Header Image by Jared Belson
Growing up, I was a crust off, plain cheese pizza, no food touching kind of picky eater. After acquiring a long list of allergies for my 16th birthday, I was forced to exit my culinary comfort zone and start thinking outside the lunchables box. Without this initial push, I’m not sure I would have ever ended up as the enthusiastic entomophagist I am today.
Entomophagy is the practice of eating… bugs! How did I go from chicken nuggets to cricket nuggets? It actually didn’t take too much convincing- but let’s start at the beginning.
Believe it or not, humans have been eating insects since day one! Our evolutionary ancestors ate bugs as a regular part of their diet. The first tool recorded by animals was for insect consumption- picture this: a chimpanzee uses a sticky twig, puts the twig inside a termite mound, pulls it out and voila- an endless buggie buffet. This peak into our evolutionary history explains why insects were then eaten, often as delicacies in places such as China, Greece and Mexico. Bugs are abundant on every continent so it makes sense that everyone was chowing down!
Even if you’re not intentionally crunching on roasted mealworms, you're still getting a decent amount of their bug benefits. The average coffee drinker consumes almost 140,000 insect fragments per year. In a 16-ounce jar of peanut butter, there's up to 136 insect fragments. And your chocolate bar? Well, that’s 16 more! So if you’re already eating bugs and enjoying it, why not give a whole bug a try?
Healthwise, bugs pack a tremendous bang for their buck. Let’s talk crickets; they have 15% more iron than spinach, 2x more protein than beef, as much B12 as salmon, and all 9 essential amino acids. On top of all that goodness, crickets contain chitin and other fibers that have been proven to improve gut health! Instead of taking handfuls of vitamins daily, why not try a more natural approach and snack on a packet of crickets?
One of the biggest selling points for insects is that not only are they damn good for you, but they are damn good for the world, too!
The real reason I eat bugs? They're tasty as hell. If you don’t believe me you can ask the SideChef team. The other night I hosted a SideChef After Hours event where I shared all the benefits of bugs, answered questions and of course cooked up some yummy insect snacks! First, I had the team sample some ento-products including two flavors of Exo Whole Roasted Crickets and a peanut butter Coast Energy Bar. Then to show the diversity of insect protein I cooked a meal with Entomo Farms Cricket Powder - Spicy Cricket Fried Chicken and Hoppin Waffles. We topped this yummy bite with habanero honey and yes, it was all gluten free and delicious! Cricket powder is an incredible product that allows you to cook all your usual favorites with an extra dose of buggie benefits.
Bugs are food from our past, good for your present, so we can have a better future. Soooo, why not??
For more, follow me at @getbuggie!