The Environment

Land and Livestock

Written by Joseph Diaz

The livestock industries are by a large amount the leading users of land all around the world. Grazing alone occupies roughly 20 some percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Sometimes this land is overgrazed which leads to soil erosion and the loss of soil fertility, resulting in land that is no longer fit to produce the food required to sustain healthy herds.

When this happens it sometimes leads to deforestation as a means of creating new pastures. Deforestation is devastating to the natural wildlife. Almost one third of the land that is suitable for the traditional farming of crops is used exclusively to cultivate the feed for the livestock that countless people consume on a daily basis.

On the other hand, insects take up very little space by comparison to the thousands of acres used for livestock. They also require far less food and water. In fact, it is claimed that by using the same amount of feed between traditional livestock and insects, approximately four hundred percent more insect meat could result. Some insects are also capable of utilizing nutrients from an expansive range of plant varieties that would not be suitable for traditional livestock and may be less commonly used as human food items.

As more people accept the consumption of insects as another food source, land and crops may be given back to the earth and her inhabitants.

Remember the land that is taken from multiple species of wildlife through processes such as deforestation that was talked about earlier? This also means that we may even be able to preserve these precious forests that are a vital part of our eco-system and are continually falling to meet agricultural needs.

Just think about it. More land, water, and more crops for mankind, in addition to saving our wildlife, all thanks to nature’s most abundant source of natural protein.

The Importance of Protein

Ladies and gentlemen, right now we are going to talk a little bit about protein.

Ever heard of it? Of course you have! That’s the stuff those steroid-mongers eat to assist them on their quest to grow a third bicep right? That’s the stuff that women should avoid so they don’t get “man shoulders” right? And of course, that’s the stuff that will guarantee kidney failure by the time I’m thirty years old. Isn’t this the protein you’re referring to?

If your beliefs align with any of the previous statements, you have likely been informed by those who don’t know, or those that have an agenda. Allow me to help simplify what’s going on with this “protein business”.

As humans, protein is our dietary source of compounds called amino acids. While amino acids are required for the maintenance and growth of lean muscle tissue, amino acids also have many additional benefits. In fact, to list all of the benefits and various requirements for amino acids would be far beyond the scope of this article and realistically would require one or more textbooks consisting of hundreds of pages’ each. However, here are just a few reasons to not hold back on your protein intake:

1) Connective tissue health: See, in our bodies we have tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone, and even hair, skin, and nails that all require amino acids from proteins to be maintained and to flourish.
2) Neurotransmitter and hormone production: Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine all require amino acids to be created. These neurotransmitters are necessary for focus, drive, and mood health. Serotonin and melatonin are ultimately derived from amino acids and are required for restful sleep. Testosterone and HGH, two powerhouse hormones, are constructed using amino acids.
3) Digestive health and detoxification: Amino acids are required for the construction and maintenance of healthy intestinal lining, as well as detoxifying organs such as the liver.
Now, are we all getting the point? Protein is required for good health! Don’t skimp on the protein!

The Future of Food: Eating Insects

By the year 2030, the United Nations estimates the world's population will be nine billion people. That means cranking up current food production to a whole new level. One suggestion on how to beat hunger: eating bugs. As part of our series, "The Future of Food" Ioanna Roumeliotis checks out edible insects.