EGGS – are they always what they are cracked up to be?
Googies, bumnuts, cacklberries or eggies! What else do your family call eggs? Unfortunately, the eggs predominantly available in supermarkets today are not the healthy little bundles of nutrition that nature intended them to be. WHY?
Have you ever seen how happy a chook is roaming around on the green grass, scratching up the mulch in your garden, making a delightful mess? Happiness and delight beams from these chooks as they get their heads down and bums up scratching and pecking at the grass and turning over your neatly mulched gardens! This is a darn sight different to their less fortunate counterparts that are confined in small cages or even large barns, away from sunlight, pastures and freedom to move.
This post is not intended as an animal liberation rant….need we say anymore. But what we do want to highlight is that the buck does not stop there. Chickens deprived of sunlight, access to green pastures and the freedom to scratch and forage for insects, grubs and worms, produce eggs that are also deprived of nutrition, which means their eggs are also depleted of nutrition.
Just how deprived can an egg be? Compared to eggs from pastured fed Chickens, caged and barn raised chickens produce eggs that:
- are 4-6 times lower in Vitamin D
- contain 2/3 less Vitamin A
- have 2 times less omega 3 fatty acids
- have 3 times less Vitamin E
- have 7 times less betacarotene
Although eggs from chickens raised on organic pastures are often as much as double the price, the investment in nutrition and ultimately your health is well worth it. Not to forget the detriment that regular caged or barn raised eggs may pose. Aside from the chickens being raised in completely inhumane environments the eggs produced by these animals are products of solely grainfed animals with an inferior nutritional rating. “Factory chicken feed often includes protein from less savory sources: poultry parts and feathers, rendered cats and dogs, beef fat, and cattle bone meal” (Nina Planck 2006).
The problem with eggs from chickens fed grain is that the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids is completely unbalanced, having 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3 fats. The ratio of omega 3 to 6 in pastured fed eggs is 1:1. This is the optimal balance for health. Too much omega 6 leads to inflammation which is the precursor to many illnesses. Omega 3 fats are important for preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Eggs from chickens raised on green pastures are a nutritional bonanza. As well as providing a good source of complete protien, antioxidants, beta-carotenes, fat soluble vitamins A & E, pastured eggs are also rich in lecithins, biotin and betains.
“Eggs in the cupboard are a meal on the table”. This is a very wise piece of advice handed down by an elder and it couldn’t be anymore truthful. Between our Pinkfarm families we would consume at least 12 dozen eggs a week and thus we place high priority on sourcing eggs from chooks ranging on organic pastures. We wouldn’t and couldn’t be without them! In morning smoothies, almond cakes, scrambled, fried, poaced, boiled, zucchini slice, zucchini fritters, almond cookies, mayonaise, fritatta and custard! Eggs are used everywhere in our homes.
Just how do you know which eggs to use? Ideally, keep your own chickens in a moveable pen on the grass or better still free ranging. Most importantly is to know where they come from. Avoid caged eggs. Source eggs from chickens raised on organic green pastures. Don’t trust the box labelled “free range” with a misleading picture of chickens grazing on green pastures! More often than not, free range chickens, althought not confined to cages are housed in barns or enclosures that are so heavily stocked that their is little room to move freely and the pastures have no way of co-existing with so many hens.
If you are in Qld, MUNGALLI CREEK on the Atherton Tablelands are producing eggs. Their chickens roam freely on the green pastures amidst the dairy farms. OVASTON ORGANIC EGGS are also available in Qld and these chickens are free to roam on green pastures. If you are in NSW, Holbrook eggs are a reputable brand for organic pastured eggs.
For a more extensive list of pasture raised eggs visit the flavour crusador who has created an awesome egg directory for Australia.