The biggest problem with the introduction of insects in the Western diet is definitely cultural.
As many people have no problem in eating shrimps or lobsters, the thought of eating insects is disgusting, even “animal” or “primitive”.
Yet, until the end of the late nineteenth century, lobsters were considered as the poorest of the marine foods, eaten only by the poorest part of the population, those who couldn't afford anything else. In some cases, they were used as food for the prisoners or as fertilizer by the Native Americans.
Some researchers have estimated at approximately 20% the percentage of people in Western Countries who would try at least once insect-meals food.
Not many, but not too short as in the beginning.
Many people are wondering why they should eat them.
Here are 5 main reasons:
1. Insects are sustainable
Insects require little water and are more efficient in processing the food that they assume in proteins, compared to the animals of the conventional breeding.
Insects need less space to be bred, and they produce far fewer greenhouse emissions compared to other animals (you know that an important component of the greenhouse gas is produced from farm animal emissions, right? Yes, THAT kind of emissions...).
2. Insects are nutritious
Insects are a powerhouse of nutrients, especially of proteins. Proteins are one of the most requested nutritional components, especially in those countries where the diet is mainly based on carbohydrates (wheat and cereals). This demand will make increase the cost even in the Western countries.
In addition to proteins, insects are high in fat and minerals, such as iron and zinc.
3. Insects can be bred anywhere
To breed insects is efficient, cheap and simple. They grow quickly and reproduce easily, they can also be safely kept in a city without the need for a large space.
4. Insects can be cooked in many ways
Although insects are cooked au naturel in many countries, fried, roasted, boiled or baked, they won't be consumed in this form in the West as well.
Insects can also be used as a base for other dishes: reduced to flour they can become the main ingredient for cookies, crackers, bread, cakes or pasta.
They can be mixed with other meat to create hybrid meat dishes, some with the traditional meat and some with insects-meal (are you thinking about hamburgers or croquettes? I am...)
As for other protein sources, those contained into the insects can be extracted in the form of powder and used as any other form of protein (for example as a supplement for bodybuilders...).
5. Insects are tasty
All the edible insects have their own flavor, a characteristic taste, sometimes very light, sometimes “marked”. Of course, they can be flavored to taste.
Munching caramelized crickets in front of the TV isn't that much different from eating popcorn and curry-larvae are very similar to some kinds of chips...
Of course, it is not that easy to start eating insects, but making them part of a delicious chocolate chip cookie will definitely make it more simple.
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