Eating bugs – 10 reasons you should try insect protein

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Yes! Bugs!

While we’ve always been game for sampling non-traditional sources of protein, including powders from seeds and grains, peas, nuts and even algae… we must admit we did slightly hesitate at the mention of… bugs.

Patricia and I have been eager to learn more about this daring protein source and do some first-hand taste-testing. Firstly, I must admit that as a child, Patricia would regularly rat me out to our mom and dad for eating earthworms. (I ran over the worms with my tricycle first, which I considered to be both for their comfort and my own.) I’d like to think I was ahead of the whole alternative protein movement…

With meatless eating becoming more common, even if occasional, the options for new protein sources are popping up everywhere. Expect new alternatives and ideas to continue to hit the market, as we look for solutions to offset the global food crisis and tackling sustainable challenges for our planet. Bugs, or insect protein, aims to help solve much of that. It is tremendously healthy and offers solutions for some of the environmental concerns caused by meat production.

We get that bugs are healthy, but pleasurable? We were about to find out. I graciously gave Patricia the first shot and then we both decided to relegate that to her husband, who crunched without fear. The whole family dug in, pardon the pun, and sampled a variety of seasoned bugs including cricket flavors: honey mustard, Moroccan and barbecue; as well as barbecue, fire and brimstone and sea salt and black pepper flavoured mealworms. The bugs were crunchy and as I ate, I envisioned easily tossing them on top of a salad, much like croutons.

Flavoured mealworms and crickets

We also sampled the soft, brown cricket powder, which had the texture of whole wheat flour.

It could easily substitute a portion (up to 10%) of flour in baking, and go undetected in recipes that have cocoa or a darker appearance. Think bran muffins, banana bread, carrot cake, chocolate cake or even brownies — with inconspicuous additional protein.

Overall, we preferred the cricket flour added to our Chocolate Banana & Peanut Butter Amaranth Smoothie. We added ¼ cup (60 mL) to the 2-serving recipe, or 2 tablespoons to a single serving. That gave each shake an additional 90 calories, 12 g of protein, 4 g of fat, and 190 mg of potassium with only 2 more grams of carbohydrates.

We figure, if you’re looking for additional protein on a daily basis, it makes the most sense to add it to something you eat consistently. (Although, if we’re talking about carrot cake or brownies, we are okay eating more of it occasionally as well.)

The bug business is booming, according to Entomo Farms co-founder, Jarrod Goldin, whom we spoke with by phone. According to their stats, over 2 billion people eat insect protein daily around the globe, which is 33 per cent of the world! AND with a list of great reasons to eat it, why not? This insect protein is a loaded source, is complete, low fat, high in iron, calcium and fiber, is a source of vitamin B12, and low in calories. It is also not genetically modified and is organic.

 P.S. We also had our golden retriever dog friends, Maya and Zara try the nutritious, bug-loaded mango madness chewies and they seemed to love them!

 Try it! Chocolate Banana & Peanut Butter Amaranth Smoothie from our cookbook, Grain Power (2014)

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