How Eating Crickets Changed My Life – Martina’s Story
How did we come across eating crickets? That’s definitely one of the most frequently asked questions we get, so I thought I’d share the story properly. Watch the video as I tell a summary of how our story began, or keep reading through!
Meat and the Environment
I’ve never been a big meat eater. Eating meat every day didn’t make my body feel great, even though I was born and raised in Southern Brazil in a ‘meat-in-every-single-meal’ culture. Already in Australia in 2015, I came across the fact that mass beef production can cause extreme harm to the environment, and it made me feel sad. Watching the famous vegan documentaries such as Earthlings and Cowspiracy made me think I had to change my eating habits for good. Together with my house mates who shared the same opinion (who happened to become Grilo founders later on), we went into a full-on vegetarian diet, and when we realised, we had cut off pretty much all animal source foods from the house meals: no meat, no dairy, no eggs.
I’ve been health conscious since I can remember. Healthy eating and exercising has always been an important part of my life.
Plant-based Diet Is Not For Everyone
I was part of the local runners club at the time and was focused a lot on training to achieve a good time on my first half marathon. I was running 10k pretty much everyday, usually starting at 5am. It didn’t matter how the weather was looking like.
In the middle of an early morning training session with Byron Runners Club – Byron Bay, 2015.
Since I changed my diet to avoid animal-based foods, I felt my energy levels decrease with time, and would feel very tired and fatigued after training. I remember feeling exhausted by 5PM: the only thing I could think about was sleeping! But not even ten hours of sleep a night were enough to recharge. I wish I had realised that earlier: my diet wasn’t helping my health. Hey, please don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against veganism or vegetarianism, if it works well for you. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and you feel great, if your energy is blooming and you are in peace with your relationship with Earth, that’s beautiful! I was disappointed when I realised it didn’t feel this way for me.
Okay, back to my story… I thought to myself: something is not right here, there’s gotta be something wrong with my diet! Maybe I wasn’t having enough protein? I then filled my pantry with all sorts of plant-based protein powders and would have them everyday in my smoothies, with no luck in restoring my health back to what it used to be. I also couldn’t stand the artificial taste and the highly processed ingredients would feel so heavy in my tummy! It was so frustrating to find out vegan protein powders didn’t work for me.
Celebrating after completing my first Half Marathon – Gold Coast, 2015.
The Chirping Discovery!
One day I decided to do my own research about protein intake and natural high protein food. I was determined to gain my energy back and feel good again, and I didn’t want to rely on supplements, because I’ve always believed humans should be able to get essential nutrients from real food. My goal was to find a solution for me that wasn’t the conventional beef or chicken, nor the highly processed whey protein isolate options or 100% vegan powders.
That’s when I came across crickets! It blew my mind. I literally felt like someone was pulling my leg, I thought it had to be a joke. After the first shock, I took some time to read studies about the endless health benefits such as complete clean protein, vitamin B12, iron, omega fatty acids and potassium. Then when I found out bugs are an extremely sustainable food that uses way less (WAY LESS!) resources, I was converted. Win, win! I decided to order a pack of cricket powder from America to try for myself. My housemates – who are my business partners at Grilo today – could not believe it when I told them my chirping discovery!
Crickets are so important in my diet that I literally take them wherever I go, even if that means carrying them on a sub-zero camping journey in the middle of Salkantay trek in Peru (2017).
Cricket Powder: From Our Doorstep to Our Table
The cricket powder arrived, and for our surprise it didn’t look, smell or taste as strange as we were expecting. From the very first time, I actually didn’t mind the taste at all, maybe because my body was in need of all those nutrients so much. Being chefs, Pedro and Lucas started testing all sorts of recipes with the cricket powder: from protein smoothies to cakes, breads, veggie patties, falafels and even hot chocolate! We were all excited to try this unique ingredient. After consuming cricket powder every day for a few weeks, I started to notice my energy levels and vitality coming back. I went back to running 10k every morning and since then I’ve never been a day without my cricket fuel!
Grilo team back in 2017 chilling out on a winter day in Byron Bay.
And that’s how Grilo was born. Lucas, Camila, Pedro and myself were absolutely stoked. We had to introduce cricket protein to Australia and help people conquer great health and vitality through a natural source of essential nutrients like protein, vitamin B12 and iron. And the fact that this powerful protein source doesn’t cost the Earth was something that really counted for us. Since then we have been on a mission to spread the word about edible bugs to make people feel their best while minimising our footprint on the planet. Such a tiny creature had changed our lives forever!
What my typical breakfast looks like today… Crickets everywhere!