July 20, 2011

Eggs Are Not Created Equal

An egg is not just an egg, just as a chicken isn’t just a chicken.

The quality of the egg is greatly determined by the chicken that laid the egg. If the chicken is raised in a pasture and able to eat whatever it wants (i.e. whatever is natural), the chicken is going to produce a much different egg than if it lived its whole life in a small cage with no room to move and was fed genetically modified food.

Pastured and organic eggs are typically more expensive but as Michael Pollan says “you pay more because they are worth more.” Typical white eggs found in the grocery store are a completely different product than eggs from pastured chickens.

When comparing a pastured egg and a generic store bought egg you can easily see the difference in the coloration of the yolk. The pastured egg will have a deep orange/yellow color and the store bought egg will have a pale yellow color. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are what give eggs yolks their orange and yellow color. The darker the color of the yolk, the more nutrients and vitamins you know are in the egg (and yes, always eat the yolk, it is the most beneficial part of the egg!).

Find a local farmer who has pastured chickens and it may even be less expensive than store bought eggs. Your local farmer's market may have pastured eggs too. If your only option is the grocery store, look for pastured eggs and know that by paying more, you are voting for healthier products and better treatment of animals.

See my recipes that include eggs here and here.

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