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Bugging Out: Are Insects the Steak of the Future?

Photo courtesy NHM
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There's been some talk as of late as to what the new sustainable protien of the future might be. Quite often, the topic of insect-eating comes up. Unlike cattle, they don't produce much waste and have very little negative impact on the environment, and their skeletal shells are full of all sorts of lean protein.

Bugging out isn't a totally new idea, of course. Chapulines are a staple of the regional Mexican cuisines for ages, and many Southeast Asian countries sell bugs on a stick as street food. But whereas chowing down on bugs might have seemed a bit forgeign years ago, it's been really coming into the zeitgeist as of late. And it's not just Andrew Zimmern that's on board. Brangelina's kids eat crickets. And so is Lisa Simpson. Is this the steak of the future?

The Washington Post seems to think so. In an article that came out today, they point out that some 2 billion people around the world include insects as part of their diet. They also say that some folks in D.C. are actually looking forward to the cicada invasion because it'll be an opportunity for some local foraging.

Edible insects are environmentally friendly — farmers don’t need to clear acres of forest to raise them, and the bugs produce fewer planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions than, say, cows. It could be a sustainable way to help feed a growing world whose demand for protein is soaring.
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But as a whole Westerners are still a bit skeeved out by the idea of eating bugs, so it might be a while before your kid's apples are swapped out for crickets in their McDonald's happy meals. For now they'll just have to stick to their Creepy Crawlers.