Eggs, what's hiding inside the shell?
With all the options available on the market and health warnings vs. advertisements, it's no wonder EGGS are can be a confusing/controversial topic! Prepare to be confused no more, because really, what it all boils down to for choice, is quite SIMPLE:
As nature intended, is the BESTFood4Life.
Okay so what does that mean exactly? If you can't seem to find a reliable source of information, due to the overwhelming AMOUNT of information at your finger tips---don't worry you're not alone. In fact, most people have been horse-fed media propaganda for years and are constantly subjected to news terrors concerning outbreaks, diseases, and many other controversial topics concerning eggs. Do we eat eggs? What kind of eggs do we eat? Organic? Cage-free? or Pasture-Raised Eggs? Do we make sure the house is completely disinfected while cooking an egg? Do we measure the temperature of the egg to ensure that any potential risks are destroyed by the cooking process? How about this one, did we ALWAYS have to worry about the risks associated with eggs? Did our great-great grandmother's let their kids lick the cake batter off the spoon? Was there salmonella then? With the matrix of information, media, and contradictions, it's no wonder there's confusion!
NO problem! Let me HELP guide you in the right direction.
First, before reading and further, take note of the following and keep it in mind as you read:
- I'm not getting paid to give you this information.
- I'm not receiving any kick-backs from any egg companies
- I follow the same principles that I recommend. (I'm not a hypocrite)
- I want to clear up the controversial topics because I know there's a lot of misinformation out there. (i.e. I care about helping others!)
- MOST IMPORTANT: Every single time you make a purchase, you're VOTING for the future of that product. **I keep this in mind every time I take a look at the price for organic vs non-organic, because believe it or not that what we choose DOES make a difference.**
Here are the typical choices available on the market:
Conventional Eggs (Grade A or B)
For something as simple as an egg, there sure are a lot of non-simple choices available and none of them state on the label: contains salmonella. For the average shopper who wants to bake brownies, without causing their family to go to the hospital, a simple egg purchase can actually be quite a scary process. All the meanwhile, wishing you could just dip your spoon into the batter lick it! Combine the tempting smells of the delicious batter with the fear of needing to clean the egg and everything it could have possibly touched, cooking just isn't what it's cracked up to be. Fear not! Let's beak this mystery down to the bone and ditch the whole concept of fearing food. Because, well, that's just not a way to live!
Let's crack the case: (referenced in order of listed above)
CONVENTIONAL EGGS: (Grade A or B) – These are the eggs that occupy a good portion of the egg section, usually sold super cheap, like: 16 "brown-egg" count for 3.99 or a dozen "white-egg" for 2.99. This is definitely one of those times where really low prices does actually = really low quality. When I say really low, I mean, sickeningly low-literally. Whatever price you think you'll be saving here for the week/month/year, I guarantee you'll be making up in medical costs later in your life. 100% GAURANTEE. Not necessarily from salmonella poisoning, but from lack of nutrition and all the other crap that's manufactured in these eggs. Don't blame the farmer, blame the industry, blame the pharmaceutical companies, blame the government & lobbyists, blame the way society that drives cheap in order to make a low-standard buck.
These types of eggs are sold with no real 'brand-marketing' and that's because they don't necessarily NEED to advertise their brand of eggs nor do they really WANT to! Advertising is expensive and people want cheap eggs, how does it work? It works by making generic cartons with generic names and follow the state-laws in order to sell those cheap eggs. If someone wants to buy an egg, in order to save a buck, they'll generally go for the less expensive egg. Why would anyone want to spend more on the 'same' product? More money like, twice to three times the amount, and eggs, they're just eggs right? whWhy wouldn't these companies WANT to advertise their eggs, wouldn't they want to compete with the other brands?
They don't want to advertise is because "Johnston farm eggs" really isn't the type of 'farm' you'd expect to see. If you actually took the time to visit "Johnston farm" you'd be surprised to see what's referred to as a 'factory-farm', an enclosed building with little ventilation, where inside you'd see hundreds to thousands of de-beaked chickens packed like sardines being fed by people wearing gas-masks. These chickens are near death from the moment they are hatched till the few months later when they die, even though their whole life they are pumped with anti-biotics to keep them 'healthy' in these incredibly horrible inhumane conditions. Not the picture you envisioned of farmers in straw-hats, a large red barn, and happy chicken's grazing in the grass. I'd wager after that experience, you wouldn't even think twice about choosing a different brand, even AT the alluring price of 1.99/dozen.
CAGE-FREE EGGS: So when it started to become more publically aware that chickens were not humanely raised, this became the fad for the egg companies that were taking a pretty big blow from the viewers of documentaries such as: "Food, Inc" and "Fowl Play". They decided to get really clever and use their big bucks to follow 'guidelines' for "cage free" hens, which for them meant changing the ingredients around in their feed and altering the 'factory' from caged to cage-less what looks like caged trays, they have more room to bump into one another. This does not mean "cage free" as in not packed like sardines or kept off antibiotics, all that still applies, they just package it differently-LITERALLY. That's all.
"What “cage-free” means that, while the hens are not squeezed into small wire cages, they never go outside. Hens are typically confined in dark, crowded buildings filled with toxic gases and disease microbes the same as their battery-caged sisters", reads authors of Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production.
So, no, cage free is not the answer to solving any of the health concerns or inhumane harsh animal treatments. It's not safer, it's not healthier, they don't eat better, and there isn't any less chance for contamination.
However, media continues to remedy this by simply saying: "Don't eat raw eggs. PERIOD."
FREE RANGE EGGS: Again these industries are cleaning up their standards by making the bare minimum changes, because it's starting to become more widely recognized that their industry is flooded with animal cruelty. However, they really aren't changing anything. Again, I am not frustrated with the farmers, they were sort of 'put' into this position. While they aren't completely innocent, a lot of them are a product of the system. This means that the farmers can take their chickens out of the caged facility that they in, into a nice paved lot (easier cleanup) and give them about 5-10 minutes of "outside" per day. That's it, they still go back into the same housing confines and they still stay crammed, their still de-beaked and given the same mixture of antibiotics and calcium supplement soy/grain fed food. Not much has changed, but they can use the term legally "free-range" and get away with it. Again, you still can't consume these raw because the conditions really aren't different. They're just playing the media advertisement game to make sure they can sell their eggs and even make more money. They need to make more money because these changes actually cost the farmers a lot of money, because they are demanded to make the changes from the buyers of their eggs. The farmers are held at the mercy of their buyers to pay for everything and they do not make any more money. It's the system and when you buy these eggs, you VOTE for that system. Just remember that. Consumers are very responsible for this whole thing, we are the voting system that says what changes NEED to be made, or we won't purchase it otherwise. It forces things to change. Let's go onto organic.
ORGANIC EGGS: Before I even say anything, I bet you're thinking "YAY! Finally a word I can trust and understand and it applies here! Right? We're ALMOST there, while organic is FAR better than conventional, by law, they must meet standards of not having hormones or antibiotics. Which is MUCH better than previous standards and they are only fed organic, non-GMO feed. All this is a great thing, access to the outdoor space, is a must. So, we've addressed all concerns right? Not quite. Chickens are free ranging grazing type animals, they love to graze on grass and all kinds of things, they pretty much just walk around eating all day. Which lends to their delicious tasting eggs AND meat, however, there's nothing that says that these chickens are grazing all day enjoying the sun and living happy lives. I've seen chickens that do that and they really are happy just walking around eating. While the standards are much better, they still aren't up to par. It's really necessary to get the nutrients from the grass, the sun, and the space of having air. Organic eggs aren't promising that the chickens aren't in a tight space or eating fecal matter. While they certainly are to the T with standards, that doesn't necessarily mean a happy grass eating chicken. We're on the way, but we're not quite there yet.
PASTURE-RAISED EGGS: Ahh...finally, the moment we've all been waiting for. Hey, it's no surprise that I recommend HANDS DOWN pasture raised eggs, I put it as the title of the post. Let's go back to our ancestral times when chicken eggs were roaming the lands wild, free and happy. Those chickens get all their vitamins and minerals from rummaging the earth, through grass, through dirt, eating both grass and succulent little bugs. That's right, delicious organic, bugs packed full of vitamins! That makes the chickens happy and that will make your body happy with all those nutrients! Those days of free-roaming organic pasture days do NOT have to be over, chickens deserve a life that's gratifying and happy clucking! Why? Why do you care if a chicken is happy before you eat it's eggs? Because we're all comprised of sub-atomic particles which is ENERGY. Now, while you may not give a cluck about energy, you should, because it's what fuels each cell in every organism on the planet. If you're not happy, you feel it and I'm sure your day sucks and everyone you encounter sucks, the car in front of you sucks and if you were pushing out an egg everyday, I'm sure your eggs would suck too. Their nutritional content wouldn't be as good, because believe it or not we process things MUCH differently under stress than we do HAPPY and energetically.
Pasture-raised eggs ALSO have MUCH more nutrition than any other type of egg. We're talking over 200 different types of mineral, nutritional, and beneficial content here. There's nothing added to the chickens, there's nothing added to their feed, they feed on the earth, the earth isn't sprayed with chemicals-which would make the chickens sick. If the chickens aren't sick, they aren't dying, if they aren't dying they aren't getting other chickens sick, if other chickens aren't spreading disease they aren't laying disease infested eggs, if the disease infested eggs aren't being laid, you guessed it, there's no cause for salmonella. Which means? YOU CAN EAT THE EGG RAW! Now, if you can eat an egg raw ROCKY style, then imagine the type of nutritional content you're really getting!! It seriously is nature's perfect food, when it was delivered AS NATURE INTENDED!
Also: remember, that an egg has all the necessary nutrients and minerals to support a growing baby chick!
Here's what you're getting from the pasture eggs vs. other eggs:
5 times more quality & naturally derived vitamin D (Incredibly necessary for your body!)
3 times amount and quality of vitamin A
Twice as much & healthier forms of omega-3 fatty acids (SUPER HEALTHY FOR YOU)
3 times as much Vitamin E
7 times the amount seen in beta-carotene!
Debeaking is painful cited on p. 3: Donald Bell and William Weaver, eds. Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production, 5th ed. Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 80; Glatz, PC, ed. Beak Trimming. Nottingham University Press, 2005, p. 47.