Not All Eggs Are Created Equal
When you walk into a store you can see up to 10 brands of eggs, many of them claiming to be better for either you, the chickens, or both. The truth is, there is a LOT of greenwashing in this industry, and it’s very important to be an educated consumer. To better understand all the labelling, here’s a simple guide to help you better see where your eggs come from:
As you can see, there are a lot of certifications, and most of them are bogus! Cage free = no outdoor access and beak cutting, free range = have access to outdoor concrete slab, Organic allows beak cutting and forced molting, American Humane Certified allows beak cutting and includes producer of "cage free" birds. Sigh.
It's okay though, because when we vote with our dollar we can support the producers that truly care about our bird friends. These are pastured eggs, eggs that come from chickens roaming on pastures, eating bugs, taking dirt baths, and rolling in the sun. These are also the eggs that will heal your body. As for the others?...
Eggs that Harm
Soy/Grain fed eggs are inflammatory
When people reference eggs causing inflammation, it’s because the omega 6:3 balance is so askew. I’ve mentioned this so often you hopefully by now can repeat with me that a perfect omega 6:3 ratio is between 3:1 and 1:1, with anything higher leading to inflammation. Caged eggs (either organic or conventional) range between 11:1 and 19:1, a number that will do you no good at all. This can lead to inflammation if you eat a lot of these eggs, or if you add them to an already inflammatory (omega-6 rich) diet.
Here’s another wrench to throw your way: free-range hens may not be very different. They were found to have an enormous omega range between 1.3:1 and 14:1, meaning your source could help or harm you. Why the difference is so immense is based on the wording: Producers are allowed to label their eggs from “Free Range” hens as long as those hens have one single access to the outdoors — consisting of a concrete porch. That means these chickens may walk around more, but they’re not subsisting on a natural chicken diet, rich in bugs and grass, that will give us our perfect omega ratio.
The chickens with the 1.3:1 ratio are the golden nuggets you want to find, the ones eating a natural diet, and I’ll show you why below in Eggs that Heal.
Factory Farmed eggs may be contaminated
Depending on where you're getting your eggs, you could be getting a heavy dose of bad. First comes arsenic, added to feed to promote growth in hens but linked to various forms of cancer in people. The amount found in battery-cage hen eggs is low (0-100 μg/kg), but can add up if you eat a lot of these eggs or you’re also eating a host of other contaminated foods.
Next up are drugs . A 2004 U.K. study found that 10% of the eggs checked in government tests contained residues of drugs, amounting to 985 million eggs. “The drugs include nicarbazin, known to cause birth defects and hormonal problems in animals, and lasalocid, linked to heart problems. A third drug, dimetridazole (DMZ), has never been properly evaluated, but there are concerns it can cause birth defects and cancer”. Lasalocid is even illegal for laying hens, but was still found in 8.5 per cent of batches sampled. Yes this was the UK, but like anywhere that money prioritized before people, many will cheat the system. That includes not cleaning out feed troughs properly, illegally treating birds with pharmaceuticals to keep them alive, and incorrectly processing foods, all leading to the end consumer being poisoned.
Last add salmonella. A 2010 study published in the journal Veterinary Record found that the eggs from hens confined to cages, as they often are in factory farms, had 7.77-times greater odds of harboring salmonella bacteria than eggs from non-caged hens.
Any eggs can cause you pain if you have an allergy or sensitivity
Believe it or not, egg sensitivities are sky rocketing right along side gluten, dairy, soy. Well, maybe you do believe it ;) And don’t skim this if you automatically assume you’re in the clear, because you may not have a gastro-intestinal reaction but are still reacting poorly to eggs. How? In the form of pain and inflammation.
If you know you react to eggs, it’s most likely due to lifestyle factors that allowed this reaction to develop unless you have a real allergy — I’m talking Epi-pen kind. In that case, no eggs for you, ever.
But more probably the cause is gut permeability (leaky gut), meaning your intestines have lost their strongly bonded walls, allowing undigested proteins to slip out. This makes your immune system stage an immune attack on these guys, reacting to the egg protein like an foreign invader every time you eat it. This trains your body to see eggs as an allergy, and your body will react as such.
How you feel that response depends on your body, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be gastro-intestinal. It could be endo belly, it could be bad gas, or it could be accumulated inflammation and pain so you have no idea eggs are a hidden culprit. That’s why gut permeability is so sneaky. Check out my Troubleshooting page to learn how to heal these allergies.
Eggs that Heal: Pastured Eggs
I love pastured eggs for soooooooo many reasons. They’re often touted as “the perfect food”, with 6 g of balanced protein per egg and a golden yolk of nutrients in the middle. Plus, if you’re a vegetarian, they offer a nutrient-dense, protein-rich food that can come from happy, healthy animals allowed to live out their lives the fields. Read on to find out why finding a source of pastured eggs may be one of the most beneficial things you can incorporate into your diet to help your body heal.
These eggs are anti-inflammatory
Because any animals eating their wild/natural diet will always have a correct omega balance, pastured eggs are rich in omega 3’s with the perfect omega 6:3 ratio, meaning they will help act as an inflammatory. This is (remember that for ease of shopping). When you introduce grains and soy, inflammatory markers go up, which goes for you too, so look for chickens that eat bugs, grass, worms, and seeds. I know when I started raising my own chickens I was shocked at how much animal protein they craved! Chickens, like us, are omnivores and eating a balanced diet of greens, seeds, and meat (bugs) keeps these birds healthy and happy, and will help lower your own inflammation.
These eggs are nutrient rich to the max
In a 2010 study Penn State researchers compared eggs from pastured hens to those of hens fed a commercial diet, and the differences were incredible. They had in them:
2⁄3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
4 to 6 times more vitamin D
These eggs also have choline, a essential nutrient that we’re often quite deficient in. It’s know for it’s ability to heal stress reactions (calm out-of-control adrenals), support brain function, and help in the process of methylation, which is essential for detoxification. This is actually why eggs are referred to as “brain food”, because they contain so much choline, and a reason egg yolks should be one of baby’s first foods.
Although choline is an essential nutrient, there’s no RDA for it, so we will have to follow was the Nation Academy of Science listed as amount needed: 450-550 mg/day. And lucky for us, pastured eggs are one of the absolute richest sources of choline, containing 25-35% of this amount per egg.
These eggs have an incredible amino acid profile
For you vegetarians out there, pastured eggs are an incredible way to glean the benefits of animal product without taking a life. As I lay out in my Meat Section, an endo ridden body needs a lot of nutrients to heal, and we need to consider amino acids as important a nutrient as vitamins and minerals. Yes, there are only 11 essential amino acids because we can technically make the other 9, but making those 9 takes complex chemical reaction and meaning you needs an abundance of vitamins and minerals plus properly functioning liver and gut to perform these amino-acid conversions.
Which is why I recommend that ladies healing from endo include animal meats or products in their diets, so their bodies can easily assimilate these amino acids without another burden on their liver. I don’t want to repeat myself, to pop over to my page HERE to read all about amino acids :)
You can eat these egg yolks raw for extra benefit
One of the things all our ancestors did was eat more raw animal foods. With modern science we understand the benefits of this, since over-cooking meats denatures the protein and makes the amino acids hard to assimilate, can create carcinogenic compounds, and destroys heat sensitive nutrients.
That’s not to say cooking is bad, I cook eggs too. Still, I try to incorporate 2 raw, pastured eggs yolks into my diet every day, usually in the form of smoothies. Leaving the yolks raw allows them to retain the heat-sensitive B vitamins (something nearly the entire country is deficient in!) plus the enzymes which help assimilate the nutrients into our systems. You can either buy enzymes and B-vitamins as supplements, not guaranteed to even absorb … or eat some raw egg yolks and know they're getting into your system :)
It’s not that weird if you think about. A poached or soft boiled egg offer you the same thing, in a different package: raw, runny egg yolk. If you’re worried about salmonella I will admit I would be too if I was using eggs from caged birds, but instead I eat eggs from healthy, roaming chickens that don’t have the same issue of contamination as battery-cage hens. If you’re still spooked it’s easy to blanch the shell for 60 seconds (where the bacteria is) before cracking these yolks into your smoothie.
Wanna try a delicious raw-egg recipe? Raw Eggnog: blend 1 1/2 cups raw milk with 2 pastured egg yolks, a dash of maple syrup or honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until combined and drink chilled.