A caterpillar nestled into my palm with its little feet, like tiny whiskers, poking my skin. We stared each other out to see who would jump. Stroking the turquoise tube-like form, I shut my eyes and ripped its head off with my teeth as it writhed and spilled juices into my mouth. I was not expecting its baby-bottom texture and nutty tang. Maori call it the huhu grub, something I wouldn’t be eating again in a hurry.
Do you fancy chewing on cricket fries and swallowing mealworm burgers? Or maybe buttering up your locust loaf, over a sip of beetle chowder?
Many folks assume bug-eating means consuming them – as Gollum would say: “Give it to us raw and wriggling!” Actually, most insects bred for food are euthanised, processed, and possibly even powdered.
We Westerners like our food neatly packaged in something plastic, no yucky stuff, preferably nothing that implies protein coming from a carcass. We dribble over KFC drumsticks to musky, iron-scented livers or giblets. We pick at St Pierre’s sushi or neatly trimmed steaks, tendons, and stomachs.
But the way we are eating creates huge problems for people and this planet.
A viable solution for the planet’s food shortage and economic instability? The United Nations proposes entomophagy (insect eating) as a protein-packed way to feed the nine billion people on Earth by 2050. It is believed that the main benefit of bugs as a food source as opposed to animal protein is that they can be farmed sustainably and organically in mass, with little to no impact on the environment.
Biologists say, however, that due to generations of industrial farming and pesticide-based agriculture, insect abundance has fallen by 75 percent over the past twenty-five years. In Germany alone, the biomass of flying insects has declined to buzzing lows since 1989, and consuming insects will only condemn them to an even darker future.
Insects are an imperative link to eco-food chains and are crucial pollinators for plant, fruit and most vegetation. Mass consumption will only contribute to the world’s already teetering ecology, as many species who diet on insects have already died out due to our current entomo-holocaust.
Why not save the world and the yuck factor and just go vego?
Consumers are conditioned to crave what tigers and lions relish, and now entomophagy suggests we should eat like birds and lizards. At the same time, almost 400,000,000 vegetarians worldwide live happy and healthy lives. They know well the benefits a plant-based diet has to offer their lifestyle, health, economics, and the environment.
But is it possible for humans to place value on consuming the right foodstuffs for a higher purpose besides satisfying our palate?
Around 40 percent of the Indian population is vegetarian. Leading the world in this revolution, India is where enlightened masters, the great sages and yogis, have subsisted on vegetarian diets for thousands of years.
The sages say food is meant to
1. increase our duration of life;
2. purify our mind; and
3. aid bodily strength.
Advocating the vegetarian diet as best suited for the human body, yogis understand our human physiology as unsuitable for fleshy diets. They revolt against having a rotting carcass in their bodies, emitting all sorts of toxins. Scientific study corroborates this when we compare the human anatomy with other herbivore species, demonstrating that humans naturally derive sustenance from fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Considering that plenty of animals are subsisting on vegetarian diets already, vegetarianism is nothing extraordinary for transcendentalists. Rather, it’s a natural lifestyle for those seeking higher consciousness.
The world is hungry for enlightened souls who are dispensers of nonmaterial experiences, by which we lose our taste for dead material things. All other species in this world have a natural diet. Why not consider a diet intended for human beings?