Why I eat insects and why you should and WILL too.

in food •  3 years ago  (edited)

 I want to start by asking you this, would any of you eat this? Let me reword this, does it look edible? EDIT NOTE: Okay...please hop on over to this post: https://steemit.com/food/@unicorn.jenoodle/why-i-eat-insects-and-why-you-can-should-and-will-too It's the same exact post but the picture links work on that one. Picture makes everything more fun! Thanks! (I don't know why I can't link any pictures on this post anymore, even when I go to "edit.")

(Photo Credit: EntoBox)YES it does (to me)! Well, this just happens to be made from INSECTS. I believe they are honey caterpillar croquettes, to be exact.There is this growing organization in the UK that proposed that 50 years from now, this will be a part of our daily meal. This is our future right here! And it will probably come true because the organization has already made plans to start selling. SO! To help you prepare, I will give you some reasons to start considering insects for your meals:

Insects are...

1. Good for your health.

2. Affordable for the economy and population

3. Eco-friendly

First of all, a little about myself. I come from a line of entomophagists. What are entomophagists? Simply put, they are people who eat insects. My grandparents had insects in their diet and I’ve had my share of chowing down insects.

Here's a picture of my plate of stir-fried larvae.

There are different perspectives when it comes to entomophagy. Some see it as an act of exotic feasting. Others associate it with lower class or third-world survival meals. And then there are some who just likes eating insects, grew up eating insects, eating insects just because. I know that there are appalling pictures of people eating insects swimming in the internet, but I want you to consider the idea of having them in your food. And by that, I don't mean making you go catch any old insect outside to eat. I am talking about a food industry with health regulations on insects and meals that look like the ones below.

Here is another picture from EntoBox: (Ento=Entomophagy and Box=Japanese Bento Boxes).

(Note: You'll see many of my references at the bottom of the post. Also, everything is pretty much written with simple, loose English structure, so hopefully there wont be any Grammar Nazis.)

Let’s begin with the HEALTH benefits of insects.

According to the Academic Journal of Food and Agriculture, researchers studied 107 edible insects around the world and found them to be high in protein, fatty acid, mineral elements, and vitamins (2). What is more remarkable is that, in comparison with beef and chicken, insects have a higher percentage of these benefits. And let’s not forget how safe insects can be for us. Because they are cold-blooded and we share so little commonality, they pose little to no harm to us. Look at beef, pork, and chicken, there are viruses and contamination that we can actually catch from eating them because we are just not as distant in relation.

The next thing to note about insects is that they are AFFORDABLE.

Insects can multiply faster and there are hundreds of insect species we can eat (3). It’s a buffet out there! Also, they are less expensive to raise because they require less feed and space. NOW get this, in a recent Science magazine article, it has been predicted that there is an 80% chance the population will increase to 12 BILLION by the end of this century (5). We can’t even handle 7 Billion, but 12 billion??!More people=more food. How are we going to avoid malnutrition?... By eating insects! Because, again, they can multiply faster to feed demand and they will cost less to raise. Also, they have the necessary nutritional values. What does this mean to consumers? It means you don't have to be rich to get proper nutrition!

The last thing I want to touch up on is that eating insects will benefit the environment.

Let’s take a look at this feed-to-meat ratio here.

(Photo Cred: Unicorn Jenoodle)

If you feed 10 kilograms to a cow, only 1 kg is absorbed. 3 for pork. 5 for chicken.BUT look at Insects! A 9/10 kg ratio is absorbed ! Talk about getting your money’s worth!So then you wonder, what happened to the rest of the feed? I mean, if only 1 kg of feed is actually "absorbed" or used by cow, where does the other 9kg go? Well! As nature would have it, it comes right out the other end as manure. Yes, poop. So these manure releases gases that go up to our atmosphere and whatdayaknow! It's our dear friend, Mr. Greenhouse Gas! 

(Photo Cred: Unicorn Jenoodle)

Yes, According to Walsh’s article, "Eating Bugs," global livestock contributes to 18% of the worlds GHGs (4)! 18%! And if you think that number’s small, think about this. With the population increase, more people, more pollution, and more land will be cleared for housing, farming, and LIVESTOCK! With less trees to help rid of GHGs,….KABOOSH! If more people start seeing insects as an alternative to other poultry, we can start to limit the number of meat factories without everyone screaming, which then can contribute to making Earth just a bit greener. Hey, everything helps, even if it's little.

Some say this is a fallacy and I won't argue with that, but just think about all of these things for a bit. There will be more demand for agricultural land. Yet, there is already a fierce competition between food and other uses for land. And I haven’t even mentioned the water crisis yet. Give me a virtual hands up if where you live is in a drought and you are required to somehow save water.

(Photo Cred: Unicorn Jenoodle)

In his journal article, "The normality of the current food crisis," Tim Lang emphasized this situation, stating, "... the entire relationship between people, food systems and the planet has been restructured.... we can no longer talk of agriculture as the be-all-and-end all of food systems because our climate is changing and water is slowly becoming scarce" (1). You're probably thinking, hey, he's talking about agriculture; we're talking about meat over here. Well, I will just say that it takes a LOT of feed to ensure that your steak, pork chop, or fried chicken is juicy and healthy. What happens when there isn't enough agriculture land to feed the animals? And I'll just throw this in: "it takes gallons of water to raise a cow a day while one insect just needs a few droplets" (#melaniatrumpquote on this part. I can't remember where I read it from).

With all that said, by a show of virtual hands, who’s going to go catch some crickets for dinner tonight?

. . . .Of course,no one (maybe one or two). But that’s alright! Because remember, I am not here to tell you to go eat insects right now. I am here to convince you to acknowledge that insects, when compared to our current meat source, is more valuable because they are superior in nutritional values, they cost little to raise and would feed the demands of the growing population, and they will make earth a greener place. With these information, I want to make sure that when you and I are old and we go to a restaurant and they serve us some caterpillar croquettes, we wont reject them based on social perception of insects, but embrace it as one of those necessary changes that go with time.

We need to find new sources of nutrients. We need to be prepared for a food crisis. We need to take care of the Earth. We need to know, see, and expect a future with entomophagy!

Therefore, do yourself a favor! Do your FUTURE a favor, and start spreading the word (or eating insects if possible)!


Note:(may be hypocrisy on my part) I love meat. Will continue to eat meat. Will never stop eating meat. But will addinsect meat onto my list of meat. So to clarify, I am not telling you to stop eating meat. I'm just giving you another menu item to consider. But if this post helped you become a vegetarian, then by all means, I respectfully thank you for your part in saving Earth.

And as mentioned, here are the references. Do give them a read if you have time.

Ento : Ento. (n.d.). Ento : Ento. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://www.eat-ento.co.uk/

1. LANG, T. (2010). Crisis? What crisis? The normality of the current food crisis. Journal Of Agrarian Change, 10(1), 87-97. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0366.2009.00250.x

2. Melo, V., Garcia, M., Sandoval, H., Jiménez, H., & Calvo, C. (2011). Quality proteins from edible indigenous insect food of Latin America and Asia. Emirates Journal Of Food & Agriculture (EJFA), 23(3), 283-289.

3. Premalatha, M. M., Abbasi, T., Abbasi, T., & Abbasi, S. A. (2011). Energy-efficient food production to reduce global warming and ecodegradation: The use of edible insects. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15(9), 4357-4360. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.115

4. Walsh, B. (2008). Eating Bugs. Time, 171(23), 47-49.

5. Williams, S. C. (2014, September 18). Experts be damned: World population will continue to rise. Science/AAAS. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://news.sciencemag.org/economics/2014/09/experts-be-damned-world-population-will-continue-rise 

*****This is a repost of my earlier post. There was a glitch and the pictures were not showing, hence this repost. Please don't flag.

Anyways, here's to another UNCOOL post lost within Steemit's Bikini storm

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What happened to the pictures? Do you see pictures? Is it just my computer that's lagging?