Entomophagy: Eat Bugs for You & the Planet
(grasshopper stir fry)
Yummm~~ Grasshopper stir fry. Looks scrumptious…. You know what, yeah, that’s not really appetizing. Well, here are a few reasons why we should all be eating more grasshoppers no matter how unappetizing it looks.
Did you know that livestock farming contributes to more than 18% of man-caused greenhouse gas emissions worldwide- yeah your burger has some really serious consequences. Climate change, land degradation, water degradation, coral reef degeneration, deforestation, acid-rain, biodiversity loss, and so much more of our current environmental problems can be traced back to livestock farming. In addition to that, livestock farming takes up 30% of Earth’s land surface, an amount of space that could produce enough grain to feed an additional 3.5+ billion people and end world hunger if it wasn’t used to raise cows and pigs. On the other hand, grasshoppers (per kg) require 2000x less water than cows, 12x less food than cows, use 2000x less land than cows, grow 13x faster than cows, and produce 100x less CO2 than cows. Additionally, insects comprise 80% of the world’s animal population, and are very easy for anyone to grow at home, making insect ‘meat’ much more accessible than beef or pork.
If you’re still not convinced about eating grasshoppers for the greater good of the planet, guess what, it’s better for your health as well. Grasshoppers have as much protein as beef or chicken, even containing all 9 essential amino acids. In addition to that, grasshopper ‘meat’ is also rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, Omega 3 (more than salmon), healthy fats, calcium (more than milk), iron (more than spinach), and many more micronutrients. In addition, the exoskeleton of the grasshopper, chitin, is a valuable prebiotic (food for probiotics). Most importantly, unlike red-meat, grasshopper ‘meat’ isn’t a proven carcinogen.
Wow, grasshoppers truly are a magnificent food source- I’ve even convinced myself while researching for this article. And hey, if you’re worried about the taste, I’ve eaten some insect dishes here and there, and they’re not all that bad. Insects offer a great variety of taste and textures, and are actually enjoyed in many countries such as Cambodia and Thailand. So the next time you eat out, remember to ask for the grasshopper stir fry.
Photo credit: http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22946221/at-seattle-mariners-games-grasshoppers-favorite-snack