Saturday, November 13, 2010
Why Pastured Eggs Are Better
I've never been a huge egg fan.
They were ok, but I didn't wake up in the morning craving some fried eggs. Occasionally, I would enjoy some eggs over-easy but ONLY if there was toast for me to dip into the yolk. Scrambled eggs were ok too, but again...not the biggest fan in the world.
In fact, I was never a big breakfast eater. I could never bring myself to eat as soon as I woke up and refused (REFUSED!) to wake up early enough to allow myself the amount of time to eat breakfast. Sleep > Food.
On the off chance that I did eat breakfast, it was usually cinnamon rolls on Sundays before Sunday School, or some non-breakfast item. I distinctly remember eating Spaghetti-O's for breakfast one morning when I was 6 or 7 and then throwing them up on the bus on the way to school. Nice.
I know breakfast is good for you. I know it prevents you from binging the rest of the day (I was always STARVING by lunch) and boosts your metabolism, so I recently made a distinct effort to start eating breakfast. I decided on a protein-rich breakfast because I just generally enjoy savory foods more than sweet ones, and the only easy sweet breakfast that's fast and easy are smoothies. I don't think the rest of my household would appreciate our exceptionally noisy blender before everyone else is awake.
So I logically came to start buying eggs. Again, I thought they were just "ok"...I didn't wake up craving my breakfast, but in general didn't mind eating it either. I then started to do some research on food and decided to start buying free-range eggs. They tasted about the same, but I was confident I was getting more nutrients and felt good that those chickens were being treated better.
Then I started to do MORE research. As it turns out, "free-range" chickens don't generally roam around outside in pastures, they simply have to have access to it. I thought to myself, "wouldn't they logically WANT to go in the pasture sometimes?" But it was obvious (after research) that they really didn't venture outside much. First of all, most of these free-range cartons also boasted that the chickens were fed an all vegetarian diet. Sure their corn and soy might not be genetically modified, but soy isn't the best thing for you regardless, and chickens are DESIGNED to eat worms and bugs. Just like I don't think vegetarianism is the wisest choice for humans (since we were created to be omnivores), I feel the same about chickens.
So I bought some local, pastured eggs. I saw the eggs at my local Whole Foods and decided to give them a try. I e-mailed the farm owners (who are about 30 miles from where I live) and asked them how they raised their chickens. They're put on rotating pastures and allowed to eat pretty much whatever they want to from the field, including bugs and worms.
The first time I cracked open one of these eggs, I noticed an IMMEDIATE difference. Instead of the muted-yellow yolks I saw in both "conventional" eggs and the free-range ones, these yolks were bright orange. A more vibrant color is an immediate indication of more nutrients. The eggs also seemed larger (despite the chickens not being given hormones). As soon as I took the first bite, the taste was also incredibly different. I would describe them as "creamier" or "denser." They were divine. For the first time in my life, I can't wait to eat breakfast tomorrow morning so I can have some more.
Not only do pastured eggs simply taste better, but research indicates they're better for you. They can have up to 40% more omega-3 fatty acids, 10% less fat in general, and up to 35% less cholesterol than conventional eggs OR organic, free-range eggs that aren't pastured. They're also higher in Vitamin A, D, and E due to the chicken's being in the sunshine. For every pastured egg you eat, you'd have to consumer 3-5 conventional eggs for the same number of vitamins.
So, if you can, I highly recommend finding a local farmer (or a store that sells eggs from local farms) that you can buy PASTURED eggs from. The taste will pull you in, but the nutrition will give you peace of mind. They're also cheaper than those organic, free-range ones from hundreds of miles away. JACKPOT!