Eating insects, or entomophagy to give it it’s proper name, is big business at the moment as more and more people are wising up to the fact that creepy crawlies, bugs and critters are incredibly good for us.
To many of us, the thought of eating something considered as garden pests or as the main players in a gross out challenge on ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here‘, is far from appealing, which is why products such as cricket flour are providing the ideal solution.
The Art of Healthy Living has been advocating the health benefits of cricket flour since our product review of Eat Grub back in December last year, so let’s remind ourselves of some of the fantastic reasons why we should be eating more insects:
- Cricket flour contains more protein than beef or chicken.
- Mealworms contain approximately the same Omega 3 and Omega 6 as fish.
- Insects produce 80% less methane than cattle.
- For every 10kg of feed we get 1kg of beef or 9kg of insects – you do the maths!
- Insects are a sustainable food source.
- Crickets contain lots of vitamins and minerals; Cobalamin (B12), Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Phosphorous, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine and Magnesium.
Bodhi are a UK start up company who want to change our perceptions of eating insects and they hope that by using cricket flour in their new Cacao & Date Paleo bars it will demonstrate just how tasty these bugs can be.
I was fortunate enough to be sent some Bodhi bars to test and review; a guineapig for you lot if you like!
I need to start by saying that I am not Paleo and I don’t have any allergies or intolerances, but where possible I do like to eat healthily. So, although I may not be the absolute ideal target consumer for Bodhi, I can certainly offer an overview and my opinion on a bar that in actual fact can be enjoyed by anyone wishing to exchange their usual snack bar with a more nutritiously dense alternative.
My initial impression of Bodhi is that the packaging looks fresh, modern and fun in a quirky, almost cartoon like way. I also love the play on words between Bodhi and Body, which is used to further great effect in the tagline ‘For Mind, Bodhi & Soul’.
Described as a Gluten, Soy and Dairy free, Bodhi contains all natural ingredients:
- Organic Cricket Flour
- Chicory Fibre
- Coconut Oil
- Chia Seed
It is high in fibre, high in vitamin E and in a whole 10g of the 60g bar is protein. Having reviewed a fair few healthy snack bars, this one immediately differs in appearance, as it is wider than most others, which tend to conform to the standard slimline shape.
This is a hearty, filling snack bar that means business!
Containing 296 calories per bar, it does seem a little on the high side, however when you take into account that those calories are coming from such great nutritional sources and are far, far better than shovelling a plateful of sugary biscuits down your throat, it’s easy to overlook this. So long as you are following a healthy diet and are doing regular exercise or you are generally active, then this should not be a problem and the Bodhi bar will certainly keep you going until lunch or help you cruise through that afternoon slump.
The bar itself is smooth, with a dark glossy surface, however the ends are irregular and look hand cut rather than machine manufactured, which I like, as this gives it a more homemade, personal touch as though it has been made just for you. When you break the bar open there are visible signs of the chia seeds and dates and it crumbles easily.
I must admit that I’m still not quite sure what to make of the smell of it. In a bizarre way it smelt kind of meaty, which I’m guessing is because there is a rich, deep intensity to it; not unpleasant, just not what I was expecting. A kind of savoury, bran, fibre scent, that I think took me by surprise, as other bars I have tested have always smelt sweet.
So, on to the taste…
The texture is crumbly, slightly powdery tasting but with a rich, nutty and almost malt loaf like taste to it. I have an incredibly sweet tooth and because I couldn’t taste any sweetness in the bar, it did put me off a bit. That’s just me though and in all honesty I do seriously need to cut down on the levels of sweet things that I eat. Bodhi is great if you have a more savoury palate or if you are trying to cut out sugar and are keen to eat something that won’t tempt you back to the deep, dark realms of sweet treats.
There is no doubt that Bodhi tastes more natural than most other bars I have tried and the proof of that is clearly displayed in it’s ingredients list.
The Brains Behind Bodhi
Having tried the bar I was keen to delve further into the ‘Mind, Bodhi & Soul’ of Bodhi so I grabbed a few minutes with Nick Kirwan, the Director of Bodhi, for a chat about all things insect:
What was the inspiration behind Bodhi?
“I’d read a bit about entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) and how common it was around the world, and I’d tried scorpions myself in Thailand. I also make a big effort to eat well and had often experienced a lack of options when craving a healthy snack on the go. After a lot of deliberation, and seeing how well people were responding to edible insect products in the USA, I decided to work on a product myself!”
How has that worked out for you?
“I set up the company myself in April of last year. It took a while to find the right person to help with the formulation and production of the bars, and I also worked with a very talented team to help with the branding that you see today. All of this took time and we only actually released the first product from the company in March! It’s been an interesting road with various stumbling blocks along the way, but I’m delighted to have our first product available at last!”
Why cricket flour?
“The nutritional profile is really impressive – it’s 69% protein and also a great source of potassium, fibre and vitamin E. It’s a real superfood! However, the bit I love most is the environmental side. As a planet we need to change our farming habits; our level of meat consumption is becoming a problem. The idea of switching in part to insect-based protein could go a long way to help. Bodhi as a brand is really about introducing this concept in a fun and tasty way, and if we can be a small part of a shift in perceptions that has a positive effect on the planet, then that would be amazing!”
Do you have plans for any more products?
“I definitely want to introduce 1 or 2 new flavours before the year is out. After that, the plan is to look to other product types, also based on our organic cricket flour. Cricket flour is a versatile ingredient; so this could be crisps or crackers, or even something like an all-natural, cricket powered shake!”
Who is Bodhi aimed at?
“Environmentally-conscious people of any age looking for a healthy snack on the go.”
Where can I buy Bodhi?
“The bars are available in packs of 3 or 12 from www.bodhiprotein.com and they’ll be available soon from www.perfectlypaleo.co.uk. We also now have our first high street stockists, Protein Haus in Canary Wharf!”
What’s the big dream?
“To be the largest ‘ento’ company in Europe!”
Describe Bodhi in 3 words.
“Pure. Honest. Natural.”
Tell us your best healthy habit?
“Lots of Yerba mate! If you haven’t tried it…get some!”
And finally… Jiminy Cricket v’s Freddie Flintoff – who’d win?
“I’m a big Freddie Flintoff fan, but I’m backing Jiminy in this one.”
Bodhi bars are available from www.bodhiprotein.com in packs of 12, or for a limited time only, in sample packs of 3.