Free Range Organic Eggsby John Meadows on April 18, 2014
Chickens that have been free to roam around, and feast on their natural diet of bugs, insects, and grass lay the highest quality eggs. So first of all, what is the difference between cage free, organic, free range, and all of that confusing stuff you see in the grocery store? How do you know what do buy? Well first of all let’s talk about the chicken’s environment. They can be enclosed in a small crate for their whole life. That is typically the situation the chicken was in when they laid those cheap eggs you bought at the grocery store for a buck or so. The nutritional quality is inferior, and the bleeding heart in me won’t let me purchase eggs produced from chickens in those conditions. You can also buy cage-free eggs. That means the chickens are not in a small pin, but generally in a barn or structure with access to the outside. Now whether the chicken actually uses the passage to go outside varies. You can’t say for sure, unless you see it for yourself. True-free range means the chickens actually sit around outside all day and peck around for their food. At night they are put back in a safe structure to protect them from predators, but they live the high life during the day! When you see organic, it is referring to the type of feed they receive. If the feed does not have pesticides and other harmful chemicals in it, it is considered organic. This is a good thing. The best combination is to get the eggs free range, and also organic. These eggs are more expensive, but they are worth it, and eggs are one of the most cost effective sources of high quality protein you can find.
So how do you determine the quality of an egg just by looking at it, if you can’t find a farm? This advice comes from a fantastic article by Barbara Gerber and can be found on the Weston A Price website. Do the egg test – Place the eggs in a large bowl of cold water; if they float, they are quite old. Unshelled onto a plate, the yolk of a truly fresh egg will dome up and stay up, and the white will clearly be thicker in the middle part, thinner on the edges. Another test is to break the egg into boiling water–the so-called water poach. If the egg stays together, it’s a good one. Most supermarket eggs break up into tiny pieces on contact with the water. The link to this article is: www.westonaprice.org/Real-Eggs-from-a-Real-Farm-Beneficial-Farm-Turns-a-Hatchery-Egg-Machine-into-a-Barnyard-Animal.html
Also, when you crack it open, the yolk should be firm and a bright yellow- orange color. This comes from the carotenes in the yolk. This means there are more fat soluble vitamins. Since there is fat in the yolk, it will allow your body to use the fat soluble vitamins more as well. You will notice that in the spring, the yolks can get almost deep orange. The color does tend to fade a bit depending on the season, and the breed of chicken, or even age of the egg. One thing is for sure though; a bright orange firm egg yolk is a good one!
As with beef, I consider eggs to be a great source of protein and fat, so again, you will see this food in both sections! Never ever throw away a yolk!!!
In terms of protein content, eggs are a phenomenal source. There are many different ways to test how well your body uses a particular protein such as BV (Biological Value), and PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio), and probably my favorite the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score). What you need to know is that egg protein scores extremely high on all of these tests.
So what about all the fat and cholesterol? Won’t they raise your cholesterol and give you a heart attack. The answer is NO. The only way they would be what I consider “bad for you”, is if you get them scrambled from say a buffet, where the yolks have been oxidized due to sitting in light for an extended period of time. Also if they are cooked on high heat, you can oxidize the cholesterol. I will teach you about cholesterol and its positive role in my nutrition program, and my hope is that you come out of the program with a brand new perspective. You will learn how to cook/prepare eggs, and how to avoid developing an allergy due to eating them on a consistent basis.
I am also a staunch believer in natural sources of fat soluble vitamins and you will get 4-6 times more Vitamin D from a free range egg, as the hens get more sunlight during warmer months. You also get 3 times more Vitamin E. In addition, free range eggs give you twice the Omega 3’s (although I have seen as much as 20 times more Omega 3), and 7 times more beta carotene. This data was a result of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. You can read more about this at http://www.motherearthnews.com/eggs.aspx. There are many many more benefits to free range eggs, as this is only a few. As with the grass fed beef, whole free range eggs never come out of your meal plan, unless you get sick of them. 6 scrambled eggs cooked in Virgin coconut oil on low heat with some raw milk, and Ezekiel Bread/Toast is probably my favorite meal – makes me hungry just thinking about it.