Created on Wednesday, 18 March 2015 00:00
We've written about a man who lived solely on beer for 40 days, but an American student has done something crazier. On February, Alabama student Camren Brantley- Rios embarked on a 30-day bug fest, eating insect-laced meals three times a day.
The 21 year old who documented his bug-eating project on a blog called '30 Days of Bugs
', believes that tradtional meats such as pork and beef are unsustainable sources of protein. He thinks that insects will be the meat of the future, so he experimented and tried to make delicious dishes out of the creepy crawlies.
Mac and cheese with waxworms
Camren didn't exactly dive right into the project, he was initially repulsed by the idea of consuming insect, and had to psych himself up for it. But now that he has done it, he says that it hasn't been too difficult to get used to.
“I’m mainly sticking to three species,” he said. “Mealworms, waxworms and crickets. Those are definitely the bulk of my diet. But I’m trying here and there to incorporate things a little bit more exotic.”
Mealworm mushroom soup
Some of Camren’s standard meals include scrambled eggs with waxworms, and bug-burgers with cheese and creole crickets. “For dinner, I had mealworm fried rice,” he told BBC.com. “It was pretty good. I seasoned the mealworms with soy sauce and threw them in.”
“I had a bit of trouble with the mealworms,” he revealed. “They were still squirming around.” But once he managed to cook them, he was pleasantly surprised by the taste. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was nutty, a little buttery and kind of reminded me of popcorn,” he said.
Orange-spotted cockroaches sauteed with vegetables
Some days, Camren gets into an adventurous mood and decides to try a new type of insect, like the one time when he included orange-spotted cockroaches into his meal. He actually cried when he was preparing them, but he insists that they were surprisingly good once cooked. “You take off the legs, the wings, and the pronotum – the shell that’s covering the head. I just sauteed them with different herbs, mushrooms and onions. It was a little bit tangy. It wasn’t weird at all.”
But not all of his experimental dishes were a success. He once tried making a dinner of silkworm pupae, which according to him, left a bad aftertaste. “Silkworm pupae wasn’t my favorite by any means,” he said. “They stank.”
Silkworm pupae with fried rice
Despite the occasional failed dishes, Camren generally loves his insect-based diet. He even managed to convince his mother to join him sometimes. “My mom had some chocolate covered crickets and stuff like that. She’s been great about it,” he said.
According to Audrey Maretzki, a professor of food science and nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, insects are “high in protein and high in calories. They’ve got other trace minerals. It makes them a desirable part of the diet.” Jason Dombroskie, collection manager at the Cornell University Insect Selection and the coordinator for the insect diagnostic lab, said he wants projects like ‘30 Days of Bugs
’ to encourage more people to try out insect-based meals.
To end his 30-day bug diet with a big bang, Camren ate a deep-fried rose-haired tarantula which he described to taste like chicken
Camren said that his goal is to prove that anyone can incorporate insects into their diet – even broke college students. “There are over a thousand edible insects with unique flavors and in infinite number of ways to prepare them,” he said. “Why not try something new?” He also said that an insect-based diet is more environmentally friendly, compared to other meats.
Would you ever try this if it is good for you? Share this article with your friends who have contemplated eating bugs before.