One of my favorite quotes is from a movie with Will Smith and his kid, fighting monsters on a volcano in Costa Rica. Or something like that – I don’t really remember the movie, but I remember the quote, and it’s stuck with me.

Danger” he tells his son, “danger is very real. But fear is a choice.

I recall standing on the bank of a swollen river in Canada looking at a class V rapid one day, and having that quote come to mind. I was supposed to be on my way to the airport, but we’d made a detour because I had some unfinished business from the day before.

See, for whatever reason, I’d had one of those very human days that just happen sometimes out of nowhere, or at least they did for me, maybe 3 or 4 times in my 20 years of exploring whitewater rivers.

That day it happened. I just wasn’t feeling it, and as I stood there taking pictures and video while my buddies all ran the rapid, it just got more and more terrifying. In the end I didn’t have the balls to run it, and as dark fell we went back to the cabin…where I had a long, sleepless night.

I’ve never told this story before, and on the video I remember kind of quoting that line jokingly, but at the same time, I wasn’t just going to risk my life for some cheesy quote. I firmly believed that it was 100% accurate and completely relevant to my situation in that moment.

I was being a baby, and being irrational. They’d all run the rapid successfully. Nobody was injured, nobody even had a scary beatdown – as far as class V rapids go, it was actually pretty smooth sailing for our group. And for me personally, I was at the top of my game, there was zero logical reason to be scared of this thing.

Josh Galt riverboarding Bonneschere 2014

Click for full size. | Josh Galt, riverboarding the Bonneschere. Photos by Tom & Jon Paterson,

Which is why we took a 20 minute detour, pulled off the road, I geared up, the guys got in position for some pics and a video, and with the profound words of the great wise Will Smith echoing in my head, I dropped in and styled the line with ease.

Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.

See, what I realized there was that the fear I was choosing to accept was baseless. The danger existed – but it was not an unknown danger.

It was a danger I was well acquainted with, a danger I watched my buddies conquer with relative ease, a danger level that I was one of the most experienced and skilled in the world to deal with. And yet I was needlessly afraid.

So I chose not to be afraid, and I ran the rapid, and then I went to the airport with no regrets. Unfortunately a couple of the other times in my life I did not make the same choice, and I still regret succumbing to those fears, and unfortunately will until the day I die.

Why do I tell this story on an edible insect eating blog?

Because I think it’s relevant to the utterly irrational fear of bugs that westerners have had inculcated into them since birth. The fear, the phobia, the disgust, the repulsion – why? Based on what?

People look at insects as food or read a post about eating bugs and immediately go “yuck!“. And yet, if you ask them if they’ve ever eaten bugs, the answer is almost always “no“.

That fear, the cultural misunderstanding, the feeling of being grossed out – it’s 100% mental. It has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Danger is- no, in this case it isn’t! There’s no danger to eating edible insects.* Like even if they’re prepared horribly, as any food can be, even then there’s still no danger beyond an unpalatable taste, which would be much more likely the fault of the chef than the insect.

You can literally take any edible insect and boil it, fry it, roast it, toast it, bake it, or otherwise cook it, and with nearly all of the insects they’re going to taste pretty good just like that. Some people even eat them raw (which I don’t recommend doing*), because they’ve each got their natural flavors.

You know, kind of like sushi. Or vegetables. They naturally taste like something, and that something is usually pretty damn good. Ok, fine, some veggies can be debated haha.

But really – I see so much apprehension about eating bugs, and there’s just – it’s based on cultural biases, it’s based on misinformation, it’s based on lack of experience, it’s based on irrational fears of imaginary gross textures or flavors…but none of it’s based on the cooked bugs themselves actually embodying any of those fears. Like, ever.

Now, I’ll admit there are some insect flavors that aren’t necessarily the most agreeable – but I’m not a huge fan of asparagus either, and I eat it anyway because it’s good for me. And I’m certainly not scared to touch asparagus, or take a bite. No, I look at it, know I don’t like it, know the stringy gooey texture annoys my mouth, know also it’s really healthy for me, and I eat it.

But the insects you’re likely to encounter as food though aren’t the asparagus of the insect world! They’re the cashews, the olives, the crisp gala apples of the insect world. Now we’re talking, right?

Whether it’s crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers (or chapulines), palm weevil larvae, scorpions, even cockroaches – they’re all really tasty. Which is why companies are selling them in the first place!

I understand the power of irrational fear – and it sucks. It can be debilitating, and often arrives without any rational or even specific reason. If you’re hesitant to try edible insects though, you’ve gotta conquer that fear. Overcome it. Because we know where it came from, and we don’t live in the 1700’s anymore.

Because there’s nothing to worry about with eating bugs (known to be edible, of course). The staunchest “I will never eat a bug, Josh, go away!” detractors I’ve ever met admitted after a few bites that they’d been wrong. Heck, I was one of those people back in the day!

But you have to take that first step, and choose to open your mind, then your hand, then your mouth, and bite down on what will likely be a crunchy, delicious, unique-tasting edible insect. Your first one…of many.

After that first good experience, though, it’s all smooth sailing. You’ll wonder why you were ever scared to try bugs in the first place, and if you’re into health and nutrition, they just might become a staple in your diet.

Be careful though – next thing you know you might be starting a blog proclaiming the incredible benefits and deliciousness of eating insects!

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

Entovegan Love #EatBugs - overcome fear - Raquel Cortman scorpion

Model: Raquel Cortman
Arthropod: Scorpion
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.

*Disclaimer: Do not eat raw insects or live insects. Only eat insects which are known to be edible, and have been cooked thoroughly. It is also highly recommended that you eat insects which have been farmed in a sustainable manner using natural feedstock, and not insects collected from the wild. I’m sure there’s more but you get the point. Conquer your fears, but don’t be stupid – not all insects are edible, just like not all berries or leafy greens are edible. Know what you’re about to eat before you eat it! And if you have shellfish allergies, you may possibly be allergic to insects.

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