Shailene Woodley believes in bugs. Or rather, she believes that we should be eating them. The 23-year-old star of “Divergent” recently confessed to Nylon:
“The strangest thing I’ve ever eaten … I’ve eaten ants and that was great, uh, and june bugs that was great. I think the future of food is in insects, so we’ll see what happens.”
Woodley makes a bold claim since I always thought the food of the future would be Gogurt or maybe protein-packed Pop-Tarts. Never would I have predicted a backward return to bugs.
Why a Doctor Eats Bugs like Chocolate Strawberries
Taking a peek at Dr. Marcel Dicke’s TED Talk on entomophagy, however, faced me with some arguments for eating bugs that may transcend my love for cheeseburgers — not that I plan on giving them up.
Dr. Dicke’s appetizing case:
1. Insects are full of protein, especially locusts and grasshoppers, which “pack in” as much protein as a Quarter Pounder.
2. About 70% of land is used for agriculture to raise livestock (which also chokes water supplies that could be used for growing other crops).
3. As much as 80% of the world already eats insects.
4. Insects are safer to eat than pigs, which biologically resemble humans so much that they can transfer diseases, such as swine flu.
Dr. Dicke also stated that insect eating is not only good eating, but is the way of the future. He predicted that by 2020, the West “would see insects made in the most wonderful ways,” and that we “have to get used to the idea of eating insects.”
According to a report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, eating insects is perfectly normal solution to world hunger:
- “Rearing insects requires minimal technical knowledge and capital investment and, since it does not require access to or ownership of land, lies within the reach of even the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
- Recent developments in research and development show edible insects to be a promising alternative for the conventional production of meat, either for direct human consumption or for indirect use as feedstock.”
The Insect Protein Bar Made in the U.S.
Pat Crowley eats insects too, but he’s not Shailene Woodley, nor is he a doctor. He’s an entrepreneur, and if you watch “Shark Tank,” you may recognize his business, Chapul, for its “original cricket bar.”
After thoroughly grossing out the rest of the Sharks, Crowley struck a deal with Mark Cuban and went on to sell his bug energy bars to the masses, which he feels will lead to a culinary revolution in the United States:
“For centuries, human civilizations have rightly considered insects an excellent, plentiful and resource-efficient source of protein. Even today, 80 percent of the world’s people regularly munch edible insects as part of their normal diets – chapulines in Mexico, stir-fried red tree ants in Cambodia, inago (grasshoppers) and hachinoko (bee larvae) in Japan and casu marzu in Italy.”
Sounds like it’s time for the U.S. to join the list of insect eaters. In fact, there’s no better time to introduce such a foreign protein bar to America, as millennials are constantly seeking worthy efforts to spend their money on.
Being more health-minded than ever, younger populations might find appeal in Crowley’s defamation of America’s culinary habits, especially our love of pork and beef:
“Insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently as cows and pigs, and are both rich in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids and low in fat to boot. And so, the math is simple – if we shift even a small fraction of our protein consumption to environmentally friendly, healthy (and tasty!) insects, we can reduce the huge amount of water which irrigates the massive, mechanized farms which exist solely to feed the 300 million head of cattle and 1.4 billion pigs mankind slaughters every year.”
As much as I love bacon, I think I’ll opt for whatever’s hopping in my backyard over a Baconator — at least until my bundle of cricket bars arrive.