In Writing

I am – utterly predictably and like a great percentage of the Western world – on a post-New Year’s health kick. Yes, gym, and all that, but I’m also trying to squeeze in more healthy foods so my hands will stop hurting and my death will appear less imminent. Tonight, this involved crickets.

I try to stay up on all the latest health stuff, because it’s fun, because I like feeling like I’m in the know, because I read a lot about everything so it’s hard to avoid. But the 411 on cricket protein came to me from my super-fit brother.

My brother and I used to go to the gym together when I was in my thirties, which was probably the first thing that demonstrated to me that my body was in decline. He’s ten years younger than I am, and has been a gym rat since his senior year in high school, so he’s got great muscle tone, strength and endurance. I’ve got cute workout outfits and a work ethic fit for an heiress. He’d lift and ask me to spot him, I’d whine and make up silly names for the machines. He seemed exasperated, but I was the one with the car.

He’s moved out of my jurisdiction, so luckily he doesn’t need to rely on me for his workouts (lucky for him, since my slothlike tendencies have only become more marked). Still, some of the old mutual concern for health remains, and the some time back he asked me if I’d heard of cricket powder.

“Umm… no?”

“It’s a great protein source. Higher than whey. Easy on the environment.”

It was a few months after he imparted this wisdom on me that I was able to make myself order the crickets on Amazon. Well, to be clear, I didn’t order live crickets or anything. I didn’t order anything that would have been recognizable as a cricket. I ordered cricket “flour” (ahem), which means they’re executed, roasted, ground and… oh, god, I don’t know. It looks like a brown powder. Amazon assured me that it was made from “Acheta Domesticus crickets, known internationally for being the most delicious species.”

Because if you’re going to eat crickets, you should definitely eat the most delicious ones.

So… I ordered them. They arrived. Tonight, post-gym, I cracked the container open. I swear it smelled like… powdered bugs. Now, I don’t have a lot of data to go on, but if I had to imagine the smell of ground bugs, it would be pretty close to this. it wafted up into the air and got on my fingers, making anxiety crawl up my throat about how many hundreds of bug parts were now on my fingers, my counter, and coating my nostrils.

But you’re going to eat this, I told myself. Chill the hell out.

I tossed some blueberries into my single-serving personal blender, then some baby spinach. Then oatmeal with “superfood” in it (yes, I do know there’s no such thing as superfood): chia seeds, flax, hemp, shaman’s laughter. Okay, maybe not that last one. I topped it all off with almond milk because apparently good, old-fashioned cow’s milk is now trying to kill me. Then, deep breath, in went the cricket powder.

Here’s the selling point on cricket powder, right from the Amazon listing: “Crickets are ultra-sustainable, as they take exponentially less water, feed, and land than traditionally raised animal protein.” Also, honestly, although I could swear the powder smelled like bugs, I’m happy to report all I tasted was my utterly bland, run-of-the-mill, post-workout smoothie. Not enough blueberries. And, yes, it was the color of wet concrete. But it was fine. I can make myself eat or drink just about anything. So down went the bugs.

Here’s to resolutions, everyone!

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