Why Eat Crickets?
Why use crickets as a food staple? To put it simply, they're incredibly nutritious, and gentle on the planet.
BETTER FOR YOU
Gram-to-gram, crickets have more protein than beef, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach. That in and of itself is impressive, but the more you dive in, the more crickets impress.
Iron is an essential mineral your body needs to carry oxygen in the blood. Proper amounts of iron in the diet help to avoid iron deficiency anemia which is a number one global, public health concern. This topic is very interesting as plant-based diets gain popularity, as iron remains a very hard nutrient to get from a vegan or vegetarian diet. While iron exists in plants, it exists in a different form. Iron from animals is called “heme-iron”, this form of iron is 90 percent absorbed in the gut, where plant-based iron is only 50 percent absorbed. Crickets, of course, are an excellent source of highly absorbable heme-iron, making them an excellent nutritional supplement for vegans and vegetarians who are environmentally motivated or interested in the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Crickets are a whole-food. Our body has evolved to recognize nutrition value through whole foods, not derivatives. Cricket powder is a perfect whole food that includes all of the added nutrition of such. When you get the protein benefits, you are also absorbing it with the fiber, vitamins and minerals that were meant to accompany it in a way that is very natural to the body.
Cricket powder is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs to function. Protein is crucial for building and maintaining muscles and all body tissues, healing, and fueling metabolic processes.
Cricket powder is highly bioavailable, very easily digested and assimilated into the blood stream. For this reason, it is highly attractive to those with compromised absorption.
Cricket protein also contains a healthy amount of prebiotic fiber, chitin, which helps to maintain a healthy microbiome.
Crickets are soy free, dairy free and gluten free, making them a friendly protein alternative to folks that have a hard time with these ingredients.
BETTER FOR THE PLANET
Crickets are low on the food chain, this means that they reproduce quickly and efficiently in large numbers. When we eat lower on the food chain “trophic cascade” there are fewer demonstrative impacts to the natural world. Eating in this way requires a fraction of the earth’s natural resources we are compromising with our large population. Crickets don’t demand much water, feed or arable land. Crickets are incredibly efficient at converting feed into protein for the human diet.
Crickets can be raised to support regenerative agricultural practices. What does this mean? Regenerative agriculture is raising food products in a way that actually helps to regenerate the soil, and leave a carbon neutral footprint. Crickets are very happy with food created from our food system’s waste. For example, our farmers are creative in regards to the cassava industry. There is a part of the cassava that is hard for humans to digest, despite the huge demand for cassava flour as a gluten free alternative. This waste from human agriculture can be turned into feed for the crickets that turn it into an additional food staple rich in protein. Since we can feed crickets this rejected agricultural “waste” we don’t have a need to cut down rainforests or expand into wild lands in order to cultivate food for our growing populations. This also cuts down on carbon emissions of wasted food.
Crickets also generate a product called “frass” that is a wonderful fertilizer that can help rebuild top soil. Our top soil health is crucial to the sustainability of agricultural processes that feed the world.
Another way in which eating crickets is immensely helpful in the balance of climate is the ability to grow vertically and indoors. This not only makes a local protein source possible for large urban centers, but protects wild lands. A growing issue is the assault on what is left of our natural landscapes. Not only are these places to recreate, but they are sanctuaries for wildlife. Perhaps the most important is the disappearance of biodiversity in these ecosystems. Natural landscapes are capable of cleaning water and sequestering carbon, which is more important than ever in supporting our healthy human population.
The reality is harsh, but we have a booming population and limited resources. It is time we took the wisdom of our insect eating predecessors to help achieve goals of food justice and access. Insects can be incorporated into any culturally appropriate solution. We like to think of it as a fortification of whole foods, cricket tortillas, rice bowls and pasta. If you support this industry, we can efficiently offer nutrient dense foods to those who have a hard time accessing nutritious foods. The UN, FAO and CDC are projecting 10 billion humans by 2050 and we need all of the solutions for efficient agriculture we can entertain.
TRIED AND TRUE
2.5 billion people eat insects globally today. It has been hypothesized by scientists that our species evolved so effectively because of our ability to forage for this source of protein. This growing industry is exciting to watch, as you can now find cricket jerky, burgers, protein bars, chocolates and more.
Here at orchestra we believe your dining experience doesn’t have to be compromised to reap the benefits of these superfoods. Crickets don’t have to be eaten whole, and can be used as ingredients which fits our current food systems formula