Mealworm Monday: First Pupae in the Hive by Livin Farms

This week’s Mealworm Monday features our first pupae from the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features our first pupae from the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

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Mealworm Monday: Air-Fried Silk Worms

This week’s Mealworm Monday features eating silkworms, a popular food here in South East Asia.

This week’s Mealworm Monday features eating silkworms, a popular food here in South East Asia. Check out the video below!

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Mealworm Mondays: Livin Farms Hive Resources & Info

This week’s Mealworm Monday features feeding the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

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Mealworm Mondays: Feeding the Hive by Livin Farms

This week’s Mealworm Monday features feeding the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features feeding the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

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Mealworm Mondays: Unpacking the Hive by Livin Farms

This week’s Mealworm Monday features unpacking the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features unpacking the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

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Mealworm Mondays: Intro to Entomophagy (Eating Insects)

I’ve referred to myself as a vegan for a long time now, mainly due to the fact that I not only avoid all animal products (with the exception of insects) but I also only use cruelty free products and I’m attempting to convert to a 100% zero-waste lifestyle. Yes, I’m one of those people, get over it. As you might understand, calling myself a vegetarian felt like an understatement so I chose to call myself a vegan until people asked more questions and I’d explain that I’m actually an entovegan…

Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects that I will be telling you about in the upcoming series of posts called *cue drumroll* Mealworm Mondays! If a picture says a thousand words then a video must speak millions, so whenever I’m not in the mood to write out long explanations or you’re too lazy to read my babbling, I’ll be sharing humorous information-packed videos about one of my favorite topics!

If you’ve been following The Travel Bug Bite for a while now you might be asking yourself. “Wait, what? Eating insects is NOT vegan.” And frankly, you’re right, it’s not.

I’ve referred to myself as a vegan for a long time now, mainly due to the fact that I not only avoid all animal products (with the exception of insects) but I also only use cruelty free products and I’m attempting to convert to a 100% zero-waste lifestyle. Yes, I’m one of those people, get over it. As you might understand, calling myself a vegetarian felt like an understatement so I chose to call myself a vegan until people asked more questions and I’d explain that I’m actually an entovegan.

I discovered the term entovegan after weeks of struggling to find a label for what I was (not am… was, keep reading). I finally found the website www.entovegan.com where someone living on the other side of the world was dealing with the same issues. Josh decided to raise awareness about this unique, yet slightly contradictory, diet.

So once I received my Hive from Livin Farms, I ran around telling the world all about entoveganism. I didn’t just get the Hive (the worlds first edible insect desktop farm) to eat insects, as I felt the need to explain to my purely vegan friends. I got it to find a solution for my food waste (Chinese apartments are tiny, I can’t even fit an apartment-sized compost in here…) and I strongly believe in spreading the world about entomophagy to encourage meat eaters to replace some of their meat meals with insect protein – even though as a vegan, I can reassure you that you can get all the protein you need from plants. You see? Even supporting entomophagy makes me a bad vegan 😉

Sure, it’s an honorable mission and many vegans supported my decision with one complaint. You can’t call yourself a vegan if you eat anything that doesn’t consent to being eaten, it’s a contradiction. Well, I’m no longer an ento-anything, except an aspiring entomologist perhaps, because the Hive changed the way I look at mealworms.

While my husband is excited to munch on our mealworms once they mature, I’ve been watching them grow, feeding them and worrying about them from the minute they came to live with us. Although the reasons to eat insects are endless, I found it impossible to justify eating them myself. And that’s totally okay.

I’ll still keep calling myself a bug-biting blogger bitten by the travel bug because that’s incredibly catchy, but I won’t be doing any bug-biting personally. I’m still going to write about it and support the movement because I believe that it can literally change the world. So stay tuned for some crunchy (or should I say C-R-O-N-C-Hy) blog posts and videos!

Feel free to share any stories you have about trying edible insects or your opinions about the topic in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: If you are allergic to shellfish, please stay away from edible insects! There have been various cases of people who are allergic to shellfish to also react to edible insects. Read more about potential allergies here.

 

 

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Entoveganism: Veganism with a Six-legged Twist

“Curiosity, disgust and confusion,” is how some vegans respond to Josh’s creepy-crawly twist on the strict no animal product diet. While both veganism and entomophagy are growing trends around the world, Josh may be the first to combine them. ‘Entoveganism’ may sound like an oxymoron but it is the most accurate description for this unique diet.

Veganism, sometimes referred to as a plant-based-diet, has gained popularity for several reasons. Some studies have linked obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure to consuming processed animal products. Large-scale farming is also incredibly cruel to animals and causes irreparable damage to the environment. Health, love for animals and environmental impact are the top three reasons that people go vegan.

“A friend convinced me to give a plant-based diet a chance for a few months, and I was willing to do it,” Josh explained, “When I noticed really positive changes in my body after about six weeks of mostly just eating vegan, I decided to do it for the rest of the year, but incorporate insects into my diet as a larger percentage of what I was eating.”

Recently, a lot of athletes have given their vegan diets credit for theirmproved performances: 300-pound offensive tackle Trent Williams in the NFL, Kyrie Irving in the NBA, and the Willaims Sisters in tennis, to name a few. But if a vegan diet is already so effective, why eat insects? Health, according to Josh.

“I feel better than I have in years! My muscles recover quickly, I’m getting gains in the gym, my overall athletic ability has improved, my energy levels are great and I sleep well,” Josh lists the benefits of his entovegan diet. “I also had a big cyst on my back that I’d had for a couple of years that went away on its own just a few weeks into going vegan.”

Many vegans describe these positive effects without incorporating insects into their diets, but edible insects are not just great for health. Replacing meat with insects can have a great impact on our environment too and even on our economy. Developing countries can transform insect-farming as well as wild insect catching into a family. In Kenya, for example, women and the elderly sometimes support their families by selling edible insects.

When it comes to health, edible insects are more than just nutritious. Some studies show that mealworms contain an enzyme that can cure Alzheimer’s disease and we are still in the extremely early stages of research in this area.

“Are there cures for diseases, are there bugs high in antioxidants, are there superfood insects, is there some bug with a really fast life-cycle that is the perfect nutritional profile for humans?” Josh ponders. “Those questions are on the back burner for most people, but if the world were entovegan, that’d be a much higher priority. Because trust me, eating crickets every single day gets old after a while.”

As Josh points out, there are now a recorded 2,1 types of edible insects in the world. However, outside of black soldier fly larvae, crickets and mealworms, few make headlines or investments. There are many unknowns in the entomophagy industry, including the allergens, which can be a turn off for many people. So far, only a few types of insects have been studied thoroughly enough to determine that they are allergenic to people who are also allergic to shellfish.

“One of my biggest interests in the industry is finding out what other nutritional powerhouses are hidden among those other 2,000 insects that we don’t know about yet. From what we do know, it’s an extremely promising food source. If toasted cricket chips start to replace MSG-covered GMO corn chips, for example, it’s going to be a good thing for people’s diet in general.”

Although eating insects can seem extreme and unnatural to many people, it wasn’t that long ago that sushi was considered disgusting, and lobster was thought of as food for poor people and prisoners. Lobster is a great example because it’s essentially the cockroach of the ocean that eats trash, not to mention plastic that ends up in the ocean.

“Jay-Z and Beyonce now eat lobsters combined with $1,000 bottles of bubbly,” Josh points out. Hopefully in a few years or decades people will be serving gourmet insects at high-end events that pair wine and insects.

“Insects are far more sustainable than lobster, and arguably even more nutritious, so the shift will happen, but it’s going to take time,” Josh concludes. Learn more about entoveganism, Josh and his journey to a healthier lifestyle at www.entovegan.com.

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Protein of the Future: Save Cows, Eat Insects – From Home!

The world’s first desktop farm for edible insects promises to do more than put bugs on people’s plates: Livin Farms aims to empower individuals to start a food revolution from the comfort of their kitchen. After months of research, testing and redesign, the Hive is off the assembly line and is one step closer to arriving at your doorstep.

Here’s what you need to know about entomophagy (eating insects). Millions of people around the world are eating insects RIGHT NOW. Yes that’s right, while you pick the legs and rip the guts from your gourmet shrimp, someone somewhere is chomping on a slightly different many-legged creature.

Actually, insects – cockroaches in particular – are most similar to lobsters. They are both bottom feeders that occasionally munch on some trash, are full of protein and are both a delicacy in some parts of the world. Unlike most seafood however, insects don’t contain mercury or plastic in their systems. Plus, eating them doesn’t result in the devastating by-catch of dolphins, sharks and whales (just to name a few). It also doesn’t destroy beautiful reefs…

The production of insects happens to be incredibly sustainable because of their size, growth rate and low demand for resources. Did you know that it takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef? Leaving your shower on all day would be less hazardous to the environment. I’m not even going to get into the inhumane ways that cows are treated and then slaughtered… But I do want to point out that the waste a cow produces (that doesn’t accidentally end up in your cheese which happens all the time) is slowly killing the planet we live on.

Eating insects might be surprisingly healthy and delicious. But just because it’s sustainable for the environment doesn’t mean that it won’t drain your financial resources. In today’s society, eating insects isn’t for those on a budget. Which is ironic, since in developing countries people are shying away from eating bugs because it’s considered “only for poor people”. This is where the Hive comes into play.

Sure, there are many start-ups that are selling insect products ranging from pasta, cake, protein bars and plain old fried insects. The Hive takes it a step further and allows you to have full control over your ‘livestock’, a.k.a meal worms. Entire populations that once grew up on farms are now so distanced from food production that they no longer know where their food comes from or what is even in it.

The Hive is an apartment-friendly desktop farm with it’s own climate that allows you to breed meal worms and control every aspect of their life. They can eat most food scraps so you can minimize your eco-footprint by reducing your organic waste. The food you choose to feed them will also influence the way the meal worms taste once you freeze them.

The cold initiates hibernation and once they are dormant you throw them in boiling water. This is relatively humane, especially considering that some scientists claim that they don’t feel pain in the first place. Let’s say that the insects do in fact feel pain, ending their already short life-spans early by forcing them to hibernate sounds a lot less cruel than what happens to intelligent farm animals on a daily basis.

In the last few weeks, Livin Farms have finished manufacturing, assembling and packaging the Hives that will be sent to 33 countries around the globe! The insect revolution has taken off with a blast since the EU posted a study urging people to replace their beef burgers with buggy buns. Although people have been eating insects since the beginning of time, entomophagy now has the power to literally change the world.

Knowing what we know about the health benefits of eating insects and the environmental impact of replacing meat with insects might very well redefine modern cuisine. The great thing about the Hive, specifically, is that you don’t need to sit back and watch the world change before your eyes. Order one today and lead the food revolution from your home!

The photos below are from Living Farms Twitter and Facebook page.

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Real Vegans Eat Insects: True or False?

The growing trend of edible insects has started many debates among foodies. It’s gaining popularity because It’s a great alternative source of protein because farming insects requires fewer resources and it can be done in ways that don’t harm the environment.

Some Google definitions:

  • Vegetarian: a person who does not eat meat or fish, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.
  • Vegan: a person who does not eat or use any animal products.

Antoine Doré, who created the image above, captures how most vegetarians see eating insects.

By definition neither vegetarians nor vegans should even consider eating insects because they are animals. Whether or not they are sentient is another question that is currently being researched.

However research does show that insects don’t have nociceptors which inhibit them from feeling the same type of pain that humans feel. This does not mean they can’t feel pain though, you can read more about this here.

How are insects prepared for eating?

Since over 2 billion people in the world eat insects as part of their daily diet, even this question has many answers. But the most humane way to prepare insects, for example mealworms, is to place them in the fridge which makes them hibernate. Once they are hibernating they are thrown into boiling water so they die immediately. This is believed to be painless although, as previously mentioned, there is no data yet to back this up.

Mealworm example and comparison to cattle:

Mealworms live an average of 3 months and if they are hibernating in the fridge, they can live up to 5 months. When people eat mealworms, they eat the insect at the larva stage (where it looks like a worm instead of a black beetle). An adult beetle lays up to 500 eggs in their lifetime. These eggs hatch in 1 – 4 weeks and they become pupas (cocoons) in 7 – 10 weeks. You can see a video of their life cycle here.

The quick maturity rate of mealworms (and other insects) is another benefit of eating insects. It takes very few resources for them to become mature and it takes little time to repopulate them. With cattle, for example, it takes 2 years for a cow to reach maturity and be able to breed.

Here is an infographic from Six Foods showing the comparison of resources needed for cow and crickets. Did you know that only 40% of a cow is actually edible as opposed to 80% of a cricket?

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Why SHOULDN’T vegetarians and vegans eat insects?

Disclaimer: Just because they don’t want to eat insects is a perfectly reasonable answer! No one has a right to force others to do something just because they believe it is right. But for the sake of answering the question…

The vegetarian and vegan belief is that animals should not be harmed for the survival of humans. Insects are animals too so they should not be eaten. Research does show that there are sufficient amounts of alternative protein sources for humans to survive without eating meat.

Recently there was a great answer on Quora explaining what would happen if everyone in the world stopped eating meat. Although human beings are born omnivores, there has been plenty of evidence to suggest that we can be healthy without eating meat.

Can humans really get all necessary nutrition without meat-based protein?

Again debatable, but research shows that the biggest problem with veganism and vegetarianism is the possibility of developing iron deficiencies, not lack of protein. This is because plant-based iron doesn’t absorb as easily into the human body.

Insects can play an important role here for those who are willing to eat them. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): “… many edible insects provide satisfactory amounts of energy and protein, meet amino acid requirements for humans, are high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids, and are rich in micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, as well as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and, in some cases, folic acid.”

There is also evidence of certain enzymes that could play a role in curing Alzheimer’s disease – although this, like everything insect related, still needs a lot of research.

Why SHOULD vegetarians and vegans eat insects?

Disclaimer: Again, no one is trying to force anyone to do anything! But here’s a few reasons why eating insects is something to consider!

There have been various articles about how eating insects will cause animals less harm. Some go as far as saying that replacing plants with insects can help the environment. Here’s one that the Huffington Post did a while back.

There are many reasons to become vegetarian and many do it to harm fewer animals. There are also vegetarians who choose to make exceptions and not follow all the strict rules: like many ideologies in life, it’s not always possible to follow 100%. (Is it even possible to live in a house, shop in a supermarket, use chemical beauty products and wear factory-produced clothing without harming animals? Don’t forget that most medicines are tested on animals.)

What is the purpose of veganism (and vegetarianism)?

If the ultimate goal is to help animals and there is proof that eating insects helps them, wouldn’t it make sense to give it a try? Imagine saving an intelligent animal that could live up to 15 years (a cow) by eating an insect that has a lifespan that’s measured in weeks and can be farmed without feeling the stress or pain that a mammal would. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Since my opinion is clearly biased, I decided to ask about this on Quora to see what other people thought. Most of the responses were clear: vegans don’t eat insects because they don’t eat any animals. This is totally understandable and a fair answer, however my favorite response was from ex-vegetarian Pavel Georgiev:

“Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.

Not all animals are equal in their ability to experience pain and desires. Ending the life of an insect is not equivalent to ending the life of a human in many respects.

Some vegans may argue that oysters can be eaten, despite their status as an animal, because they lack the biological systems that give rise to the sensation of pain and desire. Some people stick to a strict definition and don’t consider those “self-appointed vegans” to be vegans.

“Insects” include many different animals. Some people that call themselves vegans might find it okay to eat certain insects despite their ability to experience pain or desire because it may be a very limited ability.

Eating insects instead of plants could reduce the net suffering of animals since it is possible for many animals to suffer (that have a greater ability to suffer) from agricultural processes. The definition of veganism can be limiting for some because “animal” is a broad term and it ignores more complex ethical issues.”

Would you eat an insect if it could save a cow?

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Financial Benefits of Eating Insects

Edible Insects offer clear financial benefits. It costs a lot less investment to produce edible insects in terms of input feed, but the ratio of feed to meat is far greater. Insects are biologically cold-blooded, so they use a lot less energy than poultry and beef herds to keep warm. As a result, a larger percentage of their output of food goes towards the growth process (generating proteins that are edible) than warm blooded animals.

The Kreca Ento-Food Company is a prominent insect farming facility authorized and regulated by the NVWA (The Netherlands Food and Safety Authority) to produce four varieties of insects suitable for human consumption. The company has been farming edible insects for almost 40 years and has been regularly fine tuning processes of production to ensure premium standard and insect produce. All organically farmed insects are free from hormones, preservatives, antibiotics and harmful pesticides.

Evidence based research shows that insects can play a preeminent role in offering solutions to many of Earth’s principle challenges like as security of food supply and damage to the environment. For example, it takes 10 kg of cattle feed to produce an output of 1 kg of beef, with less than half of it actually edible. In contrast 10 kg of feed will generate an output of 9 kilos worth of insects, with over 95% is edible!

Krecafood offers products like whole edible insects and protein powders which are usable as high nutrition ingredients in a diversity of foodstuffs.

Insect (Lesser Mealworm) Production at Kreca Ento-FoodEntomoFood

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