Eating bugs is one of those taboo topics in North America and Europe (although the rest of the world, which is 80% of the population, eats bugs regularly). But here? Here it’s kind of like eating dirt or something yucky. It’s time to shift those perceptions though because as it turns out bugs are health food for you, and for the planet and they could be the key to solving world hunger. Outside of those lofty goals, they’re just really freaking good for you and have a nutty, easy to eat flavor just as long as you get past the thinking about it phase.
Top 7 Reasons You Should Be Eating Bugs:
Here are some statistics according to the Institute of Food Technologists:
- Protein – It’s easy to think of beef as the biggest, baddest protein source in the world, but actually bugs can claim that crown. Crickets are 65% protein, where beef is only 50%. That’s a huge leap (bad cricket humor).
- Nutritarian – in addition to the protein, insects are one of the most nutritarian foods I’ve ever heard of, and you know I like my nutritarian, nutrition-packed foods. Bugs have a broad range of amino-acids, vitamins, minerals, trace-minerals and they’re high in good fats including unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Seriously – it’s like super food.
- Low Fat – Many different types of edible insects have less than 5 grams of fat per serving.
- Sustainable – While modern agriculture is destroying the earth with chemicals, pesticide and huge land-use, insects don’t need much space, live in every sort of condition and eat just about everything. Bugs are the perfect crop. I stumbled across a great charity that is working to promote bug-awareness as a sustainable food source. They do bug tastings and events and that sort of thing so check them out – they’re called (hilariously) Little Herds.
- Easy to Cook With – It sounds counter-intuitive to our Western minds, but you can cook bugs bunches of different ways from sauteed to pan fry to baked, roasted or boiled. The easiest way to use them is actually in an insect-based flour that is high protein, high fiber and blends easily with regular flour to add nutritional oomph to your meal without having to know you’re eating bugs.
- Abundant – if there’s anything we’re not running out of, it’s bugs. Plus there are hundreds of different species so you can find your favorites with many, many, many to choose from.
- Taste – you many not believe me but different species of bugs are delicacies around the world, prized as choice dishes. The flavors have been described as nutty, like shrimp or (the common phrase) it tastes like chicken. Ha!
The Worse Sales-Pitch Ever for Eating Bugs (watch until the end. It’s a killer)
Yeah – so, disregard that guy. Great info, but really???
Where Do I Even Get Bugs To Eat?
Outside of harvesting in your back yard, which seems to me like it’s probably just a little too “real” if you’re just starting out on this bug adventure, you can buy bugs on amazon (they really do have everything). Also the occasional health food store will have insect-based products. I haven’t tried the bugs yet, but I’m keen to get started and I’m thinking that either flour or protein bar might be the way to go… I’m used to adding alternative flours to recipes so I will for sure keep you posted on this project…
Price-wise, here’s the best price on cricket flours that I found (still pretty pricey, for bugs):
I have to say, I’m really enjoying the company’s write-up about it:
Looking for an unusual and unique way to fuel your high protein diet? Nature has the answer with this nourishing flour made entirely from ground crickets. To most, eating crickets may appear to have a high ‘yuk’ factor but you won’t spot any of the distinctive characteristics of our chirruping chums in this flour.
Our crickets are raised commercially, fed a specifically developed, healthy diet and are raised in clean and hygienic conditions. Containing no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours, this low-fat flour has many nutritional benefits. Packed with vitamin B12 and iron, and rich in protein, it can be used to produce energy bars, snacks and much more.
The flour is produced at our FDA approved factory where the crickets are cleaned, processed and packed ready to be shipped off to you in handy foil pouches. Each 100 grams (0.22 pounds) of cricket flour contains approximately 1,112 of our premium Acheta Domestica crickets! Who knew that Pinocchio’s wise little sidekick could be so tasty and nutritious?
Ha! Pinocchio’s little sidekick indeed. I suppose you would have to have a sense of humor if you make bug flour for a living. A good point here is that bugs fit nicely into an ancestral diet or paleo diet because they are chock full of protein, fiber and nutrients and certainly don’t have to be farmed or domesticated to be eaten. In my research I found a fascinating article in scientific american about what the “true” paleolithic diet might be, and although the bottom line included complex factors like gut evolution, this stood out to me:
They eat and ate meat, BUT most of that meat comes from insects. And so if you are serious about eating a really old school paleo diet, if you mean to eat what our bodies evolved to eat in the “old” days, you really need to be eating more insects
Essential our ancestors were eating bugs in addition to lots of plant matter including starchy roots and only small amounts of meat and extremely small amounts of grains. That’s a big diversion from the modern-day paleo diet. Does that mean modern paleo is wrong? No – not at all, it just means that we tend to modernize even our view of ancestral eating to take out the things that don’t fit into our cultural view, like eating bugs.