In 2013, the U.N. told us to rethink what we eat. Three women have a creative solution.

In 2013, the United Nations released a report that recommended we reconsider what we know about food.

The report, put out by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), painted a dire picture. (Don't worry, though, they've got a plan, and we'll get to that in a bit).

"It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accommodate this number, current food production will need to almost double. Land is scarce and expanding the area devoted to farming is rarely a viable or sustainable option. Oceans are overfished and climate change and related water shortages could have profound implications for food production. ... We need to find new ways of growing food." — Eduardo Rojas-Briales and Ernst van den Ende, U.N. FAO Report, 2013


The sardine tin is the earth. The people are, well, they're people. Ta-da! Overpopulation, as illustrated in a 1960s photo! Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images.

Told you it was rough, but let's look at what they're recommending.

Their plan? We need to start eating insects. Believe it or not, more than 2 billion people already do. On purpose.

People across Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America have been known to use beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, and nearly 2,000 other species of insects to spice up their diets.

Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

The FAO recommends we start eating insects for three reasons: health, environment, and livelihood.

The health argument: When compared to beef, chicken, pork, or fish, insects have a surprisingly high amount of protein while still being really low in fat. Generally speaking, this is already a healthier alternative than the more common forms of meat.

The environment argument: Climate change is real, and it's made worse through the release of greenhouse gases such as methane. The world's livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases — more than the entire transportation sector. So, yes, if we've got to break it down like that, cow farts do contribute to climate change (it's OK to laugh, but it's a fact). This doesn't even take into account the fact that insects are far more efficient than livestock at converting feed into protein; for the same amount of protein, cows require 12 times as much feed as crickets.

The livelihood argument: Harvesting insects is far less labor-intensive and can be done without the need for large tracts of land (meaning that people can more easily grow their own food).

I know, I know, I know. This looks delicious; it's just not sustainable. Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images.

The key point here is that insects are sustainable. Raising livestock isn't.

But let's say you're (quite understandably) still not sold on the whole "eating bugs" thing. After all ... they're bugs. That doesn't sound too appetizing.

What if bugs looked (and tasted) like food you eat already? That's what the women of Six Foods are trying to find out.

Earlier this week, I was sent a video about three women who were trying to turn the food industry on its head with a new product called Chirps.

Chirps are, well, they're cricket chips. With the help of chef Geoff Lukas, they wound up with something that actually looks pretty delicious.

Chirps! Photo from Six Foods.

One problem with suggesting people eat insects is that people tend to picture whole bugs.

The women of Six Foods address this in a blog post, writing, "If you can't seem to get past the 'ick' factor of eating insects, we urge you to stop envisioning the whole bodied insect — eyes, legs, and all. Instead, think of insects as a simple, versatile ingredient."

You might already be eating insects without even knowing it. Before recoiling in horror, check this out:

FYI: In 2012, Starbucks began phasing out the use of the food coloring containing beetles. Image from Six Foods.

So, what do you say? Down for giving bugs a chance?

If so, why not test the waters by trying a quick snack. In addition to companies like Six Foods and Next Millennium Farms, there are a number of bug cookbooks to give you a start. Are you in?

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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