Do you think you could ever eat bugs? There is a growing push for more people to adopt entomophagy, “the practice of eating insects.” But, what would make someone want to eat bugs?
In the U.S., eating bugs is not a common practice; however, it is practiced in many other countries. And, believe it or not, there are a lot of nutritional factors. Insects can be high in protein, fiber, amino acids, and other nutrients. But, in the U.S., it’s not the norm.
Most Americans probably didn’t grow up eating bugs, instead the majority of us grew up thinking they’re disgusting. We try to wipe them out with insecticides or by smashing them with our feet. We don’t want them in our homes, our yards, or our gardens, so why would we want them in our food?
Each society has its own norms. In our society, we’ve adopted some food habits that may appear disgusting to others (eggs, hot dogs, etc.), but in the U.S., insects definitely take the crown for most disgusting. Most Americans probably wouldn’t find the idea of eating insects appetizing. However, we’ve probably eaten some insects without even knowing it. Did you know? The FDA actually allows so many bugs to pass through in your food? Yes, it’s true, and we don’t recommend clicking on the link if you’re easily grossed out.
Insects aren’t the only things that can be found in your food. Many foods are loaded with sugars and sodium, some have antibiotics and hormones in them. Oh, and don’t forget those artificial flavors and colors. But, in the U.S., we like things processed, precut, and prepackaged. It’s easier to eat something if you don’t know what’s in it. We can buy our chicken ready to go and our burgers in patty form. We often don’t have to think about what we’re eating, and honestly, many of us probably prefer it that way. That is our cultural norm.
However, in some countries, eating insects are the norm, it’s the way things have been done for years and years. It’s not unusual or gross in these cultures. In fact, many have said that insects can be quite tasty. There are different ways to prepare and season them, and each bug has its own nutritional factor and flavor. There are even flours made with bugs, like cricket flour for example. According to the U.N., about 1,900 different kinds of editable insects exist in the world. They’re pushing for more people to adopt the practice for sustainability reasons.
It’s definitely not for everyone though. It’s a great choice for people with adventurous appetites, environmentalists, and those looking for more nutrition in their diet. Adopting entomophagy is definitely a personal choice and may not take the world by storm just yet. But, who knows what the future holds…
If you want to learn more, here is a list of some of the insects that are surprisingly edible.