What About Eating Bugs?

 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.  

 
A healthy diet is most likely a sustainable one.

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
BREAKDOWN.              40%protein
53% protein.                   
28%fat
6%fibre
Water

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.

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Grow food from your scraps, it’s time to sow!

Now that the beds are in place it is time to get some seeds started inside.  I collected some cardboard egg containers to use as seed starts. 

  
This was so I don’t have to disturb the roots of the plant during transplant as I will plant the cardboard and all.

I sifted some dirt from my compost to ensure I had the most nutrient rich soil .

Then I filled the egg cartons with the dirt and began to plant and label the containers.

For the tomatoes I used Saran Wrap to create a humid green house setting.

Then I placed all the new starts in the window to sprout.

In just under a week I had a bunch of sprouts starting.

  

Something else I have been reading about and researching is the ability to regrow foods. Apparently you can regrow foods from the bits you would normally toss away. Here’s how:

Onions

Cut the bottom off of the onion about a cm up from the rooting side .Place root side down in water and wait for growth of green spikes, usually about a week or so.

  

When spike has grown to a few inches tall and roots have formed move it into dirt in a pot or into your garden. Cover roots and remaining onion in soil and water regularly.

  

Celery

Cut whole celery a few inches from rooting end and place In Water, keep moist and watch for sprouting from the center.

  

After a couple of weeks you will see some stalks have formed, plant in soil or directly into your garden and water regularly, harvests in about 4-5 months.

  

Romaine Lettuce

Follow the same directions as the celery. My romaine started off well but now has seemed to have stopped growing and is perhaps even dying back.

  

That is no reason to not try again!. Just cut off the bottom and place in water when it roots transplant to soil.

Green Onions.

Cut onions an inch or two from the rooting bottoms. 

Place root end upright In Water with cut end exposed to air
These grow unimaginably fast and can be harvested once a week and continually regrow like magic!

  

There are many that are listed but I have only begun to try the ones I have mentioned thus far. Here is a list of other vegetables that I haven’t tried, but you should and can with very little research or effort.

Carrots and turnips 

(I’m excited to try this one!)

Cut your root vegetable about an inch from the root end place cut side down in water and wait for green shoots and roots then plant in soil.

Cilantro

Place cutting of leaf and stem in water wait for roots then plant in soil

Basil

Follow same directions as cilantro 

Pineapple

Suspend the cut top with the green spikes bits out of water and cut part down. Keep warm and in sunlight, change the water daily an keep full. The roots should start in about a week. When the roots have appeared just transplant to dirt and grow In warm and bright area (good as a houseplant in temperate areas)

Avocado

 Suspend pit 1/2 in water wait for growth then transplant to soil 

Garlic

Remove one clove place in soil water regularly 

Potatoes

Cut out eyes of potatoes dry out and plant in soil 

Yams

Suspend 1/2 of yam in water wait for roots and shoots then transplant to soil.

Let me know if you try these or have more and how it turns out!

How to make Nettle spanokaspringrolls 

Yesterday was the official start of spring for me. Tomorrow we spring ahead for daylight savings and yesterday I went out with my friend and Neighbour Heidi to collect Stinging Nettles, a sure sign that spring is here in full force! 

We did really well and had an abundant harvest of the tender young tops of the nettle plants.  Nettles make a great substitute for spinache in any recepie and also have a huge list of health benefits when used as a tea or tincture.

  

Nettle stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity

Nettle relieves arthritis symptoms

Nettle promotes a release from uric acid from joints

Helps to support the adrenals

It helps with diabetes mellitus

Strengthens the fetus in pregnant women

Promotes milk production in lactating women

Relieves menopausal symptoms

Helps with menstrual cramps and bloating

Helps break down kidney stones

Reduces hypertension

Helps with respiratory tract disease

Supports the kidneys

Helps asthma sufferers

Stops bleeding

Reduces inflammation

Reduces incident of prostate cancer

Minimizes skin problems

Eliminates allergic rhinitis

 Lessens nausea

Cures the common cold

Helps with osteoarthritis

Alleviates diarrhea

Helps with gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation

Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouth wash.

Has been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Relieves neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica

Destroys intestinal worms or parasites

Supports the endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas.

As well as all of the benefits Nettles make a great Spanokapita. I use a pre made spring roll wrap as it’s easier and inexpensive, you can of course use any pastry you desire. What I use I got at superstore and looks like this

  

  
  
Vegan Spanokaspringrolls Recepie

8 cups steamed or boiled nettles 

1 package of medium sunrise or other tofu 

1/2 cup ground flax seed

3/4 cup pine nuts chopped

I/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/8-1/4 cup zaatar spice 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp spike

1 capful of white vinegar or juice of one lemon

2 tbsp of balsamic reduction

3 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Combine ingredients in bowl until well mixed.

  
 Then wrap the ingredients in that package of spring roll pastry 

  
bake and in oil at 375 turning occasionally until golden brown

  
Serve with favorite dip or sauce and enjoy!

Barter my way to mushroom education. 

This has been a good week. I tattooed a local Islander and made $125 which I then gave directly to having another local deliver soil for my empty raised beds. I was quoted $250 for 3 cubic yards. That really doesn’t sound like much dirt but I went for it anyway. David  came the next day to deliver it. He gave me $20 off because he liked my blog, score!. He left the large pile in my driveway and I recruited my kids for the afternoon. Together we shoveled it into the wheelbarrow and moved and dumped it into the beds. Well actually we dumped it in one of the beds as we seemed to run out before we could move on. So now I need to come up with the means to fill the rest.

Discouraged and now broke I came inside and started surfing craigslist where found a local seven part mushroom mycology course starting this weekend. I got super excited. I have never met a mushroom I didn’t like and have already been researching them on my own, using apps, books, the Internet and the guidance of my peers. Unfortunately the course is $350 and I just spent any money I had on soil. I decided to write to them and express how much I want to be a part of the course and offer any of my skills in barter. Michael returned my email and gave me his info to call him. I called and we worked out a deal, he wasn’t interested in tattoos per say but was interested in having an assistant during his workshops!. I am so excited. I paid him $100 and have agreed to help him how he needs throughout the courses, meaning I get to learn all about something I am so passionate about, while learning how to forage free food for my family!. Thanks universe, I love you!.
  
Here is a page from my book of medicines wild crafting foraging, and life hacks that I am making.

Get into my bed

I can feel the air getting warmer by the day. In the mornings I can no longer see my breath, the kiss of winter leaves no more patterns on my windows.
This weekend I decided it’s time for a kill mulch and to construct the beginnings of the raised vegetable beds. I gathered old logs, driftwood, tires and bricks to make the edges of the beds, and used the cardboard from the moving boxes to line the bottoms as a kill mulch.

A kill mulch is used as a way to stop the growth of unwanted grass and plants already in the soil where you are starting your new garden beds.

In a couple of hours I had the gardens all plotted and ready for soil. Just as we were wrapping up a neighbor rode by on his bicycle. He promptly turned around as if to come by and say hello, but instead came and told me how I had put the beds on to his property , that I had misread the property lines and that I would have to move them. Although I wanted to be upset the mistake was in fact my own and we told him we would move them the next day.
The next day, in the pouring rain, as a family Trevor, Braeden, JJ and I moved all the beds To a location safely on our own land, We are now ready for soil and a fence. 

   
Photo credit Kari O’Brien

What Makes Me Hot?

I am going to focus this blog on food costs mostly, but living costs are important to address also. My family moved into this new house on this new island only one and a half weeks ago. The new house has a woodstove, something I am super excited about, but already we have spent $300 on wood. My husband Trevor chopped what small amounts we brought with us when we first arrived and whatever fallen logs we found on the property, but this is not nearly enough to heat the house full time. Immediately we find ourselves buying wood from the locals.

While exploring Pinterest for d.i.y life hacks I came across a process for turning all your left over paper products into fire logs. All I needed was two five gallon buckets one perforated with drilled holes, lots of paper products, a piece of wood cut in a circle to act as a press and water.

image

 

-You place the perforated bucket inside the solid one and fill it with all your torn up paper recycling, you can also add twigs and leaves if you like.

 

-When it is as crammed full as you can get it fill it with water and leave it for a few days until mushy.

-Then find something you can use to mulch up your concoction. We used a large electric drill outfitted with a paint stirrer. And mulch the concoction until the consistency of a smoothie.

-lift the perforated bucket full of mushy paper out of  the solid bucket and allow to drain.

-Save and reuse the first water for the same purpose or water your garden or compost with it.

-Outside place the perforated bucket on the ground and put the circle Press on top of the mush and use the other bucket as a seat for you while you use your weight to compress the paper mush as much as you can.


-When you have got as much water as you can out of your now compressed pulp, pop out the puck and set it somewhere to fully dry for as long as needed then burn!



I found the log burned hot for about an hour. Free firewood!!

Light my fire

imageSo in the last week we have been collecting supplies to build garden beds, tools to tend gardens and for firewood and anything we may need.
A neighbor sold us a Husquavarna chainsaw in great condition for $200 a larger purchase that will no doubt save us in the long run. Immediately Trevor was looking for things to cut up with his new toy. We had some smaller fallen trees in the yard and he took the chance to Buck them up into firewood right away. This left behind a pile of sawdust. As we are doing our best to not waste anything we gathered the dust pile and began to make fires starters. here is what we did, and what you will need to do the same.
-Muffin liners or empty cardboard egg containers
-Old wax candles
-Sawdust, or small dry twigs, leaves etc

First we melted the wax in a double boiler the microwave can also do the trick.
We then used old muffin liners and filled them 1/2 full of sawdust
We then poured wax on top and filled the muffin liner the rest of the way with sawdust before adding more wax until the sawdust was sufficiently saturated.
Place the newly waxed dust piles somewhere to stand until hardened.
You are now ready to place them in fireplace and use as fire starter.
The moist westcoast wood stands no chance. This can also be done using old crayons or any old wax you have.
Hope these tips help you like they have us!.