I’ve got a great visual for you today. Get ready, for you are about to see with your very eyes the difference between something raised the way God designed vs. something raised the way man finds convenient. You are about to see actual nutrition, and a lack of it.
Here you see eggs from the grocery store. These eggs are expensive, “all-natural” eggs from the health food store and, according to the label, actually came from a local farm (although I have never heard of this farm, as it does not show up on local farm searches nor does the farmer attend local farmer’s markets).
These eggs are a typical light yellow color. Notice that as they were cracked into the bowl, they fell out all in a jumble.
Now check out eggs purchased direct from a farmer I know.
Notice the deep orange yolks. You can also see the uniformity with which they landed in the bowl when they were cracked open. This is because the whites are thicker around the yolks, keeping the eggs spaced apart. If you look closely at the yolk on the top right, you can see the outline of the thicker egg white.
Need another comparison? Look at this next picture. Here you see the two types of eggs next to each other. Can you guess which is which?
Yes, the three pale eggs came from the natural foods store (and these were actually from a nationally known company, and were certified organic) while the one deep orange egg came from another local farmer I know. You might be interested to know that the local egg was actually about 3 weeks old – not super fresh. Again, notice the difference in the texture of the whites – you can see the thick egg white from the local egg, while the whites of the store eggs are almost not visible.
So what’s the point of all this? The point is that the deeper, richer, and more vibrant color of the egg yolk, the more nutrient dense and healthy it is for you to eat. And how do you get eggs such a deep orange color with firmer whites? You let the hens roam freely on pasture, in the sunlight, eating the bugs and greens they choose.
I’m sure you have had sticker shock over the prices of organic free-range eggs from the grocery store. The local eggs from the store in the first picture cost me $3.69 a dozen! I bought them because they were local – the stamp on the carton said so – but I definitely did NOT get my money’s worth. Basically I got a dozen eggs from hens that were most likely confined to the indoors, eating an all vegetarian diet of various grains. And who knows what was really in that mix. I know this simply by looking at the pale yellow yolks and runny whites. There is no difference in the store eggs in the first picture and the organic store eggs in the last picture, except the organic eggs cost even more and had all kinds of great wording on the label. In the end, both store eggs were over-priced and low-quality.
I’m also sure that if you have tried to purchase pastured eggs direct from a local farmer that you’ve had sticker shock there as well. I know that I have paid up to $4.50 a dozen for local, pastured eggs. But go back up and look at the pictures again and you will see that while both are expensive, one is a much better deal than the other. The pastured eggs are far superior in every way.
While the local pastured eggs are definitely more visually appealing, that is the tell-tale sign that these are healthier, more nutritious eggs. It is this intense orange color that is proof of more carotenes and higher levels of fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble nutrients do all kinds of good things for you, including lowering your risk of cancer, protecting your skin, and supporting your eyesight. Eggs from hens allowed to forage for bugs and greens on pasture in the sunlight actually have more nutrients than those from hens raised indoors on all vegetarian feeds. This includes more Omega 3 Fatty Acids (in fact, pastured eggs have a near perfect ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12.
Another very important nutrient in pastured eggs is Choline. This is a substance found in every living cell in your body, and is a major component of your brain. But your body cannot make enough Choline on its own, therefore we need to get it from animal foods such as pastured eggs. A Choline deficiency leads to a folic acid deficiency. This is why pregnant and nursing women should be eating at least two eggs every day, and why cooked egg yolks are the perfect first food for baby. Additionally, Choline can help prevent heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s because it is an anti-inflammatory and actually helps prevent fat and cholesterol from sticking to arteries. So eggs are an important source of nutrition from pre-birth throughout life.
Now that you know how nutrient dense pastured eggs really are, you might not be so upset about their high price. Even at $4 a dozen, eggs are a really inexpensive source of valuable nutrients. But if it’s still tough on your budget, then you might consider raising your own backyard flock. Unless you live in a highly restricted neighborhood, most cities and towns allow residents to own a few hens. Roosters are another story. But hens don’t need roosters to lay eggs! Supposedly, keeping a few hens in your backyard is not just easy but fun as well. And from what I hear there is nothing quite like having your own supply of fresh, pastured eggs just outside your back door.
For more information, including a book list for keeping backyard flocks as well as recipes for your own chicken feed supplement, check out “Eat Your Eggs And Have Your Chickens Too” by Jen Albritton at www.westonaprice.org. There is also a wealth of information about the health benefits of eggs at www.whfoods.org. For lots of great egg recipes, info on feeding eggs to babies, and even more egg nutrition information, read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.
So all this business about eggs clogging your arteries and causing heart disease is just not true. You no longer need to avoid egg yolks or that delicious fried egg breakfast. It is the egg substitutes and powdered eggs and imitation junk that is truly dangerous to your health. In fact, salmonella isn’t even a concern with pastured eggs, since a healthy hen does not lay contaminated eggs. As always, God’s foods reign superior, especially when they were raised the way He designed.