Posts Tagged ‘ecofren’

WHAT IS MARIJUANA?

WHAT IS MARIJUANA?

Marijuana is the word used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant. On the street, it is called by many other names, such as: astro turf, bhang, dagga, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, home grown, J, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, roach, Texas tea and weed.

Hashish is a related form of the drug, made from the resins of the Indian hemp plant. Also called chocolate, hash or shit, it is on average six times stronger than marijuana.

“Cannabis” describes any of the different drugs that come from Indian hemp, including marijuana and hashish.

Regardless of the name, this drug is a hallucinogen—a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world you live in.

The chemical in cannabis that creates this distortion is known as “THC.” The amount of THC found in any given batch of marijuana may vary substantially, but overall, the percentage of THC has increased in recent years.

HOW IS IT USED?

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world. A survey conducted in 2007 found that 14.4 million individuals in the US alone had smoked marijuana at least once during the previous month.

Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint), but may also be smoked in a pipe. Less often, it is mixed with food and eaten or brewed as tea. Sometimes users open up cigars and remove the tobacco, replacing it with pot—called a “blunt.” Joints and blunts are sometimes laced with other, more powerful drugs, such as crack cocaine or PCP (phencyclidine, a powerful hallucinogen).

When a person smokes a joint, he usually feels its effect within minutes. The immediate sensations—increased heart rate, lessened coordination and balance, and a “dreamy,” unreal state of mind—peak within the first 30 minutes. These short-term effects usually wear off in two to three hours, but they could last longer, depending on how much the user takes, the potency of THC and the presence of other drugs added into the mix.

As the typical user inhales more smoke and holds it longer than he would with a cigarette, a joint creates a severe impact on one’s lungs. Aside from the discomfort that goes with sore throats and chest colds, it has been found that consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes.

The mental consequences of marijuana use are equally severe. Marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users.

Animals given marijuana by researchers have even suffered structural damage to the brain.

http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana.html

Cannabis sativa, marihuana, hemp, plant

Cannabis sativa, marihuana, hemp, plant Photo/Libor Sojka (CTK via AP Images)

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Pedometer usage

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SEA CUCUMBER benefits

Sea cucumber is highly nutritious. It contains no cholesterol and is rich in nutrients such as protein, vitamin B1, B2, nicotinic acid, calcium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, vanadium, zinc, potassium,
chromium, chondroitin sulphate and mucopolysaccharides acid. Its protein contains amino acid needed by our body such as orginine, cystine and histidine.
A BREAKTHROUGH IN TODAY’S SCIENCE
Luxor Serigama Gamat Jelly is the best way to benefit from the miraculous properties of the sea cucumber.
Luxor Serigama Gamat Jelly is Certified HALAL by JAKIM, prepared and bottled in our very own GMP factory with the latest technologically advanced equipment and methods. The whole manufacturing process is overseen and monitored by a panel of Scientists who are experts in this field.
As testament to Luxor’s commitment to quality, we only use the golden sea cucumber in our products.
The golden sea cucumber is proven to have the highest therapeutic value – ensuring the best for our customers.
The Chinese has an old saying “On Land there is Ginseng, the sea is Sea Cucumber”. The oldest medicinal book, crowned Sea Cucumber as the “The King among the Seng.”
Gamat The Traditional Healer from The Sea.
Gamat has been used by the Malay community as a Traditional Medicine for more than 500 years.
Till today, gamat is renowned for its miraculous healing powers.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SEA CUCUMBERS
When cut into half, the sea cucumbers can survive as two separate animals or it can rejoin back as one again within 15 minutes. When sea cucumber is cut horizontally into half and with all the intestines remove, it can still survive as two separate animals. Within 3 to 6 months, it can grow back into a
full sea cucumber with all the intestines and internal organs in tact.
This is because the sea cucumber contains a CELL-GROWTH FACTOR which has the ability to accelerate the regeneration of cells, bones, collagen and skin.
Imagine how wonderful it would be if you CONSUME sea cucumbers and these miraculous properties are YOURS TOO !!!
LUXOR JELLY GAMAT CONTAINS :
86.6% Protein (80% of which is COLLAGEN)
Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues.
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
Collagen makes up 75% of our skin, collagen is required to beautify the skin and
increase the healing process of wounds.
. beautifies the skin
. slow down aging, reduce the formation of facial lines
and wrinkles
. increases the healing process of wound
. relieves gastric pains
. is good for the lungs
. Strengthen the immune system
8% Mucopolysaccharide (MSP)
. helps in blood circulation
. “pain-killer” agent
. Adds elasticity and resiliency to
skin and other connective tissues.
relaxes the mind
. Important for the healty function of a joints.
Chondroitin Sulphate and Glucosamine (GAGs)
. These are substances found naturally in the body,
glucosamine is a form of amino sugar that is believed to play
an important role in cartilage formation and repair.
Chondroitin Sulphate is part of a large protein molecule that
gives cartilage elasticity.
. Relieve/eases osteoarthritic pain
eases pain in the joint
. Stimulates the formation and repair of cartilage.
. Helps bone and teeth growth.
. increases the insulin level
Omega 3
Omega 3 protects the heart and decreases the cholesterol level.
. Lowers/decreases blood cholesterol level
. Protects arteries
. Protect and prevents heart diseases
. Improves mental health
Active Element
. Prevent bacteria, yeast & fungus growth
. Anti-tumour
6 Types of Minerals – produces red blood cells, decreases the
glucose level
Calcium
. Build bones and teeth
. Maintain blood circulation
. Regulate heart beat.
Iron
. Important in oxygen transportation
and metabolism
Needed to form healthy red blood cells
Selenium
. Acts as an antioxidant
. Protects cells against the effects of free radicals
. Prevent cell damage
Iodine
. Essential for normal thyroid function
Vanadium
. Reducing the production of cholesterol
. Involved in catecholamine and lipid metabolism
and red blood cell production.
Chromium
. Increases the number of insulin receptors on
the cell membrance and enhances insulin binding to cells
. Lowers blood sugar level
. Improves diabetic problem

 

HEALTH WONDERS
The sea cucumber is so renowned for so many breakthroughs, that it can benefit everyone – young and old. It has proven breakthroughs for the following medical problems :
Pain Relief : Great relief for arthritis, rheumatism, gastric and other pains.
Improvement in condition : Diabetes, High blood pressure, hypertension, heart problems, high
cholesterol.
Respiratory problems : Asthma, Allergy, Cough, Sinusitis
Healing : Excellent for diabetic wounds. Fast recovery, healing from illness, whether surgical or after operation and after birth. Used to treat cut, sores, open wounds and any inflammation. Treatment for internal injuries like peptic ulcers, etc
Beauty : Amazing results from various skin problems, skin
looks younger and is free from acne, scars,
pigmentation and wrinkles.
As reported by Ethan Evers, author of “The Eden Prescription, previous research on sea cucumber has demonstrated its ability to kill lung, breast, prostate, skin, colon, pancreatic, and liver cancer cells.
These extracts have also proven effective in killing leukemia and gioblastoma cells. Looks like we can
add yet another food to the list of anti-cancer foods.
Scientists believe a key compound known as frondoside A to be responsible. Frondoside A is a triterpenoid, diverse organic compounds found in the essential oils and oleoresins of plants.
This latest study, published in PLoS One, has confirmed just how powerful frondoside A truly is.
Researchers found it to kill 95% of ER+ breast cancer cells, 95% of liver cancer cells, 90% of melanoma cells, and 85-88% of three different types of lung cancer.
As Evers reports:
“But the benefits of this compound don’t just stop at directly inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis). It also inhibits angiogenesis (the ability of tumors to grow new blood vessels to get their food) and stops cancer metastasizing by impeding cell migration and invasion. Even more intriguing is the ability of frondoside A to activate our immune system’s natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.
This has been shown for breast cancer in particular but may also apply to all cancers, because it involves the immune system and not cancer cells directly. This may partially explain why frondoside A was so effective at shrinking lung tumors in mice that it rivaled chemo drugs in performance.”
When given to mice with non-small cell lung cancer, frondoside A was found to shrink tumors by 40% in only 10 days. Traditional chemo drugs shrunk the tumors by 47 percent, but the risks of chemo treatment are far greater than any side-effects or risks of sea cucumber. (Namely because there are no known risks associated with sea cucumbers). In addition, the amount of frondoside A needed to achieve such results was miniscule—less than a single milligram for an adult weighing 165 pounds.
“Journal of Neuroendocrine Tumours and Pancreatic Diseases and Sciences” states that “extracts from an edible, non-toxic sea cucumber effectively caused cell damage and cell death in human pancreatic cancer cells”. The results of this study are encouraging for the potential use of sea cucumber extract as a dietary supplement which may be used in the treatment or prevention of pancreatic cancer. Sea cucumber extracts potently kill multiple cancer cell lines
“Many of these regenerative mechanisms are the same as those being used by other animals to heal and repair – this includes us humans,” “Sea cucumbers will probably provide us with the key to deciphering how to regenerate our tissues, or at least find out what is needed to do this.”
There have been many promising advances in regenerative tissue growth, but work has been heart-breakingly slow for people suffering from kidney failure or macular degeneration. Much of the
work has been done with salamanders, but the paper’s authors argue that sea cucumbers could be a goldmine of information.
“Sea cucumbers should be viewed as the tissue regeneration equivalent of the squid for our knowledge of nerves and Drosophila for genes and the genome,” said García-Arrarás. “They can help us learn to fix ourselves.”

 

sea6656294dried-sea-cucumber

How an African slave helped Boston fight smallpox

How an African slave helped Boston fight smallpox

Centuries before Ebola, Cotton Mather faced down another global epidemic with a health tactic from abroad

By Ted Widmer | OCTOBER 17, 2014

cotton-mather
Cotton Mather’s successful smallpox campaign was based on inoculation advice he received from a slave named Onesimus.
UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE/GETTY

THE SPREAD of Ebola has added a scary twist to one of the clichés of our age: that we live in a world of shrinking distances. Boston isn’t one of the five US airports where officials will aim an infrared thermometer gun at anyone coming off a plane from West Africa. But passengers who reached Logan Airport with flu-like symptoms last week were escorted to hospitals by a team in hazmat suits, and our eyes now scan the horizon nervously, wondering about every new arrival.

New as it might seem, this anxiety about our hyperconnectivity has a long lineage: In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bostonians felt a similar terror. The ships that streamed into Boston Harbor from around the Atlantic world carried a vital lifeblood—the commerce that built Boston—but they also carried the microbes of infectious disease.
The most fearsome of all was smallpox, the disease that wiped out so many Native Americans at the time of European settlement, and that also killed large numbers of the English. A terrible epidemic came in 1721, infecting roughly half of Boston’s 11,000 residents. But Boston’s approach to public health changed that year, thanks to an experimental strategy for inoculating citizens with small traces of the disease.

The idea behind this radical new treatment came from Africa, specifically from a slave named Onesimus, who shared his knowledge with Cotton Mather, the town’s leading minister and his legal owner. Boston still suffered dreadfully, but thanks to Onesimus and Mather, the terror linked to smallpox began to recede after Africans rolled up their sleeves—literally—to show Boston how inoculation worked. The story of how Boston began to overcome smallpox illustrates the strife that epidemics can cause, but also the encouraging notion that humans can communicate remedies as quickly as they communicate germs—and that the solutions we most need often come from the places we least expect to find them.

TO EARLY New Englanders, smallpox was one of life’s many imponderables. No one really knew where the disease came from. Was it carried by bad air, or sent as a form of divine retribution for personal failings? Boston had plenty to fear on both counts—one observer described the town at low tide as “a very stinking puddle.” Medical knowledge was still primitive; a learned scientist, John Winthrop Jr., kept what he thought was a unicorn horn in his cabinet. For most, the first line of defense was the prayer book.

Disease was an inseparable part of the New England story from the beginning. It arrived wirh the Great Migration of the 1630s, aboard the very ships that brought so many families to New England. It returned in 1666, and again in 1678, when an epidemic killed 340 Bostonians. A young Cotton Mather wrote, “Boston burying-places never filled so fast.” With time, local leaders began to develop crude public health policies—burying the dead quickly, flying red flags over houses affected, and requiring ships with sick sailors to stop at Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor. But as Bostonians knew, the next epidemic was always just over the horizon. In 1721, on April 22, the HMS Seahorse arrived from the West Indies with smallpox on board, and despite precautions, a full-blown epidemic started.

This time, however, the city was better prepared, thanks to several unlikely heroes. Cotton Mather is not always the easiest figure to admire. The scion of a dynasty of ministers, he fought a lengthy rear-guard action against time, trying to stanch the ebbing of power among the city’s religious authorities. But he was surprisingly modern in some ways, and paid attention to the new forms of knowledge coming in on those ships. Another contradiction lay in his racial attitudes—his writings suggest that, more than most of his contemporaries, he admired Africans, but he also accepted slavery, and had raised no objections when his congregation presented him with a young slave in 1706. He named him Onesimus, after a slave belonging to St. Paul.

Mather had come close to choosing a career in medicine, and devoured the scientific publications of the Royal Society in London. As the society began to turn its attention to inoculation practices around the world, Mather realized that he had an extraordinary expert living in his household. Onesimus was a “pretty Intelligent Fellow,” it had become clear to him. When asked if he’d ever had smallpox, Onesimus answered “Yes and No,” explaining that he had been inoculated with a small amount of smallpox, which had left him immune to the disease. Fascinated, Mather asked for details, which Onesimus provided, and showed him his scar. We can almost hear Onesimus speaking in Mather’s accounts, for Mather took the unusual step of writing out his words with the African accent included—the key phrase was, “People take Juice of Small-Pox; and Cutty-skin, and Putt in a Drop.”

Excited, he investigated among other Africans in Boston and realized that it was a widespread practice; indeed, a slave could be expected to fetch a higher price with a scar on his arm, indicating that he was immune. Mather sent the Royal Society his own reports from the wilds of America, eager to prove the relevance of Boston (and by extension, Cotton Mather) to the global crusade against infectious disease. His interviews with Onesimus were crucial. In 1716, writing to an English friend, he promised that he would be ready to promote inoculation if smallpox ever visited the city again.

When it did, Mather pursued a determined course of action, asking doctors to inoculate their patients and ministers to support the plan. His call was answered by only one person, an apothecary named Zabdiel Boylston, who began by inoculating his 6-year-old son, Thomas, and two slaves.

As word spread of the new medicine, the people of Boston were terrified and angry. According to Mather, they “raised an horrid Clamour.” Their rage came from many sources; fear that inoculation might spread smallpox further; knowledge that the bubonic plague was on the rise in France; and a righteous fury that it was immoral to tamper with God’s judgment in this way. There was a racial tone to their response as well, as they rebelled against an idea that was not only foreign, but African (one critic, an eminent doctor, attacked Mather for his “Negroish” thinking). Some of Mather’s opponents compared inoculation to what we would now call terrorism—as if “a man should willfully throw a Bomb into a Town.” Indeed, one local terrorist did exactly that, throwing a bomb through Mather’s window, with a note that read, “COTTON MATHER, You Dog, Dam You; I’l inoculate you with this, with a Pox to you.”

Another attack came from the New-England Courant, a newspaper that debuted on Aug. 7, as smallpox raged. The brainchild of a satirical editor, James Franklin, it was unlike anything Boston had seen before, ridiculing an older generation perennially telling everyone else how to behave. Inevitably, it jumped right into the inoculation debate, finding its fattest target in the prig who was always lecturing Bostonians—the Very Rev. Cotton Mather, D.D. At 58, he was the last avatar of a worldview that had exhausted itself in the 17th century, particularly during the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692, which he had helped to bring about. It must have seemed as if the entire town was against him.

But in this instance, he knew what he was talking about. Through all of the opposition, he and Zabdiel Boylston persevered in their efforts to “Conquer the Dragon.” As the dreadful year continued and smallpox took its toll, the results began to tell. Inoculation was not perfect, but it was a far more effective response than doing nothing at all. When the epidemic had run its course, 5,889 people had contracted the disease (roughly half the town), and 844 people had died, or one in seven. Of the 242 who had been inoculated, only six had died–one in 40.

In the aftermath, Mather and Boylston were lionized for their courage, and Boylston was received with accolades in London, where he went for a long visit. Little is known about the fate of Onesimus, though Mather recorded that he was able to buy his freedom.

GOD KNOWS that Cotton Mather could be hard to take—one reason the New-England Courant found an immediate audience by attacking him. But in his openness to science and evidence, and his willingness to listen to an African living in his household, he showed a capacity for self-correction that redeemed some of his earlier failings. We will never know if he found redemption in the sense of the word he understood; but he found a meaningful second chance in 1721, and embraced it.

Boston was not quite out of the woods—other epidemics would come, often during wars that we remember with more clarity. But a smallpox vaccine, safer than amateur inoculation, was invented in 1796. Nearly 200 years later, in 1979, the World Health Organization declared that smallpox had been eradicated. That immense victory, which took centuries to consummate, was brought closer by the knowledge that an African-Bostonian brought to a city where he was held in slavery at the beginning of the 18th century.

The episode is also fascinating for one final aftereffect. An important witness to the debate over inoculation was a 15-year-old boy, the younger brother of Cotton Mather’s chief tormentor in the Courant. Perhaps the most famous Bostonian of all time, Benjamin Franklin made his fortune, of course, by fleeing the city and its theological disputes for Philadelphia. As an adult, possibly with some acknowledgment that he and James had been too quick to ridicule an elderly minister trying to use science on behalf of humanity, Franklin would become an important advocate of inoculation, especially after his own son died of smallpox.

Franklin also had a personal encounter with Zabdiel Boylston in London, not long after the smallpox crisis, that changed his life. The young Franklin had run out of money and options, and Boylston helped him with a crucial loan of 20 guineas, despite the fact that Franklin and his brother had attacked his medical efforts throughout 1721. As an old man in Paris, Franklin met a young relative of Boylston’s and told him that he could never repay what that loan had meant to him at a low moment. “I owe everything I am to him,” he confided, before asking the young man what he could do for him.

Today, as anxiety leads many to see all of Africa as a potential source of infection, it may be time to revive a similar feeling of reciprocity—and an appreciation for what African medical knowledge meant to Boston during the most serious health crisis of its early history.

Ted Widmer is assistant to the president for special projects at Brown University and a senior research fellow with the New America Foundation. He is an Ideas columnist.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/17/how-african-slave-helped-boston-fight-smallpox/XFhsMMvTGCeV62YP0XhhZI/story.html?p1=Article_Trending_Most_Viewed

10 Things to Know About Thyroid Disease and Fatigue

10 Things to Know About Thyroid Disease and Fatigue<!–

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1. Fatigue and Hypothyroidism

Fatigue is a very common symptom of hypothyroidism – an underactive or low thyroid — in many patients. When the treatment for hypothyroidism is optimized , many patients report that their fatigue is lessened or even fully resolved.

2. Fatigue and Hyperthyroidism

Fatigue is a symptom of hyperthyroidism — an overactive or high thyroid — in some patients. In some cases, fatigue is present even after you’ve gotten a sufficient amount of sleep. In other cases, fatigue in hyperthyroidism may result from insomnia, anxiety, or disrupted sleep patterns. Typically, appropriate treatment for Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism will help resolve fatigue associated with an overactive thyroid.

3. Fatigue and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Even when thyroid function tests show that the thyroid is “normal” and hormone levels fall within the reference range, the presence of elevated thyroid antibodies indicative of autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease can cause fatigue as a symptom in some patients.

4. Dietary Changes

Some thyroid patients — including those who do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerance — have reported a reduction in fatigue when they switch to a gluten-free diet , free of wheat and gluten products. Others have reported similar effects by eliminating sugar, or other inflammatory foods from the diet.

5. Unrefreshing Sleep

Some people experience fatigue due to what’s known as unrefreshing sleep. This means you’ve had enough sleep — usually seven or more hours — but you wake up and still feel tired, because the sleep was of poor quality, interrupted, or did not reach restorative levels. Unrefreshing sleep may be associated with adrenal dysfunction, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia .

6. Iron

Some thyroid patients experiencing fatigue may be low in iron, in particular, the stored form of iron known as ferritin. It’s worth having ferritin levels checked by your physician, and if they are not optimal, talk to your doctor about supplementing with iron, or adding more iron to your diet through foods.An excess of iron, in particular a hereditary condition known as hemachromatosis, can also be associated with fatigue.

7. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

If you have long-term, debilitating fatigue, and the fatigue is accompanied by other symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes, a chronic sore throat, and/or body/muscle aches pains, you may have other conditions, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or fibromyalgia . these conditions are more common in thyroid patients than in the general population.

8. T3 and Natural Thyroid

Some thyroid patients on thyroid hormone replacement have reported an improvement in their fatigue levels when switching from a T4 only treatment (i.e., levothyroxine), to a T4/T3 treatment–for example, the addition of synthetic T3–or use of a natural desiccated thyroid drug .

9. Sleep Apnea

Thyroid patients are at greater risk of sleep apnea , where breathing stops for short periods during sleep. Sleep apnea can contribute greatly to fatigue. Thyroid patients experiencing fatigue should talk to a physician about having a sleep study or evaluation done to determine if sleep abnormalities — including apnea — may be contributing to the fatigue.

10. You Can Get Better Sleep

In addition to making sure you get optimal thyroid treatment for your condition, and address any sleep disorders , food sensitivities, and imbalances in iron levels, there are many other ways to ensure that you get sufficient sleep.But first, how much sleep do you need? According to the National Sleep Foundation most adults need a minimum of seven to eight hours per night, and a substantial percentage of us are not getting this amount of sleep on a regular basis.

Here are some tips to get to sleep, and get better sleep:

  • Try to keep the same sleep schedule weekdays and weekends
  • Keep your bedroom cool
  • Don’t watch television or work in your bedroom
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon, and before bedtime
  • Don’t take naps.
  • Don’t exercise after dinner time
  • Take a hot shower or bath before bedtime
  • Use a sound conditioner or earplugs to block noise
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime
  • Increase light exposure during the day
  • Minimize light in your bedroom — Use blinds or blackout curtains, turn off television and computer at night, avoid illuminated clocks, and don’t read from backlit devices at night
  • Listen to relaxation or guided imagery tapes to help fall asleep
  • Don’t drink too much liquid in the evening
  • Limit changes in your work shifts
  • Drink an herbal or relaxation tea at bedtime
  • Have a bedtime snack with protein

Home to world’s smallest and biggest eggs

China: Home to world’s smallest and biggest eggs – Home – ShortList Magazine

China: Home to world’s smallest and biggest eggs

Insert egg-pun here

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A farmer was surprised to collect a super small egg from the chicken pen at their home in Yangzhou, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. The tiny egg is just 2.5cm long and weighs 5 grams, equivalent to a 10 cent Chinese coin.

This comes two months after a farmer from Shuangliu in southwest China found that one of her chickens laid a huge 250g egg. Wang Yongbi said: “I’ve been raising chickens for more than 30 years but it’s the first time I’ve seen such a huge egg.” Wang said she fed the chickens no special food, but grains, maize and vegetable leaves. She added: “Normally the eggs are small”.

Which is interesting.

http://www.shortlist.com/home/china-home-to-worlds-smallest-and-biggest-eggs

Cricket snack bars and love bug salads

Cricket snack bars and love bug salads

It’s apparently the next big food trend in the western world. Eating insects may be good for our health and the environment, but do they taste good?

Jacky Chung, co-founder of Ento, can foresee a time when hungry office workers regularly reach for one of his company’s ready-made bento boxes for lunch, or dip into one of its healthy, protein-rich snacks during long afternoons. He realises that some of us might take some persuading, but he’s certain that the health benefits, and most importantly the taste, of Ento’s food cubes, pâtés, seasonings and more will win many of us round eventually.

“We want to be very honest with our foods to consumers in that they are predominantly made from insects, but we try to present it to them in a way that is culturally acceptable in the western diet, thereby redefining insects as a food and not as an animal,” says Chung.

Eat insects, save the planet

It seems that the idea of eating insects is creeping up on western society like a mosquito in the night. Many societies around the world eat insects as a matter of course, but westerners have long had a squeamishness about consuming anything they’d normally shoo out of the window. It’s a squeamishness we may have to get over, if a growing band of experts are to be believed. In the not-too-distant future it may be a case of eating insects or eschewing meat altogether.

We may be well advised to get over our distaste for creepy crawlies sooner rather than later, says Pat Crowley of Chapul, an American company that makes a range of snack bars based on a protein-rich flour milled from crickets.

“The majority of our freshwater resources worldwide go to agriculture, with the majority of that used for livestock production. Insects, however, are incredibly efficient at converting plant matter into a very healthy source of protein for humans, while emitting very few greenhouse gases and not requiring nearly as much land resources.”

And closer to home, Bug Grub is a UK site that sells specialised snacks, bars, dips and flour in its quest to get us eating insects.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t just the view of extremists and cranks. Last year the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation weighed into the debate in a comprehensive 200-page report.

“It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host nine billion people. To accommodate this number, current food production will need to almost double,” reads the report.”We need to find new ways of growing food.”

The report estimates that insects already form an important part of the diets of two billion people worldwide. There are very good reasons to believe that they will have to form part of the diet of many more in the next few decades.

Insects are good for us

One reason is that it takes 10lbs of feed to produce 1lb of beef, and the same amount of feed to produce 8lbs of edible crickets. In an increasingly thirsty world, it’s also worth noting that 100 gallons of water produces 19g of protein from chicken, and 71g from crickets.

On top of that, insects may not be appealing, but they are healthy. They tend to be low in fat, high in protein and a good source of vitamins and minerals. Put it all together and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that insects would be a very good food source indeed, if they weren’t – well – insects.

Which is where companies like Ento and Chapul come in. They’re not simply trying to get us to fight back the gag reflex and swallow crickets, beetles and meal worms as a kind of personal and environmental medicine. They’re convinced the little blighters can be made to taste nice, too.

A marketing problem

In fact, Chung believes that the problem is one of marketing and packaging as much as anything else. Britons have learned to love sushi, after all, and 30 years ago eating raw fish wrapped in seaweed was seen as a similarly exotic foreign eccentricity that would never catch on.

“Insects are delicious, with each insect possessing their own unique flavours. For example, honey caterpillars taste like a combination of milk and pistachio nuts when roasted,” says Chung. “From a culinary standpoint we believe insects offer many new and exciting opportunities – it’s just a matter of making this more accessible and approachable for people so that they can begin to appreciate these excellent ingredients.”

Insects are also starting to creep and crawl onto restaurant menus. Archipelago in London has been serving them for a number of years. The restaurant’s Love Bug Salad features pan-fried locusts and crickets seasoned with chilli and garlic. Its Bushman’s Cavi-Err dessert includes caramel encrusted mealworms.

Meanwhile, the fashion for insect cooking is catching on in the home of gastronomy. Le Festin Nu in food-loving Paris offers palm weevils with beetroot and truffle oil, water scorpion with preserved peppers and black garlic, and grasshopper with quail eggs. The menu of Aphrodite in Nice features mealworm and crickets.

In fact, in terms of flavour, texture and cooking there is no reason not to enjoy insects, say those in the know. Grasshoppers and crickets are said to impart a satisfying crunch, and are great for taking on flavour when roasted with garlic, lime juice, chilli and salt. Witchetty grubs – a favourite torture for jungle-bound celebrities – actually taste like almonds, while their skin when cooked takes on the texture of roast chicken. Termites can be enjoyed steamed, smoked or sun-dried. Mealworms are comparable to beef in terms of protein content, but have a greater number of healthy, polyunsaturated fats.

If you’re still not convinced, the good news is that you don’t have to eat them whole. Like Chapul bars and Ento grasshopper pâté, it could be that our first introduction to insect eating will come in heavily disguised form. The consensus, though, is that whether whole, powdered or in some other way processed, eating insects may soon be all but unavoidable.

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http://food.uk.msn.com/food/cricket-snack-bars-and-love-bug-salads