Not All Eggs Are Created Equal




On average I consume over a dozen eggs in one week. Does this surprise you? I have at least two eggs for breakfast each morning, sometimes three. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition
What’s in an Egg? 
Several years ago, the myth that eggs were bad for your heart was quite common, and unfortunately, many people still believe this today. They are totally missing out on the benefits of this superfood! Of course, as we have been learning over the last several posts on traditional foods, it does matter how the food you eat is raised. I make sure to get my eggs from a quality source. Our eggs come from hens on pasture who are free to walk around, eat grass and plants, bask in the sun, and even chomp on some bugs. These hens produce much healthier eggs than hens kept inside in cramped conditions without the ability to eat grass, plants, and bugs. You can physically see this difference when you compare their yolks.


Left: Eggs from pastured hens from Sand Creek Farm in Texas
Right: Certified organic eggs fed "vegetarian feed" from Costco

The egg from the pastured hen is a bright, deep orange color, whereas the other egg is a light yellow color. Note: these photos have not been doctored. I just cracked the eggs into separate bowls and snapped a photo. I broke the yolk of one, which is why it's a bit bulbous, but it doesn't affect the color! :) There's one thing you should know about determining the nutrition in your eggs - look at the color of the yolk! The darker color is indicative of a higher concentration of carotenes and more fat-soluble vitamins. Obviously the one on the left is more nutritious for you, while the organic, yet still conventional egg is seriously lacking. 
Eggs from pastured hens are jam-packed full of healthy vitamins for you. Jan Allbritton, from the Weston A. Price Foundation, detailed it better than I could in her article, Eat Your Eggs and Have Your Chickens Too. Here's an excerpt (emphases mine):
"Egg yolks are the richest source of two superstar carotenoids—lutein and zeaxanthin. Not only are bright yellow yolks loaded with these fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients, they are more bioavailable than those found in vegetables, corn and most supplements. While these nutrients have a reputation of combating macular degeneration and cataracts and supporting overall healthy vision, they have a long list of other benefits, including protecting the skin from sun damage and even reducing one’s risk of colon and breast cancer.
"Besides providing all eight essential protein building amino acids, a large whole, fresh egg offers about six to seven grams of protein and five grams of fat (with about 1.5 grams of it saturated), which comes in handy to help in the absorption of all the egg’s fat-soluble vitamins. One egg also serves up around 200 milligrams of brain-loving cholesterol and contains the valuable vitamins A, K, E, D, B-complex and minerals iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Choline, another egg-nutrient, is a fatty substance found in every living cell and is a major component of our brain. Additionally, choline helps break up cholesterol deposits by preventing fat and cholesterol from sticking to the arteries. So the bottom line is, don’t be chicken about eating eggs, especially the cholesterol-rich yolks!"
How to Find Good Eggs
With all the different types of labeling found nowadays on egg packaging, it could be intimidating trying to find nutritious eggs for your family. My best advice would be to avoid the grocery store. In my opinion, it's near to impossible to find eggs from pastured hens there. Instead, visit your local farmer's market. Talk to the farmers and ask how they raise their hens. Don't worry, most farmers are happy to share how they raise their animals, and they like to see that you are going above and beyond to find out what goes into the food you're feeding your family.
I'll share with you what I look for when searching out eggs for my family. First, I want eggs from pastured hens, so I'll ask the farmers about that. You want to hear them say that the hens have access to pasture 24/7 and tend to enjoy being outside except at night, that the farmers use a mobile hen house for ease of pasture rotation or rotate the hens to new pasture using a specific schedule so the grass isn't depleted, and that the hens eat grass, plants, bugs, and get plenty of sunshine. Second, most chickens, even if pastured, are given supplemental feed. So, unlike beef, you'll most likely never see hens that are 100% grass fed. I definitely ask the farmers about the additional feed they use. It is extremely important to avoid soy and any GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Unfortunately, this is much more difficult to do, but it is still doable. You might just have to talk to a few more farmers.
Be aware that these superior eggs will be more expensive than eggs bought from the store. Consider this an investment in your family's health. When others have asked how I can spend more on pastured eggs, I haven't found it difficult to respond. Rather, I consider it a waste of our money to continue buying conventional eggs. They may fill our bellies, but they provide little nutrition. Spending a bit more on eggs from pastured hens is like making a little sacrifice for a HUGE gain. Really, when you think about it, for all the nutrition eggs supply, they will provide the best bang for your buck. Plus, as we've changed our family's diet to traditional foods, we've also adjusted our food budget. But, that will be a post for another day.
I do understand, however, that there are times when it's just not possible to purchase eggs from hens on pasture; perhaps they're not available, or you're still working the budget to include them. Until you can, what other eggs could you buy? The chart below will help you choose the best for your family.


It's time to stop believing what you're used to hearing about eggs. Eggs are a wholesome, natural food that were a part of many traditional cultures for thousands of years, and will continue to be just that - a healthy food for you and your family!

How many eggs do you eat each week, and
what’s your favorite way to eat them?


18 comments:

  1. Good Article. I posted an article via Food Renegade on eggs, pertain to my perfect cholesterol test scores after eating 15+ eggs a week. http://www.gaiahealthblog.com/2011/12/20/eggscholesterol/ .I guess your articles confirms for me that eggs are great, but there is a level above my Whole Foods, free range/cage free eggs. I just moved to Portland, and I am trying to find pasteurized eggs. But in the mean time, I am gonna link to this article within my article

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    1. Welcome to Portland, Douglas! The best eggs I've found that are pastured (I'm guessing you meant to say pastured, not pasteurized) are from local farm markets and food co-ops (Food Front, People's, Alberta Co-op). The "Wag" farm eggs are excellent! So are the "Pheonix" farm eggs. They are more pricey, but SO worth it! Enjoy.

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  2. Douglas, thanks for the comment! Have you checked to see if there's any nearby farmer's markets? Sometimes you can find good pastured eggs by visiting eatwild.com as well - this is a site that sources grass fed meat throughout the US. Thanks for the link, too!

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    1. I found some real eggs!!!!! http://www.site.phoenixseggfarm.com/

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    2. Hey Amanda, thanks for the comment on my blog. My first comment other than friends. Woohoo!!!. Anyhoo, just wanted to say I like your writing style so I threw a link up to Nourish2Flourish on my sidebar. I'm just linking to some sites that I like myself. A quick way for me to see what other folks are saying. I'm amazed how much I'm still learning. Everybody's talking about fermenting, I guess that's the next think that I am going to have to look into. That and gluten free thing. I don't have any bad reactions to gluten, and don't eat a lot of grains anyway, but I think I need to bring it into part of my program.

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    3. BTW, in my All American Breakfast article, where I have a hyperlink "quality eggs", I linked back to your eggs article because it was such a good article. I knew there was someone who could make the case for eggs better that I.

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    4. Quick Question. I noticed in that video of the Phoenix Egg farm up here in Oregon, The chickens were roaming about, but I thought I saw what looked like "feeders" indoors. So is it possible chicken can be pasture raised in that they are free to roam about, but still be fed corn or soy?

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    5. Great question, Doug! And yes, you may have missed it, but in my post I talked about how cows can be 100% grass-fed, but that you won't find chickens that are 100% grass-fed because they do need supplemental feed. It's important to ask your farmers not only if the chickens are pastured, but how many hours they get sun each day. Then also question them about supplemental feed. Ask them if they know what is in it. There's a great post about questions to ask over at Real Food Freaks. I bet you would find it VERY interesting. Here's the link: http://www.realfoodfreaks.com/2012/01/24/egg-cellence-pt2-questions-to-ask-your-chicken-farmer/

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    6. See, I'm taking this seriously. I did miss that though. Since I got up in these food blog networks, I have been both reading and writing a million things. The great martial artist Bruce Lee called himself a "Student Master" not a teacher, because you both learn and teach. BTW do you know if potatoes are paleo?

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  3. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-january-17-2012/

    Share your great fermented food recipes at my Probiotic Food Linky – open through Februray 6, 2012.
    http://realfoodforager.com/probiotic-food-challenge-linky/

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  4. Thanks, Jill! I'll be sure to check back!

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  5. Hi Amanda! My blogging partner just showed me your post. We just did one on eggs too. Actually we are doing a series. I have a question for you but I can't find a contact email. What is your email? Mine is jen @ realfoodfreaks (dot) com Would you mind sending me an email so I can ask you a quick question?

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    1. Sure thing, Jen. You should receive an email from me shortly.

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  6. This great post is featured at Sunday Snippets this week! Thanks for sharing! Come and check it out!

    http://realfoodforager.com/sunday-snippets-january-22-2012/

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  7. Hey Amanda! Great to meet you last night. This post is really cool. Thank you for showing the visual difference in eggs. My mom is an optometrist - she would definitely be interested in hearing about richer egg yolks improving vision!

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    1. Thanks, Daniel! It was great to meet you, too, last night. I hope all goes well for you in Austin and in the design world. I hope your mom does find this info valuable. It would be great to share with her patients.

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  8. Hiya! Do you happen to know how to check if the content of your website is exclusive in the whole blogosphere and no other person is it without your awareness?

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