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  • Food
  • Would You Eat Insects?

    25th July 2020

    25th July 2020

    By Robyn Schaffer

    Picture this. It’s mid-afternoon and you’re feeling peckish. You fancy a snack. So you go to the kitchen, open the cupboard, and what do you pick out? Maybe a biscuit, some crisps, or a piece of fruit. How about some insects?

    Hear us out. At the start of June, UFC champion Conor McGregor went viral for doing just that. Sort of. In a video posted to his Instagram story, McGregor can be seen holding a jar full to the brim full of none other than dead bees. After accidentally spilling the jar down himself, he throws the bees back in the jar before taking one unlucky critter and gobbling it up.

    We know what you might be thinking. Sure, McGregor is known for enjoying causing a stir. Maybe he was just in lockdown-induced boredom like the rest of us. But eating insects may not actually be his worst idea yet. In fact, back in September of last year, research revealed that a third (32%) of Brits believe that eating insects will become part of mainstream human diets in the UK by 2023, due to growing challenges faced by food production industry. They might be onto something.

    The practice of eating insects is known as entomophagy, and according to a 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), around 2 billion people worldwide in areas including China, Australia and parts of South America already eat insects as part of a traditional diet.

    Eating insects: the benefits

    Don’t slam your laptop screen shut or chuck your phone across the room in disgust just yet. There have actually been numerous studies into the potential health benefits of eating insects, and the results show that you could reap some serious rewards. Once you get past all the legs and antennae.

    All about the environment

    We’re all aware in today’s day and age that farming meat is one of the biggest threats to our planet. The world now produces more than four times the quantity of meat it did 50 years ago, producing more than 320 million tonnes a year. And as the global population continues to multiply (according to the World Bank it’s expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050), finding ways to feed the world more sustainably and efficiently while getting the nutrition we need is at the top of the priority list.

    Raising livestock produces huge amounts of methane, one of the major contributors to global warming and climate change, and its effect is estimated to be 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. However, raising insects produces between 10 and 80 times less methane than raising cattle, and 8-12 times less ammonia. And since insect farming requires minimal land and water use compared to animal farming, it looks to be a promising, viable alternative to producing meat.

    Packing protein

    One of the pros of eating insects is that they’re full of protein. While your first thought when thinking of high protein foods might be something like a good old-fashioned steak, insects can provide similar benefits without the ethical and environmental impact that it takes to farm and produce meat from animals.

    For example, 100g of crickets contain approximately 21g or protein. And while 100g of ground beef contains about 26g of protein, bugs may actually come out on top when we consider their other nutritional properties.

    Full of nutrients:

    Fat:

    100g of crickets would provide you with about 5.5g of fat, while 100g of beef contains around 21.2g. These findings have even led some researchers to believe that eating insects could help combat obesity. In the UK, the NHS estimates that obesity affects around every 1 in 4 adults.

    Iron:

    A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that on average you could get up to 200% more iron by swapping red meat for insects. Iron is essential for the human body, as it’s necessary for making haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen around the body, while it also plays a pivotal part in supporting our immune systems. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency (anaemia), which makes us feel tired and frail.

    Vitamin B12:

    Insects, crickets in particular, are incredibly rich in B12, with about 24 micrograms of B12 in 100g of ground cricket powder. A B12 deficiency can cause tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and even mental health issues like depression.

     Potassium:

    Crickets also contain a similar amount of potassium as beef. Potassium is essential for helping us fight cardiac problems, reducing blood pressure and preventing osteoporosis and kidney stones.

    Which bug is best?

    While the edible insect market hasn’t hit the big time just yet, it’s certainly on the rise. Impressively, the global market for edible insects is predicted to exceed £430m by 2023, according to recent research.

    Already in the UK, popular edible insects include:

    Whole dried crickets: 

    These smell a bit like prawns and can be milled into use for burgers, tacos or any other meat recipe of your choosing.

    Mealworms: 

    High in iron and fibre, mealworms taste a bit like almonds and can be roasted or ground into a flour to be mixed with other ingredients. Mealworms also contain the most protein out of all the major edible insects, with a 100g serving giving you about 24g of protein.

    Mealworms

    Grasshoppers: 

    According to Eat Grub, a manufacturer of edible insects, grasshoppers contain gram for gram more protein than beef. They recommend roasting or deep-frying and serving with sweet chilli sauce. Just remove the legs and wings first.

    The cons

    But with the good, comes the not-so-good. As always, there are downsides to everything, and the same is true for eating insects. Here’s a few things you should be aware of before you get your hands dirty…

    Allergies:

    Despite the fact that insects have been eaten for hundreds of years, there’s still not a huge amount of information available about how they affect the human body. According to Crickster, a study found that insects have the same capacity to trigger allergic reactions as crustaceans like shrimp and lobster. So if you suffer from a shellfish allergy, you should probably avoid eating insects, or speak to a doctor before you do.

    Other risks involved with eating insects are that they may potentially contain harmful bacteria, anti-nutrients, pesticides and toxins. While insects may carry any of these, as long as you do your research, source properly produced products, and never eat them raw, you can reap all the benefits we’ve outlined here. McGregor might not be so mad after all, right?

    If we’ve managed to convince you that you could be switching out your steaks for stir-fried crickets, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think. And if you want to find out more, check out this article here.

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    Coffee with milk
    There are plenty of reasons that people choose to switch to a vegan milk, ranging from the milk alternatives health benefits, their reduced environmental impact, and even their taste. But when it comes to choosing the best non-dairy milk for you, the healthiest milk alternative, or even the best non-dairy milk for coffee, it can become a bit challenging to choose between the many, many milk alternatives on the market. We’re here to break it down. We’re talking taste, sustainability and more. It’s the battle of the non-dairy milk alternatives, if you will. But first, as always, let’s get the basics out the way. What are non-dairy milks? Non-dairy milks are a group of plant-based milks such as oat, cashew and coconut milk, that are made without the need for dairy milk from cows. This means that not only are their environmental impact much lower, but that they are great for those that want to follow a vegan lifestyle and remove animal by-products from their diet. They’ve also got some pretty sweet health benefits, too. What are the benefits of non-dairy milks? Of course, the health benefits of non-dairy milks vary from milk to milk, but broadly, some of the great benefits of dairy milk alternatives include: Great sources of calcium Cholesterol free Easier to digest A delicious taste Fewer calories Due to the increasing popularity of dairy milk alternatives, too, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to brands, milk types and even flavours. For this reason, here at Innermost we recommend that if you try one dairy milk alternative and don’t like it – maybe you don’t like the taste or texture, just try another one! You’re sure to find one that you love. It can be pretty overwhelming when selecting the best milk alternative, though. So let’s take a look together… What is the most sustainable milk alternative? It’s a fact that in general, plant-based milks are more sustainable. Their production uses less land, less water and their production leads to far fewer levels of greenhouse gases than dairy milk counterparts. The two most sustainable milk alternatives are soy milk, who’s production requires the least amount of water, and almost milk, who’s production leads to the least carbon dioxide. So, if you’re looking to make the swap to a dairy-free milk in the hope of making a sustainable dietary choice, soy or almond are the milks for you. What is the best non-dairy milk for protein shakes? When it comes to choosing the best non-dairy milk for protein shakes, you’re looking for a delicious taste and a creamy texture. Both of which are provided by almond milk. Almond milk has a similar, creamy consistency to cows milk which is ideal for creating thick and satisfying protein shakes, and the vitamin content of this milk packs a punch, too. Almond milk contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E, which is a great addition to your protein shake, for sure. For those that love a caffeine boost, almond milk is often considered the best non-dairy milk for coffee, too! If you’re looking for a great tasting dairy milk alternative to add to your shakes, though, we really recommend coconut milk. Sweet and delicious, coconut milk is a firm cult favourite for protein shakes, especially with our pineapple flavoured product The Energy Booster… did someone say Pina Colada? What is the healthiest milk alternative? If you’re thinking of making the switch from dairy milk to plant milk, it’s probably fair to say that one of the biggest motivators behind this choice is the health benefits. Maybe you’re lactose intolerant and fed up of the milk-induced bloating, or perhaps you’re just conscious of the high fat content that dairy milk can bring… Whilst these are worthy concerns, when deciding on the healthiest milk alternative, it’s important to consider the sugar content of your brand of choice. That’s what you should be looking for. Soy milk is one of the most popular dairy milk alternatives, and it’s not hard to see why. As one of the healthiest on the market, soy milk contains just as much protein as cows’ milk, and as long as the milks don’t contain any added sugars and are unsweetened, soy milk is definitely the healthiest pick. Summary There are a few really key points to consider when making the switch to a dairy milk alternative. Firstly, non-dairy doesn’t mean non-delicious. Many people opt for a dairy milk alternative for the taste and difference that these milks can bring to smoothies and protein shakes as a result, for example. Secondly, switching to non-dairy milks is a great choice for the environment. The dairy industry has a hugely detrimental affect on the environment, and so switching to one of these delicious alternatives is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. By the way… why not make the change this World Vegan Day? Whether you opt for oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, or any other of the worthy plant-based milk alternatives, let us know what you think! Head on over to @liveinnermost. We’d love to hear from you. Read more
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