So as a person that primarily eats a whole-food plant-based diet, I’ve recently began grappling with the idea of eating… wait for it… bugs! Now before you get grossed out, know that 2 Billion people on the planet eat bugs. For some, it’s even a delicacy. Apparently of the more than 1,900 species that are consumed, beetles, caterpillars, wasps and ants top the list. YUmmmmm…?
While it’s not so much the ick factor that had me hesitating, it goes back to that whole plant-based thing and avoiding all animal proteins. Now while I stick to a plant-based diet for health reasons, the humane treatment of animals is also a concern of mine, as well as, environmental factors and here’s some of what I gathered so far. [there’s some interesting research on bugs if you feel the need to search!]. Here is the first of three factors that went into my decision to willingly (and surprisingly enjoy) eating bugs, or entomophagy.
Factor #1 : Our Environment
By the year 2050 our population is expected to hit 9 Billion which means our food supply will have to almost double… not sure how that would happen considering available land and water is scarce, our oceans are overfished and the meat production industry already produces more greenhouse gas emissions than either transportation or industry. How does that relate to bugs?
Glad you asked! Those creepy little critters are rockstars in our environment. They pollinate our plants, create more fertile soils, and while some see them as pests, bugs actually help to control the pest population. Not only that, but they provide us with products many people use all the time including honey, silk and medicinal therapies to name just a few.
Now these bugs can do us one better by satisfying the middle-classes’ growing demand for protein. Not only is harvesting bugs like grasshoppers and crickets more efficient than livestock thanks to a lesser need for land and water, they also produces less gas emissions and ammonia, as well. Compared to meat, they also pose less risk of contamination (think salmonella and e. coli)! And speaking of health….
I’ll follow up with the health benefits of these creepy, crawlies, in the next week!