I recently made the decision to give up beef. I'm not sure how long it will last as I love nothing more than sinking my teeth into a nice juicy steak. I have always been a health conscious person but my decision to give up beef was more to do with the environmental impact of beef consumption rather than the health issues around red meat.
I don't have any need for beef really and to be honest the meat in Thailand isn't anything to miss particularly. Beef is more a luxury than anything else but after learning that it takes up 28 times more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken I decided that it was a luxury that I could do without.
I have a pretty healthy diet. I exercise a lot, I don't smoke or drink and I much prefer a good dinner to a piece of cheesecake or an ice cream, so giving up beef was purely to do with its environmental impact. With human induced climate change now a certainty, I am probably too late to have any chance of reversing the affects and even though I know it will one day kill me, I'm still too lazy to get up and turn off that forgotten light in the kitchen.
I find myself trying harder these days though and I am much more aware of the simple things that help; the ones that don't require any more thought or energy, such as turning off the tap when brushing my teeth.
In my pursuit to feel better about myself, I have recently become quite interested in the idea of eating insects. Being from the UK, where it is not "the done thing" I squirm a little when I see people tucking into a bag of grasshoppers, but this is probably just down to my upbringing and conditioning.
When I first arrived in Thailand and probably for the subsequent eight years after, I turned my nose up at all those bug trays at the side of the road. It doesn't really make sense. I have no problem eating shrimp, which are essentially the insects of the sea so why should I have a problem eating insects?
The UK is well behind a lot of other countries, who already eat a whole range of foods that we would turn our noses up at. It isn't just Asia, but many European countries already enjoy insects in a range of recipes.
Watching science videos in Youtube turned me on to the idea of eating insects. They are a much more sustainable food product than even poultry, converting 2kg of feed into 1kg of produce. According to this article "pigs produce 10-100 times more greenhouse gases per kg of weight than mealworms". Not only that but the nutritional content is far superior to our more traditional meats.
Saying I am interested doesn't mean I am completely ready to commit. As for the bug trays, I am still not sure about the cleanliness of their sources. Are they farmed or just picked up off the streets and out of the sewers? It will take me a while to get used to it but I think I can do it. Maybe I will start with insect flour as I can't actually see their legs, maybe make some cookies and go from there.