By now you should know that I am actively promoting the benefits of insect protein. If edible insects were not a dietary factor in many parts of the world, it probably wouldn’t matter. However, the fact remains that the human body requires protein to maintain health. Fortunately there are several different sources of protein available to use on Earth.
But how much water does it take to produce each of them?
I mention water simply because it is a precious commodity. I remember several years ago attending a meeting of a local valley-wide group that struggled for the better part of a day to define its mandate. The common thread that ran from one end of the valley to the other was pavement. A major highway provides us with access to and from our region. However, there was – and still is – another more important thread that binds us all together here. It happens to be a body of water in the form of a river.
The mandate eventually became a focus on preserving the quality of the water that passes through the valley. We knew back then that water equates to life and that all living things need it in order to survive. It is also why there is such a focus on water conservation at certain times of the year here. You probably also live somewhere where sprinkling regulations exist and these are meant to keep from depleting the supply of water to your community.
It is with water conservation in mind that I want to share with you a list of comparables.
The question is this:
How much water is required to produce 100 grams of different kinds of protein?
1 – Beef, 2,200 litres of water
Cattle top the list and actually require more water to produce 100 grams of protein than all the other types on the balance of this list combined. It is a massive amount of water when you start to look at ranches with hundreds and thousands of head of cattle. Yes, I still eat hamburgers and red meat but not nearly as much as I used to.
2 – Eggs, 313 litres of water
Surprisingly, chickens – laying hens to be precise – consume a fair deal of water during the course of their lives. For 100 grams of protein from eggs to be produced, 313 litres of water was required.
3 – Soy, 180 litres of water
Ground crops are notorious for using up a lot of water in order to grow and produce enough come harvest time. While soy is considered a great protein alternative to beef, especially for those who are shifting their diets to plant-based foods, a fair deal of water is still needed to produce 100 grams of protein. The upside is that this is considerably less than what is needed for the same amount of beef protein.
4 – Crickets, 1 litre of water
The winner here happens to be my preferred source of insect protein, the cricket. Farming crickets takes far less space than all the other sources of protein on this list. That is also why these little critters require far less water.
Need More Information?
For additional details on the benefits of crickets and edible insects, why not download my eBook on the subject? Titled “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein” you will learn how to start and maintain your own cricket farm in the space of a small closet. My eBook is available from Amazon.
It was on October 15, 2015 when I published my third eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” In the three years it has been available online, it has outsold all of my other eBooks combined. I currently have six titles published. In fact this month alone I sold more copies of it than any other month this year, other than March. I sold twice as many copies in October as I did in September. So, what makes this such a popular eBook for me?
I’m just going to take a few guesses here.
1 – The Timing
I have to admit that when I wrote the eBook I had never heard of such a thing as eating insects or raising insects as a food source. I knew that live crickets were a food source for various reptiles and that you could order them from your local pet store. I also knew edible insects were a common dietary feature in some foreign countries but did not know the popularity of this was moving into North America. So I credit the timing as helping with sales. Plus, when I published it, it was the only eBook on the topic available at Amazon. This is no longer the case.
2 – The Promotion
Still a little bit related to timing, I had no idea there was such a thing as World Edible Insect Day. It happens to be October 23 each and every day. I published my ‘edible insect’ eBook on October 15. I used World Edible Insect Day as a launching pad – totally as a fluke as I only learned about it once I had published the eBook. So I used Twitter to promote free downloads of the eBook for a few days either side of World Edible Insect Day. It worked as I had a massive amount of copies downloaded during that short promotion.
3 – The Topic
Well, obviously there has to be something worthy buried somewhere within the topic of edible insects. The research I did on it convinced me that there is promise in delivering high protein food through simpler means. If that translates to massive cricket farms filling up the countryside, okay. Mind you, I am still fond of a burger every so often so I don’t see my diet changing all that much. However, if we are talking about cricket flour, now you have my attention. This is currently my preferred way to enjoy edible insects.
To Find Out More…
If this has piqued your interest any on insect protein, all you have to do is download a copy of my eBook to gets the details. In it I tell you about the nutritional value of the most popular of the edible insects. I also describe how you can start farming crickets in the space of a small closet. Plus, there are a few recipes included to get you started. I knew I was on to something when I started working on the eBook. Now I am convinced that I have discovered a way to keep protein in my diet and do so within a much smaller carbon footprint.
I thought it might be fun to turn the tables around slightly with this blog. This website is promoting my eBook on edible insects so I thought that since it is all about bugs, I would take that as my cue. So, this time around I am going to explore some of the things that actually bug me. If you know me at all, you probably think of me as an even-tempered, patient individual. In fact, I am but there are a few things that make me shake my head in disbelief.
Here are a few of them.
1 – The Dead ATM
Nothing puts a crimp into my day quite like running into the bank to find that the ATM is either not in service or otherwise not working. This happened to me earlier today. Luckily it was during normal business hours and I was able to get my banking done by seeing a teller. I usually find myself at an ATM during business hours these days, so that was an easy one to remedy.
2 – The No Signal Driver
I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to rules of the road. One I am a real stickler on is the use of signal lights. I’ll even signal when I’m pulling into our yard and no one is behind me. I’ve even been known to signal as I leave our yard. What bothers me is following someone who suddenly darts out of the way without a signal. I can’t read minds and couldn’t see that parking spot.
3 – The Late One
I have always tried my best to meet appointments on time. In fact, I am typically 15-minutes early to anything I have to be at. It has annoyed others around me but as far as I’m concerned, if I have put this much effort into being at whatever the appointment is, I should receive at least attention that would be similar in fashion. When people are habitually late, it bugs me.
4 – The Waster
I’ll admit that I don’t visit smorgasbords or salad bars as much as I once did. However, when I do indulge, I carefully execute an eating plan. I will ‘scope’ the choices first then I will choose a few at first. I am always careful to put only as much on my plate as I know I will eat. I’ll go back for more this way. Those who overload their plates and leave excess behind bother me.
5 – The Phone Guy
Telemarketers have a pretty rough life. They phone people at random and get a lot of abuse. I think some of that abuse comes to those who won’t listen to the people they are calling. I don’t care if my Windows needs repair and you think you have to access my computer to do that. I’m not an idiot. The third caller today with the same story is one, that’s for sure.
What Gets Under Your Skin?
We all have them. You know, those little pet peeves that ruffle our feathers from time to time. I don’t have many and I guess when you really look at it, mine are pretty minor. That’s why I don’t get too worked up about them. So, what pet peeves get your attention?
If you have spent any time on this website you already know that I am fond of crickets. I am also a firm believer that insect protein is good for you and crickets happen to be my insect of choice. I have enjoyed a few products that include crickets as part of the ingredients and am always on the lookout for more interesting cricket laden products. If you know of any, let me know! Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look at some cricket fun facts this time around.
1 – The Chill Affects The Chirp
Crickets are insects. This means that they are cold blooded. In other words, in order to chirp, crickets need to be in warm weather. The cooler it gets, the frequency of the chirping is reduced. Warm weather gives these little guys the energy to chirp all they want.
2 – Did He Say The Chirpers Were Guys?
Yup. I actually did say that. The male cricket is the only one that does any chirping. By the way, the whole idea behind chirping is to attract a female cricket. Call it a social network without the internet. Chirping gets the word out that a male is seeking some female company.
3 – There’s The Rub
Since we’ve revealed that it is the male cricket that does all the chirping, do you know how he does it? If you guessed that he makes the sound with his mouth you would be wrong. The male cricket rubs his wings together in such a way that it produces a chirping sound.
4 – No Need To Set The Alarm
Crickets are generally nocturnal. This is why you normally hear them – and remember, it’s just the males you are hearing – at night and usually at dusk. Don’t forget, if you are hearing the males out there, there is going to be at least as many females outside as well.
5 – That’s A Big Family
A female cricket can lay up to 200 eggs at a time. They look very much like grains of rice and if you are farming crickets indoors, you have to remove the eggs as soon as you see them. By using a separate incubation container you save them from getting eaten by adult crickets.
Sure, for many, the mere thought of chomping down on an insect the size of a cricket can give the old blood pressure a tweak. However, what you are truly missing out on is that the manner in which these edible insects can affect your blood pressure is actually in a positive way. That’s correct. Eating crickets can help to lower your blood pressure. Here’s how they do it.
Potassium Is Good For Your Heart
Crickets happen to be high in protein and potassium. In fact, in some cases, crickets outweigh pork tenderloin in the protein department and almost match bananas in potassium. Because crickets measure so high in potassium, you could have a magic heart saving secret weapon hopping around in your garden. That’s because studies have shown that individuals with hypertension recorded lower blood pressure levels after consuming potassium.
Potassium has some additional benefits for humans including the ability to reduce stomach bloating. Bloating – in case you didn’t know – is caused usually by the sodium that is contained in salty-tasting foods. And who doesn’t like salty foods? We know. It’s a tough one to get around but with potassium as the solution to the problem, you almost have a good reason to have another bag of potato chips or whatever else you crave that is heavy on sodium.
How To Eat The Things That Bug You
Assuming your next move is to start adding edible insects to your diet – even if just to scoop a few of the cardio benefits – there are a number of ways to snack on crickets. Probably the easiest way is to roast them. Your best bet is to quickly freeze live crickets then once your oven reaches the right temperature, take the frozen crickets and spread them around on a platter. Season with your favourite seasonings and roast until they are crisp and crunchy.
If the idea of freezing live crickets isn’t your thing – and you freeze them before roasting in order to keep them fresh – you can always opt for cricket flour. This is a mixture of ground up crickets that is added to regular white flour which in turn makes the flour protein and potassium rich. Cricket flour is then used in various baking recipes as you would use regular flour. The only difference is that those biscuits or loaves of bread are now higher in two nutrients.
Two other alternatives that utilize cricket flour are cricket protein bars and cricket pasta. These two happen to be my favourite ways to enjoy crickets. The benefits to eating cricket protein bars are many and they are available in a number of different flavours for your enjoyment. As for cricket pasta, many different meals can be prepared with this as you would with regular pasta. Hot or cold, cricket pasta packs a punch with high protein and potassium levels.
Need More Information On Edible Insects?
I have published an eBook on edible insects. For more information, click here.
You know, sometimes it’s a lot of fun to just play with words. I happen to enjoy puns and I have never really put too much thought into the kinds of puns that could come from the topic of edible insects…well, not until now. So let’s see where I end up going with this.
1 – Bee In Your Bonnet
Hmmm, that was kind of an obvious choice, I think. Considering bees are one of many insects consumed as an alternative protein source. You could say that they have created quite a buzz!
2 – Nothing But Crickets
Call it a chirp shot, if you must, but since crickets score at the higher end of the protein scale, they are typically one of the better known options. That doesn’t bug me at all.
3 – Don’t Be A Pest
Edible insects in your diet translate to much more than a fly in your soup. In fact, you’d probably be better off with a fly soup. Either way, you’d be eating something good for you.
4 – Worm Your Way Into It
Yup, there are all kinds of creepy crawly things that fall under the category of insect protein. You just have to know where to look in order to find the right sources.
5 – Ants In Your Pants
Actually, these little critters are better for you on a plate and in many cases, if they have been dipped in chocolate, they tend to be a lot tastier. So we’ve heard.
You Get The Idea, Don’t You?
While it may be fun to joke around about edible insects, the reality is that this is a very serious topic. In fact, there are enough insects in the world that can be eaten that the planet’s hunger problem could easily be solved. Plus, with so many cultures already dining on bugs, it shouldn’t be a big stretch to see how this could be a beneficial project to work on in the future.
But for now, I’ll enjoy my cricket flour in protein bars and in pasta. Did I mention that you can snack on insects in other forms just in case you just can’t bring yourself to chomp on a deep-fried or roasted insect? Yes, there are many ways in which insects can be added to your diet and with such things as insect flour and pasta it removes the ick factor for many of us.
I know I have written about bugs and the nutritional value that insects contain for some time now. I’ve even indicated that a large percentage of the world’s population dine on edible insects. However, I’ve never really indicated what some of those countries are other than to point out that insect protein is in many cases a vital part of many different cultures. So this time around my goal is to focus on the top bug eating countries in the world.
1 – Thailand
Entomophagy is nothing new to the people of Thailand. In fact, many snack on fried bugs and chase them down with a frosty cold beer. Outdoor markets in the larger cities feature vendors selling fried edible insects and one very popular national treat is a deep-fried cricket covered in a soy sauce-like seasoning with pepper. Other insects that are commonly eaten in Thailand include grasshoppers and wood worms.
2 – Ghana
Termites happen to be viewed differently by Ghanaians than they are by most of the rest of us. While many find them pests, the people of Ghana usually dine on them along with other insects as a normal part of their daily diet. Termites are actually high in proteins, oils and fats and are typically fried, roasted or ground into flour for baking. Bugs fill the meal plans when food is in short supply during the spring.
3 – Mexico
If you think I’m heading towards talking about worms in bottles of tequila, you would be wrong. Bugs have been on the Mexican food radar for centuries and have become somewhat of a delicacy in many cases. Choices range from French-fried caterpillars and ant eggs smothered in hot butter to candy-covered worms and chocolate-covered locusts. And, yes, there’s also that bottle of mescal with a moth larvae inside of it to drink.
4 – China
Insects in their larval state are often served in the fanciest of dining establishments in China. The Chinese are also known to snack on boiled water bugs soaked in vinegar and live scorpions swimming in liquor. Roasted bee larvae and fried silkworm larvae are top choices simply because they register high in iron, copper, zinc, thiamin and riboflavin. When the people of China start to feel the winter chill, they warm with a bowl of ant soup.
5 – Brazil
Queen ants are the national edible insect of choice in Brazil. In fact, celebrations revolve around the massive winged ants that pop out from underground late each year. They are collected where their wings are removed and the ants are either fried or dipped in chocolate as snacks for Brazilians. The ants are so popular that they are celebrated in many different ways throughout the country. Apparently, they taste like mint.
6 – Australia
If it wasn’t for the high concentration of protein found in edible insects, they probably wouldn’t be eaten in Australia. The Aborigines are the primary diners on bugs down under and are fond of cooked moths. Honey-pot ants and wood-eating moth larvae are also favorites. When roasted the insects taste a little like almond although the practice has not really gained a foothold in the urban centres that house large populations of Aussies.
Other Countries That Enjoy Insect Protein
Japan and The Netherlands are the last two countries to make our list. Bugs have been a common dietary item in Japanese culture for centuries and are still featured items in many a restaurant. The Netherlands is fairly new to the concept of eating bugs. Insect breeding is commonplace in this country and the popularity of eating them is starting to sweep the nation. I have an eBook on the subject of edible insects. It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
As you should know by now, I am a fan of cricket flour and cricket pasta. Although neither is readily available where we live in Canada, I am sure that once I am able to get my hands on a bag of cricket flour I’ll be able to convince my wife, Brenda to create something interesting in the kitchen with it. If you are not familiar with the term, cricket flour is essentially flour (white or whole wheat) that contains a mixture (often between 10 and 20-percent) of ground up crickets.
To get you inspired and thinking about the possibilities, here are four of the top cricket recipes I would really like to have Brenda make in our kitchen.
1 – Cricket Biscuits
If you are in the mood for something that contains edible insects and not just crickets, this is probably your best choice. Edible Insect Biscuits contains just 6 different ingredients but four of them are insect-related. There is cricket flour, cricket salt, roasted crickets and even roasted mealworms in the mix. Bake at 450-degrees for between 10 and 15-minutes and you’ve got yourself a tasty biscuit you can have with breakfast or just as a snack.
2 – Cricket Pancakes
Using a combination of three different types of flour, including cricket, coconut and buckwheat, this Cricket Pancake recipe is high in protein and pretty easy to make. What makes these delicious pancakes so different is that they are also gluten free. With just 20-minutes of prep required to mix the seven dry and five wet ingredients, and another 20-minutes on a griddle or in a frying pan, you could be eating these in no time.
3 – Cricket Buns
I am also quite fond of buns in my diet. This bugged out variation of a well-known bun recipe takes a traditional product and flips it on its ear. Cricket Buns contain nine ingredients, plus a couple of options. The flour ratio is 2 cups of white and 1 cup of cricket. Baking for 20-minutes at 400-degrees gets you a number of soft, chewy and tasty buns that you can even punch up in taste by adding optional cranberries or raisins.
4 – Cricket Cookies
Why have just ordinary cricket cookies when you can have Oatmeal Cookies with cricket flour? Oatmeal cookies happen to be one of my favourites and this insect twist just pumps up the protein value a notch or two. There are just eleven ingredients required including 1 ¼ cup of flour and a ¼ cup of cricket powder to get the full impact of this tasty and protein-packed edible insect. Baking at 325-degrees for 13 minutes gets you some groovy snacks.
Learn More About Edible Insects
Did these top cricket recipes get you thinking about the possibilities that come from the high protein of cricket flour? If you need to do some extra homework on the topic, you could check out my eBook on the subject. It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
I know, eating insects may not appear to be the most appealing things to do with bugs, but there are some good reasons to at least consider the option. I’ve mentioned many of these before in previous blog posts but they bear repeating. Bugs and pretty good for you and here is a list of 7 reasons you should eat bugs.
1 – Protein Content
The numbers fluctuate, depending on the actual source but crickets are higher in protein than beef. That is, if you are comparing one to the other. I’m not suggesting you stop eating beef, but as a protein source, crickets are very concentrated. Crickets have roughly 65-percent protein where beef is closer to 50-percent.
2 – Concentration of Nutrients
Again, while you can still get your fill of other nutrients from a healthy diet, insect protein can save you some of that effort. In addition to a wide variety of amino acids, insect protein contains minerals and vitamins. Eating bugs will also put unsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids into your system.
3 – Low Fat Content
In a pound-for-pound comparison, insect protein contains little fat. The actual measurement is less than 5 grams of fat per serving. Most other traditional protein sources have considerably more fat. If you are trying to control your fat intake, crickets, mealworms and other insects give you a good alternative.
4 – Environmentally Friendly
When you take a look at the production costs associated with farming crickets versus cattle or pigs, there is a huge difference. Crickets take far less space, food, water and energy to produce any edible insect protein. Cattle, pigs and any other farm animal require more space, food, shelter and more.
5 – Various Dishes
Edible insects are edible is a number of different ways. They can be baked, roasted, boiled, fried and sautéed. My favorite way to eat them is ground up into flour where crickets can be used in protein bars and pasta. Other insect flour options include baked into breads, cookies, crackers and other baked goods.
6 – Abundantly Available
Depending on where you live in the world, there can be up to 300 different species of edible insects available. This compares to over 800 different breeds of cattle. However, anywhere on the planet insects are far more abundant that cattle. This is primarily due to the fact that 100 insects take less space than 100 cows.
7 – Tasty Treats
When you eat bugs you discover something very interesting. They have a nutty flavour that has a hint of chicken or shrimp. Depending on what you prepare them with, many edible insects will take on the taste of the other foods and ingredients. Although we still like beef, beef usually tastes like beef.
Find Out More About Edible Insects
Eating bugs may not have been something you would consider until now. For more information and a few recipes, why not check out my eBook on the subject? It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
You know you are onto something when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization starts promoting the same topic. The topic I’m referring to here is edible insects. It isn’t a recent report, but the UNFAO put a nice, shiny light on the subject when they announced to the rest of the world that there are well over 1,900 edible insect species on our planet. They also noted that hundreds of those are already being dined on in several countries. While I have continued to point out the benefits of eating bugs – protein, minerals, fibre and the good fats we need in our diet, this time around I want to do something different. The UN report listed the top eight edible insects and I want to share that information with you today.
1 – Beetles
Although there are several varieties of beetles, the ones most commonly eaten are june, dung, long-horned and the rhinoceros. Apparently if you roast them just right they can be munched in much the same manner as popcorn. Beetles have more protein than most other bugs.
2 – Butterflies/Moths
I would never have imagined these to be on this list but they are. The best time to enjoy butterflies or moths is when they are in their larval and pupal stages. It is at that time when they are loaded with protein and iron. In some countries they are eaten as supplements.
3 – Bees/Wasps
As much as I would rather let bees produce honey, they do provide an excellent protein source. They are best enjoyed in their immature stages – in egg, larval or pupal form. Bees apparently have a peanut taste while wasps have a flavour described as pine-nutty.
4 – Ants
This is one insect that is truly a superstar when it comes to edible insects. Just 100 grams of red ants contains 14 grams of protein, 48 grams of calcium, iron and other nutrients. They are a favourite snack item in many parts of the world and roast up nicely or are dipped in chocolate.
5 – Grasshoppers/Crickets/Locusts
What makes these hopping and flying insects so tasty is that they typically have a neutral flavour. This means that they will take on the flavour of whatever they are being prepared with. I’m a fan of crickets having enjoyed them in powder and pasta form (cricket flour).
6 – Flies/Mosquitoes
Although you may not consider these on your list of potential edible insects, they are a lot like crickets in that flies and mosquitoes will take on the flavour of something else. An example is if you harvest them from a water source, the insects will come with a fowl or fish flavour.
7 – Water Boatmen/Backswimmers
Again, not what I would have expected on this list but they do provide an interesting food source. The eggs laid by water boatmen and backswimmers are typically deposited on aquatic plant stems. They can be dried, removed from the plants and eaten. Expect fish flavours.
8 – Stinkbugs
Don’t let the stench from these little buggers fool you. They are filled with iodine and apparently have an apple flavour. Stinkbugs are also valuable for medicinal purposes as they have analgesic and anesthetic properties. That may cause you to think twice before flushing one down the drain.
Find Out More About Edible Insects
If eating insects is not one of the things you thought you would try, why not take a few minutes and explore the possibility further? It doesn’t have to be on your Bucket List but you could add my eBook to your list. It contains further details and recipes. Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.