Perhaps you’ve been hearing whispers of cricket protein on the isles of natural foods stores or maybe you saw the cricket protein pitch on that episode of Shark Tank a while back. You may have even tried one of the many cricket energy bars that are now available.
Whether you have heard of the “Gateway Bug” or not there is a movement happening here in the West and it’s called Entomophagy, Ento…what?? Entomophagy is “the practice of eating insects especially by humans.” It turns out eating insects is a great idea and here are the top 5 reasons you should join the entomophagy movement.
1. Crickets are Remarkably Nutritious
Ok, so this first one’s kind of a no-brainer.
First off crickets are 64% protein by weight, and that’s complete protein (forgive me if you already know this, but a protein is considered “complete” if it contains all 9 essential amino acids).
The next notable nutrition fun fact is about Vitamin B-12. Crickets a super high in this crucial blood building vitamin. Exact percentages depend on which brand of crickets your eating but typically a single serving of dry roasted crickets or cricket powder contains way more than 100% of your RDA of Vitamin B-12.
Pre-biotics…um…What’re prebiotics?? You know that probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in your gut, well, prebiotics are the nutrients that those probiotics need to thrive. You can take a capsule that has a billion live beneficial bacteria in it, but, if there aren’t proper amounts of prebiotics present in your gut than many, if not most, of those probiotics will pass through your digestive tract never having achieved their goal of providing you healthy digestion and boosting your immune system. A crickets exoskeleton is made out of Chitin (pronounced Kai-tin) which, you guessed it, is a prebiotic fiber.
Crickets contain Omega 3 and 6, some cricket products boast as much omega fats as salmon.
Lastly, crickets are low carbohydrate. And generally low fat. Crickets have 0% trans fat and, again percentages vary, but a serving of most dry roasted crickets and cricket powders has about 10% of your RDA of saturated fat.
Crickets also contain calcium and iron but since a serving is typically only 2 tablespoons the total amounts of these minerals is small.
2. Crickets are a Sustainable Protein Source
Traditional animal agriculture uses vast amounts of natural resources and creates tremendous amounts of pollution, mainly in the form of methane, a greenhouse gas. Just a real short breakdown in case you’re unaware; to produce a pound of beef it takes 2500 gallons of water and produces nearly 3 lbs of greenhouse gas. Crickets on the other hand need 2 gallons of water to make 1 lb of protein and produce .001 oz of greenhouse gas plus crickets feed conversion ratio is 5 times more efficient than that of beef (feed conversion ratio is the amount of feed that is needed to produce one lb of protein).
The numbers are a little less for pork and chicken but whether you’re comparing water use, land use, feed conversion ratios, greenhouse gas emissions or even overall nutrition crickets are just far more efficient.
By the year 2050 the projected population is 9.8 billion. That year will be pretty bleak if we continue using natural resources like they are unlimited. As our population grows we have to grow, and we have grown out of the old model of inefficient use of natural resources in animal agriculture. Crickets are the micro-livestock of a more sustainable future.
When asked to describe the flavor of a dry roasted cricket most people say they have a mild, nutty flavor, a bit like a sunflower or pumpkin seed.
This relatively neutral flavor profile lends itself to crickets versatility in the kitchen. Cricket powder goes great in smoothies, dips like guacamole or hummus, baked goods like breads muffins or brownies, or how bout some cricket pancakes. The list really goes on and on, especially when you add the whole dry roasted crickets to the pantry, think cricket taco filling, cricket croutons, cricket granola, cricket trail mix etc… With just a little bit of creativity crickets can easily become a delicious, nutritious addition to our diets.
4. Crickets Promote a Food Secure Future
Like I mentioned above we are headed toward 9.8 billion people by the year 2050, and it is a reality that our current model of agriculture could not sustain that population. On the bright side, crickets are an obvious answer to this predicament.
Crickets can also play a vital role in feeding those in developing countries. Small scale cricket farms have a low initial cost to set up and can be highly productive. In addition to providing a protein dense food where it is needed most, cricket farms can also generate incomes where that was previously lacking.
As our global living situation changes it is on us to think more as a species and less as billions of individuals.
Incorporating crickets, or other insects, into your diet wherever you live is good for the planet, good for the growing population and good for your body. Looking toward the future entomophagy just makes sense.
5. Outside the Comfort Zone
I’ve talked to a lot of people about eating crickets. Once I’ve answered all the practical questions about nutrition, environmental benefits etc. I often see the final block for people is a psychological one.
No amount of logic or information will loosen this block. What it takes is a willingness to push past apprehension and step into an unknown.
When I sample cricket products in grocery stores this is my favorite moment: to witness someone push past a fear to try something new. In that moment I often visibly see something come over that person, a subtle sense of aliveness, adventure or daring. I believe it is what this quote we’ve all heard is referring to, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Nearly every person who has taken that leap at my sample table says something like, “Wow, not bad”.
Are you ready to take that leap and join the entomophagy movement?
Consider letting Evolution Ranch be your source for high quality cricket products.