Episode 224 S6-24
Incredible Edible Bugs
The Endless Night Ch 24
Bugs can be a nutritious source of food. Even though it is not very popular in the western world, many cultures delight in the flavors. Today on the podcast, Chin partakes in entomophagy or bug-eating. In The Endless Night adventure, a starving Erika has no choice but to fulfill her nutritional needs with insects as TJ Swenson continues his mission to break her down.
Maggots are not a bug that those of use in the western world would consider eating as a meal. However, in Italy, there is a delicacy called "casu marzu." Translated to maggot cheese or rotten cheese, the cheese is a maggot breeding ground, and as long as the maggots are living, the cheese is safe to eat. Fly larvae usually grow on rotting flesh or feces, so ingesting them does carry some risks. There is a disease called Myiasis, where the maggots infest living tissue. This disease is common in the tropics and often accompanies terrible oral hygiene. Eating maggots, especially live ones, can leave the internal organs susceptible to infestation. The fly larvae occupy the stomach, intestines, and mouth. The symptoms of the infestation include stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. The maggots may also be visible in the mouth. Bacteria poisoning is another risk involved with eating fly larvae. Because maggots grow in undesirable places, they often carry bacteria. When you eat them, you are ingesting the bacteria. Allergic reactions can also accompany eating maggots. The allergies include respiratory and asthmatic symptoms. A person can also get contact dermatitis from handling the fly larvae. To eat maggots safely, take the appropriate steps. Eating them dried, cooked or powdered is safer than whole or unprocessed. Maggots are a viable source of protein, good fats, and trace elements.
Entomophagy is the practice of eating bugs by humans. Over 3,000 ethnic groups consume insects. There are over 1900 edible insect species. The United Nations is encouraging consumption as an alternative protein source. Mealworms, for example, can live in global temperatures. They provide protein, vitamins, and minerals that are on par with fish and meat. A small grasshopper his a source of lean protein that equals beef with less fat. It requires less space and resources to raise bugs, and they produce fewer greenhouse gasses. Eating bugs also reduces the pest population.
Julieta Ramos Elorduy wrote a cookbook for bugs called Creepy Crawly Cuisine. She includes recipes for the eight most popular bugs to eat. Adult and larval beetles are an everyday meal in some places. The long-horned, June, dung, and rhinoceros beetle species are common and the beetles provide the most protein. Butterflies and moths consumption is also widespread. Collected during the larval and pupal stages, they contain protein and iron. The agave worms are a Mexican delicacy. Julieta’s top eight also includes bees and wasps. They are eaten in the immature stage when there is no stinger. Bee brood (bees in egg, larval, or pupal stage) taste like peanuts.
Ants are another popular bug to eat. It takes many ants to make a meal, but they have a lot of protein. One hundred grams of red ant is equal to fourteen grams of protein, which is more than an egg. This one hundred grams of ants also includes forty-seven grams of calcium and only has 100 calories. The ants are also low in carbs and contain lots of iron. The top eight also includes crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts. They have lots of protein and a neutral flavor. Because these bugs can devastate the flora in an area, they became a popular food source. Flies and Mosquitos are also eaten, along with water boatmen or backswimmers. The water bug eggs are easy to cultivate and harvest. Drying the eggs is common before consumption. Stink bugs are the last bugs she includes. They have a funky smell but add an apple flavor. They are a source of iodine and have analgesic properties.
Other species are popular as well. Woodlice, also known as saw bugs, potato bugs, or roli polies, are another excellent meal. Earthworms are also edible, but the poop in the body should be squished out before eating.
To get over the imagery of eating bugs, they can be dried, ground, and included in a survival stew. There are many benefits to eating insects. Besides being a protein-rich food source, they are resource-efficient to raise. Raising insects instead of traditional meat sources reduces emissions, reduces land requirements, and reduces water requirements. The expanding population will need a protein-rich food source that requires these reduced growth requirements. Raising bugs could also be an economy stabilizer. With the low growth requirements, growing insects for profit is possible for even the most moderate economically classed individuals.
There are risks to eating insects. Some people have allergies to them. Although there is little research on this phenomenon, the assumption is that those with a shellfish allergy should also avoid consuming bugs, as they are both crustaceans. Some insects are high in bacteria and crickets can carry nematodes or roundworms. Some bugs have antinutrients that interfere with the body's ability to gain nutrients from plant sources. Common antinutrients include phytic acid, tannings, and lectins. The significance of these antinutrients on the body is currently unknown. Sometimes bugs are harvested after fields are sprayed with pesticides to kill the infestation. Eating these insects exposes the body to these harmful chemicals. Some insects are poisonous. It is like wild foraging for plants. The safe insects must be identified well ahead of a survival situation. Some bees and wasps carry toxins, and some beetles have a metabolic steroid. These metabolic steroids can cause growth retardation, infertility, and female menstruation.
A study performed detected parasites in 81.33% of the one hundred farms surveyed. 30% of these parasites were harmful to humans. Nosema, which can cause bee colony failure was common. The study identified cryptosporidium which causes respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Gregarinasina, which causes toxoplasmosis and malaria, was present, as well as isosporiasis which causes diarrhea. Cysticerocoids, which are the larval stage of tapeworm, was present in 12% of mealworm farms, 4% of cricket farms, 5.33% of cockroach farms, and 4% of locust farms. Although these larvae can't develop in bugs, they can develop once eaten by another animal.
Safety is essential when consuming insects. As with meat, bugs should never be eaten raw. Consume bugs in lower temperatures. Source your insects first if you are purchasing commercially available insects. Never eat any unknown bugs. Exercise extreme caution if an allergy to shellfish exists. Avoid slugs and snails. They may have recently fed on something toxic. They also carry the risk of contracting lungworm. This infestation can turn into eosinophilic meningitis, which can cause brain and nerve damage. Cooking the slugs and snails doesn't always remove this risk. Watch out for tarantulas. Removal of the fangs makes them edible, but the fangs are highly poisonous. Remove all hair before consuming. When harvesting bees and wasps, understand that they can sting. Smoking the hive will make the insects docile before harvesting it. Avoid caterpillars. Some carry toxins, and the bright color rule does not hold up with them. Even some of the brown and green colored caterpillars carry toxins.
Although it may disgust many of the occupants of western nations, Americans eat bugs every day without knowing it. The USDA allows a certain amount of insect parts and rodent hairs in our food. In a box of macaroni and cheese, there may be as many as 225 insect fragments per 225 grams of product. Imported olives, peanuts, ginger, allspice, and black pepper all allow a certain amount of bug parts to be present. In a Hershey chocolate bar there could be as many as 30 or more insect parts and a minimal amount of rodent hairs. A 16oz can of tomato sauce is allowed to have up to two maggots, and a 16oz can of spaghetti sauce is allowed to contain 450 insect parts and nine rodent hairs.
Is it the future of the world to rely upon insects for protein? With all the benefits that eating them have it may soon outweigh the social stigmatisms associated with the activity.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.