Pastured Eggs Need No Improvement

April 26, 2011 · 36 comments

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pastured eggs, farm fresh eggs, free range chickens, USDA

There was good news in the health sector recently. Several news items reported that in their latest analysis the USDA has found that eggs actually contain less cholesterol than they did in 2002. In addition, today’s eggs have more vitamin D than in 2002. “The American Egg Board attributes the changes to improvements in American farmers’ hen feed, which includes a vitamin D supplement.”  I guess the improvements to hen feed are the GM corn and GM soy that hens are fed. Not to mention the hormones, antibiotics, arsenic and other goodies. Certainly the hens would need a vitamin D supplement because conventional hens are confined and typically never see the light of day, have the ability to run around and forage for bugs, worms or what-have-you, or have the warm sun on their back in order to generate vitamin D naturally.

Theses factory chickens are not allowed to express their “chickenness,” as  Joel Salatin would say, owner of the acclaimed Polyface Farm in Virginia. Chickens are omnivores. That means they are part vegetarian as well as part carnivore. They need both groups to round out their diet in order to provide them with optimum nutrition. If the hens are optimally healthy, the super nutrient-dense eggs will follow. At pasture based farms, the chickens are moved to new pasture each day and they follow the cows and peck through the cow pies for insects. It is a self-sustaining operation and the animals are treated humanely and with dignity.

Compare that to a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) which is essentially a factory to fatten up animals as quickly as possible without regard to their health and well being for the duration of their short lives. CAFO is an acronym orchestrated by the EPA in order to classify these factories as potential polluters. And they are polluters. Massive amounts of animal waste products run off into the waterways and pollute the surrounding areas. This is how salmonella and other pathogens get into food products. The animal waste product run off affects agricultural lands. How else to get rid of the animal waste? Well, the model of Polyface Farm shows us how. There animals live the life they were designed to live and their waste fertilizes the land and recharges the topsoil for new pasture. This is what sustainable farming is all about, and there is much to learn from farmers like Joel Salatin.

But the real good news that I was sarcastically referring to was that the eggs now have less cholesterol. Apparently, the cholesterol-lowering claims made by the soy industry really are true. So, the USDA and the American Egg Board can pat themselves on the back for producing an egg with even less nutrients than before. Will this condemnation of fats and cholesterol never end? Eggs are a sacred food. They have been highly prized in all traditional cultures since forever. The yolks carry most of the nutrition: fat soluble vitamins—A, D, E, K—as well as choline, a nutrient absolutely essential for the brain. There are also about about 180 mgs of cholesterol, down from the former 220 mgs. In addition, the white of the egg adds about 7 grams of a complete protein (having all eight essential amino acids). But the real point here is that dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with serum blood levels. Your body will make more or less cholesterol depending upon need, not diet. Therefore using a lower cholesterol count as a way to market commercial eggs is inappropriate.

Pastured eggs have a rich vibrant yellow orange color that conventional eggs lack. The color tells you that this is a more nutrient dense product than the conventional egg. This egg is full of fat soluble vitamins as mentioned above, as well as B complex, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus. The deeper the color, the more carotenes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenes have been identified as being essential to healthy vision by supporting the macula and preventing cataracts. They are also identified as helping to prevent breast and colon cancer. Compared to eggs from conventionally raised, caged hens, eggs produced by pastured chickens have more omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin A, naturally occurring vitamin D, along with notably higher amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12. All of these nutrients are essential for the developing embryo. And they are so nutritious for children and adults as well.

Yet again, the food industry has taken a perfect food from nature, one that has nourished people for thousands of years, and they have managed to change it for the worse. A lower cholesterol, factory egg will not compare in nutrient quality and quantity to a pastured egg.

The SOLUTION is to support your local farmer and buy real farm fresh eggs, directly from a biodynamic farmer. To find a local farmer in your area, go to the Weston Price Foundation Chapter Page and contact a chapter near your home. These wonderful, nutrient dense, wholesome eggs, are so fresh and safe, they can be eaten raw, as in raw yolks in a smoothie, or raw eggs in easy food recipes such as homemade mayonnaise. (Do not make a habit of eating raw egg whites.) Pastured eggs are a perfect food. Do not be afraid to incorporate them into meals every day.

This post is linked to: What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s On The Menu Wednesday, Gluten-Free Homemaker, Real Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Tip Day Carnival, Pennywise Platter, Foodie Wednesday, Frugal Follies, Creative juice, Fresh Bites Friday, Food Trip Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun With Food Friday, La Bella Vita, My Meatless Monday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Monday Mania,Meatless Monday Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tuesdays at the Table, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday parade of Foods. Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival, Tasty Tuesdays

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica April 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

Love the info and my pastured eggs :). ? Why do you say to not make a habit of
eating raw egg whites ? Thanks

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2 Jill April 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Hi Jessica,
There is a protein in raw egg whites called Avidin. This binds to biotin (an important B vitamin) and makes it unavailable to the body. Biotin may become deficient if someone is eating raw egg whites on a regular basis for months. Signs of a deficiency are dry skin, dermatitis, fungal infections, hair loss or brittle hair. These can progress to neurological symptoms, changes in mental status and myalgias. If you eat a raw egg white once in a while it would not be a problem.

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3 Alex Lewin April 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Awesome post.

The factory food system has become jaw-droppingly messed up.

For those folks who have no choice but to buy their eggs at stores, Cornucopia Institute did a great report rating some of the eggs available in stores:

http://www.cornucopia.org/2010/09/organic-egg-report-and-scorecard/

They also just posted a post entitled “When is a hen organic?”:

http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/04/when-is-a-hen-organic/

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4 Jill April 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hi Alex,
Thanks for your comments and links. I did see the first report form Cornucopia Institute. I loved your latest post!

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5 Dianne April 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I enjoyed this post, especially since we were just talking about eggs yesterday.

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6 Jill April 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Hi Dianne,
Thanks for your comments!

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7 Mare @ just-making-noise April 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for linking up at Simple Lives Thursday! Good post :o)

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8 nicolette @ momnivores dilemma April 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm

My family and I are moving toward grain-free with a lot of GAPS/SCD/BED/WAPF influences. Glad I stumbled across your blog on my hunt for more information in these areas…

If you have a moment today, please share this with my readers @Creative Juice Thursday.

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9 Jill April 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Hi Nicolette,
My blog has lots of information about SCD/GAPS. I will share at your carnival.

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10 Shu Han April 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I love eggs! And I do eat them everyday! Thanks for this wonderful spotlight on pastured eggs (: They taste so good (i agree they need no improvement) I enjoy them just fried or boiled plain even.
http://mummyicancook.blogspot.com/2011/04/soft-boiled-egg-with-sesame-roasted.html

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11 Jill April 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Hi Shu Han,
I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

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12 Cecile April 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

thanks for the info about eggs :-)

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13 Mary @ Mary's Nest April 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I agree. I buy pastured eggs every week from a nice fellow in my town. They are delicious and only $2.00/dozen!

Love,

Mary

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14 Jill April 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi Mary,
Wow! Two dollars/dozen? I pay more that twice that here in New York!

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15 Miz Helen April 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Hi Jill,
This is a very interesting article. You bring us the most interesting information, which I appreciate. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

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16 Jill April 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Hi Miz Helen,
Thanks you so much for your kind words.

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17 Cranberry Morning April 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Good post! I am hoping to get my own chicks this fall and having my very own pastured eggs next spring. :-) Can’t wait. I just need to teach my German Shepherd to chill. :-(

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18 Jill April 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Hi Cranberry Morning,
You are so lucky to be able to have chickens at home! Good luck with them!

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19 Lori @ Laurel of Leaves May 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for posting the real story about eggs and your health! Real food doesn’t need to be messed with and cholesterol is actually good for you. Keep it coming!

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20 Jill May 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Hi Lori,
Thanks for your support. I love your site!

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21 nicolette @ momnivores dilemma May 4, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I found a farm that does a drop off in our neighborhood…thanks for the inspiration…

Thanks for linking to Creative Juice Thursday! Hope to see you back again this week.

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22 Jill May 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Hi Nicolette,
So happy for you! Now that it’s spring the yolks are really orange/yellow!

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23 Jane May 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Hi Jill,
I always enjoy reading your articles. Thanks for adding them to Melt in Your Mouth Monday!

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24 Jill May 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Hi Jane,
Thanks so much for your kind words!

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25 Beastied42 November 8, 2011 at 12:03 am

HI,
I buy eggs by the dozens from a little girl way out here in Apache Junction, AZ. She has some very happy well fed chickens that get to bask in the sun, pick and peck and lay some of the best eggs.
She is 10 years old and has many happy girls, and some boys as well as geese, a turkey and no telling what else.
She’s a neat kid with a 4H bend and she has really done her homework.
$2 or $3 is what you should be paying for a dozen eggs. The local Farmers market jacks them up to $5.
They taste better, look better and the difference is obvious. Farm Fresh is the best way if at all possible.

Here’s a I bought too many eggs recipe:
Nuke or bake off a few potatoes and dice. Fry off some bacon or sausage. Ground beef will do too, but im thinking breakfast. Dice and sautee an onion and a pepper. Crack off a dozen eggs, whisk with salt, pepper, milk and your favorite seasonings. As the ingredients are ready toss them in a caserole or baking dish. Push and shove to level things off. Cover with foil.
Heat oven to about 325 or 350. Bake for 30 to 45 mins. Turn oven off, and sprinkle with cheese. When the cheese is melted, remove form oven. Cool a few minutes and serve.
Some call it a strata. I call it darn good.
it will keep for a few days, but it shoulnd’t last that long.
Play with what you have at home and enjoy your delicious farm fresh goodness! 

Save your cartons!!

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26 Becky January 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Beastied42: Where?! I would love to find these “happy well-fed chickens”- we are in the area, and I’ve been looking for good eggs. I’d really love to get away from buying grocery store eggs and meat, but I found eggs in Gilbert I think and they are $4.50/dz (or so). My husband isn’t really on board with me having to drive all that way, and then paying that much for eggs. I hope you see this message. You can contact me at happychristianhome{at}gmail{dot}com. Thank you!

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