David Gracer | 22 Exeter Street | Providence, RI 02906 | 401.272.1165
 
 
Ten Myths About ENTOMOPHAGY
(Insect-Eating)
 
Only freaks and weirdos eat insects.
People sometimes ridicule things that they are not familiar with. While it can be tempting to judge everything that is different, it's usually more rewarding to ask questions and learn new things.
 
They're gross and disgusting.
Words like "gross" and "disgusting" are knee-jerk responses that do not involve our brains. Different cultures do things differently, and when a person makes a judgment about a cultural choice, he or she might consider why he or she is being judgmental.
 
Bugs look awful, and they must taste awful too.
By most people's aesthetic standards lobsters and snails aren't very pretty, but millions of people love to eat them. Not many people find pigs to be beauty contest material either, but we eat them. As for how insects taste, how would you know if you've never tried them?
 
The idea of eating insects is gross because they carry diseases.
While it's true that fleas carried bubonic plague into Europe and that malaria is spread by mosquitoes, the vast majority of insects are disease-free. Many insect species have specific defenses against internal micro-organisms. Even so, it's best to cook them before eating them (just like most other foods.)
 
People eat insects only if they have no other choice and are starving to death.
At markets in China, Mexico, or other countries you'll find a variety of bugs for sale. Sometimes they sell out quickly. Some insects are quite expensive restaurant fare; you'll find them on the menu in Don Chon's in Mexico City, Café Typhoon in Santa Monica CA, and in many other places. "In fact, there are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects." (bbc.co.uk.)
 
Only people in other parts of the world eat insects.
Many Native American groups ate insects. Asian, African, and South American civilizations ate insects, and still do. As for Western Europe, Aristotle found cicadas delicious; a book published in England in 1885 recommended the cockchafer, a large species of beetle.
 
Bugs are not nutritious.
They are among the most nutritional foods in the world, containing higher percentages of protein [per body or per pound] than any of the more conventional bird and mammal food species, and most kinds of vegetables.
 
Eating beef, chicken, and vegetables is healthier.
A lot of recent research has focused on the antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetic mutations administered to food-animals. While science hasn't proven whether this could harm us in the future, the "organic foods" movement comes out of the concern for more natural foods. Insects fit right into this.
 
There's no need to eat insects when there are plenty of "normal" foods.
Research shows that we can't maintain our food production habits, and the food industries will have to change sooner or later. The time, food, and money required to raise one cow can produce many thousands of pounds of insect protein, none of which goes to waste.
 
Why should I have to change my eating habits?
While no one HAS to change his or her diet, people's food habits are likely to change in the future; being flexible now is a good way to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. There's nothing wrong with eating insects. People have just become stubborn in their assumptions about it. Isn't learning new things what life is all about?
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