As much as I’m supportive of good clean eating, I am also aware that the cost is steep. The only way to find out if something is ‘worth what they are being sold for,’ I think, is based on educating ourselves and each other.
Today let’s focus on eggs (note, this is based on information from Ontario).
I have often wondered what the differences are between all the different eggs out there – white, brown, omega-3, organic, free-range, free-run, farm raised… the list goes on. It’s so confusing. Some articles toot eggs that come from farm raised birds that run around and are grass-fed taste better and have a brighter yolks. While this may very well be true, what I want to know is ‘are these eggs actually better from a nutritional standpoint?’ Maybe. But is this the whole story? Turns out not all eggs that come straight from local farms have been graded. The eggs that make it to our local grocery stores, drugstores, and superstores need to be weighed, inspected and graded before entering the market to ensure they don’t pose potential health risks. For example, eggs with hairlines don’t make it into cartons as they run the risk of salmonella.
While I encourage anyone who is interested in looking at local farms for their eggs, I am also aware that this is not possible for many others – e.g. students, families on a budget, those who live in cities without easy access to small farms. And honestly, who has the time? I can’t justify spending $6 on a dozen eggs. No thanks. As much as I love eggs, they are a staple to my cooking and the higher allocation of food money sounds more like a treat reserved, for say, shrimp. True, it is the everyday things that make up the building blocks of long-term health, but eggs aren’t cuts of pork. They’re, well, eggs, a basic everyday staple.
There is an ongoing conversation about food and chemicals, or really, about many things and chemicals. Most of this stuff we just don’t know many of the answers to. There are so many opinions, and so many contrasting views that it is hard to know what is right. The key I believe, is doing the homework, doing the research to find out. A few weeks ago I mentioned a dear friend that lives on the east coast who has spoken with many farmers regarding food regulations, particularly in regards to dairy products. The regulations are, from what I have heard, extremely high. So I’ve been thinking – ‘if this is true for dairy, this is probably true for eggs too’.
After doing some searching, I found a very informative pdf that explains the types of eggs available, general costs, chicken feed, chicken living conditions, and nutritional content.
Click here for ‘A Guide to Choosing Eggs’
To sum up, this guide answered a few of my questions, such as:
– Why brown eggs are more expensive than brown (it makes sense, since it takes more feed and time to grow brown chickens – although there is no difference in nutritional content)
– Omega-3 enriched eggs are more expensive due to chicken feed including foods that contain omega-3 (makes sense – you are what you eat) – such as flaxseed and fish oil – I don’t care for this since I can have flaxseed on its own without it going through a chicken
– Living conditions seem okay. Sure, I wouldn’t want to be a chicken cooped up in a box, but those sloping ramps to make sure chickens and their eggs don’t live in their excrement is pretty smart.
– Most of these birds are being fed grain instead of grass anyway. Bearing in mind that almost half the year this province is covered in snow, there’s no grass available anyway.
I think if we’re talking about eggs on the market, that at the end of the day your choice of eggs come down to ethics, and how much you care about chickens running around. However, from a nutritional standpoint it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference which eggs you get.