to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Confused over Eggs?

I stand baffled, in front of a stack of egg cartons wondering what type I should by.  The choices used to be white or brown in a variety of sizes, but now its Omega-3 Enriched, Free Range, Organic, Free Run, etc.  What's the difference between them all?  Are they really what we think we are getting?  When we purchase Organic do we believe that we are buying eggs from animals that were humanely treated and got some fresh air like a hen in nature would have?  What the heck is the difference between Free Range & Free Run?  Is there a difference? They suggest the same thing, don't they?

I'm still not clear on all of this, but this is what I've come up with:

Organic  To be labeled 'Organic' the hens must be fed a special feed having its ingredients grown without pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers. 

Vegetarian :  These hens are fed a special feed containing ingredients of plan origin only.  Absolutely no animal by-products.

Omega-3 Enhanced : These eggs come from hen's that were given 10-20% flax in their feed, which results in the eggs being higher in omega-3 fatty acids than the conventional eggs.  Omega-3 is considered good for your heart.

Vitamin-Enhanced : As expected, these eggs come from hens that are fed a nutritionally enhanced diet, believed to result in higher nutritional value in the eggs.

Free Range : The hens have access to nesting boxes, open floor space, perches and even outdoor runs.

Free Run : These hens are allowed to roam freely in a barn or other enclosed facility.

Some claim there is no nutritional difference between organic eggs or any other kind, but studies show otherwise.  And if we are what we eat, then hens might be also!  We know that diet in humans greatly influences the health of eggs and sperm, so why wouldn't diet also affect the eggs of hen?

Here's two links to other articles about Eggs & the nutritional value/differences in the competing types.

Mother Earth News
Systemic Abuses in Organic Egg Production

We don't eat much meat at our house, but we do eat quite a few eggs.  We use them raw in smoothies, or fry them up for a Spanish Omelet, or have hard-boiled along side our salads.

We found a decent price since we moved.  From the local farmer they are $3.50 a dozen, or 3 for $10.  Unfortunately, hens don't lay as well with shorter hours of daylight so the supply isn't up during the winter.  (But this is also the time of year we eat lots of root veggies (yes, cooked!!) so that gives us variety with our raw meals until the hens lay more generously in the warmer and longer days in spring.)

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