Veganism is a way of living that abstains meat, poultry, fishes and dairy products in their diet. It is a strict form of diet. In the present day world people are going vegan. There is a dramatic increase in the number of vegan people in the west. About 5 percent of the total population has gone vegan in the west. Despite abstaining from most animal products in their diet, some plant-based eaters still consume insects.
Why Are People Becoming Vegan?
People mostly the age of 15 to 34 are the backbone of the vegan movement. There are several reasons behind people becoming vegan. The following are some important reasons behind people going vegan:
Many people are going vegan due to health consciousness. Following a vegan lifestyle eliminates unhealthy substances from our diet. Despite having high nutrition content, meat and meat products do have some health burdens. So, avoiding them is better for our health and also we can fulfill our nutritional requirement from the combination of different plant-based products. However, in a vegan diet there is deficiency of vitamin B12, iron and protein. This necessitates the incorporation of supplements in our diet. Some people add insects in their diet as supplements. Beside high protein levels, Insects are a rich source of mega-3 fatty acids and fiber. As compared to beef, insects provide 5 times more magnesium, and double vitamin B12. Crickets have more calcium than milk and higher iron content than spinach.
Insects have low calorie content. So, incorporating them into a diet helps to combat obesity or related diseases. The prebiotic fiber present in insects helps in digestion and promotes gut health.
In this way, incorporation of insects in a diet enriches it and helps to fulfill the nutritional deficit.
Many people become vegan due to some ethical concern. They become aware about animal welfare and want to cause less harm to animals. Most vegans are also animal activists. Incorporation of insects in vegan diets has raised several ethical concerns. Following are some ethical concerns that vegan people have to face if they incorporate insects and insect products in their diet:
Are Insects Animals?
Yes, there’s no doubt that insects are animals. They have been kept under the animal kingdom.
Is Eating Insects Considered Vegan?
The answer is no. Since insects are living beings, killing them is beyond the ethics of veganism. Also, by definition, killing and eating of living beings is not considered vegan. Being vegan necessitates avoid the consumption of insects and insect products.
Do We Indirectly Kill Insects While Consuming Plant-Based Diets?
The plant-food production industries are killing insects through pesticides and natural means of insect control. By consuming their products, you could make the argument that we contribute to killing insects indirectly.
Is Eating Insects Efficient?
Eating insects is highly efficient. While consuming cows, people only consume 40 percent. This is a complete waste of its life. Eating insects is less wasteful than consuming other animals.
Are Insects Sentient?
It is hard to answer this question. Frankly speaking, we cannot answer this question. It is believed that insects feel less pain as compared to other animals. However, there is no conclusive evidence behind this assumption.
Life Value: Mammals vs Insects
Frankly speaking, we cannot answer this question. Cattle are causing more greenhouse gas emission as compared to insects. Further, we can say that incorporating insects in our diet will lessen the amount of deaths of animals.
Do Vegans Admit Killing Insects?
Different vegans answer this question differently. Some strictly deny killing insects. They assume that insects are living beings and killing them is beyond the ethics of veganism. According to them, killing insects is similar to killing other mammals.
But some plant-based people do admit to consuming insects. They think that edible insects make our diet more nutritional. We can overcome our nutritional deficit by supplementing with insects where necessary. Nowadays, Ento Veganism is an alternative and more sustainable than veganism.
Meat and other dairy products are a burden to the environment. They emit an excessive amount of greenhouse gasses. Beside this, per kg production of animal meat requires a huge amount of resources. Animal products are highly resource intensive. The production and consumption of meat and dairy products has also contributed to the rising problem of global hunger. So, going vegan reduces the harm to the environment.
Benefits Of Eating Insects
There are about 1900 species of insects that are edible. These species can provide you with a diverse taste profile. The following are the some benefits of eating insects:
1. Healthy products
Insects are the rich source of essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals including iron, calcium, copper, magnesium . Vegan diets are deficient in vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids but insects are rich in them. So, incorporating insects in our diet makes our food more nutritional. In this way insect products are healthier.
2. Environment friendly
Insect products are highly resource efficient. Insects have the ability to convert feed into useful products. They also cause less environmental burden. Insects require less feed, water and land than livestock. They also emit less greenhouse gasses.
What Do Vegans Feel About Eating Insects?
It varies according to the people. There are many vegan people who are completely against eating insects. Also there are many vegan people that admit and love to eat insects. They are very much fond of eating insects. From several researches, it has been found that most ethical vegans deny animal products including insects. They don’t want animal based products in their diet. So, they strongly deny these products in their diet. Some of the ethical vegans include insect products in their diet. They do not consider insects as animals and hence are therefore willing to eat insects.
Also, people being vegan basically due to environmental concerns are also using insects in their products. Due to environmental concerns, these people are open to entomophagy. Many of the vegan people consider these insect products as substitutes to conventional animal proteins. Also, vegan people who are vegan primarily due to health concerns are quite open towards crickets and other edible species of insects. This is basically due to the high nutritional value of the insects.
Despite loving to eat insects, the people are not completely considered vegan.
Who Are Entovegan?
We don’t have any official name to call the person that includes insects in their diet. Entovegan diet is the type of diet that includes insect products in their diet. As the world is becoming more conscious about the environment, people are searching for diets that are more environmentally sustainable. Entovegan diets and Entotarian diets are most environmentally sustainable and are a rich source of nutrients. Insect proteins consist of all essential amino acids which are lacking in plant based protein sources.
Are Insects Good Things To Eat?
This depends upon yourself. First you have to know your purpose of being vegan. If you are gone vegan primarily due to health or environmental concerns, you should go for it. There are many health benefits of consuming insects. Also, they are less harmful to our environment and they emit less greenhouse gasses.
If you are vegan primarily due to ethical concern, don’t eat them. Despite their many fold advantage, while consuming them we are killing these tiny insects.
Some edible insects
They are the most common edible insects.
2. Crickets and Grasshoppers
Crickets and Grasshoppers are most commonly consumed insects around the world. The basic reason behind this is their abundance and they are easy to catch. Crickets are a rich source of B-12. Approximately 10 g of cricket powder is enough to cover daily requirements of vitamin B-12.
Ants should be boiled before consumption to neutralize the acid.
They are very abundant in damp soil. They feed on dirt. Dried worms can be consumed as a nutritious powder. You can use them as a supplement to your diet.
They are also the essential source of insect food. They are first boiled, then roasted or fried.
6. Bees and Wasps
Before consuming the bees, their stringer should be removed. They can be roasted or grinded in powder.
They are a rich source of calories. They contain about six calories per gram.
Some vegan Alternatives
Being vegan, you probably do not feel right about eating insects, but there are vegan alternatives. In such a case, you can have lab grown meat. Lab grown meat refers to cultured meat. Several scientists have found a way to synthesize meat in the laboratory. The stem cells of an animal are placed in the petri dish where carbohydrate and amino acids are aided to aid the growth and multiplication. It is a relatively new concept. Many people have found this as a nutritious and delicious diet. Some people are even unable to differentiate between real livestock meat and lab grown meat. Lab grown meat is just like that of real meat but it doesn’t include any form of cruelty.
Could eating insects be considered vegan? Frankly speaking, the answer is no. Since insects are living beings. The killing of living beings is beyond the ethical concerns of veganism. However, one can include or exclude insects in their diet depending on their purpose of being vegan. If you are vegan, primarily due to health or environmental concern, you can have them in your diet. But if you are one following the vegan diet due to ethical concerns, you should avoid them as the killing of insects is beyond the ethics of veganism. Today lab grown meat is also accepted by most vegan.