“How eating insects made me happier and healthier…”

Hello everyone

“How eating insects made me happier and healthier…” You might think “Well, it seems that the insect’s food industry has found a fitness addict guy and gave him money to say some fake things that he doesn’t understand and believe about a new miracle product…” but please, before judging, just start reading this post. You will maybe find that we are sharing some common points, ideas or point of view… I hope you will enjoy reading it!

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“How eating insects made me happier and healthier…”


Introduction

It’s been near 3 months now that I’m writing this blog and now we know each other a little bit better! It’s a new year, and would like to start 2015 with a personal post that is very important for me. It was a little difficult to explain clearly my new mindset and my relation with food and insects, but I needed to… So, I tried to do my best…

First of all, the title can sound a little catchy but anyone who suffers or had suffer from any form of eating disorder will tell you the special link you can have with the food.

More over food is important for everyone, it’s our source of energy, it can be a great pleasure, but what and how much we eat has also an impact on our lives and our environment.


The past

So let’s start with the beginning. I won’t speak too much about the past, I’m not very proud about it and more over it doesn’t count anymore!
I think that I can separate my paste relation with food in 3 different phases:

The first “phase” stated during my childhood and last until the end of my teenage years. During this period, I gained constantly and regularly some weight until I ended diagnosed in the early step of obesity. At this period, I was always searching constant pleasure by craving secretly some fatty and sweet food. My biggest pleasure was found in unhealthy food like snacks or chocolate, that I ate in secret. At this point, food represented 5 minutes of pleasure and long moments of shame. Everyone who suffered from this problem, will tell you that this long moments of shame don’t prevent you to stop this process.

One day, something triggered in my mind and I entered in another phase, and in less than 1 year I lost almost 65 pounds. I refused to eat, ran a lot and weighted myself at minimum 10 times a day. At this period, I was hating food as much as much I hated myself. As I couldn’t see the changes from an objective point of view, I couldn’t also see myself in a mirror. I admit now that I was anorexic. Don’t ever ask me how I lost weight, it was an awful and totally unhealthy diet.

My girlfriend of this period helped me open my eyes, with 5t7 for 100 pounds something had to be done. I started eating more healthier and began sport.
This phase, unlike the second, started slowly and rises during the time, as my results and knowledge in the subject grew. My fitness journey started about 5 years ago from now with some ups and downs but it never ended (and it won’t!). That’s when I started reading and learning about nutrition for applying on myself since my meeting with a qualified nutritionist had failed during my childhood. Since this time, nutrition is a passion. I tried different diets with some improvements but never obtain my ideal body and with no real psychological results. Food was no more a pleasure but only “proteins, carbs and fats” eaten with frustration. All of this frustration was released during the “cheat day” when I ate as much as possible. A new diet had to be found in orderI needed to find some inner peace and a more balanced diet in order to change my mind and my body.

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Why I started thinking about eating insects?

Even if the idea of eating insects and developing entomophagy seemed to pop one day out of nowhere in my mind, I might have clues for where this idea came from.

It was 3 years from now, at this moment of my life, I felt that my different interests didn’t fit together and had no real life tasks. I was passionated about fitness but couldn’t obtain the physic I wanted, loved nutrition but can’t find pleasure or peace with food and was studying environment and pollution but ate to much meat and didn’t do anything real for it. I needed to find something that connects all of my passions in order to change and improve my own life and try to have a positive impact on others.

So, why not eat insects? I feel really connected with food and it’s a more sustainable source of protein, it’s a new product so a new taste, it’s healthy and its development can solve many world problems far bigger than my little person. The real and strong development of entomophagy can be a possible solution for under or over nutrition, it will have a positive impact on the environment and can also create a lot of jobs all around the world in different domains.

By the way, I’m not totally crazy about living insects themselves, they fascinate me but I also feel a sort of respectful fear towards them, especially with this kind… To be honest with you Dave, I was scared when you gave me this big guy…

Dave Gracer

Dave Gracer with a giant millipede (Montreal’s Insectarium, 2014)


How eating insects made me happier and healthier

You will surely understand that this whole process didn’t happen overnight and came step by step… I started eating insects regularly about 1 year ago and now that the home scale production is working well I’m eating mealworms 2 or 3 times per week (With crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, insects could be more present in our family menu!)


Insects as a “food for performance”

When I first started to eat and raise insects, my new neighbors intimated and impressed me. The first purpose of eating them was an alternative and more sustainable source of proteins. You know : “Fitness enthusiasts will eat everything, if it contains proteins!”. And they do a great job for this!

Insects can truly be considered as “a food for performance”. As everyone knows, they contain a large amount of proteins of good quality. But mealworms and crickets are also a good source of magnesium which is important for different functions such as muscle recovery or lowering the stress (magnesium is not present in high quantity in a lot of food) and B vitamins.

Their exoskeleton, the chitin, act as a fiber in our body and provide satiety. If they are fed and raised correctly, they don’t contain pollutants or antibiotics.


Insects as a “food for source of pleasure”

The incorporation of edible insects into my weekly diet was the key for finding pleasure in food again. The discovery of this new and amazing taste helped me change my global vision toward food and I started appreciating every ingredient. Food are no more only calories, but a mix of smells, colors, tastes, textures, sounds and shapes. Now, every meal is a total pleasure involving all of my senses.

More over, thanks to this refound pleasure I wanted to start learning how to cook in order to discover more healthy and simple pleasures and also learn new recipes for developing entomophagy.


Insects as “a source respect toward food”

From a personal point of view, seeing clearly the insects and knowing that I was eating some was very important. It helped me finding back a real connection with food. Seeing really the insects I, reminds that every food needs energy, time (and love!) to be produced. Having raised these insects by myself, knowing their benefits for the body and the environment, their story and the special respect toward them was the key for this change.

I tried to apply the same mindset on every ingredient and so, now I’m trying to eat more local, seasonly and organic products. It’s no more a “delicious orange and crunchy carrot” it’s also an organic and winterish vegetable cultivated locally by a farmer that needed to be brought by a truck.(I can reassure you, it worked even if you don’t have fear of carrots!)

With this respect and truly simple pleasure for food, I stopped this binging “cheat day” and now enjoying every meal. I didn’t change so much my diet, but just modify some “little details” and you know how much “little details” can be important and change everything… So, I introduced more regularly some insects, new products like the Kale or the Red Kuri Squash for example. I decreased the amounts of carbs and increased the amount of fats. Since I’m “hunting my meat”, we can say it’s a real Paleo Diet!

The major difference is that I’m “just” having pleasure while I’m eating, selecting more sustainable products, listening to my body and knowing what is going into it. It also helped me selecting the right amount of food in order to feel satisfied. Eating insects is taking care of the 2 places we are living : our own body and the entire planet.

The special respect towards insects might may come from their “freedom” and “purity”. For me, they are the real link to nature and earth. They can totally live and develop without us, they evolve and adapt very quickly, they were here long before us and will probably survive the humanity. More over, even if we achieve to raise them at an industrial scale, I think that we will never have a total control upon them.


Insects in “a never ending list of recipes”

Since I’m learning cooking and eating regularly insects, I just can glimpse their culinary potentials. It’s a delicious source of complete, healthy and sustainable protein with a nutty flavor that can be used in so many different ways.

They can be prepared in sweet or salted dishes, as appetizers, as replacement or complement to meat. They can be roasted, fried or even steamed for different textures and odors.

The large number of different edible species and their different feed sources could even enlarge this range of flavor.

Even if eating often the same food doesn’t bother me, I will never get bored with insects and their amazing versatility.

From a nutritional point of view, it’s the possibility of adding the nutritional qualities of lean chicken into a dessert!


Insects as a “source of creativity”

After reading the 3 previous paragraphs, you can understand more clearly that regarding their nutritional qualities, their versatility and their tastes; creativity is your only limit to create new recipes.

All of your creativity will also be needed to find new ideas to convince and please the people.

As insects are underused, even a neophyte cooker can create new recipes!


Insects as a “feeling of happiness”

When you start eating insects by choice, you feel being “different”. So, I was searching for a community of “entomophages” to meet some new people and learn some new skills and knowledge about this subject.

Right from the beginning, I was very impressed by this community and feel honored being apart of it. At Montreal, for a conference on edible insects, I came alone but left North-America with a lot of amazing people in my heart and new ideas in my mind.

It makes me happy being part of a community of enthusiastic and passionated people that are working to change positively the world by giving their time and energy to educate people.

Eating insects is, at one time a rewarding and good feeling of uniqueness and at the same time, a heart-warming feeling of being a part of a shareful and strong community.

If you don’t believe me, just ask a question in a Facebook group and you will have some people wanting to help you within few hours!


Insects as a “source of intrinsic motivation”

That’s the moment when it get out of the “simple food and bug eater” circuit. I found my “why” and a goal. Developing entomophagy through an healthy lifestyle is the reason why I get up motivated every day, workout harder with passion, learning everyday with pleasure and more simply that’s why I’m happy.


Insects as a “message to share”

Now, it’s time to take a step forward and transmit and share a message and a passion. Developing and promoting entomophagy is my way for trying to touch people about environment, nutrition and pursuing their goals.


Conclusion

As taste is very subjective, if you ask me what does insects taste like, I will answer that for me they have a simple taste of freedom and happiness.

You can read everywhere “insects could be a fad for 2015“, but no, they are not a fad, it’s something serious that can really change and feed the world and they are here to last!

If your resolutions for 2015 are eating healthier, being more creative, meeting some new people, having a positive impact on the environment or just simply be more happy, your answer might have 6 legs and a delicious taste!

Eating insects can be fun, but, please, feel proud of eating them , you will maybe feel the whole world in a tiny bite of a cricket…

One last time happy new year!

Take care

Florian

If you liked this article and you want to have more information, just feel free to contact me! It will be a real pleasure to give you an answer!

Flo

Formerly I'm an environmental engineer, personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist and "Entotarian". In the edible insects industry for five years, I've been consultant for an insect farm, free-lance writer and international speaker .Now in Shenzhen with Livin farms developing the world's first table-top farm. I would say that my life revolves around eating insects.

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2 Responses

  1. Christian says:

    Great article! I’ve been drinking ants for the past month! Just getting into the bug scene, I love the nutrition. I got those fitness goals too, crickets mealworms on the way – thanks!

  1. 01/02/2015

    […] present post can be related to the previous “How eating insects made me happier and healthier”, if you liked this post, you have an activity for 10 […]

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