Eggs are delicious nutritional power houses. They’re a good source of protein, brain boosting choline and disease fighting lutein. In my perfect world, I would have a lovely little chicken coop where I could gather delicious fresh eggs every morning.
I would have complete control over how my chickens were raised. Unfortunately that is not my reality and I have to seek out my eggs from various sources. My journey into Holistic Nutrition taught me that all eggs are not created equal. What follows is what I personally look for in an egg and how I decipher the misleading labels that are prevalent on our grocery store shelves.
Most of the time I eat local, farm fresh eggs. I look for eggs from small family farms where the chickens roam around freely and get plenty of sunlight. It is important that chickens have access to sunlight because it enhances the nutritional quality of their eggs. Chickens who eat plenty of grass, bugs and seeds also produce a superior egg. The difference is noticeable because the yolks are a deep orange and look like liquid sunshine. There are also two distinct egg whites in a really fresh egg. I find these eggs at local farmers markets and through the website LocalHarvest.org. Seek out and talk to your local farmers and breeders. They are usually more than happy to talk about how they raise their chickens and what they feed them.
There are certain times when supplies are low and I buy eggs at the grocery store. Egg cartons are full of labels, logos and stamps that can be deceiving. The two stamps that I always look for are “Certified Humane” and “Certified Organic.” These ensure the chickens are treated well and the eggs are free of antibiotics and pesticides. The “Organic” and “Free Range” labels guarantee the chickens have access to outdoor areas and may see actual sunlight.
The term “Cage Free” only means the chickens are not locked in cages. It does not attest to their treatment or guarantee they have outside access. Visit Egg Industry to learn more about the various labels. Knowing the meaning behind the label will give you peace of mind that you are buying the highest quality product for your family.