A Guide to Choosing Healthy Eggs
- Purchase eggs from pastured hens raised locally- from small farms or even a friend’s backyard flock. Or, raise your own chickens!
- Pastured chickens have access to the outdoors, sunlight and pasture or grass. They eat not only grass, but grubs, worms and bugs and generally these chickens do not receive hormones or antibiotics. These eggs are higher in nutrients than their industrially raised, commercial eggs.
- Just make sure to double check that the hens are not supplemented with any GMO grains. Ask the farmer- they should be able to tell you what feed they use, if any. On our farm, we supplement with organic, soy-free grain, especially in the winter. Our chickens and ducks have free daytime access to the outdoors year round and also receive organic veggie scraps and worms.
- You don’t have to stick with only chicken eggs, either. Duck, goose and quail eggs are all available in many areas.
- Don’t get caught up in terms like “vegetarian fed”. Hens are not natural vegetarians. They, like us, are omnivores who ought to eat bugs, worms and other creatures for health. “Vegetarian fed” usually denotes the use of soy/corn and these are almost universally genetically modified (GMO).
- “Cage-free” doesn’t mean pasture-raised. This often used term can simply mean that the hens are free to roam in a large barn/building…and those buildings are usually dark, cramped and dirty with no access to the outdoors. “Free-range” chickens may also be raised in large barns, similar to “cage-free” birds, with a small door that leads outside- but outside they may find a concrete pad and no grass. Often these birds never even go outside during their short lives. Birds raised either “cage-free” or “free range” may also be exclusively fed grains like corn/soy and these are almost certainly GMO.
- If you absolutely cannot find pastured eggs, choose Organic Omega-3 eggs. These hens have at least been given flax meal (and should not have been fed GMO grains) which increases the Omega-3 content of their eggs.
- Don’t worry about cooking your eggs excessively; a little runny yolk is good as it contains enzymes that are good for you.
- As a general rule of thumb, egg yolks can be consumed raw (in smoothies, sauces, condiments, etc), while whites should be cooked before eating. I only recommend eating pastured egg yolks in this manner, and not conventional store-bought eggs.