I recently read a thread online about $6 organic eggs from the farm for sale.
If/when you can afford it, organic free range eggs are always worth the extra dollars. The details can be convoluted, but eggs as a whole nutrition topic can be overwhelming HOW MUCH SELECTION we have. If you choose to eat eggs, I’ll break it down as best I can so you know the good/better/best choices to be making that work for you that day. Because the reality is that some days in the grocery store are different than others.
The Reality: Farm fresh eggs have more nutrients in them than store-bought because of how the hens are living. If they have access to outdoors and get sunshine, eat insects and greens in addition to their feed and get exercise the taste, nutrition and energy of the food will be of better quality.
Some Facts First: I want to dig a bit into the egg confusion and how you can easily purchase the BEST quality eggs for your body. But I also want to share this great fact: eating eggs in their whole form (white & yolk together) contain almost every vitamin and mineral that humans need to survive, except Vitamin C. So, if you're stranded on a desert island and can only pick 2 foods to eat forever: Eggs and oranges and you'll live a nice long relaxed retirement life on that island! (Oh eggs, I love you, you nutrition powerhouses!)
Don’t skip the yolk! Egg whites don’t offer as much nutrition as eating an egg whole, and if you’re skipping the yolk because you are avoiding fat, know that we do need fat in our diet even when we are trying to lose weight [Read: The Easy Guide to Fats] Free-range eggs (eaten whole with the yolks) have more vitamin A and D in them as well as a healthier balance of fats. [Read the CBC Marketplace about it.) There’s generally someone around your area to sell you their farm fresh eggs, and you can ask them if they use organic hen feed. We want to be sure that the eggs we are consuming are healthy and humanely raised, we like to call them "happy chickens' eggs!" These eggs have brighter yolks which shows us the higher Omega 3 content. These eggs can be anywhere from $5-$7 a dozen because organic feed is more expensive than the cheap refined-oils + fillers feed. I always “splurge” on eggs with bright yolks from happy hens because of the nutrition factor. From a farm is my favourite, from an organic farm is the best. [Balance and the scale. Read: Are Organic Packaged Foods Healthier?] If we aren’t investing in our health, where is our money going? A few dollars more per dozen is not intimidating. Skip 1 ‘Bucks drink or 2 bags of chips/ice cream per week and you can feed yourself incredibly healthy breakfasts all week.
To reduce confusion in the grocery store, here's an "Egg breakdown"
According to the David Suzuki Foundation: Tragically, over 90% of Canada's egg-laying hens are confined in "battery cages" which are small wire cubes housing five to seven birds each, beaks cut (to control damage from pecking their cage mates), stacked row upon row upon row in large, windowless barns.
Cage-free eggs: "Cage-free" means hens are not confined to battery cages, but that's about it. They don't have access to the outdoors, and there are no assurances about what they are fed or what kinds of medications they are given. You might see this claim on all three types of non-battery cage production eggs — free-run, free-range and organic. The company/farmer needs no certification to make this claim on their label.
Free-run eggs: "Free-run" often gets mixed up with free-range in our minds. I remember it like this; free run I am picturing a “run-away lane” and the chickens maybe getting a little bit of a lane to move about. Free-run means chickens can move around in open concept barns, but they don't necessarily have access to the great outdoors and overcrowding may still be an issue. The company/farmer needs no certification to make this claim on their label.
Free-range eggs: means hens see the light of day (depending on the weather) and their feet actually come in contact with the earth. I remember free range vs. free run by thinking about the place we all would like to imagine our food coming from - home, home on the range. A beautiful large plot of land for them to roam. The company/farmer needs no certification to make this claim on their label. Ideally you can talk to and trust this person and their farm practices. If buying free-range from a private farm you want the feed to be non-gmo, non-medicated. If it’s organic, that’s a huge bonus.
Organic eggs: the best choice! Hens that produce certified organic eggs benefit from the highest welfare standards. For example, the SPCA certified label assures eggs come from farms that have passed their animal welfare standards. Certified Organic labels often require the use of organic feed without growth hormones or antibiotics, too. Certification: numerous third-party labels like, BC Certified Organic, Canada Organic, Quality Assurance International and USDA Organic.
It’s not VERY black and white, as always in nutrition & life there are a lot of blurred lines and grey areas and variables. but this may help. In the nutrition world there is ALWAYS not-the-best, good, better and then best.
Not the best are the cheapest carton of eggs you can find in the grocery store. These come from factory farms.
Good and better would be the organic or free-range eggs you can buy in the store. You’re making a “better” choice but still supporting giant corporations where you don’t really know their values or ethos and can’t really trust that they were produced the way you’d prefer, even if the label says so.
Your BEST choice would be organic eggs from the farmers’ market or a local farmer. You’re supporting his hard work by paying him directly as well as getting the best nutritional bang for your buck. You can look him in the eye, shake his hand, talk to him and ask questions and see how much he cares about his hens and farm. The entire experience from purchase to eating feels better. [Read: “If It Feels Good, Do it”]
I know that food purchases a lot of the time come down to solely to money for people, and I know that we can’t all eat beautiful and clean and organic all the time, it’s just not reality. So, it all boils down to this reality: “If you CARE and you CAN ——- do it.”
Do your best when you can; and when you can’t? Don’t feel guilty about it. [Why You Need Nutrition Confidence]