Why you should give edible insects another chance


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Roasted mealworms

Image: Jon Sufrin

If you’re not eating bugs right now, this very second, I’m mad at you. Why aren’t you? They are food, and you should be eating them.

I get it, bugs suck in the worst way. They get into everything. They ruin your day. They are ugly. Everything about them is stupid. 

But don’t you see? This is precisely why we should be eating them. Because we hate them. We eat pigs, which we love and think are the cutest, but we’re afraid to eat bugs. That is some cognitive dissonance.

For the billionth time, eating bugs is environmentally efficient. Raising them requires less food, less water and less space than livestock. It produces less greenhouse gasses. Even skeptics say that cultivating bugs could be promising with more innovation in the field. The UN has been straight-up begging everyone to eat bugs for years, because it could reduce food shortages.

A report from the Waste & Resources Action Programme in the U.K. says humans need to find more sustainable sources of protein, such as bugs, if we don’t want our planet to die. But a key obstacle, apparently, is the “yuck factor.” 

The yuck factor? That is for kids who don’t want to eat their peas.

Everyone else eats bugs. The following is a small list of bugs that are considered delicious around the world: mopane worms, locusts, ants, grasshoppers and cockroaches.

“But wait,” you say. “I don’t know where to find them.”

This is a good point. Besides the fact that bugs are everywhere, the edible ones can be hard to find. We are lucky here in Toronto, because bugs are available at the Summerhill Market. They come from a company called Entomo Farms, located in Norwood, Ont. This farm sells mostly roasted crickets and mealworms. You can get them plain — they are crispy, and they taste like sunflower seeds — or seasoned. Or get bug flour and make pancakes.

Isn’t it a thing that we all want to eat more protein all the time? That’s what bugs are. Protein. Two teaspoons of mealworms contains six grams. Put that in your Greek yogurt and proceed to get buff.

Listen, I understand being grossed out. It exists for a reason. It’s the body worrying about potentially hazardous stuff. When eating a bug, you have to take a creepy crawly thing, a thing that resides in bad dreams, and you have to not only touch it, but smell it and masticate it and taste it. Yes, it takes some willpower. There is no shortcut. You just have to do it. But you get over it, especially when you realize that eating bugs is pretty underwhelming. It’s a lot like eating chips.

I’ve written about this a few times and I think I’m done with it. So yeah. If you’re still not convinced, think of it this way. It’s 2016. Just try to defeat that logic.

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