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.
Ever since I became interested in the possibilities that come from edible insects, I have seen the same basic lists that support this. In the research I did for my eBook on the topic, “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects For Protein” I discovered verifications and much in the way of proof to support the lists. But what sort of things appear on these lists? Well, let’s take a look now.
1 – World Hunger
This tends to be either the Number One reason or it is often very close to the top of any list I have seen. The argument is that there are tons (some estimates range at up to 40 tons) of insects to every living human on the planet. The volume ensures that not a single person could go hungry.
2 – Sustainability
With the focus on things that don’t require a lot of attention in order to be useful, insects are a sustainable resource. They also live on the waste wheat chaff as opposed to the actual grain for food. This removes insects from competing with humans for food. That other protein source of meat eats grain.
3 – Environmentally-Friendly
Generally speaking, insect farming is pretty light on the environment. For example, you can farm them on a large scale and they won’t take up anywhere near the amount of real estate required to raise (and feed) other common protein sources. You can actually farm an ongoing supply in the space of a closet.
4 – Nutritional Value
The amount of protein and iron present in insects is high in comparison with the same amount of many other protein sources. Plus, insects also provide a wide variety of other nutritional elements that are either not present or are just trace amounts in other types of protein. Caterpillars and crickets top that list.
5 – Already On Menus
There are several countries in the world that have been dining on insects since before fast food restaurants and drive-thru windows were invented. These are not countries that do not have other food sources, either. In our part of the world we see these things as ‘delicacies’ but in actual fact, they are staples.
6 – Many Varieties
Sure, there are a number of insects that are not what you would want to munch on for any reason. However, there are well over one thousand different insects that are considered as safe for human consumption. This means that if you don’t like one particular kind, there are others to try until you do.
7 – Beyond The Ick Factor
It’s rather hard to form any kind of emotional attachment to a farm of a few hundred crickets. However, many other traditional farm animals raised for food do become pets or parts of families at times. With insects we are usually looking at them as pests so when it comes to eating them, it’s a bit easier.
Need More Proof?
If you are still pretty much on the fence about eating insects as a source of protein, why not order a copy of my eBook? In it I’ll share with you details on the insects you are already consuming without being aware of it. My eBook is available at Amazon.
I know that the eBook I published late in 2015 about crickets and insect protein has been the most popular title of mine. I see the sales figures regularly and can tell roughly that on Amazon it has continued to sell very well. What I couldn’t tell you is how many copies have been downloaded nor if this year is up or down from 2016. So I looked at the numbers.
Normally at the end of a year I’ll take stock of some of my content, but I never really worry too much about the stats because I am only comparing my sales figures to myself. It’s sort of the way I used to look at my times when I was a runner. I was only competing against myself so I had no real idea if my best time was really all that fast other than one of my own best times.
The eBook sales figures are the same to me. Well, earlier today I actually drew up charts and calculated the sales figures for 2017. I was not surprised to note that my “Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” was still my top seller. What I did not expect was how many issues were sold and how that measured up to total sales of my other five published titles.
My ‘cricket eBook’ out sold all of my other eBooks by a ratio of just over 2:1. I thought possibly it was closer than that since one of my other titles started to pick up steam this year. Then I decided to take a look at what the numbers were for 2016 and then compare that to this year. Once again, the ‘cricket eBook’ outperformed all of my other titles and by a greater margin.
In 2016 “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” outsold my other eBooks at a rate of 5:1. Looking at the numbers from 2016 to 2017, the total number of eBook sales jumped by almost double. The stats alone for the ‘cricket eBook’ saw an increase of 65-percent in sales. Regardless of the figures, the actual earnings are a completely different story altogether.
The way it works at Amazon is that they get a fairly good sized chunk of the action as a commission. They earn from each and every copy of an eBook that is purchased and downloaded. The percentage I receive fluctuates between 35 and 70-percent depending on the title and market it is being purchased in. It is far from a full-time wage but can be not bad.
As the eBooks are not my primary source of income I am not too concerned about the commission rates. That’s partly because as far as I’m concerned, having access to the largest online book selling platform at no charge other than a commission on sales, is a pretty fair deal. However, I will probably still add one or two more titles to my library in 2018.
I saw an online poll the other day that got me thinking. It asked vegetarians whether or not they would eat insect protein. I considered that a pretty interesting question. While I am not a vegetarian, I know what it is to be one and even have a strict vegan or two in my circle of acquaintances. The question to them would produce pretty much the same single word answer: No!
But the whole concept is what has me more intrigued than anything else. I know the argument from vegans/vegetarians is a good one. In general terms, if you view a cricket as an animal, and you have chosen to not eat anything animal-related in your diet, then clearly you would not dine on edible insects. I would not even attempt to sway that position one way or the other.
However, when that insect protein, and we’ll use crickets as our example, is in the form of flour, does that change things at all? For those who are still new to insect protein one form you can get it is in flour. Crickets are ground up and mixed into flour at either a 20-percent or 30-percent ratio of crickets to flour. The flour is then used for various food items.
I can see where some vegans and vegetarians may take a slightly different look at insect protein when it is in the flour form. Those who have chosen to stop eating animal products simply because of environmental or possible sustainability concerns may want to look at crickets a little closer. Crickets use 10-percent of the water required to produce the same weight of beef.
Crickets also require 1/16 of the feed required for the same amount of beef (pound for pound). On top of that, crickets do not produce methane as cattle do and they have a diet that is not exclusively the same one that humans use. With that being said, why is there no huge vegan/vegetarian groups supporting the move to insect protein?
That’s because the non-meat eaters are getting all the protein and nutrients they require through a plant-based diet. So really, there is no pressing need to explore options as long as plants continue to grow and produce the requirements of the vegan/vegetarian community. While I expected the argument to be far more controversial, I do see the logic from both sides.
I have no problem with eating cricket flour or products made with cricket flour (cricket pasta and cricket protein bars). But I am not a vegan/vegetarian, either. If you would like to know more about insect protein, check out the eBook I wrote on the topic titled, “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Download your copy today for details.
In the time that I have been studying edible insects as an alternative protein source, I have encountered a number of myths. Some of them are half-truths, others are based on misinformation and there are others that are just plain silly. In this article I am going to look at a few of the myths I have come across and will attempt to debunk them.
1 – Spiders Are Considered Insects
This is an easy one to confuse. Spiders, and even scorpions, are Arachnids, not insects. Arachnids are creepy, crawly creatures that have eight legs. Insects only have six legs plus two antennas. However, here’s probably where the confusion comes from. Spiders sometimes use the front pair of their legs in a way that makes them appear to look like antennas. Then, they will walk on their remaining six legs like an ant does. This trick spiders often use when they invade an ant colony. Plus, spiders can secrete an odour that closely resembles the smell of an ant.
2 – Insects Have No Value
They tend to be pests to most of us but did you know insects serve a number of important purposes in our lives? I’m not talking about them just being edible insects, either. Insects pollinate flowers, help fertilize soil and recycle plant life. If we did not have bees there would be no honey and flowers, plants and so many other forms of vegetation would not grow and produce foods for us and animals without pollination. Bees are not the only ones doing all the hard work, either. Several other varieties of winged insects spread pollen just by hopping from plant to plant searching for food.
3 – You Can’t Eat Insects
Well, if you have spent any time on this website you know that edible insects are a real thing. That’s because bugs are tasty. In fact, insects have been a dietary food source for centuries and are staples in some cultures today. Over 2.5-billion people on the planet have insects in their daily meal plans and there are no less than 1,900 different edible insect species sharing the planet with the rest of us mammals. Also, insects are high in protein and are simple to prepare as a dish. Crickets, for example, are also popular in protein bars and mixed in flour for pasta and baking.
Bug Myths Are Just That…Myths
There is no doubt that the thought of eating something that flies or has antennas or is hairy with several pairs of legs is not for everyone. For myself, I’m fond of cricket powder products (pasta and protein bars) and see that as a good way to consume edible insects and avoiding the ick factor. But before you venture into dining on bugs, do your homework and ignore the myths that exist on the subject. They have little in the way of facts to back them up. For more information on insect protein check out my eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.”
I write about a lot of things in my freelance work. Oddly enough, the only time I wrote anything extensive regarding insect protein was when I published my eBook on the subject. That’s not to say it’s a topic that no one wants to explore. I think it’s still a topic that is slightly ahead of its time. As a result I have a few ideas as to why I think insect protein is such an interesting alternative food source.
1 – Its Easy To Produce
I think one of the things I have not forgotten about this alternative protein source is that it is extremely easy to produce. Once you get that hang of a cricket farm – as an example – you can have an ongoing supply of them. All you basically require is the right conditions and the crickets will pretty much take care of all the hard work.
2 – Its A Space Saver
You could have an extremely well producing cricket farm in two large plastic tubs and have them stored in the space of a normal-sized apartment closet. Seriously, the amount of room required to have a producing cricket farm is minor in comparison to any other kind of business start up that requires some square footage to function.
3 – Its A Fun Way To Learn Some Science
Even if you have no plans on consuming the crop of crickets your farm can produce, there is a great deal of knowledge you can pick up. The general anatomy and understanding of the simple and easy dietary requirements of a cricket farm are all great learning tools. It can make an excellent school, camp or family project to work on together.
4 – Its A Food Source
Probably the most amazing thing about a cricket farm is that you are producing an alternative food source. It is not uncommon for crickets to be fed to retiles, because of the quality of nutrients contained in the insect. This is why crickets are fast becoming a food replacement for humans. Again, based on the nutrient value.
5 – Its A Way Of Life In Some Parts of The World Already
Different cultures have different customs. Some of them also eat very differently that what you may consider a regular diet. Insects have been on the menu and plates of many different cultures for centuries. In fact, ancient evidence suggests that insects have been a regular food source for humans for a very, very long time in certain parts of the world.
So, What Do I Really Think About Insect Protein?
I’m not against it. I have actually enjoyed dining on products that contain insect protein in the form of cricket flour. I didn’t find it weird, unusual or icky. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I’d have no idea that crickets were even involved. I think this is where the main hurdle exists. If you did not know that cricket flour was used in a product you consume, you probably wouldn’t even mind as much. At least that’s my take on the subject.
It was a year ago today, on August 31, 2016, when we finally completed emptying out our downtown storefront office. It was where we had published a weekly community newspaper since February 2004. The paper I had bought from my former boss and it meant both my wife, Brenda, and I had essentially bought jobs for ourselves.
Technology eventually ate away at our small town business but before we started to close the business I had turned to the new technology to help. One of the first things I did was write and publish a handful of eBooks. The third title was “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” which went live in October 2015.
By the time we closed our business, less than a year later, I had no idea what significance insect protein would have in my life. As it turns out, I can partially credit that little eBook as encouraging me to build a full-time freelance writing business. I had been dabbling in it for a couple years before we shut down the newspaper.
The eBook sales for what I have affectionately called my “cricket eBook” has been consistent since the day it was released. It is still, to this day, my most popular title and I have written and released three more since then. The interest in finding – or at least looking into – alternative protein sources keeps selling my information eBook.
I am far from an expert on the subject of insect protein but I have studied enough about it to understand there is some solid evidence to back up the benefits. I have also been interested enough to try a couple of products featuring cricket flour as an ingredient. But what exactly has that got to do with the anniversary of vacating our former storefront?
Well, now that I write full-time from home I have discovered that I have found my niche. Just like the “cricket eBook” is about a specific niche. In a way I feed off of that knowledge and it helps me see that writing will continue to play a vital role in my life and if some of that writing is educational, then all the better for everyone.
I’m not proposing that insect protein is the one and only answer. However, I do believe it does have a great deal of merit as an alternate source of protein. Just like my freelance writing become an alternate source of income for me that has since transitioned into a main source. I see several parallels between them and find it fitting to write about them today.
To find out more about my “cricket eBook” all you have to do is click “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein” to find it. If you have an interest in finding a different protein source, you may discover that insect protein is the niche that fills that need. I know you will find it interesting and possibly something worth exploring further.
There is something about edible insects that I have recently learned. It has not so much to do with the actually critters but more to do with what you seem to think about them. When I wrote my eBook “The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein” I expected it to sell. I just didn’t expect it to be a steady seller.
In fact, in the past couple of months it has outsold all my other eBooks combined by a rate of 5 to 1. To date it stands alone as my top selling eBook. But why is it so popular? I have a few ideas and I’d like to share them with you here:
1 – It’s Not A Creepy Subject Anymore
For many, eating insects is already part of their culture. There is nothing unusual about munching on crickets or mealworms as a snack. In fact, more and more people are discovering that these bugs are as tasty a treat and much better for you than standard snack foods.
2 – They Are Easy To Raise
Insects are already breeding at alarming rates. To have a successful cricket farm it doesn’t take much more than creating the right ‘climate’ conditions for breeding to happen. Once you figure it out, you can have a regular rotation of new crickets ready to sell weekly.
3 – You Can’t Deny The Nutritional Part
Sure, they may seem small and icky to some. But when you compare the actual nutritional values between edible insects and other traditional forms of protein, bugs are near the top of the heap. They even provide some nutrients not found in other protein sources.
4 – They Blend Well For Other Products
My most favourite way to eat crickets (and I have) is when they have been ground up into flour. I have dined on cricket pasta and cricket protein bars. With the insects not looking like insects, it is easier to swallow (pun not intended). Cricket flour can be used to create many different items and as a result adds some high value protein any recipe.
5 – It’s A Healthy Choice
Regardless of how you look at edible insects, any kind of alternative protein product is going to have some kind of health benefit. The bottom line is that our bodies require protein and supplementation can only do so much if you are not a red meat eater. Plus, you still have the option to not dine or snack on crickets as well.
Want To Learn More?
If you are curious enough to want more information just look up my eBook “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein.” In it I tell you much more about the nutritional benefits of edible insects, how to raise them at home and also include a few recipes to try yourself.
Today I finally made the change. After operating this website with the domain name of www.EatBugs.info since I launched it, I changed it. I had purchased two really good keyword domain names but did not want to start all over again and go through a complete rebuild if I could avoid it. Today I just went ahead and switched domains. It was pretty easy.
This website and blog will now appear at www.InsectProtein.net and I’ll still forward visitors from the previous domain. In fact, I had been forwarding from the Insect Protein domain ever since I registered it, and that is why I decided to make the complete switch. Traffic figures were showing me that visitors were coming from that domain name so it made sense to change.
What’s The Deal About Insect Protein?
Aside from being a common search term used by people like you on the internet, there really is something serious about insect protein. The average cricket contains 65-percent protein. Compare that to a cow and there is a difference in that beef totals roughly 50-percent protein. Then there’s fat. Insects contain less than 5-percent fat per serving.
Where insect protein really makes a difference is when you look at what it does to the environment. Because insect farming takes less space, the insects are easy to feed and can survive all kinds of different conditions, they are considered more sustainable. Plus, the protein in insects carries a lot of additional benefits identified collectively as nutrients.
Nutrient Rich Little Buggers
The list of nutrients present in bugs is impressive. They have a wide variety of amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Add to this unsaturated fatty acids and even polyunsaturated fatty acids and you have a solid nutrient base in a single source. Also, there is no shortage of choices as there are well over 3-hundred different species of insects in the world.
Yummy, Yummy, Get In My Tummy
Finally, what makes the whole idea of munching on crickets, mealworms or ants even more interesting is that they can be prepared in many, many ways. Aside from dipped in chocolate you can have your insects roasted, baked with oil and seasoning salt. You can fry them, boil them or grind them up with flour for baking in several ways. Cricket Cookies, anyone?
To find out more about how you can benefit from adding insect protein in your diet search for “The Foodie Guide to Farming Insects for Protein.” It is one of my published eBooks you can access by visiting my Amazon Author Page. Or if you would rather just download your copy of my ‘Cricket eBook’ click on the link here.
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.