Would You Eat Insects If You Were Hungry Enough?

There could come a time when you are stranded in the wilderness. It’s cold. You’re thirsty. You’re hungry.

You might be faced with a choice – eating insects to provide you with a little protein until you find your way out or help comes, or feeling very weak and very hungry. While insects are a staple of some folks’ protein around the world, the thought of eating bugs is disgusting to most Americans.

If you decide you’re going to fill part of that empty space in your stomach with creepy, crawling bugs, there are a few things you should know. First of all, bugs are generally high in protein and some minerals, but they are so small that you’re going to need more than just a few to get rid of those hunger pains.

Second, it’s important to know which bugs to avoid. For example, if you notice a foul odor from a bug after you’ve grabbed it, don’t eat it. If a bug doesn’t even bother trying to avoid you, such as a beetle, let it keep marching on its way. If the bug you have your eye on is brightly colored, like a caterpillar, leave it be because it’s probably toxic. Some beetles, spiders and ants can be eaten, but others shouldn’t be,
so if you don’t know which is which, it’s best to just say no.

So what’s left? Well, if you can capture larvae, grubs, termites or worms, bon appetit. Depending on where you are stranded, earthworms could be the easiest food source to find. If you can hold them down, feel free to eat as many as you want.

Probably the least nauseating bugs to eat, if you can catch them, are grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. They’re high in protein, minerals and nutrients, but again, avoid them if they are brightly colored. And if you see plenty of cockroaches around, have at them.

Eating bugs in the wilderness or desert will not be like eating them in fancy Asian and French restaurants, where you’ll pay an arm and a leg for the bugs’ arms and legs. But if you’re hungry enough, you might find some of them to be a crunchy treat that will hold you over until you find your way home. At that point, even if you’ve been on a healthy diet lately, the golden arches will look pretty inviting. Have you ever eaten an insect when out in the wild? Tell me what that experience was like and whether you’d do it again.

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