INSECT PROTEIN: DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS
A few months ago, my brother came back from Puerto Vallarta eager to share stories of his whole family chowing down on deep fried crickets. My first thought? Disgusto. But of course I asked him what it tasted like. Chicken? He said no. I asked if it was gross. He said no. I asked if he’d eat it again, he said sure.
“The cricket tacos were crispy and quite filling, actually,” he said. Still, I thought it was one of those crazy things you only do while on vacation in an exotic place.
Since then I’ve been reading and hearing about insect protein more and more. Some say it’s the best way we’re going to feed an overpopulated planet. Others say insect protein will allow us to escape the cruelties of factory farming animals for protein.
Still others say we should dig in to bowls of deep fried bugs because they’re delicious . . . and nutritious. Get this: studies show that most edible insects are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and high in essential minerals. Insect connoisseurs say that of the 1,900 edible bugs out there, some are sweet, some nutty, some savory, and some spicy.
You may be thinking to yourself “ewww!” But snacking on deep fried crickets isn’t reserved for Anthony Bourdain or contestants on Survivor (or margarita-soaked afternoons in PV). Get this: over 2 billion people worldwide regularly eat bugs! When you consider that the biomass of all ants on earth equals the biomass of all humans on earth, it seems like a no-brainer to at least explore the nutrition and sustainability of bugs as a source of protein.
Now if I could just get over the ick factor.
[EDITED TO ADD: Since writing this article, I visited Puerto Vallarta with my family. While there, we went to a tiny open-air restaurant in old town, tucked up in the hills that rise above the bay. In that beautiful setting, I ate my first cricket taco. It was crispy and … drum roll please … not that icky.]
Have you eaten insects? Tell us all about it in the comments!
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