In Search of a Good Egg

by Gavan on November 11, 2008

In Search of a Good Egg

Pastured egg vs While surfing the web for some like minded sites, I came across Chef Rachel’s site, The Healthy Cooking Coach which is chock a block full of good info. I especially found this one up my alley as I’m a big egg man (I eat about a dozen whites a day, I’m a gym rat after all!)

“…… you already now that eggs contain many important nutrients. But which eggs should you buy? Not all eggs contain the same concentration of nutrients.

Can you guess which egg on the right came from 100% pasture-raised eggs and which one came from a natural foods store?

The bright orange one! It contains the most antioxidants. It came from a chicken raised on irrigated pasture land in San Simon, AZ. I’ve never found a supermarket or natural foods store egg that comes close in flavor or color.

Eggs are Only As Good as the Chicken
Supermarket eggs are almost always factory farmed and of inferior-quality, flavor, and nutritional value. Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, Ph.D. author of The Omega Plan, showed, that Greek eggs (from hens fed fish meal) contained 6.6 milligrams of DHA (an essential fatty acid found in oily deep ocean fish, fish oil, wild game meats, and egg yolks) for every gram of yolk.  In contrast, regular supermarket eggs contained only 1.09 milligrams of DHA per gram of yolk.

Hunting for the Most Nutritious Eggs
If possible buy eggs directly from a small farmer that allows his or her chickens to scratch, root and run around outside eating grubs, earthworms, grass and larvae. The chickens enjoy the fresh air, sunlight and room to socialize with their neighbors. This natural diet and lifestyle makes the chickens healthier and their eggs more nutritious. These eggs will contain more vitamins, including vitamins A and B12, and more antioxidants, including vitamin E and omega 3 essential fatty acids, than battery raised  eggs. They will also have more color and flavor. Read on for more about this.

Farmers who produce 100% grass fed or pasture-raised meats often raise and sell eggs. Some farmers’ markets and natural foods co-ops sell these eggs. Fir a link to farmers, farmers’ markets, and pasture-raised meat farmers in your click here: http://www.thegardenofeatingdiet.com/Links.asp

Another Option
If you can’t find farm-fresh eggs from chickens raised on pasture or gardens, look for eggs produced by chickens fed special diets that usually contain ground flax seed meal, which increase the EPA and DHA content of the eggs. Look for labels that say “Omega-3” eggs or “DHA-rich eggs.”  Chicken are more efficient at converting the short chain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega 3s into the long-chain omega 3 essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Humans require these long chain omega 3 esesential fatty acids for health of the brain, eyes, nervous and cardiovascular system.  Vegetable foods don’t supply them nor do conventional grain-fed, factory farmed animal products. The best sources include oily deep ocean fish (think wild salmon), truly pasture-raised meat, poultry, and eggs.  To learn more about omega 3s, check out The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz.

What about organic eggs?
Organic eggs come from free-run or free-range fowl fed certified organic grains and soybeans; however they won’t contain high levels of omega 3s unless the chickens were fed a foods, such as flax seed meal, that increase the EPA and DHA content of their eggs.  So organic doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the most nutritious eggs. You’re better off buying omega-3 eggs than organic eggs, although sometimes you can get a product with both labels.

What about fertile eggs?
Fertile eggs come from chickens that run with roosters. These eggs have more life force or qi (pronounced chee) because they have the potential to produce new life if allowed to incubate. But fertile eggs don’t inherently contain more vitamins or antioxidants.

Does the color matter?
Different breeds of chickens produce eggs with different colored markings.  Colors may range from speckled brown to beige, cream to brown, and turquoise to green. Some may be white. White eggs are not inherently unnatural, although most free range eggs have more color to them and more variety in size than batter raised chicken eggs.

Signs of a good egg
Nutrient-rich eggs from healthy, free-ranging birds have a tougher shell which is harder to crack. They have a firmer, brighter, more well rounded, golden orange yolk that rises up out of the whites and is harder to break than a conventional yolk. The healthier the chickens, the more nutritious, fragrant and flavorful their eggs. The flavor will vary with the vegetation the chickens feed on.”

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Hall November 14, 2008 at 6:00 am

Nice article Gavan. I loves me eggs!

Cheers
Dave

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