Livin' on the MDedge

Weaponized ticks, pothead parents, and spider smoothies


Spider smoothie, anyone?

Eating spiders, grasshoppers, and cicadas – does that idea BUG you? Plenty of people around the world chomp down on insects as part of a balanced diet. But here in the United States, there’s definitely still an “ick” factor – as in, “ick, that thing has far too many legs to put in my mouth.”

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These creepy crawlers, however, could be the key to a healthier lifestyle. Scientists have been recently looking at insects as a source of protein and antioxidants, among other health buzzwords.

Researchers from the University of Teremo in Italy took a look at commercially available insects (ever heard that phrase before?) and found that certain bugs, such as crickets, silkworms, caterpillars, and cicadas, displayed two or three times as much antioxidant activity as orange juice and olive oil. Perhaps you’d like a nice glass of cicada juice to go with your morning cereal?

Barclays also recently predicted that the insect protein market could be worth as much as $8 billion in the next decade, because of several factors. The earth’s population is rising, and people need new sources of food. We know bugs are plentiful – just go outside in the summer and stand with your mouth open, and you’ve got a three-course meal in 5 minutes.

We can also thank the teens: Barclays stated that Gen Z is the “most health-aware and environmentally conscious” generation yet, and therefore are all aboard the bug-eating train.

So, are you ready to start making eggs with a side of fried crickets? Perhaps a nice plant-based burger topped with cicada crumbles? Just make sure to stay away from the zombie ones.

Mom, put the joint down!

Way to harsh my mellow. You might think that smoking a little Mary Jane would chill parents out a bit. Turns out, that’s not the case.

Senior retired couple enjoying marijuana in their gazebo garden manonallard/Getty Images

A study from Ohio State University examined California parents, their substance use, and their disciplinarian styles. This is one of the first studies to look at how substance use relates to parenting, and the news is not good for the kids.

If you’re thinking about getting your parents into pot, think again. Parents who used marijuana in the past year tended to discipline their children more than parents who hadn’t used. Researchers also found similar trends with parents who used alcohol in the past.

Kids, if you’ve got a no-smoking, no-drinking square of a parent, be happy. It might save you a few groundings.

The true power of the dark side

When people go the grocery store, the produce department is – for many people – a big waste of space. It’s something to be skipped over. Who wants to buy fruits or vegetables anyway? Sure, they’re healthy, but they’re totally gross.

Various garden vegetables CostinT/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Turns out, there may be a way to get even your stubborn Uncle Joe, who probably thinks the food pyramid is a communist plot, to buy veggies. The key is a little black dress.

Okay, we’re not literally talking about sticking pineapples or broccoli in actual black dresses. But according to a study published in Food Quality and Preference, placing various types of produce against a black background made them more attractive to consumers over white or shades of gray. Even the lowly carrot, rated least attractive by the study participants when placed in front of every other color, got a big boost when placed on a black background. Something about black just brought out its natural shine.

So, next time you go through the produce department and it looks like it’s been designed by a teenager going through a particularly rough Goth phase, now you’ll know why.

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