When I was 14 years old, I ate rotten shark on a fishing boat in Iceland. The second it hit my tongue, my nostrils, mouth, and head immediately filled with the putrid stench of moldy, rotten shark flesh.
I could barely stomach an amount the size of a pea. The locals ate it like cheese.
That’s when I first understood there’s an entire world of food beyond my sterile western diet.
Today, the world is changing rapidly, and the palates of westerners are changing with the times. Recently a new trend has caught on like wildfire, and it’s starting to bug a lot of industries (pun intended).
My friend Breanne is going to share with you the creepy details…
(this is where I stop writing jokes, and Breanne takes over :) )
Most people would never think about eating insects. In reality, when bugs accidently fly on your food or when you realize a spider has been crawling around inside your mouth while you’re asleep, your initial reaction is usually one of absolute disgust.
While bugs might not be the food choice for most people, many actively choose to “crunch the cricket” and chomp down on bugs at any given opportunity. After all, entomophagy (the fancy name for insect eating) is not a bad thing and has a surprisingly large amount of benefits.
Here are 7 reasons why you should start eating bugs.
1. The Protein Factor
Insects are meaty little creatures, loaded with protein. Most insects only weigh less than an ounce, they are not heavy at all, and the average insect’s body contains little fat. Believe it or not, some insects have as much protein, gram for gram, as ground beef or even turkey.
Some of the most protein-packed insects include caterpillars, ants, beetles, crickets, and locusts. But you don’t have to stick with just those; many people also consume bees, grasshoppers, and wasp, though these have slightly less protein.
The point is that most insects are mean, lean pieces of flesh that can help to keep your body filled with protein.
2. Insects can be used to Combat Hunger
Unsurprisingly, the United Nations has recommended the use of insects to feed millions of people around the world who are experiencing food shortages. In actual fact, across many parts of the world insects are already a normal part of people’s diet.
It has been estimated that at least 2 billion people worldwide consume insects daily. Most of these individuals are found within the regions of Africa, Asia, and South America. And, people don’t just eat them for the protein; many enjoy them as a tasty snack or as part of their cultural diet
In places such as the U.S. and the UK, insects are not yet considered a normal part of our diet. As a matter of fact, we tend to avoid eating insects within our western countries because we usually associate them with filth and uncleanliness. However, if insects were grown and cared for exclusively for consumption, they would be perfectly fine to eat (probably even cleaner and more hygienic than some of the animals we currently consume).
3. They have a Great Culinary Taste
You, as someone who doesn’t eat insects, will probably think they taste disgusting and you may be right! Any meat source that’s not properly cooked and seasoned will also taste just as bad. The trick to making insects taste their best has a lot to do with seasoning and the ability to serve them with the right types of foods.
Bees have a nutty taste, ants have a delicate slightly sweet flavor, and grasshopper meat absorbs many of the spices used to cook them in. Once you can figure out the natural flavor of an insect, you can then start to add specific spices to enhance their taste. You could then serve it up with the right type of food that will complement the insects being consumed.
4. Insect Farms would use Less Resources for Producing Foods
Once again, the United Nations endorses the use of insects to feed people. They promote the insect farm as a great alternative to the traditional farms that people use for livestock. Insects consume fewer resources and need a lot less space to roam.
Billions of insects can also be confined inside of cages that would allow for the mass production of these creatures. A single cage can be big enough to produce enough food to feed thousands of people. Insect-farms are not a commercial reality in this day and time, but they are available for individual farmers who decide to employ this farming method for food.
In short, farming insects is cost effective and a commercially viable operation that could be used to feed people.
5. Insects are loaded with Nutrients
Insects have their bad parts, but most of them have an unbelievable nutritional profile. Insects are more than just protein. They are crammed with essential vitamins and minerals. Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamins B, K, A and even E can even be found inside of many insects.
6. Processed insects, anyone?
Researchers have already figured out how to use insects in flours, canned and packaged goods. Insects can be cooked, ground up and served inside of various flours and meals. People around the world are already doing this type of thing, and many western countries are following suit.
Remembering one of the biggest turn off’s to eating bugs is their appearance, many westerners do not want to eat anything that crawls on the wall or ground. However, if they are grounded up in flour and served up in different types of foods; then don’t you think you’d be more likely to eat them?
In fact, the chances are you’re probably already eating ground up bugs without even realizing. Red food dye, salad, mushrooms, coffee, cinnamon – yep, you guessed it, they’re all allowed to contain insect parts.
7. Insects don’t make People Sick
For the most part, insects do not carry diseases like meat based substances. In other words, bugs don’t have H1N1 or some other type of meat-borne infection that could literally kill people. However, do keep in mind that certain types of bugs are not fit for consumption.
For examples, flies are not consumed by most people in the world who eat insects. People generally stay away from them because of the filth that they carry. The same is true for mosquitoes. People who eat insects will not consume these creatures because of their filth and disease producing capabilities. However, ants, grasshoppers, and worms; tend not to have these types of conditions.
Ultimately, insects might not be a favorite for most people, but they are certainly edible. As long as a person is preparing the right type of insect in the right way, they can eat and enjoy them all day long.
Breanne Fleat is a cricket crunching writer, peanut butter fanatic, and all around food lover. Find her and team over at https://www.proteinpromo.com/