Bugs for Breakfast

Insects have been so successful in the evolutionary sense that they have a strong foothold on every continent, save Antarctica. They are high in protein and much simpler to raise than cattle. I came to respect insects in a really odd way – and it started with hating them.

cricketnutrition
Image from Fix.com.

Crickets are the bane of my existence. You know my pain if you ever owned a reptile. They escape, climb walls, and have creepy mouths with too many moving pieces. Not to mention, crickets have an insatiable appetite for almost everything – their mouths are even strong enough to bite skin. But enough about crickets. There is an enormous diversity of edible insects around the world – and if you hate crickets like me, other options include locusts, ants, termites, beetles, and more.

flowerbug

Entomophagy (eating insects) is a sustainable way to eat because insects use less resources and are healthier than some alternatives. When you raise your own insects, you know that they have had a nutritious diet and a good life. You can trust your food source more. Entomophagy is a regular practice for groups of people in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has also been promoting this practice for many years.

“Stinkbugs have an apple flavor, and red agave worms are spicy. A bite of tree worm apparently brings pork rinds to mind.” – Jennifer S. Holland in National Geographic article

Articles on entymophagy seem to shout things along the lines of “we need to eat bugs!” and “why aren’t we eating bugs?” or “the newest environmental trend!”. That’s why this article against entymophagy really stuck out to me. Here are their main disagreements with this practice:

  1. Animal cruelty. Many people go vegan because they disagree with the violence of slaughter and the reduced quality of life for animals raised for consumption. If you eat insects rather than poultry or red meat, you have to kill even more living beings for sustenance. In fact, newly popularized “insect farming” sounds quite like factory farming. Can vegans support entomophagy? Will people start to care less about insects once they are seen as food rather than part of an ecosystem?
  2. Meat substitutes like tofu and fake meat remove the need for other alternatives. If you haven’t heard of fake meat, read my quarterly report on the Impossible Burger!
  3. You still have to feed the insects.

In the end, I think I’d rather just eat less than eat insects. Living in America, I don’t see a lack of protein as an issue. Rather, I see consumption as the issue – regardless of whether that consumption is meat, insects, or vegan burgers. Think of it like this: Would you see the difference between a protein powder shake and a bug powder shake? I wouldn’t. It’s still a shake. On the other hand, it totally makes sense to eat high-protein items like insects in places where insects are common, but other food sources are not. I’d love to hear opinions from those people on entomophagy.

“So, consuming enough protein is required to stave off malnutrition; it may also be important to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age…Still others claim that the average American diet already contains too much protein“. – Harvard Health

Would you try insects if you had the chance? What if they were covered in honey or ground down into a pulp so they were unrecognizable? Do you agree with the article that was against entomophagy, or do you see more pros than cons? Comment below! All the best, Jess 🙂

7 Comments

  1. theresagreen

    Interesting post, thank you and I ‘d be fascinated by the vegan response too! Crickets encased in a wide variety of coatings, sweet, savoury, spicy etc were on offer like pic’n mix sweets in the shop of a Sake factory we visited in Japan. Too cowardly to try them then, but am planning to visit the Bug Farm here in Wales at some point – they have a restaurant there to offer gourmet ways to eat them!

    Liked by 1 person

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