories of people who eat nothing else and are doing just fine. Like this one guy who has been eating pizza exclusively for the past 25 years. Dan, a 38-year-old woodworker from Maryland, hates veggies so much that he won’t even use them as pizza toppings. The only spice he can tolerate on his pizza is oregano.
“I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day,” he said in an interview. “I usually eat an entire 14” pizza, and I only eat cheese pizza. I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal.” Dan made his bizarre food choice when he was just 15 years old. That’s when he decided to go vegetarian for ‘ethical reasons’. “I still loved the taste of meat, and I still love it to this day, but due to my beliefs, I gave it up. That was about 23 years ago. I also hate vegetables.”
My guess is that Dan’s body can metabolize food like crazy. How else can a person eat just pizza (essentially bread and cheese) for years and still stay so slim? But Dan’s weight is no indicator of his health. The man suffers from type 1 diabetes and his blood sugar drops quite frequently. It gets so bad at times that he blacks out on the kitchen floor in his underwear. One time, he blacked out while driving his new car home.
When he was first diagnosed with diabetes, Dan’s endocrinologist suggested that he see a nutritionist. “You eat horribly,” the doctor said. Dan followed the advice, but found it to be a waste of time. “They just basically give you a list of things to try, saying, ‘Oh you’re a vegetarian; you should try this, this and this.’ And of course I’m not going to try any of those. I like pizza.”
Since then, Dan has changed doctors, choosing the ones that won’t complain about his eating habits. His cholesterol levels are surprisingly low, so they don’t seem to be bothered about the high calorie diet. “I haven’t had anyone truly concerned about it, except for my fianceé, and she’s not overly concerned. With her advice and support, I’ve been seeing a therapist about my food aversion.”
The shrink has helped him uncover a few unsettling things that might have caused his pizza addiction. “Like when I was four or five, we lived in the backwoods of North Carolina, where I went to daycare in Ms. Stanfill’s home. She would try to feed all of us Brunswick stew every day, which is not something you would ever feed a five-year-old. I would protest and try to run away, but she would grab me.” Dan said that she would punish him by throwing him in the closet, where he would scream and cry until his mom came to pick him up.
Another traumatic story involves Dan’s sister. “When I was five, I was in the backyard. My sister fed me some mushrooms, which turned out to be poisonous, and I had to be rushed to the hospital. They fed me Coca-Cola and Karo syrup until I vomited, and then I kept vomiting uncontrollably the entire night. I was fine after that.”
But the therapist hasn’t really helped him quit pizza. In fact, he likes going to see her because “she’s in the city and I can go to Joe Squared after, to get pizza.” When asked if he like any pizza chain in particular, he replied: “Well, I’d say they’re all pretty bad, but I do frequent them. Pizza is like sex – even when it’s bad, it’s good.”
“I never want to give up my love and passion for pizza. However, I would like to be able to go to a restaurant where they didn’t serve pizza and order off the menu, which I can’t really do right now. My fiancée is vegetarian so it would be nice to go out to nice restaurants with her. But at the same time, I don’t want to give it up. I like processed food. I like preservatives and pizza. My dad’s the same way too. He had triple bypass surgery and then a week later went out and had a huge steak dinner.”
Dan said that his pizza-eating habit doesn’t get in the way of his life. “I’m thin. I have tons of energy, and I feel great every day, so there must be something to the exclusive pizza diet.”