Sam Broadbent, 18, ditched meat last October and follows a strict vegan diet with the addition of insects and scorpions
A weightlifting teenager who swapped out meat for insects and scorpions claims the radical diet has seen him get fitter and stronger in the gym.
Sam Broadbent, 18, describes himself as an ‘entovegan’ and follows a vegan diet with the addition of creepy crawlies such as grasshoppers, crickets and ants.
He ditched meat last October and cut out all traditional animal products in January and now drinks protein shakes infused with crushed up crickets.
The high-school student, from Lewiston, Maine, ditched his favourite dinner – pork chops and sweet potatoes – in favour of crunchy grasshopper burritos.
His staple lunchtime chicken and cheese sandwiches have been replaced by bowls of crickets swimming in lentils.
For breakfast, Mr Broadbent scoffs on porridge and fruit mixed with with cricket powder, which he says has a pleasant nutty flavour, or cereals with crickets on top.
And on special occasions, the family grill scorpions on the barbecue, which they’ll have on burgers or in tortillas.
Breakfast: Grapenuts cereal with crickets on top is one of Mr Broadbent’s go-to meals to start the day
Light snack: Celery with hummus and black ants sprinkled on top keeps the super-fit teen full during his day
The teen, who works out six nights a week, claims he’s never felt better and has seen his weights nearly double in the gym.
He said: ‘I cut out all meat in October and then in January I went completely vegan with the exception of insects of course.
‘At the beginning you are a little squeamish, but you get used to it. After doing this diet for most of the winter and spring, I feel better than ever.
‘For breakfast I have oatmeal with cricket powder, which has a nutty flavour, and a banana or some strawberries.’
The highschool student’s favourite meal is a scorpion, cricket, black bean, and sweet potato burrito
Mr Broadbent said since turning to the radical diet, his weights in the gym have doubled. Pictured: Creepy crawlies spill out of the wrap
Mr Broadbent added: ‘For lunch I would usually eat a big bowl of lentils and a big bowl of crickets with broccoli and asparagus. Crickets have a unique flavor which is not dissimilar to sunflower seeds.
‘For dinner I try and incorporate insects too. I have burritos with beans, rice, and chapulines, which are grasshoppers flavored with garlic and lemon.
‘I use cricket powder [crushed up crickets] in a lot of my protein shakes. Sometimes I have a cricket cookie or cricket protein bar as a treat.
‘I sometimes use protein powder with other vegetables to make a sort of a meatball. Sometimes I have scorpions but they are a little bit of a delicacy.
The teen (pictured scoffing his insect burrito) works out six nights a week and claims he’s never felt better
The 18-year-old holds a handful of scorpions before they’re grilled on the barbecue as a special treat
Mr Broadbent’s interest in entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – began in 2015 when he helped his dad Bill, 59, establish an online bug-supermarket called Entosense. Pictured: The scorpion, cricket, black bean, and sweet potato burrito before it’s wrapped
‘They have a salty flavor and are delicious when barbecued or sautéed.’
He added that he has improved his deadlift – a powerlifting exercise involving the back and legs – from 86kg (190lbs) in October to 150kg (330lbs) in June.
‘Fitness was another major motivator for me when deciding to take up this diet,’ he said.
‘I have really been able to push my weight training a lot father these past few months. Insects are a wonderful source of protein.’
Mr Broadbent’s interest in entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – began in 2015 when he helped his father Bill, 59, establish an online bug-supermarket called Entosense.
Mr Broadbent said: ‘I used to eat meat twice a day, maybe chicken or turkey with pepper jack cheese in a sandwich for lunch and beef or pork for dinner with sweet potatoes.
‘In 2015, I became aware of the idea of supplementing insects for animal products in the diet.
‘Agriculture is hugely demanding on the environment and I watched a couple of PETA videos that were focused on the mass production of pigs, which turned my stomach.
‘My dad and I did a lot of research and realised there was a market out there for insects.’
He added: ‘In 2015 he established an online supermarket which started doing really well.
‘The more I learned about insects through my dad’s business, the more I realised that I didn’t need animal products in my diet.’
The teen said he tried to keep his unusual diet under wraps in the cafeteria, but word spread about his cricket-packed Tupperware.
He said: ‘I didn’t go to school and start screaming from the rooftop that I eat insects. But if people do realise it can cause a stir. I try to be low-key about it.
‘Fitness was another major motivator for me when deciding to take up this diet,’ he said, adding that the insects provide a great source of protein
The teen will attend the University of Montana in the fall to study paleontology and said he will have to load up his car with boxes of his favorite bugs to sustain his lifestyle
‘There is always going to be a segment of the population that is put off by it. Some people just don’t want to even try. But most people can see the reasoning behind it.
‘My friend, he runs track, and he loves chapulines and crickets now.’
The teen will attend the University of Montana in the fall to study paleontology and said he will have to load up his car with boxes of his favorite bugs to sustain his lifestyle.
He said: ‘We have researched and the college does not have a lot of vegan options.
‘I will have to bring a good stock of insects or I will have to get my dad will have to ship me a ton. It will all work out I’m sure.
‘I see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I don’t see a reason to change.’