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: 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: Cleaning the Hive by Livin Farms

This week’s Mealworm Monday features cleaning 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 cleaning 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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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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How I Became a Beveage (Vegan…ish)

‘Vegan’ is a word I never thought I’d use in reference to myself. Until three months ago, I never even said ‘vegan’ without grimacing unless I was being sarcastic. I loved meat, cheese and eggs, pitied vegetarians and looked down on vegans. Why did I single vegans out so much? One or two may have been mean to me once upon a time… I know I’m the only (ex)carnivore who wanted to eat bacon cheeseburgers every time a vegan was mean to me. It’s too bad that asshole meat eaters don’t have the same effect on people, because no one would ever eat meat again.

So how did I go from eating tatarak (a Czech delicacy where several hundred grams of raw ground beef are mixed with a raw egg) to being a beveage (I’ll get to that soon) in the snap of a finger? I didn’t. It took five snaps to be exact, starting with Esther.

1. Esther the Wonderpig

For those of you who don’t know her, Esther is a pig. She is adorable, witty and if she hadn’t been rescued, hundreds of people would have eaten parts of her for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It took me several weeks of following her Facebook page while seeing trucks full of pigs going to slaughter pass me on the street before I made the connection.

          You do know that every piece of ground meat contains hundreds of different animals,            right? Sorry, not going trying to preach here, just FYI…

I decided I’d stop eating pork because pigs were cute. “But what about cows, you don’t think they are cute?” my husband asked over a chicken dinner. Needless to say, although we started eating less pork, we still ate all other animals and even the occasional Esther too. It was just too hard to make sure our dumplings didn’t contain pork. Right?

2. Fried dog paws in Vietnam 🙁

Fast-forward several months to the most amazing three week trip to Vietnam. One day, my husband and I were joking about not being sure what meat was in our noodles with a flexitarian. Two days later we saw a pile of fried dog paws in the market and suddenly we weren’t laughing anymore. I almost broke down, picturing all the dogs I had met on the trip being cut into pieces.

Why did dog meat bother me so much when I was so desensitized to seeing other dead animals? A visit to the market in China is filled with frozen pig hooves, cut open chickens with half-formed eggs inside them and bull testicles casually draped above the vendors’ heads. We ate our first vegetarian pho that evening and I vowed to stop eating meat.

3. Vegans of Shanghai

Just two weeks later we were in our new home in Shanghai looking for something to do. Meetups.com showed only one event that day, a vegan movie screening. This was the first time I didn’t scoff at the word vegan, but I was still skeptical.

“We can’t go to a vegan event… I’ve been vegetarian for a day and you ate beef for breakfast,” I scolded my husband while eating some fried cheese. “We can’t just show up and pretend to be vegan! Could you ask if non-vegans are welcome without being awkward?”

Conversation on WeChat:

*Other people chatting in group*
Isaac: Hello vegans, can my wife and I join tonight even though we are not                           vegan?
Organizer: Beveages are welcome.

“What’s a beveage?” my husband asks me. I search the term in Google but get nothing. “It must be a term for non-vegans or people in transition…”

Organizer: Beverages*
Organizer: Yes, of course you’re welcome @Isaac!

“Oh… wow, we’re dumb,” I laugh.

So that’s how we met our first vegan friends who were all nice, chill and didn’t judge us for not being vegan. We did that ourselves… after watching Okja. Which is an amazing Korean movie that’s not in your face vegan and even makes fun of extremists while making an important point about modern day meat production.

That night, one vegetarian and meat eater walked into a room full of vegans and two vegetarians walked out. We felt so good about our decision while agreeing that being vegan was absolutely crazy and we would never do it. Two weeks later, we read Neal Barnard’s The Cheese Trap.

4. Reading The Cheese Trap

Only two chapters in, I removed the $70 2.5 kilo piece of mozzarella from my fridge and gave it to a friend. I thought I was only getting rid of cheese, but suddenly my mysterious hip pain, daily phlegm issues, dandruff and acne were gone too!

I still have trouble believing that it was all caused by dairy until I talk to other vegans who experienced the same exact thing. I had only been expecting the vegan glow and super fast growing healthy hair… *blinding hair flip*

We stopped eating eggs too by the way, but there’s no backstory to that. We just don’t like tortured hormone-filled chicken or mass grinding of baby male chicks (only illegal in Germany by the way). Plus chickens are cute too.

Honestly, it wasn’t hard at all. We had been so bored with food and now we had millions of new recipes to try. We discovered the wonders nooch (nutritional yeast), aquafaba and the dozen different ways to make delicious cruelty-free bacon (rice paper is the best). But we still ate fish and showed that off proudly to avoid being called the still feared ‘v’ word.

5. Realizing I’m a fish-loving but sushi-eating hypocrite

On October, Friday the 13th I stopped eating fish too. I knew I would eventually stop eating fish but I didn’t realize that I was eating my last payday salmon sushi. The last snap was more of a slap.

The kindergarten that I work at did what any school does: they bought some fish as pets for the class. Whoever bought the fish didn’t know much about them and most Chinese fish stores only care about making money. So we ended up with eight goldfish in two tiny round bowls with about three cm of water in each bowl.

“They will be dead in three days,” I said angrily, “they need a filter, more water and a proper square aquarium!”

“I know,” said my supervisor sadly, “but nothing can be done about that now.”

For two days, I watched the (cute) fish slowing down and starting to look sickly. On the third day, they were finally presented to the kids and everyone got to throw food at them.

“Why aren’t they eating?” the teacher asked me.

“Because they are dying,” I replied.

Friday morning I was sitting at my desk with one of the bowls on my table, discarded by the class because the fish were constantly ‘sleeping’. The other four had already died and one of the fish was swimming sideways, following in their footsteps.

I was close to tears with sadness and anger. Anger at myself for feeling this way about a few (cute) small goldfish when I ate several hundred grams of salmon at payday sushi on Tuesday. I felt guilty and realized two things: I would save the remaining goldfish no matter what and I would never eat fish again.

The remaining three fish are swimming happily along with four new friends as I write this. For the first time in my life, I want to call myself vegan. Now that I finally want the title, I know that I will never be able to use it. I will never eat meat, fish, dairy or fish again but I do believe in eating insects.

Are proper vegans super frustrated with me? Probably. Sorry about that!

Summary:

I am no longer a pescatarian, and although I now buy environmentally-friendly cruelty-free cleaning products, makeup, crafting supplies and I don’t consume any non-insect animal products, I still can’t call myself a vegan! Nor can I get frustrated about that, because I still eat things that live, breathe and (yuck) poop <– see? Still a hypocrite!

Since “90% plant-based” is too difficult to explain, I guess I’ll just keep calling myself a beveage. Will I ever be 100% vegan? Who knows… I was eating cheese-fried bacon several months ago and now look at me! And apparently it’s not just me since Ben and Jerry’s, Bailey’s, Dominoes Pizza, TGI Friday’s and even McDonald’s are now offering vegan options…

If you’re reading this while considering veganism but you’re panicking because you don’t know what you’ll eat, let me tell you these reassuring words: Oreos are vegan. There is also plenty of rape-free chocolate, plant-based cheeses, nut milks and imitation meats to curb your cravings.  Speaking of which, once you stop/limit eating processed foods, you’ll mostly just be craving veggies and fruits just like you’re supposed to!

The most important thing that I realized through this transformation is that it doesn’t matter what other people think. As long as you feel good about your choices, don’t listen to meat-eaters, vegans or even beveages. But seriously, go eat some Oreos. Except sh**, they’re cute too! *starves*

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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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What NOT to Do with Cricket Flour

*Revelation since publishing this – what I have is cricket powder, not flour, meaning it’s just 100% ground crickets and not meant to be used as flour at all. Courtesy of Entomophagy Facebook group

The full scoop on how I failed at life (yes, I’m being overly dramatic) and wasted precious cricket flour:

You don’t need to be a great cook to get excited about cricket flour. New recipes pop up every day and the availability of the flour itself is on the rise. Want to know what doesn’t always rise? The batter.

Let me start at the very beginning…

It took me months to actually get decently priced cricket flour in the Czech Republic where eating insects is still technically “illegal”. At the moment insects are not considered suitable for human consumption and it will unfortunately stay that way until the EU agrees on some regulations.

There are ways to get around the law so there are bug-eating events and it is possible to legally order insect products from abroad (except from Amazon.com).

Anyway…

I finally managed to get a kilo of cricket flour through a friend and I didn’t let my lack of cooking experience hold me back. Finding a recipe online was surprisingly easy, I even had too many options! Desserts such as banana bread seemed a bit too advanced so I went with pancakes.

Pancakes are the only thing I am confident at cooking and I was happy to find a recipe that didn’t require substitution of regular flour. Pure cricket flour meant more protein and less guilt once I ate all the pancakes!

I turned up the music as I mixed the chocolaty-scented flour with some baking powder and a pinch of salt in one bowl. Then I combined melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla in another. I wasn’t too worried about the unusual wetness of the light brown batter because I assumed that it was the cricket pancake norm.

The moment I poured half a cup of batter into the pan, my mistake became evident. Even at a low heat the batter exploded with air bubbles and refused to turn solid. After several minutes of panic, spatula aerobics and experimenting with the heat, I was forced to scrape burnt sad-looking crumbs off the frying pan.

Some self-pity, head-scratching and a glass of white wine later gave me courage to try and save the rest of the flour. It took at least 300 grams of regular all-purpose flower to give the batter a nice firm texture. I danced with joy as the glob of cricketness sizzled exactly the way a pancake should.

Very soon I had several beautifully fat pancakes stacked on a plate. I took photographic evidence and smothered them in maple syrup. Unfortunately it was not enough. Trying not to hurt my feelings but failing, my husband carefully said “hmm, they taste like crickets.”

We each ate an entire pancake with scrunched up noses and saved the rest for later (or more likely never). Tasting like crickets is not necessarily a bad thing unless you expected sweet chocolaty goodness. It’s comparable to taking a swig of milk when you think it’s orange juice.

Now I know to be wary of flour time and research before attempting to cook anything. There are plenty of Facebook groups and online forums to ask for advice. Also next time I will go with something that has more ingredients to avoid an overwhelming taste of crickets. So learn from my mistakes and don’t cry over failed pancakes! 🙂

Cricket flour can be ordered and shipped worldwide here.

Recipes are available here.

Get advice and meet fellow entomophagy enthusiasts here.

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