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  1. #1
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    Default Ants and Worms-Protein?

    OK, this might sound stupid, but in the 70's and 80's I was super poor and destitute on the trail. Basicly a bum trying to live off the land. I wasn't trying to pound down miles. Averaged maybe 12 miles per day. Food source was mostly some kind of pasta, rice, instant mashed and oatmeal. Greens were eays to find. Fruit could be found for free behind roadside stands. Protein was the problem. My protein was ants and worms. Easy to gather and find. Dryed the worms. No flavor. Just added them to the pasta. oatmeal, etc. Ants I didn't dry. Just crushed them and put them in the pot. So, was I wasting my time? How much protein is in a few teaspoons of ants or worms? I managed to some how grub up a cheesburger at least every week or ten days. No way of knowing if the ants and worms did me any good.

  2. #2

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    Regardless of the protein content, you would have to eat a LOT of ants or earthworms to get a decent quantity of protein because they are tiny and are mostly moisture.

    My grandfather kept an old reach-in Coca-Cola chest refrigerator about 7 feet long (like you used to find in convenience stores, barber shops, etc. in the South) out behind the garage as a worm farm for fishing bait. He fed them a mash of expired milk and bread that he got from a grocery store. They are interesting little creatures but they are basically little digestive systems with reproductive capabilities and eating them never appealed to me. They look like little miniature living intestines. They use grit to digest their food so they are full of both grit and sh**. I don't want to eat that.

    As far as ants, let them go about their business unmolested. They don't do much besides clean up after all the other creatures during their short lives.

    You could find higher quality and more appetizing sources of protein for not a lot of money--I have even seen eggs for $0.99 a dozen lately--and they are a good source of nutrition with a nice little protective wrapper provided by the hen.

  3. #3
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    The worms were dried on rocks. Nothing more than a powdery substance. During that time you could probably get a dozen eggs for 25 cents. .99 would get you a six pack of Utica. The ants looked like little pieces of pepper. No taste.

  4. #4
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    I ate a lot of rattle snake too. Sold the skins. Feel kind of bad about that now. It was a long time ago. Things were different.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TD55 View Post
    OK, this might sound stupid, but in the 70's and 80's I was super poor and destitute on the trail. Basicly a bum trying to live off the land. I wasn't trying to pound down miles. Averaged maybe 12 miles per day. Food source was mostly some kind of pasta, rice, instant mashed and oatmeal. Greens were eays to find. Fruit could be found for free behind roadside stands. Protein was the problem. My protein was ants and worms. Easy to gather and find. Dryed the worms. No flavor. Just added them to the pasta. oatmeal, etc. Ants I didn't dry. Just crushed them and put them in the pot. So, was I wasting my time? How much protein is in a few teaspoons of ants or worms? I managed to some how grub up a cheesburger at least every week or ten days. No way of knowing if the ants and worms did me any good.
    Oatmeal is very cheap, and is very close to being a complete protien. A few ants wouldn't hurt, but a high oatmeal diet will not be deficient in protien. You would still need other foods to fill out the balance of certain vitamins and minerals, but protien is not an issue with oatmeal. Ants would provide some of these vitamins and minerals, and probably make up for the amino acid 'lysine' also, which oatmeal has, but is somewhat defiecient in. Simply eating more oatmeal would work also, except for the vitamins and minerals that are missing.

  6. #6
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    Insects are very dense in nutrients. The ants probably did you a lot of good. I don't know about worms. I can't stand the way they smell so I would have to be very, very desperate before I would ever eat one.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

  7. #7
    Garlic
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    One of the great myths put forth (so successfully) by US agri-business is that humans must eat animal products, especially meat, to ingest a certain amount of protein.

    If you get enough carbohydrates from a decent variety of unprocessed plant and vegetable sources, you'll get enough protein from those sources, too. Like Jak said, oats and other unprocessed grains are good, and cheap. Legumes are good, and cheap. If you try to subsist on simple carbs like sugar and alcohol, you will soon be protein deficient.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  8. #8

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    seriously, ants, worms? just ask someone for a buck and get a mcdonalds cheeseburger

  9. #9

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    Insects are a great food source, their availability and nutritional value is underrated...but for now I just consider them my back-up plan. I'm sure I'll start eating them when the super-volcano blows in yellowstone and I can no logner grow a garden.

  10. #10
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Somewhere in my library is an article on the four tools that would feed you forever. One was a bug net. (The other three were a casting net, a good folding shovel, and a good air rifle) Grasshoppers would probably have done you more good than ants, but most bugs are good sources of fats and proteins, according to the article.

    I'd have gotten a lot of rice, whole grains and beans, personally.

  11. #11
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    I think I read somewhere that grubs are good don't know the protien level Bears like them ate some roasted once when I was young and would do most anything on a dare, they were rather tasty and crunchy in a pinch I would rather eat them than a worm.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    Insects are a great food source, their availability and nutritional value is underrated...but for now I just consider them my back-up plan. I'm sure I'll start eating them when the super-volcano blows in yellowstone and I can no logner grow a garden.
    If the super volcano in yellowstone blows gardening and writing will be the least of your problems.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by DapperD View Post
    If the super volcano in yellowstone blows gardening and writing will be the least of your problems.
    Yes, to say the least. It will be a complete "reset" in human civilization around the world. I wonder how the seeds in the Global Seed Vault will be distributed.

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    The other practical consideration of oatmeal is you can only eat so much of it. So for hiking you have to add stuff like skim milk powder, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, which is a good thing to do anyway to balance your diet with vitamins and minerals. Honey and oil boosts the calories very nicely for hiking, but not the vitamins and minerals. Milk is very complimentary, having most of the vitamins and mineralas that oats and other grains lack. Oats is very complete protien-wise though, similar to quinoa, but I am not so keen on quinoa. Oats is so much easier to mix with the stuff I like. I suppose it depends alot on what you grow up on.

    My hiking diet happens to be very cheap, and easy to purchase in trip sized measures.

    Oats: 1.35kg bag of large flake oats
    Skim Milk Powder: 500g bag
    Currants, or Raisins, or sometimes Dates: 500g bag
    Almonds, or Sunflower Seeds, sometimes Peanuts: 2-3 100g bags
    some tea, coffee, spices, maybe 500g of honey
    Those are the main staples for me.

    Also some jerky to chew on once a day. When hiking from home I dry this in the oven, and have been drying blueberries in the oven also, instead of or in addition to the currants. Admittedly, it takes some practice to pound back 1.35kg of oats in 5 days, especially if I sneak in some extra snacks from my daughters lunch supplies, like granola bars or fruit-to-go bars or whatever. Sometimes I grab a can of corned-beef.

  15. #15
    Registered User mister krabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    . I wonder how the seeds in the Global Seed Vault will be distributed.
    Alex Jones knows.

  16. #16

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    You don't have to eat animal protein and there are hundreds of millions of people who eat it rarely or never. Even B12 is found in non-animal sources due to production by mircroorganisms.

  17. #17
    A♣ K♣ Q♣ J♣ 10♣ Luddite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    One of the great myths put forth (so successfully) by US agri-business is that humans must eat animal products, especially meat, to ingest a certain amount of protein.

    If you get enough carbohydrates from a decent variety of unprocessed plant and vegetable sources, you'll get enough protein from those sources, too. Like Jak said, oats and other unprocessed grains are good, and cheap. Legumes are good, and cheap. If you try to subsist on simple carbs like sugar and alcohol, you will soon be protein deficient.
    Yes, thats true. They say most people eat too much protein.

    Beans: the breakfast of hobo champions.

    Don't worms carry parasites?
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
    -Edward Abbey

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    Quote Originally Posted by mister krabs View Post
    Alex Jones knows.
    What does Alex Jones say? I used to follow that guy but he seems like hes getting a little too paranoid.
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
    -Edward Abbey

  19. #19
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    Interestingly, earthworms were introduced to the Americas by the settlers of Jamestown.

  20. #20
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    True JAX, I read that before the advent of imported earthworms that the forest duff would pile up into little mounds to be broken down by insects, fire and rot. There are still areas free of worm migration in the west and parts of the midwest. A disaster or not?

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