Featured Food: Bugs

I’m sure you’re thinking: bugs really?! or has Brittany completely lost it? or Eww! Most of these responses would be typical nowadays, as bug eating tends to be rare in developed countries. I’ve been on a research blitz lately (just look at my library account and all of a sudden urgency to know more about mythology-warning this may intertwine its way into a post somehow), but Monday’s post on the food chapter from The Fourfold Path to Healing mention bugs. That got the ball, running and it was pillaging and research bliss after that. Sure on TV I’ve seen it previously on shows like Survivor or Fear Factory, and now I see it on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman and Anthony Bourdain (love him, maybe it’s his persistent sarcasm that just speaks to me). The last two options do demonstrate, however, that eating bugs is common worldwide, it just tends to be taboo in the land of ‘development’ and ‘civilization’. Of course early Paleo/Primal man grubbed on some bugs (you’ll soon see why), and I hate to break it to you, but you unknowingly ingest bugs all the time (gross I know). There’s actually a fancy word for the consumption of bugs: entomophagy. This intrigues me just like the cultures that eat dirt (actual a tradition in the Southern part of this very country). I am an adventurous eater/person, so there’s nothing I really won’t at least try. Even though I pride myself on eating many things, I have to admit that I have never eaten bugs (which would really add to this post, but I think for the moment I’ll pass on the urge to go dig up earthworms in the back yard)-not that I wouldn’t. There are a whopping 1000+ insects known to have been eaten, in over 80% of the world’s nations (pretty freaking cool). In Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, especially, it remains popular. These insects range from crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, grubs, larvae, caterpillars, scorpions and tarantulas. Romans and Greeks (like the genius Aristotle) did not munch on bugs just for jest. There are some serious benefits to chomping on these guys (some are more than just nutritional too):

  • Provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats
  • Crickets= calcium, termites=iron
  • 100g of silkworm moth larvae provide 100% of the required daily amounts of  copper, zinc, iron, thiamin, and riboflavin
  • 100g of Usata terpsichore caterpillars (enjoyed in Africa) contain 28 g of protein
  • water bugs have 4 times as much iron as beef

Besides all these wonderful nutritional benefits, many advocate for bugs cultivation-there’s actual a cool word for this too, minilivestock. They point out the fact that bugs energy output is 4:1 compared to traditional livestock 54:1 and they produce faster. This is all pretty compelling evidence: nutritional plus economical plus a long standing history. I’ve read that bugs tend to taste nutty as well, but with over a 1000 variances I’m sure this varies as well, especially when investigating habitat is involved. They do point out the downside of herbicides and such so make sure to get your grub from trusty sources. I’m not gonna lie this has me compelled to try some (at least as a reference). Bugs, who knew! Entomophagy shots:

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