Entomophagy on the rise!
ENTOMOPHAGY on the rise!... or at least should be.
The word entomophagy comes from the Greek éntomos, "insect(ed)", and
phăgein, "to eat", which together means "insect eating". Entomophagy is
also usually defined broadly to include the practice of eating arthropods that
are not insects, such as arachnids (tarantulas mainly) and myriapods (centipedes
I don't think it would be much of a surprise to most to say that our ancestors
regularly consumed insects and perhaps it wouldn't be much of a surprise to say
that many cultures today still practice entomophagy regularly. In fact, human
insect-eating is common among many, many cultures today. Humans from all over
the world (China, Japan, Bali, Africa, Thailand, Mexico, Latin America,
Australia, New Guinea… just to name a small few) consider many insects to be a
delicacy. They're packed full of protein and all kinds of minerals, easy to
harvest or raise (extremely sustainably might I add), beautiful, and TASTY!
Almost the only cultures in which insect-eating is actually taboo is here in
America and most of Europe.
I've recently become really interested in the viability, and in my opinion the
FUN, of entomophagy. I've done a lot of research on this topic, which has been
fairly difficult, and I'm excited to start sharing my findings! I thought SPRG
might be just the kind of group that would be open to such a discussion.
Disclaimer!: I'm no expert and it's possible that my sources have been
unreliable, but this has been a very hard subject to find information on and so
this is the best I could do. I will cite most of the websites I used at the end
So… First I would like to say that eating insects is incredibly environmentally
friendly and sustainable and therefore could fit in very well with a
permaculture lifestyle. Cattle need 2-3 gallons of water per 100lbs of body
weight every day. The average weight of cattle is 1660lbs once full-size. So
that's roughly 33-50 gallons of water a day for a full-grown cow. I'm sure most
of this can come from a diet of scrumptious, tall, green grass, but the grass is
getting its water from somewhere. I figure I won't even go into the commercial
and industrial world of beef so I will only look at the life-span of organically
raised and grass-fed cattle and I won't factor in the absurd amount of water the
industrial system uses during the processing of beef. I've read that a cow's
natural lifespan is 20-25 years. That'd be 12,045-18,250 gallons a year and for
20 years that's 240,900-365,000 gallons of precious H2O. Wow. That is one cow. A
single family or two could easily consume a whole cow's worth of meat in a year.
Comparatively you can raise thousands of insects with one damp paper towel or a
small chunk of potato or carrot that you re-dampen or change out once or twice a
week depending on the amount and type of insects. A small dish of water would
even be too much for many would surely drown in its depths.
PLUS you can raise thousands and thousands of insects in small plastic tubs. Or,
if you want to raise happy insects in the sunshine you could raise hundreds of
thousands in a little garden patch with an area of a couple cubic feet. Or you
can easily harvest tons of insects with minimal effort just by bringing a jar
with you when you go for a walk outside or in the woods (of course be wary of
pesticides and whatnot, I would never suggest eating a bug you found in an
industrial corn-field). No matter how many insects you remove from nature you
are never going to hurt their population. Insects breed FAST and prolifically.
They're EASY to raise. No manure forking, no hay bale lifting, no veterinary
needs, and no pasture rotation. While I'm sure many farmers truly enjoy these
aspects of farming I just mean that raising insects can be done by anyone
anywhere. No prior experience or excessive labor required.
AND it takes years to raise cattle, but only days or weeks, possibly months for
some species, to raise insects.
Interested in becoming an entomophagist? The first step is really getting over
the taboo. I find all creatures to be incredibly beautiful in their own rites,
especially insects because there are SO MANY completely unique species. Many
people, however, are either grossed out by most "bugs" or positively terrified
by them or both. Most people's reaction to seeing a spider, or any number of
other insects, within eyesight is, "Oh my god, SQUISH IT!!" Now, people who do
react this way certainly are not entirely to blame for their fear and
queasiness. It's taught to us in this culture from early childhood. If you have
already been bred to think this way the only way to change it is by becoming
aware of it, wanting to change, and then doing so. I would guess that SPRG is
probably full of people who have been overcoming social norms and cultural
taboos all their lives. It is possible to change your mindset if you truly want
to. I have.
Insects make up more than half of all the living things on this planet! That
isn't even including arachnids or other similar animals. There are more than
88,600 identified species north of the United States-Mexican border alone. They
outnumber the birds by more than 100 to 1. A very, very small number of them
sting or bite. There is an entirely different and spectacular world that humans
tend to overlook. When you're stopping to smell the roses and listen to the
birds singing why don't you also stop and investigate the tiny little creatures
that are on the roses or in the rose bed and that the birds are hoping to score
for lunch? You'll probably, no definitely, find something extraordinary and that
you've never noticed before.
"Other Random Entomophagy Factoids: In case you need a little more persuasion:
There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects. Doubtless there are
thousands more that simply have not been tasted or recorded yet. 100 grams of cricket
contains: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of
carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36
mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, and 3.10 mg. of niacin. Compare this
with ground beef, which, although it contains more protein (23.5 g.), also has
288.2 calories and a whopping 21.2 grams of fat!"- http://www.manataka.org/page160.html
ALLERGY WARNING!: If you have a food allergy to crustaceans you WILL have a food
allergy to insects. They're in the same family. A crawfish or lobster looks like
an underwater bug right? Land insects and sea "insects" are very closely
Some more in depth nutritional information that I worked long and hard to
discover and that may not be entirely accurate due to lack of research on the
subject so look at it as more of a guideline and approximation:
Insects (per 3oz):Protein (g) Fat (g) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg)
Giant Water Beetle 16.97 7.1 37.3 11.7
Red Ant 11.9 3 40.9 4.9
Silk Worm Pupae 8.2 4.8 35.7 1.5
Dung Beetle 14.7 3.7 26.5 6.6
Cricket 11.06 4.7 64.9 8.1
Grasshopper (type1) 17.66 5.2 30.2 4.3
Grasshopper (type2) 12.3 2.8 23.6 2.6
June Beetle 11.5 1.2 19.4 5.1
Caterpillar (type1) 24.2 N/A N/A 30.4
Caterpillar (type2) 8.3 N/A N/A 1.6
Termite 12.2 N/A N/A 30.4
Weevil 5.7 N/A N/A 3
I took the following from Nora Gedgaudas' Primal Body-Primal Mind and she cites
her source as the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. She says these
are approximations (I couldn't find ANYWHERE that looked reliable that had easy
to understand mineral and fat contents of these):
Others (per 3oz) Protein (g)
Eggs (medium) 6
Cheese (cheddar) 25
Roast Beef 28
Roast Chicken 25
Other meats (avg) 25
Beef Burgers 20
Corned Beef 26
Sirloin Steak 24
Ground Beef (regular) 23
Ground Beef (lean) 24
Spareribs (lean) 22
Chicken Breast 25
Feta Cheese 12
Duck (roasted) 24
PS. My first exploration into the world of entomophagy since 7th grade science
class was just the other day. Live and squirming big white Bark Beetle larvae
are very similar in taste and texture to a kernel of sweet corn, a bit more
chewy. Once I ate one I felt I could easily and delightfully make it a regular
habit though admittedly it seemed very intimidating at first. Plus, it was
positively exhilarating. It was mind over matter at first, but now I'm totally
ready to appreciate the matter without having to convince my mind.
If you're interested and want to learn more please ask me! I'll answer as much
as I can and also, you can check out these sites, they are where I've found a
lot of my info or check them out just for some interesting reading:
Shaved Legs, Shaved Lives
& Oh How Bizaare.
Shiny, Slick, Altered roots
Connect these Creatures
to an Absolutely Absurd Society.
Sick. Sad. Stupid. Reasons.
Is it for Herself?
I Choose to Assume
it is Unthinking; Unaware.
However, Why Ever it is
it is just as Offensive.
Sick. Sad. Stupid. Excuses.
Shaved Legs, Shaved Lives
& I Am Oh So Sorry.
Waiting on a Call.
Waiting on a Call to find out
whether or not my sister is okay,
my sister is Safe,
my sister isn’t Hurt,
my sister is Alive.
Waiting on a Call to hear
whether or not my sister just became another Statistic,
another Abused Girlfriend,
another Battered Mother,
another Innocent Victim,
another Body in a Morgue.
Waiting on a Call to hear my sister’s Voice again
Or Never Again.
Waiting on a Call to be told that
My Hero Survived
or that some man found her Kryptonite.
Waiting on a Call to Confirm
whether or not my Sister,
my Mother’s Daughter,
my Niece’s Single Mother,
a Strong but Struggling Female,
a Business Owner,
a Cary Grant lover
is still Breathing.
Whether Tara Lynn my Safety Pin
will ever call me Samantha Rose her Garden Hose
My sister is as sturdy as a Mountain,
but she is also as frail as a flower petal.
Tough as a Bull, but as Insecure as
any Woman would be with her past
Experiences, her past & present
Relationships, her past
Smart as a Tack, but as Dumb as
any Woman would be with her past
Education, her past
Gender Conditioning, her past
Government Standardizing, her past
Waiting on a Call to find out whether
My sister will go on to be My child’s Aunt
or if I will go on to be Her child’s Mother.