Supplementing your diet with insects doesn’t seem like a totally appetizing way to get in your protein, but when these creepy crawly’s are ground into flour and baked into a cookie that looks like this…. (and tastes good, more like a gluten free cookie according to Julie R Thomson at the Huffington Post )……
its not so bad. 😀
Protein derived from these multi-legged chirping creatures is getting a lot of attention recently. There are also several companies capitalizing on this new, more sustainable protein source. So what’s all the fuss?
The “nitty gritty” of this post
1) More sustainable
- More sustainable to raise than cattle, pigs and chickens.
- Require less feed to produce same amount of protein.
- Require less food, land, water and other resources to produce the same amount of protein.
- Emit less greenhouses gases and ammonia.
- Crickets are nutrient dense, high in protein and high in fiber.
- Speculated that crickets are less likely to transmit zoonotic diseases than farm animals.
3) Insects for food is a growing industry
- Protein bars and cricket flour are becoming widely available.
- Big investors are seeing the future benefits and sinking their money into the industry.
- Companies like Chirp, Bitty Foods, Exo Protein Bars, Big Cricket Farms and Next Millennium Farms are a few insect food sources getting a lot of attention.
4) Where to buy and what to look out for
- Insect sources should come from farms that sustainability and organically raise insects as your backyard cricket can contain pesticides and insecticides that are poisonous to humans.
- Check out Chirp, Bitty Foods, Exo Protein Bars, Big Cricket Farms and Next Millennium Farms
- Check out my Pinterest board for ideas.
6) 20% discount at Next Millennium Farms
- Use the coupon code “OnUs” for a 20% discount
Feeding an increasing global population
The global population is projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050 doubling the demand in food supply! Meeting the demand to feed this crazy increase in population will be a huge challenge. Can the earth even sustain this many people? This future projected 75% increase in protein demands alone will be energy intensive and polluting (more on that later).
Crickets are a very nutrient and protein dense and high fiber food source. Over two billion people from a dozen different cultures consume insects as a part of their daily diet. Beetles are among the top insects consumed worldwide.
Smaller Ecological Footprint
Energy must go into the entire animal for growth, not just the parts we eat. Since we don’t eat the entire cow, much is wasted as far as human consumption where cricket flour, for example, is the whole crickets ground up- exoskeleton and all! This makes crickets far more efficient at converting feed into protein needing 12 times less feed than cattle, 4 times less feed than sheep and half as much as pigs or chickens to produce the same amount of protein we can then consume.
Not only do crickets require less feed to make the same amount of protein but….. Crickets require less water as well. It takes 8 liters of water to make 1 kg of protein from crickets as opposed to 1,250 liters of water for chickens and 8,350 liters of water for cattle. That is pretty significant.
Producing crickets releases fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia than swine or cattle as raising livestock produces about 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Crickets require less land. Studies have shown that raising insects requires much less land. Cattle production, according to FAO (2006) accounts for 70% of all agricultural land use! That is huge!
Crickets are nutrient dense. They are also high in protein and in fiber making them a healthier source of protein than traditional animal protein.
There is speculation that crickets are less likely to transmit zoonotic infections to humans as they are taxonomically distant from us bipedals. But, there is not enough hard evidence to support this. One major issue to consider with cattle production is manure management. This is a huge issue for cattle farmers as it poses potential health risks and environmental pollutants if not managed properly. See EPA for more info.
3) Insects for food is a growing industry
Several companies have cropped up offering protein bars and cricket flour to consumers and they are becoming widely available with the recipes to show us how to use them!
Investors like Bill Gates and Twitter co-founders Evan Willians and Biz Stone are sinking money into companies utilizing insects for their products.
The Big Cricket Farms, opening in Ohio in 2014 sustainability farms crickets for human consumption.
Businesses like Bitty Foods are creating and selling delicious (and paleo friendly) foods using cricket flour.
The Exo Protein Bar has gotten a lot of attention and rave reviews for its taste, nutritional value and ingredient list.
4) Where to buy cricket flour and what to look out for
If you are cool with eating some bugs make sure you are getting your insects or cricket flour from reputable sources. Many insects have traces of pesticides and insecticides on them. You will want to buy your products from companies that raise their crickets aligned with practices that make crickets safe for human consumption such as Next Millennium Farms, Big Cricket Farms or Bitty foods .
Want to be more adventurous? Check out this source list to get insects in other forms: Girl Meets Bug
Here’s a few recipes to get you started 😀
But really, Americans eat an obscene amount of meat in their diets. Do you really need to eat that 1/2 lb burger or that 24 oz steak?
You don’t have to resort to crickets to cut down on a non-sustainable food source. 1) you can buy locally from farmers who humanly treat their animals and, 2) Of any diet that’s out there, no matter what diet type a study is researching, all these studies for many diet types have one thing in common…… they always show that a diet high in vegetables with normal amounts of protein is optimal. So eat your vegetables!….. and maybe a few crickets. 🙂
6) 20% discount on cricket flour for Get Fit. Go Figure! followers!
Head over to Next Millenium Farms and use the coupon code “OnUs” for a 20% discount. 😉
featured pic from https://home.bt.com/lifestyle/cricket-kebabs-anyone-why-insects-could-be-the-food-of-the-future-11363976860818