Why You Should be Eating Bugs?
Livestock and The Environment
By now, you may have heard hundreds of times that our dependence on livestock as a source of meat & dairy is a culprit to one of the greatest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions here on planet Earth. You’ve heard of meatless Mondays, plant-based diets, and have witnessed vegan restaurants spread like wildfires. Yet, for whatever reasons, the 100% vegan diet may not suit you, but knowing what you know about the connection between food and global warming, you still wish to make a difference. Fortunately, there are plenty of protein rich and nutritious alternatives that you can start incorporating into your diet so that you can reduce your carbon footprint and make strides towards a more sustainable planet.
Entomophagy: the practice of eating insects
Millions of people and their ancestors across a variety of cultures have been eating insects as part of their daily diets throughout their lives1. Yet, most people of Western countries are repulsed by the idea of touching, much less eating insects2. This, however, is a food taboo that can and will vanish. Remember how less than 60 years ago sushi and lobster were total taboos in developed nations like the U.S.3? Well, now they’re ravished as upscale foods. I’m optimistically envisioning that the case of edible insects will be the same (ideallyyy before the time you have grandkids).
Ecological Footprint: Livestock vs. Crickets
Insects, specifically crickets, are nearly 12 times more efficient than cattle in terms of conversion to human consumption4. Not only do crickets emit a tremendous amount of fewer greenhouse gases than livestock (think less deforestation and absence of methane farts & burps), they also require significantly less water than animals to get the same amount of protein. It takes 500 gallons of water to produce a pound of chicken meat, and over 2,000 for a pound of beef. A pound of crickets requires only about a gallon5.
Insects As a Sustainable and Nutritious Food
Clearly eating insects is a much more sustainable way of getting protein relative to meat, but the benefits don’t end there. Crickets are notably high in nutrients such as the B-12 vitamin, a vitamin 1.5-15%6 of people are deficient in and can only get from animals; insects; or for vegans, supplements and fortified foods.
Crickets Taste Delicious
Besides the environmental and health benefits, your tastebuds will experience a whole new level of culinary art once they enter the world of entomophagy. Chocolate covered crickets, energy bars & granolas made with cricket flour – you name it -the delicious cricket food-pairings out there are endless. So take a second to think, are you willing to defame the taboo and join the wave of sustainable superfoods?
1. Edible Insects – Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security, FAO Forestry Paper, 2013
2. Rozin and Fallon, 1987
3. NPR Planet Money Episode – Episode 651: The Salmon Taboo
4. Ibid. FAO Forestry Paper, 2013
6. Vidal-Alaball J, Butler CC, Cannings-John R, Goringe A, Hood K, McCaddon A, et al. Oral vitamin B12 versus intramuscular vitamin B12 for vitamin B12 deficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005;(3):CD004655.
About the author
Gabriella Bastos, co-founder at Ento Foods
Gabby is an American/Brazilian citizen passionate about all things well-being and related to sustainable consumption. In 2017 she started her own small business Ento Foods selling natural granola made with cricket flour and other ethically sourced superfood ingredients.