So I really like being vegan, I like how it makes me feel both physically and mentally. I became vegan because I believed that in my current situation 3 years ago it was the most cruelty free, ethical and green option. In doing so I have been interested I staying on top of all the reasons both pro and con for the vegan movement. I stated in an earlier blog that things have come to my attention making be question if being fully vegan is really the best option for myself and for the planet.
Although it seems obvious that plant food is less harmful, less blood is drawn, less greenhouse gasses, less run off and water contamination (when growing organic anyway). Trucking in most of my protein such as soy and lentils or legumes from outside sources seems counterproductive.
Yes soy and wheat is grown in large quantities and is largely attributed to deforestation. Most of us would quickly associate soy with tofu and soy milk but in fact soy is grown mostly for animal feed. By not eating beef or meat that same soy and even wheat can go much further feeding humanity. In most cases that could be enough to lessen ones carbon footprint and is certainly a step in the right direction, I just believe I can do better.
What about ENTOMOPHAGY the practice of eating insects?
There is a large movement in the western world of people trying what other countries have done for centuries. Minilivestock, invertebrate meat, Sky prawns, many names are popping up but in the end it’s all the same, but is it better for us or the planet than regular meat or even than soy?
Well the UN recommends that we should, along with fighting climate change, creating universal human rights, eradicating poverty, eat insects. Not that the UN has often helped but it must say something to its validity.
Here are a few more points
Farming insects has a much higher yield while using much less land. Conventional meat farms currently use about 30% of the lands surface and 70% of agricultural land, while insect farming can be done in boxes on shelves. It does not require land clearing or land really at all.
Meat farming currently uses about 70% of all our fresh water. Approximately 3200 liters of water are needed to produce a 150g of beef or a 5oz steak. While the same 150grams of cricket meat requires as little as 3.2 liters. While soy takes about 400 liters of water for 5oz of yield or 933 liters for the same of lentils. Insects require an amazing amount of less feed. While 10kg of feed can generate only about 1kg of beef the same 10kg can produce 9kg or more of insect meat. Insects not only require less feed but the feed they require is not of the same quality as livestock. Insects can be fed completely on scraps or small amounts of grains or bran.
Insects also produce less waste and that waste is much less harmful. Agriculture is the leading cause of human induced climate change and is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gasses more than all transport combined, it contaminates groundwater and rivers with waste.
The current practices for meat production accounts for 37% of methane emissions 64% of ammonia emissions (a major cause of acid rain) and 64% of nitrous oxide.
Unlike pigs, cows and chickens most insects tend to thrive in crowded and cramped conditions, they might actually enjoy being factory farmed, well If they can “enjoy” at all.
Which brings me to the ethics of eating insects.
There are ethics that should be subscribed to for animal production. They should be free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury, fear, disease, distress and display “normal behaviours. Insect farming seems to Adhere to these standards and that is assuming that these insects have a capacity for fear and distress, something not yet proven. The fact that something is not proven does not mean that we should not assume these creatures cannot experience such complex emotions. For this reason insects are slaughtered in the most humane way we know, putting them in the freezer. If you did this to a mammal or bird they would slowly freeze to death afraid and in pain. Insects are ectothermic or cold blooded meaning in short that they derive their heat sources from outside the body. When they are placed in the freezer they enter a diapause or hibernation coma and eventually shut off, a process believed to be similar to falling asleep.
With the amount of insects killed in the growing and harvesting of vegetables this almost fits my vegan and cruelty free ideals, while seemingly being very green. Even more so that substituting lentils and soy.
I know, eating bugs is yucky and you just couldn’t get down with it, right? Wrong. You already eat bugs probably every day.
The cochineal beetle has been used for it crimson red coloring in dyes for thousands of years. Today you can find it in most processed red foods such as that fake crab for California rolls, Frappuccinos, strawberry yogurts, candy and candy coatings, marinades,sauces, jams, jam fillings, juices, drinks and cosmetics.
Also if you eat honey that’s a bees vomit and that’s not weird right?.
Not to mention food regulation allows for a certain amount of insects to enter our every day foods in supermarkets and alike. For example canned Juice can have 5 or more insects and one or more maggots per 250 ml, chocolate is allowed up to 60 fragments per 100grams, frozen and canned spinach can have up to 50 aphids per 100grams, peanut butter can and usually has 30 or more insects and fragments per 100grams, carrots average 800 or more fragments per 10 grams!, the list goes on.
So you already eat insects.
Guess what they actually taste great!
It is said that Mealworms can be used in almost anything as their flavor is very mild, roasted they taste most similar to nuts.
Crickets are used the most worldwide they are often found as flour an are compared to popcorn or nuts. Some people even say that scorpions taste like beef jerky and the Sago Grub can taste like bacon.
Nutritionally they are as good or even better by mass than many other protein sources.
Let’s compare mealworms to beef.
100g of mealworms. 100g Beef
471 calories. 267 calories
27.2g fat. 17.32g fat
49.6g protein. 25.9g protein
6.9g carbohydrate. 0g carbs
3.1g fiber BREAKDOWN
420ppm calcium. 60%fat
Mealworms seem a viable and green protein source, so I have decided to start a colony.
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on this. And once I go through an entire cycle I will share how I did it and how it turns out.