Let’s talk about some issues for a moment. Because if you consider yourself woke and yet scoff at the idea of eating bugs, or turn up your nose in disgust…have you asked yourself why?

And more, have you thought at all about how edible insects might, just maybe, be complimentary to other social and environmental issues you deeply care about?

Here are two big ones you’re probably already aware of and have strong opinions on:

  • Climate change
  • Celebrating cultural diversity

I think it’s safe to assume that you’re probably already woke to the fact that our planet is in need of some drastic changes to preserve (and restore) its natural beauty and ecosystems.

You’re also probably the kind of open-minded person who respects and appreciates all different people groups and belief systems, and would never purposely attack, say, someone else’s cultural foods. Right?

Cool, so now that we’re on the same page, I have to ask you – why do you have the knee-jerk reaction of “yuck” when someone talks about eating insects? The green sick face and barf emojis, the repulsion, the intense disgust and automatic rejection of the idea of insects as food…have you thought about where it’s coming from, and what you’re actually saying?

Because unless you’re a strict vegan who grows your own organic food and absolutely will never eat an animal, even an insect, then the immediate dismissal of Entomophagy – consumption of insects and other arthropods – is actually a refusal to A) appreciate an important food source in many cultures and B) participate in one of the most environmentally friendly food solutions available today.

This is actually pretty straightforward.

2 billion people eat insects on a regular basis as part of their diet. Bugs in most cases are not ‘survival’ food, but an actual delicacy. They have a long and rich history as part of cultural food heritage in many countries around the world, and they’re as common in those places as Big Macs and diet Cokes are in the west.

So to act as though what those people are eating is so gross, is actually quite condescending to the billions of people who love eating bugs. To assume that they’re only eating insects because they’re ‘poor‘ or ‘live in mud huts‘ is also extremely, well, I’ll just say ignorant, and leave it at that.

Sure, it’s probably unintentional. When you act grossed out on social media on an edible insect post, it’s likely more because you’re thinking about Fear Factor than making a moral judgment on someone’s culture. I get that – it’s probably not intended maliciously.

But it’s important to be aware of how each of our actions and words come across in reality, and to take care when responding to something one doesn’t yet understand. As I’ve said before, I get it, because I didn’t understand the whole fried or dried or powderized insect thing, for a very long time.

But now I do. And now I cringe at my former ignorance.

Moving from cultural identity to something less personal but of similar importance, let’s look at edible insects and the environment. You care about climate change, right? You see what’s happening to the planet, you want to be part of the solution.

Great, you can save the planet by eating insects and insect products! 😀

It really is that simple. Do your own research, but farmed insects may just be the most sustainable, healthy* form of complete protein that humans are currently able to produce on a mass scale.

(*Lab-grown meats are sustainable, but they’re not very healthy. Plant proteins like soy are healthy, but they’re unsustainable. Algae protein is healthy and sustainable, but can’t yet be mass-produced at scale.)

Insects use a tiny fraction of the land, feed, and water that it takes to produce a comparable amount of protein from cattle, poultry, pork, fish, etc. And their greenhouse gas emissions are virtually nonexistent – contrasted with commercial livestock, which are indirectly responsible for clearcutting forests to create grazing land, and which give off enormous amounts of methane pollution.

Insects are also considerably more sustainable than fishmeal or soybean meal, which are the primary feed sources for commercial fish, poultry, and pig farmers around the world. Replace fishmeal and soymeal with insects, though, and it’s a giant leap in the right direction as far as sustainability is concerned.

The Amazon rainforest for sure would appreciate a world with less soy production, and the oceans would breathe a deep sigh of relief for a solution which lessened the amount of overfishing to create fishmeal for aquaculture feed. Insects are that solution.

So the immediate rejection of eating insects – based purely on cultural bias, and not even on one’s personal experience of eating them! – is essentially rejecting a valid, viable solution to combat climate change. That doesn’t seem to be a very progressive mindset, yeah?

Now, I’m not here to give you a guilt trip – guilt sucks. I’m motivated by love, for people and planet.

But sometimes the truth hurts, and I know this needs to be addressed because I see these reactions every day on social media and even in person. And also because a few years ago I was one of the people reacting without thinking, when it came to eating bugs.

The truth is insects are eaten every day by billions of people around the world who love to eat bugs and enjoy them for the taste, texture, and nutrition that they provide.

The truth is also that sustainable insect farming for human consumption and animal feed, has massive potential to make a very positive impact on our beautiful planet in the fight against climate change.

So next time you see a post on instagram or facebook of someone eating bugs, before you contribute negative energy to the conversation through your words or emojis, ask yourself: “Do I want to support environmentally friendly solutions? Do I have an open mind toward other peoples’ culture and foods?”

You may find that you have a very different reaction, coming at things with an open mind. You might even find that first cricket you eat to be even more than just a gateway bug – it might just be the red pill that wakes you up to a fascinating, delicious world you never even knew existed, but which has been thriving all around you for your whole life. More than that – for the entirety of human history.

Love your planet.
Love your body.
Love your food.

Entovegan Love #EatBugs - Woke EXO cricket protein bar - Raquel Cortman

Model: Raquel Cortman
Insect: Crickets in powder form as part of an EXO Cricket Protein Bar*
Photographer: Josh Galt
Location: Mexico

If you like these images, feel free to share and use them! All we ask is that you don’t edit or manipulate the pictures or text in any way. If you’d like to tag us, we’re @entovegan across instagram / facebook / twitter. Large size prints are also available on request.

*NOTE: EXO / Aspire Food Group were involved in the creation or publication of these images. We just love their products and their packaging is very photogenic. 🙂


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