While proteins are found in many types of food, only foods from animal sources, such as meat and eggs, contain “complete proteins,” meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, choline for our brain, nervous and cardiovascular systems, and naturally occurring B12. Eggs are powerhouses of healthy nutrition, provided they’re harvested from organically raised, free-range, PASTURED chickens. True free-range eggs are from hens that range freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes:
Conventional large-scale egg-producers raise their hens indoors and in cages. Egg-laying hens confined to cages do not have space to move or stretch, and they show more fearful behavior and become prone to skeletal problems. Large numbers of animals confined in small spaces also pollute the air, water, and soil with the vast amounts of manure they produce. Large scale eggs are also far more prone to harboring pathogens that can cause foodborne illness.
The nutritional differences between true free-ranging chicken eggs and commercially farmed eggs are again a result of the different diets eaten by the two groups of chickens. Instead of seeds and insects, the main ingredients of commercially raised hens’ diets are genetically engineered soy and corn. Commercial eggs, even if they state “free-range” on their label, will typically fall into this category.
You can tell the eggs are free range or pastured by the colour of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.
Our best source for fresh eggs is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors. To find free-range pasture farmers, ask your local health food store.
We can reduce our consumption of animal products by opting for the quality and this way taking proper care of our nutrition and the environment around us and that in which the animals are raised.