David Gracer | 22 Exeter Street | Providence, RI 02906 | 401.272.1165

Good Advice

The most important notice concerns the issue of allergies. Even though this warning can be found both in the available literature (books and websites) concerning entomophagy, and in the written content of Sunrise Land Shrimp, and even though serious allergic reactions apply to a small percentage of the public, such warnings bear repetition.

Some people will be allergic to insects. They are the same people who are allergic to shellfish, which generally means crustaceans but can also include mollusks and fish itself. Since allergic reactions can be seriously life-threatening, anyone in any doubt as to their own safety regarding edible insects should forego the experience.

As most people know, an allergic reaction happens when the body decides that certain substances represent a danger. It could be food, venom from a bee sting, or even pollen or household mold. None of these are dangerous, unless your body thinks they are. Upon recognizing these compounds the body produces massive amounts of antibodies that can have negative effects on the skin, the lungs, and the heart. Although you need your lungs and your heart to be reliable, your body will take drastic measures to protect itself and those measures can be life-threatening. The cells that produce this antibody are concentrated in the nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.

According to what I've read, 30 people in 100,000 people will have a serious anaphylactic reaction to certain foods, including shellfish (that works out to 1 in 3,333). While this percentage is encouragingly small, it's estimated that 150 people in America die each year from allergic reactions, to foods and other causes. There's no clear agreement about a hereditary link, which means that if your parents were not allergic to any foods, you still could be. It seems that those with hay fever, eczema, or asthma are more likely to have an anaphylactic reaction to foods.

Further information can be found at the food allergy websites (which are sources of some of this information) listed on the Links page.:

Other Stuff

The word "bug."
While people generally use the word "bug" to mean either "insect" or "gross yucky thing that moves on the ground" the full version is a bit more complicated. The class Insecta is made up of a great number of orders (somewhere between 28 and 32, depending on who you ask) and most of the orders include one or more species of edible insects. Lepidoptera are the butterflies and moths; Coleoptera are the beetles; Orthoptera are the grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids; Hymenoptera are the bees, wasps, and ants; Isoptera are the termites; and so on. The Hemiptera are the true bugs. They include stink bugs, assassin bugs, and the giant water bugs eaten in Thailand, Cambodia, and elsewhere. Therefore: all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.
Other people's reactions to entomophagy.
It's definitely possible that some forward-thinking people will come to realize that there's nothing wrong with eating insects, and that doing so makes a lot of sense for humanity. If you are one of these people, you will have two choices: to conceal your new interest in entomophagy (and I certainly do NOT recommend that), or to get ready for a certain amount of resistance from some of the people around you.
What will they say? Quite likely, some of the things covered in the myths debunked page of this website. How will you respond? That's up to you, but just remember that every new idea has faced resistance in the past, and that someday insect-eating will not be such a radical idea as it seems to be now.

Collecting your own
Despite some common-sense concern about the use of pesticides, it should still be possible to go out where the landscape is more-or-less undisturbed by landscaping, agriculture, etc. On the other hand, it's hard to appreciate just how labor intensive it is to gather a bunch of large grasshoppers or dragonflies until you actually go out and do it. Consider working in groups, and by the way having the right equipment (good butterfly nets, good reflexes, container jars, perhaps a cooler with ice to put your captures to sleep). Working hard at this might even motivate you to think about more efficient ways of how to do it.
If you want to take entomophagy further.
Clearly this website cannot do it all. Other considerations have deliberately been left out (though I may discuss them in the future). These include: nutritional content of various insect species; how to raise your own insects; and recipes. The reason I left these out is simple: this website is about altering, even if just a little, people's perceptions about eating insects. All the other stuff about whether or not it's nutritious doesn't matter all that much if people remain unwilling to accept the idea in the first place.

Anyway, for information on these subjects, see the links page.

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