Eating Insects: Satisfying for You and Your Environment?

Courtesy of SmallStockFoodsIf you're not a vegetarian or vegan, eating cows, chickens and pigs may have always been a part of your daily dietary routine. Since an enormous amount of resources (grain, water and energy) are required to raise an animal to slaughtering size, eating lower--much lower--on the food chain can be as effective as eliminating animal products entirely.

Even open-minded omnivores tend to overlook the idea of consuming insects, though bugs deliver a one-two punch of tremendous nutritional value with minimal environmental impact.

David Gracer runs Small Stock Foods, and he's a mission to create a steady supply of food from farmed insects while spreading awareness of Entomophagy, the branch of zoology that studies insects. 

On his website, Gracer writes: “Entomophagy might seem radical, but if one were to study what’s really going on with food production and human population, one would see that eating insects isn’t so crazy.”

When the Spanish arrived at the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, they were in awe; the city was larger and much cleaner than anything in Europe. One reason was that the Aztecs didn’t raise cows and pigs; they ate smaller animals, the production of which didn’t involve massive amounts of waste.

As with shellfish, some people are allergic to various species of insects ("the shrimp of the land"). Therefore, research needs to be done to find the right type of insects for consumption. Gracer cautions against eating your average urban cockroach, but suggests raising your own insects or purchasing them from a local farm or pet store.

Learn more when Gracer and the Wild Foodies of Philadelphia hosting an insect cooking and tasting demonstration tomorrow, April 2, at 2 p.m. at 101 Alter St., Philadelphia.

To see more  facts and myths about  beneficial insect consumption, visit