To many, the thought of eating bugs is downright revolting. They’re creepy, crawly and often just plain scary looking. Still, bugs are packed in protein and upwards of 80% of the world’s human population ingests bugs regularly. So why aren’t bugs showing up on menus across America? The ick factor is mainly to blame.
According to Audubon Magazine, bugs “produce more protein with less food, energy, and emissions than any livestock.” This is impressive information, especially since Americans eat more animal meat then they probably should and factory farms, the source of most domestically produced meat, make up a significant portion of CO2 emissions associated with climate change.
Minus the horrible conditions livestock typically live in (something that’s hard to ignore), cattle, poultry and pig products require much more food and water resources to feed and maintain than does a bug. Raising pigs, for example, “requires feeding them up to four times the food needed to produce the same amount of bug protein (for cows it’s 12 times).” Bugs also make up four-fifths of known animal species on Earth, making them readily available. Plus, they’re healthy — providing a significant source of low fat protein unlike a lot of other meat.
Surprisingly, we already consume bugs daily and don’t even realize it. Ocean Spray Ruby-Red Grapefruit Juice and Yoplait strawberry yogurt, for example, contain a red dye called carmine used from crushed, dried bugs. If you can swallow that fact, head on over to San Francisco, a city that’s famous for experimentation and being on the cutting edge of cuisine. You may just be able to stop by a local food truck that dishes out meal worms, grubs and other insect delicacies. Hey, you never know, you just might like the taste of bugs!
Whatever your inclination, next time you’re looking for a meal, think again about that burger or turkey sandwich. What you put into your mouth is directly correlated to how that product is produced. Many prefer to tune out the gruesome details, but it’s time to realize that in order to feed the growing human population and combat climate change simultaneously, we’re going to have to get creative and open our eyes to various, sustainable dietary options, including a diet that consists of less meat entirely. Bon Appétit!
Photo Credit: Vijinathkv