UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
iStock.com/casketcase

Bug bites

By Kieran Delamont


With their spindly legs and crunchy exoskeletons, insects might be hard to fathom on a typical North American dinner plate. But they could be the food of the future. Lauded for their health benefits and sustainability, edible insect products — mainly crickets — are showing up more often on menus and store shelves.


Nutritional powerhouses


For many cultures around the world, insects are a staple of the local diet. Here in the West, there’s an increasing awareness that entomophagy — the act of eating insects — is good for you. Crickets, for example, provide more protein than beef and up to five times more iron. Crickets are also high in vitamin B-12, potassium, calcium, magnesium and amino acids.

For those who avoid meat, insects may help bridge the nutritional gap: crickets, writes Rachael Lacey in a University of Michigan study, offer the “potential for people to receive the most sought-after health benefits of meat.”


Battling global hunger


With the world’s population expected to top nine billion by 2050, our reliance on the meat industry is unsustainable. Globally, 70 percent of agricultural land is dedicated either to livestock or growing food for livestock, accounting for about 12 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Cricket cultivation, however, requires substantially fewer resources than beef or even soy production. “We’re not saying let’s ban the beef industry,” says Stacie Goldin, community manager at the largest insect farm in North America, Entomo Farms near Norwood, Ont. “We’re saying we can’t keep on the way we’re keeping on.”


Cricket cuisine


It’s getting easier to incorporate crickets into your diet. Cricket powder, for instance, can be added to soups and stews, as well as baked goods. As part of an Earth Week promotion in April, the Canadian restaurant chain Milestones offered roasted chili-lime crickets in a margarita. Goldin compares crickets to other now-popular foods that were once shunned. “Think about how hard it was for people to start eating quinoa,” she says. “Here, we’re trying to get people to eat this food that’s unbelievably healthy. It just happens to be bugs that you’ve been told forever, ‘Why would you ever eat that?’” 



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Columns

Moderator nominee Colin Phillips gives his nomination speech at General Council. (Credit: Richard Choe)

Hey, United Church — we could have talked about my disability

by Colin Phillips

A moderator nominee says the majority of commissioners at General Council weren't comfortable enough to truly engage him.

Promotional Image

Observations

Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Two nurses tackle Vancouver's opioid crisis

Richard Moore is a resident of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this poignant interview, he explains the important work of nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles.

Promotional Image

Columns

August 2018

Why Canada’s first-ever minister for seniors is long overdue

by Julie Lalonde

A gerontologist says she hopes that a ministry dedicated to elder issues will mean that seniors finally have a voice in policy making.

Columns

August 2018

Hey, United Church — we could have talked about my disability

by Colin Phillips

A moderator nominee says the majority of commissioners at General Council weren't comfortable enough to truly engage him.

Interviews

August 2018

'Photography was the way that I could share different Indigenous realities'

by Emma Prestwich

Award-winning photographer Nadya Kwandibens wants to change the perception of Indigenous people through her work.

Promotional Image