Eating insects for dinner is old news.
I know, it sounds creepy. However, like the frog in the water that's slowly getting warmer, we've slowly become accustomed to the safe world of modernized, Western cuisine.
Your ancestors certainly didn't eat nearly as well as you did. But they didn't know anything different.
You can trace back insect-eating for thousands of years. Insects were there in abundance, and other animals ate them, so it was less of a question why, and more of a question, why not? The Romans and Greeks eagerly ate Beetle larvae and locust, and even Aristotle harvested cicadas.
Nowadays, insect-eating has come around again full circle and is infiltrating high dining cuisine everywhere. I'm not here to convince you to pay hundreds on a meal of dehydrated bugs, though. I'm here to talk about the planet.
A report in 2013 by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization got down to brass tacks about the benefits of eating insects. They said in their report that both farming and eating insects could both slow down the impending destruction of the earth, and improve the security of food on a global scale.
It's a movement that taking the modern diet in an environmentally-friendly direction. While the act of eating bugs – entomophagy, to be exact – has a long and rich history, it's already prevalent in the 21st century, too. Many Asian, Latin American and African countries include insects in their cultural cuisine. It seems like we've got a lot of catching up to do.
I want my children to grow up in a world that is full of people who care about it. Some studies have predicted that all the world's fisheries could be gone by 2048 due to commercialized fishing. Farming insects instead is a practical alternative that won't have as big of an impact on our exhausted environment.
Through my personal experience with eating bugs and by talking to the few people I know who've also ventured into this food category, children are more willing to try it than adults. My eldest certainly didn't have any hesitations when it came to popping a crunchy cricket into her mouth – and afterward said it tasted like chicken.
One of the best things about eating insects is the nutritional content. For example, crickets are up to 70% protein – making them an incredibly easy way to get your minimum daily amount.
There are now up to 1 billion people in the world who regularly go without a meal. There is no limit to what's available for food intake in our Western society. There's something seriously wrong with this picture – and insects could be the answer.
Speaking of people going hungry, another positive offshoot to insect farming would be that it would inevitably create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs for people living in poverty and third world countries. When thinking about all the issues around overproduction and sustainable food sourcing, answers like eating insects provide a variety of solutions, including employment.
If you're not quite there on the crunchy creepy crawly front, there are other ways to get your daily dose of insect protein that doesn't appear too much like a school lunch dare. Cricket flour is another byproduct of the insect farming industry that's taking off in Western food culture.
As you can imagine, cricket flour consists of ground-up crickets. It's a super easy way to include insects regularly in your diet. From chucking half a cup into your morning smoothie to baking muffins and bread with it, eating insects like crickets in the form of flour is the modern way of conscious eating with the source of your food in mind.
As our population continues to increase and the demand for food soars, it's hard not to feel like there's no straightforward answer to such a gigantic problem. When it's broken down into doable increments, however, it starts to become easier to tackle.
Making small changes and using your purchasing power to make good food choices can ultimately be a huge step towards improving the state of the planet and eating nutritionally and naturally, too. When the earth wins, and you win, there's hardly anything better.
Whether its eating insects for dinner or blending cricket flour with my blueberries, I love the new addition to my diet – and so do my kids.
My favorite edible insects so far have been from the Newport Jerky Company. They have some brilliant and exciting edible insects on offer for you to try – if you're daring enough. Get your cricket flour here, and while you're at it, try their bag of mixed edible bugs here.
Eating insects for dinner is all about the greater good. Looking after your family's health while thinking about the planet is what it's all about. We all want to live for as long as we can, but what's the world going to look like when we make it to that age? It's all about the food choices we make.
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What edible insects would you most like to try? Let me know!