I have a recurring nightmare. I see a delicious-looking treat in the corner of Costco. Chocolate. My empty stomach growls to have it. I dash to the taste-station and eat it without hesitation. As my teeth break through the crunchy exterior, I taste a milky-smooth core, like the gooey cheese inside a hard taco. I gaze at the “food label” and gag. I have just eaten a crispy, brown COCKROACH covered in creamy milk chocolate.
Despite what feels like a life-threatening experience, people should eat bugs as a stable source of protein. In our culture, bugs are nasty. Bugs are disgusting. Bugs seem toxic to our very existence. People get physically ill just looking at them and our natural impulse is to kill them on the wall with a newspaper. So why in all eternity should we devour these things?
First off, ingesting insects will not kill you. Some have the capacity to do that, but they reside in the depths of the Amazon jungle—something Americans should not worry about unless these creatures find themselves in the States and exponentially repopulate. On the other hand, “Domestic Insects” like ants, mealworms, crickets, beetles, and roaches are safe to consume for humans just as they are for armadillos. Insects sold through commercial means like grocery stores must go through a sanitation process to ensure they are safe to eat, just like any food. So instead of worrying if eating a cricket will kill you, you should focus on making sure that your chicken is fully cooked and that your milk hasn’t expired.
But that's not all, insects are also good for you. That’s right, ingesting an inch-long grasshopper supplies you with various nutrients that bolster metabolism and other bodily functions. Insects are also rich in protein, so they fill your stomach. But how can these tiny creatures provide calories equivalent to that of a chicken thigh? For one thing, these insects are eaten whole—their gooey organs stimulate healthy cells and their crunchy exoskeletons contain the molecule chitin which strengthens human tissue. In fact, insects provide so much nutritional value that artificial enhancers would not be needed to make them more “healthy.” In a country where one third of the population is obese from eating fast food, junk food, and processed food, it would be nice to have something natural in our supermarkets. So protein-wise eating a fried grasshopper is just like eating a chicken nugget—the only difference is that with a grasshopper you know what you're actually eating.
They're not just healthy; they’re cheap as well. You heard that correctly—an affordable food that is not injected with alien chemicals AND does not make people gain excessive weight. People only buy what they can afford; hence fast food is so popular; but insects should be the new standard for affordable food—the six-legged snack. You can use them to make rich dressings, infuse them in delicious soups, or even bake them for a toasty treat. The possibilities are endless!
Insects are ubiquitous on planet earth. They are inescapable—for every one person, there are about 300 million insects! Although this notion may petrify many people, it permits insects to be a sustainable diet. In recent years, food corporations genetically-modified their livestock so they would grow up to be meatier in order to keep up with the increasing human population. With insects being plentiful by nature, chemical reconstitution would not be needed; farmers can simply go into the field, catch some bugs, send them for sanitation, and they would end up in Walmart in the “fresh foods” section.
For these farmers, insect cultivation should be effortless since they require little space. Bugs also reproduce at inconceivable rates—around 2000 eggs per month—so you never have to worry about running out, a luxury Americans rarely have these days. Cows require mountains of grass to keep their meat alive; on the other hand, insects eat leftovers so they’re not constantly draining human resources.
The effects of global warming will be alleviated if Americans start eating insects. This is because insects release fewer greenhouse gasses than their counterparts. They also release less waste—a lot less waste. Have you ever seen insect droppings? We are pushing for a greener planet, and the best way to achieve this goal is through discarding the antique practice of manipulating the DNA of our food.
Insect consumption is seen as a third world practice by Americans; little do they know that their bias is hindering their ability to see its true benefits. Why work out or go vegan when you can eat six roaches for lunch and achieve the same effects? Compared to livestock, insects are better in almost every single way. Their health benefits, environmental benefits, and societal benefits will transform the way we look at the cricket in our bathroom. The exclamations “Gross!” “Yuck!” and “Eww!” should be exchanged with the saying, “A cricket a day keeps processed food away!”