It might seem gross, but eating insects actually makes sense when it comes to nutrition and the environment.

By Julia Malacoff
Updated: February 21, 2017

Angelina Jolie is ahead of the curve on a lot of things, from raising awareness about preventative cancer surgery to promoting under-the-radar social causes that deserve the world's attention. Her latest film project, First They Killed My Father, has her behind the camera instead of in front of it, and tells the true story of a girl who lived through the war and genocide in Cambodia. Jolie first traveled to Cambodia while filming one of the Lara Croft movies, and since then has become very involved in humanitarian efforts for the country. Her film's premiere was located there, and she let the BBC in on some family time with her kids, all six of whom were in attendance, during a meal in which the main course was a *bit* unconventional: insects.

In the video, Jolie shows that she's a total pro when it comes to eating bugs, which isn't quite what we'd expect from a Hollywood star, but we're seriously impressed nonetheless. She explains that bugs have always been part of the diet in the region, but that "during the war, when people were being starved, they were able to survive on things like this, and they did." In fact, around 2 billion people eat bugs already as part of their normal diet, though the practice is far from common in the States.

While it might seem kind of gross if you haven't eaten an insect before, there are actually a couple compelling reasons to give it a try. First, bugs have been shown to be better sources of protein than meat, at least when it comes to gram-for-gram measurement. Granted, you'd need to eat a fair number of bugs in order to get the same amount of protein you'd get from eating chicken breast. But there are a ton of different species that are edible, and they can be cooked in many ways. Plus, things like cricket flour and cricket protein bars are becoming more mainstream, and you'd never know they're made from bugs.

When you consider the detrimental environmental impact of traditional meat production, using bugs as a source of nutrition might not appear that far-fetched anymore. According to a report done by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more people eating greater numbers of insects would be good for the environment, since farming insects doesn't require the same kinds of resources that say, cows do, and there are no greenhouse gases emitted as a result of insect farming. Additionally, the report points out that farming insects could be a low-cost way to help provide food for those who are impoverished and malnourished, especially children. (Here, find out more about eating cricket flour and eating bugs as a source of protein.)

Still not aboard the bug train? Angelina Jolie has a suggestion: "First start with crickets and a beer, and then you kind of move up to tarantulas." Eek! We suggest starting with some of those trendy energy bars. Baby steps-err crawls.



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