Ah the simple egg. Perfect in many ways. 6 grams of crazy high quality protein, under 70 calories, easy and endless ways to prepare, inexpensive, full of Vitamin D (good for your bones), Choline (good for your brains), Lutein (good for your eyes), Omega 3's (good for everything)...one could argue they are the perfect protein (vegans and vegetarians aside:)
Alas, not all eggs are created equal. You know you are what you eat. But do you ever think about the fact that you are what your food eats too? You are a secondary consumer when you eat animals (herbivores) rather than plants and you are becoming what those animals consumed before you.
No problem, you think, I eat eggs that are 'organic', 'free range', 'veggie fed', and high in 'omega 3s'! I am awesome! Well, my friends, I too thought I was awesome not so long ago. But I soon learned that spending $5.99 (or more) on a dozen 'high end' eggs does not garauntee a healthy egg. No-sir-ee-bob!
Organic- well, ok that IS awesome. That means your chickens weren't eating pounds of pesticides so that is a good thing when eating eggs in Canada where we usually trust the organic certification process.
Free Range- Really? You probably picture your chicken trotting freely through fresh green fields filled with nutrient rich grasses, greens and bugs. Freely ranging through the hills without a care in the world and a big smile on her beak, right? Well, go grab your 12 pack right now and read the fine print sucker. Chances are your chicken was allowed to run FREE inside an 'open air' coop or 'dust bath' (yes, one carton really listed this as a benefit) to their hearts content. Truth is, many of those 'free range' chickens never even left the coop and are NOT spending their days as you imagine.
Veggie fed- Is usually NOT what you think! Remember that picture of your egg eating bugs and fresh green grass/greens filled with vitamins and minerals? Sure veggie fed is better than those eating pellets from rendering plants (AKA animal waste fed), but what kind of veggies are they eating? GRAINS like wheat and soy. Grains that are over processed, modified, undernourished and imbalanced when it comes to their nutrient profile. Look at the difference between a salmon raised on pellets and a salmon that dines on the undersea buffet filled with vibrant plants...there is no comparison visually and the nutrient make up differs just as greatly. And remember, you are what your food eats...
Omega 3s! Awesome! My chickens have to take supplements! You must have heard by now that Omega 3 fatty acids are super important for your health. Omega 3s have been associated with a crazy number of health benefits- from decreasing inflammation, to decreasing symptoms of depression, decreasing risk of heart attack and promoting weight loss. Yes, the omega 3 vs 6 balance is out of whack for most people who eat a typical north american diet. Grains and grain fed animals make up the bulk of the NA diet and these are loaded with Omega 6s, which in turn, creates the same imbalance in our diets and bodies. And marketers have caught on. Everything from eggs to yogurt to bagels are now being beefed up with Omega 3s to grab your attention on the shelf. Nothing wrong with getting more Omega 3s- don't get me wrong!
Supplementation and eating Whole Food are on different sides of the spectrum. Sure, many people around the world benefit every day from nutritional supplementation- and many would not live another day without it. BUT, it is clear that the highest quality nutrition is found closest to nature. And if you are privledged enough to live where you have the opportunity to get closer to nature then why wouldn't you?
Why eat an egg laid by a chicken who was raised entirely in a coop, eating low-quality processed grain feed pellets which were supplemented with Omega 3s...when you CAN just eat these?
Last weekend I travelled to 3 different Comox Valley grocery stores in search of an organic GRASS FED egg that was truely free range. This is what started my Egg Rant:)
What looked good at first (awesome marketing) appearance proved futile in all cases. My 3rd stop was Edible Island- our local healthy 'market' style grocery store. It is where you go for the good, healthy, hippy stuff and I love it. Great choices and selection. I figured I would just grab my grass fed eggs and go...
I thought I picked the right ones...they said: Organic, Veggie Fed, Free Range. But I missed the fine print. COUP raised, and allowed to dust bathe freely...yadda yadda yadda... BUT THE KICKER WAS THIS... can you guess where they were from? I thought for sure they would be from somewhere on the Island...
Yup. Don't even get me started on that one.
So.....I found my happy healthy hippy chicken eggs at the place where I should have gone to in the first place...the place they have been selling them all along...the place we should all be visiting because we can...
The local Comox Valley Farmers Market!
Not only did I get the eggs I was looking for, but I got to meet the farmer, ask him questions (aka grill him), see a picture of the chickens actually eating weeds and bugs, cut out the middle man (and the costs associated with shipping them from Manitoba but really I am so over that) AND, get this... they WERE CHEAPER. $4 for a dozen.
I met a few farmers that day... and I left with my grass fed eggs and much much more...
Pea sprouts YUM!
Local Seeds for my garden- yippeee!