People here in the West are fortunate; fortunate for many, many reasons, when we compare ourselves to some of our neighbors to the East, North, and to the far South of us.
What sets us apart more than anything else, though, is our freedom to choose. In today’s day and age, and with our national wealth, we have been afforded the luxury of choice.
One place where this is most evident, is in regards to our dietary options. First off, there are options regarding selecting the correct grocery store option for your needs; from organic superstores to small ‘mom-and-pop’ grocery alternatives. Once you’re at the store, aisle after aisle is laden with different products that beckon to be placed in your shopping cart.
How do you choose what makes the cut? Do you read the nutrition label? Do you care? Do you grab what’s been marketed to you time after time, or do you pick up the product that you’ve never seen before, take a look at the packaging, and decide to maybe give it a chance?
The opportunity to be selective is drilled down even further. We know that as part of a healthy diet, we need to consume protein. Adult women need 46 grams of protein per day, men need 56 grams, adolescents need an average of 50 grams, tweens need over 30, and kids between the ages of 1-8 need an average of 15 grams daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Which form of protein should we be consuming? There are so many choices at our fingertips. Protein is made of essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce themselves, also known as ‘high quality’ proteins, and come in the form of meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs and cheese.
Yes, those little critters that slither, hop, and crawl, are super-packed with nutrients that our bodies need, while being low in fat and calories. From Bangkok to China to Mexico, people are eating the over 1900 different species of edible insects that roam this planet in abundance. (UN paper on Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security)
The buzz generated by these insects is growing, but not in the way that you’re thinking.
Next Millennium Farms, founded by three brothers, Jarrod, Darren and Ryan Goldin, is the first North American facility that breeds insects and prepares them for human consumption. Their mission is simple.
They want to make an important contribution in the feeding of an estimated world population of 9 billion people in 2050, by establishing a new paradigm of perception and desirability as they motivate people across the globe to consume insect protein. While doing this, they want to achieve excellence in entomophagy (the act of eating insects) with the production, harvesting and distribution of the highest quality of insect protein, and create a global awareness of the relevance and socio-political impact of each person's protein carbon footprint.
The first question that one might ask oneself is, “With all of the protein choices available to me, why should I start eating insects?”
There are many nutritional and environmental benefits of eating insects. Nutritionally speaking, insects, whether in full insect form, or powder/flour form, are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6. Insects are rich in protein, and chock full of iron, but low in fat and in calories. The best part of insect protein, is that it has a very long shelf life. From an environmental stand point, eating insects as a form of protein compared to beef, pork and poultry is exponentially less taxing on many resources, including agricultural resources and fresh water, and producing insect protein creates less greenhouse gases than producing livestock production. Also, in terms of farming the insects, they take less food and space to grow than livestock.
Jumping on the bug bandwagon is an easy move to make, and one that Next Millennium Farms has made even easier by having some pointers for you.
Their in-house Ento-Chef (literally ‘insect-chef’), Caryn Goldin, has done extensive research and development, both on the whole roasted insects, and on the insect flour. Caryn recommends starting off nice and easy. Make your favorite salad, and throw a few crispy, tasty bugs on top- kind of like croutons, but way better for you and our planet. You can look at the Next Millennium Farms products available at their store. If it makes you a bit squeamish to actually ‘see the bug’, Caryn recommends the Protein2050, which is insect powder. The powder is low in calories, low in fat, and full of protein, iron and calcium, B12, omegas and so much more. There are also some incredible recipes that are posted only once her kids gave them two thumbs up!
Once people in the West understand the importance of embracing insect protein as a main source of protein in our diets, and find a way to move insects from annoying to appetizing, we can then begin to be an active solution to the resource issues that we will certainly face by the year 2050.
The choice is available now, and it is your choice to make.
About the Author
Jarrod Goldin is co-founder, with his two other brothers, of Next Millennium Farms. As a chiropractor and chiropractic educator for 17 years, Jarrod has witnessed the impact that food can have on our health. Next Millennium Farms is an intergenerational response to the environment and the obligation to care for creation.