Long vilified as only marginally healthy, organic free range eggs, especially if locally raised, are one of the healthiest, purest foods you can eat.
As you’ve likely heard, eggs are high in cholesterol. However, eating cholesterol does not raise your cholesterol (The Journal of the American Medical Association April 20, 1999;281:1387-1394). Organic free range eggs are packed full of nutrients and are well worth the slightly higher price.
When you go shopping for eggs, you’ll likely find several different varieties. Remember, the term “natural” is completely unregulated and means absolutely nothing. Don’t fall for “all natural” eggs, and don’t go for eggs that have been fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. This sounds like a good idea, but the omega-3’s in fortified eggs can actually become rancid.
You want to buy organic, free range eggs. What does this mean? Organic eggs come from hens that are raised on certified organic feed. If the hens producing your eggs are consuming grains sprayed with pesticides, what do you think is in your eggs? Right, pesticides. The pesticide laden grains are converted into saturated fat in the chicken’s body and then secreted into the egg yolks. Buying organic eggs is the best assurance that your eggs are pesticide-free.
The free-range label simply means that the chickens are allowed to roam freely. This is healthier for the bird, and a healthier bird produces a healthier, more nutrient dense egg. A chicken that is free range is also consuming a more natural diet, since it isn’t relegated to only the feed its ranchers provide.
The bad news about organic free range eggs is that they still may go through a process that is less than optimal for your health. While a detailed discussion of egg processing is beyond the scope of this post, suffice it to say that your eggs may be chlorinated or rinsed in lye. It’s also possible that they’ve been processed with mineral oil, which is a petroleum based product. Even though these processes take place on the outside shell, that shell has pores, just like our skin, which makes the egg capable of absorbing whatever it contacts.
What’s the best possible egg choice? Locally raised, free-range organic eggs. You can find these at most farmer’s markets. To find a market near you, search at www.LocalHarvest.org.
I’ve recently found an amazing farmer’s market in which several vendors offer locally raised organic, free-range eggs. Even though I’ve been buying this same type of egg from health food stores for years, the eggs from local farmers are absolutely amazing. The taste is incredible, and the yolks are a very deep, even orange color (which is a great sign indicating high nutrient value). The shells range in color from tan to brown to even green, and the freshness of the eggs is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
I highly recommend that you seek out a local farmer’s market for high quality eggs. Plus, it’s FUN to visit the farmers and see what other locally grown, organic gems you can find. Some of my recent favorites include broccoli, tigger melons, red flame grapes, and heirloom cherry tomatoes.
Enjoy, and watch for more tips on storing, preparing, and cooking (or not!) your eggs.