Vitamin E Vitamin E


Humans Were Meant to Eat Insects argues that humans were meant to eat insects. By their account, not only were insects widely eaten by our ancestors but they have the nutritional punch of more conventional forms of protein. Moreover, we still possess the enzymes necessary to benefit from the crunchy exoskeletons of bugs. 

The practice of eating insects, known as entomophagy, may sound extreme, but it’s actually quite common throughout the world — and has been that way for millennia. There are more than 1,900 documented edible insect species and some are even “farmed” the way cattle or chickens are in the U.S.

With growing concerns over the unsustainable practices that constitute modern “farming,” and the very real prospects that food shortages and environmental destruction could be an inevitable part of the future if more environmentally friendly farming alternatives aren’t soon embraced, eating insects may prove to be a very wise, and necessary, decision.

Is it foreseeable that in the not too distant future insects will be viewed as “shrimp of the land?” It has been argued that insects are not only eco-friendly and nutritious, but they compete with meat in flavor, too. If you can get past the initial aversion, eating insects may not be entirely different from eating shrimp or other more unique food sources, such as crabs, oysters and mussels.

Chances are more likely than not that you’ve already sampled your first (and then some) insect, albeit probably unintentionally. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows certain amounts of bugs in your food. Canned tomato juice can contain two whole maggots per 100 grams; the FDA won’t take action unless 10 or more whole or equivalent Drosophila flies and 35 of its eggs are found per 8 ounces of raisins; and in macaroni, anything less than 225 insect fragments per 225 grams in six sub-samples is allowed. 

Feeding the world in the decades to come is going to depend on broadening our horizons not only of what we think of as food, but also of what we accept as “farming.” Insects may very well play a role in this food future. If insects are to emerge as a viable food source they must be raised in a sustainable way. Environmental devastation can even be healed and functional ecosystems rebuilt using the permaculture concept. So, while considering insects as a sustainable food source is intriguing, it should not replace the ultimate goal, which is sustainable farming for every species.
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