Thursday, December 14

Anyone Up For Insect Eating?

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He, she or it. i have no idea as am no expert on Entomology. Nonetheless, it was obviously a eight legged arachnid- a spider if you like. Tiny and golden coloured as Savannah grass at the start of the dry season scurrying across the head-board of my bed.

The spider stops for a while as if to say good morning to the still groggy eyed me.

Staring back, it assumes I have affirmed the salutation. The spider then turns and hurried off to it’s day.

Watching it creep away, I wonder to my self if in spider world there was an 8-5 as it seemed to be in such a hurry. In the midst of toying with such mundane thoughts, i tap into one stream of thought that lights a bulb ..

Still stretching out the sleep, it occurs to me; how many of its kind may I  have inadvertently eaten in my sleep?

Think about it.  Logically mull over this thought then ask yourself : What are the chances that you have eaten a spider in your sleep? Creative minds out there suggest that dinner does not end with desert. Apparently, in our sleep, spiders are the main course of a 12 course gourmet bug meal so abundantly provided by mother nature.

Bug Eating: Mosquitoes? Cockroaches? Bedbugs? Spiders? Ants?

If the data in some internet sources is true,  it is believed that humans eat a range of 4 -12 insects per year in their sleep. Some sources even purport the same figures but in a shorter period of time, as many as 12  per month with spiders being the majority. 

Unlike the shenanigans on the Television Reality game show Fear Factor, the act here is a simple one. Somehow in the depths of sleep, an insect wanders into your incidentally opened mouth, and with relish you gobble them. 

Once in the stomach, hydrochloric acid begins the digestion process. Stomach enzymes- Pepsin break the some of the bonds of the complex protein structure in a process called hydrolysis. Once in the duodenum, pancreatic enzymes trypsin and chemotrypsin complete the breakdown into it the building blocks called amino acids.

The hair like mucosa of the small intestine (the villi) absorb the amino acids into the blood stream. Nothing peculiar, a process akin to how all other proteins including beef is handled by the body.

Now that scientists are telling us that beef is killing us in more ways than one as:

Meat is an important source of: tapeworm infections, mad cow disease {as seen at the turn of the 21st century with the multimillion Japan- America beef trade immensely affected}, unsaturated fats {Read: heart disease stroke, weight gain problems, Diabetes, Hypertension and Kidney failure in vicious cycle}.

What’s more? Meat or the meat industry for that matter, is the major source of the green house gas methane

” The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that animals in the U.S. meat industry produce 61 million tons of waste each year, which is 130 times the volume of human waste produced, or five tons for every U.S. citizen. In addition to its impact on climate, hog, chicken and cow waste has polluted some 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

What do we does humanity chose to do in light of such stark revelations? We pump billions into research and Eureka! we have a cow mask. Some contraption that looks like a WW1 relic that went ahead to develop masks that would reduce the methane emitted by cows into the atmosphere.

Looking at it, it’s hard to imagine suggesting such as idea  just a few years back. People would have thought you’ve gone bonkers. Dare I suggest that humanity should consider bug eating as an alternative to beef? I for one, is pretty conscious that I may have swallowed one or two crawlers in my slumber being convinced by the simple logic above.

To some, my suggestion may sound preposterous at the very least, but I am just asking a turn of the clock backwards. As much as this is the 21st century, I am not convinced that burgers, sausages and Nyama Choma(barbecued meat) do us any good.

Maybe it’s time humanity embraced delicacies that have been enjoyed by different cultures. From the Greece of Aristotle to the villages in Western Kenya where termites are enjoyed during the rainy reason to the deep fried delights of Bangkok. Besides,an estimated 1,462 species arthropods are edible .


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