Scientists Believe Maggots Could Be The Future Of Meat Alternatives
There are so many vegan alternatives to meat and animal products these days. Back in the day, if you wanted to skip out on animal products, your only choice was eating cold, flavorless tofu. And if you wanted to replace your milk or milk-based food, you could pick between soy milk and rice milk, and that’s it. Vegans these days are spoiled. Vegans in the 1970s are the true heroes, because they had to give up both meat and flavor. We can’t even believe that people stuck with the diet long enough to get through that rough period where everything healthy tasted like cardboard. Now, there are more types of meat alternatives than there are types of meat.
But there might be a new meat alternative that’s even grosser than cold, flavorless tofu. And we’re not sure if it technically counts as meat or not? Warning, you might lose your appetite.
Where's The Beef?
The population of humans on this planet is booming, and some scientists think that it’s going to lead to problems, specifically, how are we going to feed all those hungry mouths?
We all want a brighter future, but if you ask the researchers out of Australia’s Queensland University, the future might look more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland out of a sci-fi movie.
It’ll be a world where we’ll do anything to survive, including eating things we normally wouldn’t.
Right now, we get a lot of our protein from meats like beef and chicken, and turkey if it’s Thanksgiving.
But the researchers think that it’s totally possible for there to be a livestock shortage in the future, which means that nobody would be able to argue over who gets the drumstick on Thanksgiving.
So how are we going to get enough protein to be able to survive? We’ll have to turn to what they call “specialty” foods.
Outside The Box
And, yes, by “specialty” foods, they mean bugs. Nobody’s going to like you. Everyone’s going to hate you. You’ll just go eat worms.
“An overpopulated world is going to struggle to find enough protein unless people are willing to open their minds, and stomachs, to a much broader notion of food,” said University of Queensland Meat Science Professor Dr. Louwrens Hoffman.
Okay, well we ate at Jack In The Box this week, which also isn’t technically “food.”
The researchers seem really into this idea and are trying to make it sound appealing.
“Would you eat a commercial sausage made from maggots? What about other insect larvae and even whole insects like locusts?” they asked.
Look, we have a hard enough time with the impossible burger and that’s just made from beets. There is no way that you can make the word “maggots” sound appealing, no matter what meat-like dish you put in front of it.
The researchers admit that we’re not going to have to consist on a diet of nothing but bugs.
“The biggest potential for sustainable protein production lies with insects and new plant sources,” the researchers said. It’s good to know that we can still get our food from plants, and we’re not stuck with eating just bugs.
We’re pretty sure that bugs are technically meat, and definitely not vegan. So if you want to remain vegan, you’re good.
Make A Meal Out Of It
It turns out that most people aren’t going to want to down a big bowl of maggots for dinner.
But the researchers have come up with a workaround for this. Man, they’re really trying to get us to eat the bugs, aren’t they?
They want to incorporate bugs into other foods or use the bugs as a protein supplement. Isn’t that what your mom says when you accidentally swallow a fly? That the fly is extra protein?
Not Nice Cream
The scientists want to make insect ice cream, which doesn’t sound like a dessert. It sounds like a punishment.
Seriously, just knowing that insect ice cream might be out there makes us never want to eat ice cream again.
Why would they even throw those words out there? Do they not know what they’re doing to us? If this is the future, then we don’t want to live in it. It’s just too bleak for us to live in.
Tastes Like Chicken
The researchers also want to come with a chicken alternative that’s, you guessed it, also made from bugs.
They think that certain chicken products can be made from the black soldier fly. Everything tastes like chicken, so we kind of get it.
Our chicken nuggets could already be made from the black solider fly and we’d never know the difference. Although, they’d have to tell us if that’s what we were eating, right? Right?? Wouldn’t they???
It's What's For Dinner
There’s actually a good reason to make chicken-like meat products out of the black solider fly, and it’s not because they’re sick freaks who get off on making people eat bugs.
Making food out of the black solider fly could offset the environmental damage caused by raising chickens.
In 2009, the poultry population grew by 50 billion worldwide. Nobody could eat that many chickens. Not even at a big old barbecue. You would just get too full.
People are already starting to think about the problem and prepare for the future, according to Hoffman.
“Poultry is a massive industry worldwide and the industry is under pressure to find alternative proteins that are more sustainable, ethical and green than the grain crops currently being used,” he said.
We know that we have to clean up our act when it comes to saving the planet, we just didn’t know it would come to this.
What's The Difference?
If you’re wondering how much bugs your chicken is going to contain for it to technically still be considered chicken, Hoffman has got your back.
Chicken can contain up to 15 percent “larva meal” in order for it to still taste like chicken. Yum! Our mouths are watering just thinking about eating meat that is 15 percent larva meal!
It’s also just as tender and just as nutritious as whole chicken, too, so it’s got that going for it.
If eating bugs isn’t your bag (and it’s probably not), there are other, more sustainable, alternative meats that you can consume in the nightmare land that is our future.
Hoffman suggests eating kangaroo meat instead of delicious cows or chickens.
Kangaroos don’t need grassland to graze in the way cows do, so if we have to live in a barren wasteland, kangaroos are going to be our best bet for survival. Just make sure they don’t kick you.
Hoffman isn’t the only person who thinks that people should eat bugs instead of meat.
In 2013, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations report also said that we should eat less meat and more bugs.
Who is sponsoring these studies? The Bug Farmers of America? Or maybe it’s just that weird kid in elementary school who used to eat bugs and then everyone made fun of him for doing it? Yeah, it’s probably him.
The report said that bugs are nutritious, cheaper to produce and more sustainable than regular meat.
They didn’t say they’re “more delicious” and “less repulsive,” though. When a report comes out saying that bugs actually taste better than a nice steak, then we’ll think about maybe potentially popping a maggot in our mouth.
But we’re going to have to see someone else do it without gagging first. And even then, we still might not go for it.
Breakfast Of Champions
It turns out, we might be the only ones who think eating bugs is weird.
Hoffman says, “for many millions of people around the world they are a familiar part of the diet.” Hoffman also wants to see a “global reappraisal of what can constitute healthy, nutritional and safe food for all.”
Let’s take a look at some of the insect items that are considered a tasty snack around the world. After all, this might be our future.
In Thailand, crickets are actually considered a tasty snack, and are served in a variety of different ways.
One popular dish is Jing Leed, which is just fried crickets, and it sold by snack vendors on the street. They’re served with Golden Mountain sauce and Thai pepper powder, and it actually sounds kind of good.
That’s probably the best way for people to get revenge on crickets for chirping all the time – by frying them and eating them.
Putting a live scorpion in your mouths sounds like the most dangerous thing you could ever do.
But in China, live scorpions are a form of food. They’re sprinkled with seasoning, then dunked in hot oil, and then they’re ready to eat.
They’re also served at fancy restaurants, paired with a white wine sauce. It does sound elegant, but also it sounds like the scorpion is going to get mad at us for trying to eat it.
The Japanese have a festival dedicated to wasps and eating them. It’s called the Kushihara Wasp Festival.
There are so many different ways to serve a wasp. You can put them on things. You can put them in things. You can grind them up so you don’t have to think about the fact that you’re eating something that usually stings you.
Wasps are even turned into sauces then pored over cookies, which actually sounds like it would be good.
You wouldn’t think that someone would want to eat something called a “stinkbug,” but they do it all the time in Mexico.
Some bugs are actually considered a gourmet food and served at fancy restaurants south of the boarder.
There’s also a festival that celebrated the stinkbug called the Jumil Festival. The stinkbugs have a lot of protein, but they also have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. Can you imagine someone trying to cure their cold with a stinkbug?
Dragonflies are a popular snack in Indonesia, where they’re caught by leaving out a stick dipped in tree sap for the dragonfly to land on.
The dragonflies are served without their classic wings, which are plucked off when they’re being prepared.
Sometimes, dragonflies are served as a dessert (we’re getting flashbacks to the insect ice cream). Sometimes the dragonflies are boiled. Apparently, dragonflies taste like crab. So is that what we’ve been eating when we eat krab?