(Above: Dave, Lithic Co-Founder (Left) eating insects in Thailand while deployed with fellow Marines in 2013)
So you've probably heard about it by now; people are beginning to warm up to the idea that bugs can be an appetizing food. While it may seem like a new concept here in America, over 80% of the global population is doing it and has been doing it for eons. America is by far the biggest laggard to get on the "bug train." So what's the deal? Are Americans really above that kind of food? Well I was once a skeptic too.
That was until I spent three years deployed all over the Asia-Pacific region with the Marines of the 31st MEU, out of Okinawa, Japan. A consistency I saw time and time again was that militaries and local communities in many countries all used bugs as a source of jungle survival protein and as part of their daily diet.
So naturally, I started eating them. From Thailand to Malaysia and the Philippines, we got our hands on everything from scorpions and crickets, to mealworms and grubs. Suddenly, it didn't seem so weird. With some spices and a quick deep fry, many of the critters tasted just like a potato chip.
I wish everyone else had the opportunity to see how some Asian countries approach the topic of eating bugs, but many don't, so it's my job to tell you where we're headed.
Crickets are still slightly extreme here in the States. But it's changing...FAST. Lobsters used to be considered "cruel and unusual food" that was given to prisoners in the late 1800s that was impossible to sell on the market. Sushi came to America in the 1960s and people said, "raw fish, you're out of your mind," and now it's a multi-million dollar industry. Bugs are on track to be yet another success story of adapt and overcome for the American public, and Lithic Nutrition is damn excited to be part of the revolution. Every 9 out of 10 people we come across have at least heard of the concept, and many understand the impact they can make.
Occasionally I have the passerby at our booth and have a conversation that kind of goes like this:
"Ew, no way i'm eating a bug!"
"Well, you must not really care about the environment, sustainability, and feeding the hungry." Sarcastic Tone
"Of course I do, what do you mean?" Offended Tone
Using some nifty graphs, "Take a look at how our food culture here in America contributes to the majority of greenhouse gas emission, destroying land for agricultural use, and uses the vast majority of water resources."
"Oh, I never knew that...well, I guess I'll try a bite...HEY, THIS IS REALLY TASTY!"
It's just that easy to turn a skeptic into a convert. Once folks can see the tangible difference that insects bring to the food world, it's a more approachable concept to integrate into our bustling, American culture.
As we go on with our daily lives, we lose more and more natural resources each day. Our collective lifestyle is completely unsustainable at the rate we are going.
Many places in the world that are "out of sight - out of mind" to Americans are dealing with serious food security and resource conservation issues that are already knocking on our doorstep. Depleting fisheries. Freshwater wells and aquifers drying up. Exponentially growing communities. There's got to be a way to deal with these issues without throwing a bunch of government intervention and policy into the mix (which most of the time can just add complication, speaking from experience).
People all over the world have naturally turned back to their hunter/gathering roots to turn to insects. Crickets are protein packed capsules that are readily available and take hardly any inputs to raise compared to traditional proteins. Within weeks people can create food that can be delivered to the masses and keep their bodies effectively nourished.
Some small businesses around the world are figuring out how to create pop-up insect farms to feed people after natural disasters. Others are already teaming up with non-profits to create farms in Africa to feed desperately in-need and malnourished communities.
Starting to warm up to the idea yet? We sure hope so! Our vision of responsibility and giving back involves giving a percentage of our profits to support non-profits that address these looming global issues. This is just the beginning, but the vision is far reaching.
We'd love for you to give cricket protein a shot - so why not try the highest protein, best tasting cricket bars on the market? Check our bars out HERE and be sure to use code: trylithic15 to get yourself a discount.
I mean, i'm not saying you need to completely give up steak or beer (both of which I still greatly enjoy), but it's worth supplementing your diet that has a positive effect much greater than yourself. I eat crickets every day, and love it - perhaps you will too.
Crickets are coming, and Lithic makes it tasty and easy to get on board. In the words of Antoine Dodson, "Hide yo' kids hide yo' wife," cause we're getting everybody eating crickets out here.
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