|Table 1: Commonly eaten bugs|
Since we're all about nutrition, let's start off with a side of centipede soup. Bugs, insects, whatever you want to call them are highly nutritious: Many species contain as much or more protein than meat and fish (see Table 2). They are good sources of iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins A, D, E and some B vitamins (see Table 3 and 4). They also contain fiber in the form of chitin (pronounced ky-tin) from their exoskeletons. Bessie the Cow, Turkey Lurkey, Henny Penny, Goosey Loosey and Mrs. Poppy Puff (the pufferfish from Spongebob) contain no fiber. Crispy cricket casserole anyone?
|Table 2: Comparison of calories, protein and fat|
|Table 3: Comparison of iron in beef vs insect. Table 4: Comparison of zinc in beef vs insect|
Since we are coming off the holiday Passover, just imagine if Pharoah had loved lice and locust loaf, or perhaps chocolate lice cream... He could have eliminated two out of the ten plagues then and there.
Next up is another topic near and dear to my heart: The environment and sustainability. Insect 'rearing' has far fewer negative environmental impacts than raising cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. Per kilogram of mass gain, insects produce very few greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia (Figure 1).
|Figure 1: Comparison of GHG emissions and ammonia|
Insects also boast exceptional rates of reproduction and fecundity, they reach maturation quickly, don't require much land (goodbye land clearing, grazing and trampling), and because they are ectothermic (cold blooded) they are extremely efficient at converting food to protein. Crickets, for example, need 12 x less feed than cattle, 4 x less than sheep, and half as much as pigs and chicken to produce the same amount of protein. Change up your crispy skin chicken for crispy shell chapulines (grasshoppers).
There is so much fascinating information about entomophagy that I could literally write 5 more articles, not break a sweat and still not cover everything. Let me leave you with these predictions:
- In the future, Paula Deen's catch phrase "everything's better with butter" becomes "everything's better with butterflies"
- The phrase "don't let the bed bugs bite" becomes "bed bugs bites are a mighty fine pre-bedtime snack"
- Lastly, don't knock it till you've tried it