1. Humans have been eating insects for thousands of years
Despite the fact that the vast majority of our world eats bugs, the notion of eating insects in Western societies remains largely taboo. Entomophagy, or the human consumption of insects as food, is not a new phenomenon. Humans have been eating bugs since prehistoric times. Roughly 80% of the world’s countries, predominantly Asia, Africa, and North, Central and South America, eat over 1,000 different species of insects every year.
2. Cricket flour is an incredible source of protein
Crickets themselves, are relatively low in carbohydrates and very high in protein. A single cricket contains between 65-70% pure protein. They are also a complete protein. What does that mean? They contain all nine essential amino acids required by humans for muscle development.
3. Cricket flour is high in vitamins and minerals
Not only is cricket flour a great source of protein, but it is also packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron and calcium. Iron is an essential mineral, meaning our bodies aren’t able to produce it in sufficient enough quantities, or at all. It plays an integral role in the formation of red blood cells and transporting life-giving oxygen throughout our bodies. Gram for gram, crickets contain almost twice as much iron as spinach. Crickets contain a whopping 5.9mg per 100g and spinach clocks in at 3.5mg per 100g. What’s more? Human bodies are more effective at absorbing iron from animal products rather than from plants, making cricket flour the clear-cut winner.
Vitamin B12 is a cancer-fighting essential nutrient and a key player in energy production and the regulation of our nervous systems. If you’re deficient, you may be easily fatigued and feel lethargic. Salmon has been long popularized as a great source of B12, containing 2.8mcg per 100g. Cricket flour contains 24mcg per 100g. That’s right, ten times the amount.
4. The taste may surprise you
Most people are quite shocked the first time they try cricket flour. Why? It is human nature to form opinions based on social stigmas. In reality, how we believe cricket flour will taste and how it does taste are wildly different. You may be surprised to learn that cricket flour has a slightly nutty, but relatively neutral flavour. Since the taste is so mild, it doesn’t need to be laden with salts or sweeteners. Instead, it can be used to enhance the nutritional profile of your favorite dishes – sweet, salty, spicy, whatever! It can been used in everything from cakes, to breads, to salad dressings, to smoothies to gluten free energy bars. Unlike traditional flours or protein powders, cricket flour can serve an infinite number of functions. Try sprinkling in 2 tbsp with your next smoothie for an added dose of nutrients!
5. It’s great for the environment
It has been said that cricket flour could be part of the solution to environmental pollution. Insects produce significantly fewer greenhouse gases than any livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs). Crickets specifically produce 80 times less methane compared to cattle. In terms of physical space, cricket farms don’t require the vast surface area that cows do. Cutting down trees or clearing land is not necessary to increase production. All crickets need is a small cubicle compared to the extensive acreage required by cattle.
6. Cricket flour is highly sustainable
Crickets require significantly less feed and water, per kilogram of bodyweight gain compared to cattle. The cold-blooded biology of a cricket means that they are efficient energy converters. Per pound of dry protein, crickets consume 12x less feed than cattle, 4x less feed than sheep, and half the amount required by pigs or chickens. In terms of water, cows require between 1700 and 2500 gallons of H20 to produce one pound of protein. To produce the same amount, crickets only need a mere gallon of water.
7. Cricket flour products are available in the UK
There are a number of cricket flour products that have recently hit the market and are available right here in the UK. One of my favorites is Crobar’s line of gluten-free energy bars. They are the perfect on-the-go and pre- or post-workout snack. Their bars are gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, and filler free! Say that five times fast. Made using only whole ingredients – meaning you can pronounce and recognize each ingredient on the label. Feeling adventurous in the kitchen? Why not give their cricket flour a go? Good for you and good for the planet!
Daina is a health and wellness professional and holds an Honours BA in Health Sciences, with a specialization in Kinesiology from Western University. A competitive athlete growing up, exercise and proper nutrition have always been an important part of her life. She is an endurance runner, hiker, cyclist and certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher. An ambassador for the paleo diet, she creates and shares recipes as well as blogs about the hottest trends in nutrition and fitness on her popular health and wellness blog, ‘The Paleo Bean’ www.thepaleobean.com