If you’re really going to follow a paleo diet, you ought to be eating bugs, “lots and lots of bugs,” Daniella Martin argues in “Edible.” The diet, after all, suggests we should eat more like early hunter-gatherers did, and what could be easier to hunt and gather than bugs? (Martin uses the term “bugs” interchangeably with “insects” to refer to “terrestrial invertebrates.”) The creatures are packed with protein and other nutrients. In some non-Western cultures they are considered a staple; in others, a delicacy.
If we’re willing to eat cows, why not crickets? It’s just a matter of acclimation, Martin argues, using herself as an example. “I am a cautious person … and gastrointestinally sensitive. I’m allergic to alcohol and lactose intolerant, and breakfast cereal has been known to give me a stomachache.” Yet, one bite of a homemade wax-moth taco and Martin is converted into a culinary swashbuckler: “Delicious! Nutty, savory, earthy,” she writes of her creation. Who needs to worry about a bowl of Rice Krispies when you can nibble on foods that get their crackle and pop from leg joints and carapaces?
In her breezy book, Martin, who also blogs about and makes videos on entomophagy (bug eating), writes not only of her personal metamorphosis but also on the history and science of the practice. The book also has a thorough appendix about insect types and which ones to avoid eating (hint: the brightly colored ones), how to farm your own (you can also order them online) and, of course, a recipe for that transformative taco – as well as other delectable vittles such as the Circle of Life Canapé, an hors d'oeuvre that features a “fig-chevre mound” topped with a sauteed grasshopper.
Martin is not the only one touting the benefits of insect-eating these days. And the argument for expanding the Western culinary appetite to include animals you might normally stomp on goes beyond personal health. Last year, the United Nations published a paper arguing that entomophagy was a vital way to help feed a growing world population in an environmentally sound way. Producing insects for consumption, for example, leaves a smaller carbon footprint than raising cattle.
Rice helps healthy diet
A new study confirmed what billions of people know: Rice goes a long way in a healthy diet.
Americans who consumed rice regularly tended to have healthier diets overall, according to new research.
In a study published online in the peer-reviewed journal “Food and Nutrition Sciences,” lead author Theresa Nicklas of Baylor College of Medicine analyzed seven years of data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The sample included 14,386 adults and what they ate from 2005 to 2010. Nicklas and her team evaluated the association of rice consumption with overall diet quality and key nutrient intakes.
What they found: Consumers who ate more rice tended to get more nutrients while eating less fat and added sugar. They also tended to eat more fruit and vegetables.
“Our results show that adults who eat rice had diets more consistent with what is recommended in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and they showed higher amounts of potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber while eating less saturated fat and added sugars,” Nicklas said. “Eating rice is also associated with eating more servings of fruit, vegetables, meat and beans.”
On average, Americans eat about 27 pounds of rice a year. Of that, about 70 percent is enriched white rice.
Most of that rice was grown in the USA; American farmers grow an estimated 20 billion pounds of rice a year, according to the USA Rice Federation.