Sunday, June 26, 2011

In Defense of Entomophagy

I am a big believer that we in the Western hemisphere--particularly here in the United States--should be eating more insects. This is not, at present, a point of view likely to earn me many friends. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in this conviction. In much of the world, entomophagy is not a controversial lifestyle. Some estimate that 80% of the countries in the world include insects as part of their cuisines. Frankly, people who don't eat bugs are the minority in the world. Now, there are lots of good reasons to eat bugs. Entomophagy has something for everybody! You like protecting the environment? Raising bugs for human consumption requires significantly less food, water, and land than beef, pork, chicken, or really any other meat. You want to prevent animal cruelty? Unlike, say, chickens, most bugs actually kind of like being crowded together in tight living spaces. Want to eat healthily? Insects are full of protein and vitamins and (generally) low in fat. Hypochondriac? Insects are much less likely to transmit diseases to humans (remember the swine flu? The bird flu? Mad cow disease? When was the last time you hear of locust fever? Cricket flu? Ant pneumonia? That's right, you haven't.). 

So with all these reasons to eat insects, why don't we? I can only think of one reason, and, frankly, I don't think it's a very compelling one: people find it gross. Let's get past that, folks. 

For a more in-depth exploration about why we should eat bugs, watch this TED video. And keep an eye on this blog later this fall for my own adventures in Chinese entomophagy.



Haley said...

You may have a point, but I'm pretty sure I would never be comfortable eating anything like what is in the picture above. On a related note, saw this article in the NY Times about eating fish species that have worn out their welcome:

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