We had a chance to interview Josh who has a very interesting take on the vegan diet. He decided to add insects! So naturally, we were curious how such a diet works for him, what insect based meals he eats, and how he came up with the name entovegan! Let’s go straight into the interview.
Hi Josh, I have to say I really like how you laid out the framework for Entoveganism on your website. I feel like we have a lot of the same ideas about how to improve the current western diet. Can you briefly sum up what being an Entovegan means to you?
It means I’m eating what I believe to be the healthiest, most sustainable diet possible for me as a human. It also means I’m doing my individual part in combating animal cruelty that happens at commercial meat farms.
I do many other things and always have, to take care of the planet – recycling, biking everywhere when in my home city and whenever possible while traveling, buying local, etc.
But this goes even further in that it seems to be a natural evolution combining the best of ancient wisdom surrounding food, with modern technological advancement in protein production (of rearing insects) and research into health and nutrition. So in my quite humble opinion (haha), I think being ENTOvegan is an evolutionary step forward from just being vegan.
What made you add insects to your diet?
I was already eating insects before I decided to go vegan. So that was the thing – I had made a big mental shift when I discovered how healthy and sustainable insects can be, so I went from one of those “eeewwwww, gross!” typical westerners, to eating insects regularly and actually enjoying it.
That was the caveat – I didn’t want to give up eating insects. So I just combined entomophagy with a vegan diet and voila, Entovegan was born.
Then, the more I learned the more I realized, wow, insects are basically the perfect fit with a vegan diet, because they fill in the gaps nutritionally, and they can also be an even more sustainable protein source than commercially produced plant proteins!
Really, to me it seems like insects with a vegan diet is the holy grail of human nutrition. And reading some of the blogs you’ve posted on SENS, they just make so much sense! I’m not a nutritionist so it’s awesome to read from people who are, that there is actual scientific basis to what I’m doing.
Thank you I’m happy to hear our articles were useful. Your diet has vegan in the name yet you’re eating animals in a form of insects. You must get a lot of push back online. What’s your reasoning or justification for including insects?
Of course, I’m eating insects, which are technically an animal. And that brings out the trolls. But as I laid out in my Philosophy of Entoveganism, in the big picture of health and sustainability, eating farmed insects is much better for the planet and for animals because there’s no collateral damage.
Look at commercial soy production – how much environmental destruction does it cause? How many small animals, like rabbits, birds, lizards, etc, are killed as collateral damage during harvesting?
Contrasted with farmed insects, who live out their life cycle happy and well-fed, in conditions better than where they would normally live happily out in the wild. They’re euthanized much of the time by freezing, which just makes them go to sleep, and there’s no environmental or other animal damage from farming them.
Big picture, if we want a better planet, with healthier people, and we want to treat the earth and wild animals with more care, you tell me, what’s achieving that goal, deforestation for commercial soy farming, or ethically farming insects?
And even beyond that, the angry, often hateful responses about using the term “vegan” aren’t based in reality. How many of those same people upset that I’m eating bugs, had zero thought for the welfare of those same bugs just moments before first reading or hearing the word “entovegan”? Seriously!
And there’s so much more about insects as well, such as their lack of a central nervous system, the science surrounding insects not feeling pain – which, the EU regulations even go so far as to point out in their reasoning for supporting insects as protein.
They’re living things, yes, but so are plants. And many types of insects are practically as robotic in their reproduction as plants. Is it a grey area? Sure. But to me, there are plants, there are animals, and in between, there are these nutritious little robots called insects, which are a sustainable and healthy solution for humans to farm and eat.
A pure vegan diet has flaws. Few people would argue that point. Insects fill in the gaps nutritionally, and they’re quite honestly, a more sustainable form of protein than many of the foundational vegan plant proteins.
We are on the same page here. So, how long have you been doing Entoveganism? Do you feel good on this diet as an active person? How are your workouts?
I’ve been eating insects and a plant-based vegan diet since spring of 2017, and I still feel great. I did a 90 day challenge for myself at the end of the first year, to see if I could gain muscle or what would happen if I worked out a lot harder. Overall I made positive gains and felt great, and I still do.
Do you see any differences in your health, mood, hunger, and energy levels between now and when you were vegan?
This one’s tough to answer as I became vegan after I was already eating insects. However, I can tell you that when I’m traveling, and don’t have a steady supply of insects or insect-based products, that I still feel fine but I don’t feel as good as I do with a big percentage of my nutrition coming from insect powder and insects.
The difference then is that I feel better when I have insects or insect products to eat, than just eating a purely vegan diet.
What kinds of insects do you include in your diet?
Whatever is local to where I am! In SE Asia it’s crickets, lots of crickets, but there are a few different varieties. Plus there are grasshoppers, silkworms, beetles, and even tarantulas.
In Mexico it’s gusanos and mealworms and some delicious beetles, plus I’m usually with my friend Mario who is a chef, and he’s always making some interesting flavours of scorpion or giant tree caterpillars or field spiders etc.
And of course the mainstay still is cricket powder which is found in many products. I buy EXO protein bars whenever I see them at airports when traveling through the USA, because they’re delicious but also because I want to support them and show the stores that there are repeat customers for cricket products!
I know other brands have been pulled from shelves because of a lack of sales, so I buy whatever I see when and where I see it, to support the industry. And considering it’s usually a raw food bar with insects, or it’s dried insects with some spices, it fits in with the entovegan diet.
What are some of your favourite Entovegan meals?
For me food is fuel, so I’m not the biggest “foodie”, unfortunately. Basically I take whatever healthy vegan food option I have available, and boost it with insects!
But I really like whole food bowls, like quinoa and pumpkin hummus and spinach and mashed beetroot with tempeh and cashew cheese and sprouts, that sort of thing. I just made myself hungry typing that! Those are delicious though, and then just add dried cricket “croutons”.
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Ok here we go this is more like it. A little #tb (is that even a thing anymore?) from a couple days ago when I had lunch at #TheGrit in Athens. 🥗 Kale, quinoa, pesto, tofu, and topped with 20g of cricket croutons from @changritkamleang in Cambodia that I found in my bag. 🦗 #delicious😋 #entovegandiet
Toasted or pan-fried insects can really be added to any savoury dish though, and some insects go well with sweeter foods also – I think mealworms are delicious when toasted and have a sort of nutty flavour that goes well with vegan deserts.
It’s all about experimentation right now, and I love that so many people are getting excited about eating insects, and creating different unique concoctions.
Not all of them are based on vegan recipes, of course, but many of them actually are, because – surprise, surprise – there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians already embracing the idea of eating insects, and some of those people are the ones starting edible insect product companies.
What would you say to vegans to encourage them to give Entoveganims a try?
I’d say look at the big picture. Before making a snap decision, do the research on the nutritional benefits insects have and the sustainable manner that insects are farmed in.
Contrast that with commercial soy, for example – because there’s clearly no comparison between farmed insects and commercial meat. But insects are more sustainable and one could argue more ethical for animals, than both.
And if you’ve got a hard line in the sand where you say you’ll never eat an insect because it’s technically an animal, look at it from a perspective of taking a step away from commercial meat farming and towards more sustainable food, for the billions of people who do still eat meat.
A vegan can and should support eating insects even if they’d never eat bugs themselves!
I just happen to believe that vegans should actually eat bugs, and that it’s an evolutionary leap forward.
Thank you for the interview, Josh! We wish you luck with your way of eating and we hope you inspired many others to give it a try too. This sort of diet makes a lot of sense to us too!
Or you can get high quality cricket flour from our own farm at email@example.com and soon on our website too!
If you want to learn more about Entoveganism check out Josh’s website entovegan.com.