Shailene Woodley, you beautiful muscular wood sprite. She is such a hippie and we love her for it -- which is why, when she recently disclosed to NYLON the strangest thing she's ever eaten, we really weren't all that surprised.
"I’ve eaten ants and that was great," the 23-year-old "Divergent" star told NYLON Mag in a behind-the-scenes video during their April cover shoot "And June bugs, that was great. I think the future of food is in insects, so we’ll see what happens."
Of course, most people you talk to in America probably find the thought of eating bugs totally disgusting, especially in cities where insects are generally considered pests. But not only are bugs a big part of many different cuisines all over the world, they really are better for the environment than the livestock that we raise.
"Crickets are pretty commonly eaten because it's an easy animal to rear on organic food material," Lou Sorkin, a senior scientific assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, told us over the phone. He works in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the museum, and his specialty is in entomophagy. "They're easy to take care of. It's actually a small carbon footprint on insects compared to beef, chicken, pork, and fish."
Sorkin also told us that bugs are a good source of protein and essential amino acids (which cannot be made by the human body, and need to come from the food we eat), and they're also mostly low in fat. Most importantly, he says, they taste good. He would know, too, because he's tried everything from ants and crickets to caterpillars, beetles, crickets, scorpions, and even maggots -- apparently, he makes a very good ceviche from them.
So, how can you incorporate more bugs into your diet? You could do what one Auburn University student did last month and challenge yourself to eat nothing but insects for 30 days, but that can be -- excuse the pun -- a tough idea to stomach. What you might do instead, Sorkin suggests, is try food products that are made with cricket flour instead.
"Some people, especially in North America, don't like to eat insects," Sorkin noted. "But if you grind them up, the insect itself isn't visible any longer. You gain the benefit of the nutrition and vitamins, and don't have to bother looking at an insects to see that's what you're actually eating."
Already food companies in the United States are slowly attempting to capitalize on the benefits of ground cricket. You can buy cricket flour protein bars made by Exo or Chapul, or cookies and baking flour from a place called Bitty Foods (pictured above). Some are even considering using the stuff in lieu of protein powder as their go-to post workout fuel.
So yeah, looks like Shailene was totally right -- bugs ARE the food of the future!