The more intelligence and imagination brought to an endeavor, the more likely beneficial outcomes will result. Strangely, there are a few areas where thinking and imagination block logic, notably what we’re willing to consume.
Although we humans like to think of ourselves as the pinnacle of the food chain, a huge number of our species exist by the thinnest of threads. We’ve all seen National Geographic programs or news videos of famine-ravaged people.
From the air-conditioned comfort of my recliner, I can’t grasp the enormity of such misery. Obviously, we "top of the food chain" humans aren’t on top of much of anything in some parts of the world.
Calculating how much fuel is needed to keep the human engine functioning is pretty straight forward. Your body is like a bank and to make energy withdrawals sufficient for your needs, you must make "deposits" to support those needs, i.e. eat.
If your deposits are inadequate, your body pays caloric overdrafts by consuming itself; hence, the stark photographs of starvation that make soft and secure people like me avert our eyes. So, can global starvation ever be eliminated?
Yes, according to some scientists who say we have an abundant hyper-renewable food resource all around us. Their answer: insects, those creepy, crawly, flying things that fill my back yard.
If they seem too small to constitute a food supply, think again.
What they lack in size, they more than make up for in weight. The bio-mass of ants alone far exceeds that of the entire human race.
But weight alone is not a solution. If it were just a matter of poundage, one big tree could feed a family for years.
Insects happen to be hugely nutritious. Researchers have tested and analyzed the whole class and their findings are amazing — if you can switch off your imagination.
Butterflies and moths in the larval and pupae stages are full of protein and iron. I’ve already sort of "gone there" via the agave worm in a bottle of mescal. Eating it is supposed to be religious, but it’s sometimes accompanied by blue lights and handcuffs.
Certain bee eggs, larvae or pupae are said to taste like peanuts or almonds. Wasps are said to have a pine-nutty flavor.
Ants are the Weight Watchers of the six-legged world. One hundred grams of red ants provide 14 grams of protein – more than a chicken’s egg – almost 48 grams of calcium and a good hit of iron, among other nutrients.
Mother Nature already knew where the human race probably would have to go to feed its ever expanding populace. Her biggest whale and biggest fish thrive on the smallest of morsels — and that just may be a lesson for us.
I stumbled upon this subject after seeing film of a skeleton of a mother holding her skeleton of a baby. It’s not a bad use of my time, or newsprint, to think about just how insulated from reality I am. I’m not crusading, simply reflecting.
Trust me: I doubt I’ll ever come close to eating a Beetle McMuffin.
Otis Gardner’s column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.