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Let me start by saying that I am not a particularly daring person. I hate roller coasters, I absolutely don’t go skydiving, and my idea of ”adventure food” is ordering sushi. The irony of my recommendation Hi! Human Improvement Cricket Protein Powder (Buy it, $ 12 for a pack of 3, amazon.com) – yes, cricket, as in the actual bug – isn’t lost to me.
Two former Starbucks employees were on a similar hunt for a better protein powder, and that’s how Hi! protein powder came to be. Through extensive research, they found that crickets are made up of as much as 70 percent protein (both whole and powdered), which is a surprisingly perfect ingredient. The founders combined cricket powder (which makes up about 20 percent of the mixture) with an organic base of brown rice, pumpkin and pea protein to create their nutritious powder, packed with 21 grams of protein per 1.4 ounce serving. The whey powder in my pantry, on the other hand, only has 12 grams for the same serving.
If you think those are bananas, I have news for you: cricket powder is actually quite healthy. “Cricket powder is very high in certain micronutrients,” he says Joel B. Mason, MD, gastroenterologist and professor at Tufts University Schools of Medicine. Hi! Protein powder specifically contains as much iron and vitamin B12 (if not more) than beef, and provides an alternative rich source of protein for eating meat in general. “There is evidence to support other health benefits, such as a reduction in serum cholesterol and a reduction in high blood pressure, but the lessons are currently preliminary,” he adds. (Related: Unflavored Protein Powder You Can Add to Anything and Everything)
Not to mention, unlike traditional livestock, crickets are a more sustainable option. They use 93 percent less land, use 80 percent less water and emit nearly 100 percent less greenhouse gas compared to beef, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations On top of the admirable nutritional and ethical elements of crickets themselves, HI! also chose to make sure their single-serve packs are fully recyclable and use 90 percent less packaging than traditional tub-and-scoop protein powders.
The first time I tried this cricket protein powder I decided to bury it in a rich smoothie because I really didn’t want to feel like I was eating crickets; I have a package of the vanilla flavored blend with peanut butter, almond milk and a banana. My first sip was creamy and tasted vanilla-ish and sweet just like a milkshake, and the texture of the cricket powder was totally imperceptible (really a make-or-break for me, given the chalky texture of vegetable proteins that’s why I’m not a fan of that). And unlike other protein smoothies I sucked up in minutes, this one was so filling I couldn’t quite finish it.
I had hoped the cricket’s protein powder – which contains no GMOs, soy, dairy, gluten, or added sugars – would feel easy on my gut, but I was surprised by how little it affected my stomach. I felt no bloating, no discomfort, and was full for hours. I tested the chocolate protein powder the next day and was just as satisfied with the taste and the result. I’m a smoothie girl and haven’t tried the buggy powder in plain water or milk yet, so to be determined on the taste, but I’ll say it tastes pretty damn delicious in my morning blends. (Related: This is the tastiest and most satisfying protein powder I’ve ever tried – and it’s on sale at Walmart)
The powder is admittedly expensive $ 4 per single serving pack, but it’s cheaper than my local smoothie shops, and I like to support sustainable businesses. The protein powder also makes me feel so good it’s worth the splurge, IMO. If you’d like to try this ethical and gut-friendly protein alternative, you can get a pack of three servings on Amazon for $ 12 – and then if you decide you love it, you can invest in one Packs of 20 count for $ 60It sounds crazy, but I really recommend adding edible insects to your life – you won’t regret it.
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