When considering which eggs to buy for your family, there are a host of options when you go to the store. You may be confused by packaging that tout claims such as “natural,” “free-range,” “organic” and “omega-3” and you’re left wondering what eggs will be best for your family.
In this article, we’ll share about four common categories that most eggs fall into:
- Conventional eggs: this is a broad category but these are your typical eggs at the grocery store. They are usually white, are not organic, have weak shells, and light yellow yolks. They are the cheapest eggs you can purchase and are typically the least nutritive, along with the most concentrated in chemicals as the chickens are not fed organic feed and sometimes also fed hormones/antibiotics/other chemicals to influence their health in a non-pasture/unnatural/crowded setting.
- Organic eggs: these can be found at most grocery stores and they are a bit more expensive. Organic eggs are better in that they have avoided accumulating glyphosate or other chemicals given to the chickens in their feed. However, organic-only tells you what the chicken has NOT been fed but it does not mean the eggs are nutrient-dense. Organic chickens can still produce eggs in unnaturally crowded, indoor, unclean settings because the standards enforced for organic production are focused on eliminating bad ingredients in the chickens’ diet, not giving that chicken the most natural and healthy life. Did you know that organic chickens must have “access to outdoors” but that doesn’t mean the chicken ever has to go outside?
- Pastured eggs: these are typically the best quality eggs and should be sourced locally from a farm you trust. They often have a variety of different colored eggs, egg sizes, bright orange yolks, and hard shells if they’re from chickens that are fed a diet high in nutrients, which should contain anything that the chickens would eat in nature, such as bugs, seeds, grass, and whatever they find palatable in the pasture. These eggs can vary in price range but are typically more expensive than organic or conventional eggs. Be sure to do your research and find pastured eggs that are from chickens that are truly pastured and fed organic grains.
- Soy-Free, Corn-Free, Wheat-Free: the final category of chicken eggs you may encounter are from chickens fed a specialty diet free of grains that have been shown to be inflammatory to some people. When dealing with an egg sensitivity, look for eggs from chicken that are preferably pastured, organic, AND soy- corn- and wheat-free. This can help those with conditions like celiac disease (extreme gluten sensitivity) and allergies to soy because certain molecules can be formed in the egg due to the diet the chicken has been eating.
How can I supply the best eggs for my family?
Of course, the “best” eggs for your family could mean different things to different people. For us, this means finding eggs with the highest nutrient density, eggs that are preferably local, and organic.
We make fried eggs, hard-boiled, scrambled with added cottage cheese, frittatas, and add them to smoothies or other baked recipes, so finding a good source of healthy, clean eggs is of the utmost priority for us. When eating eggs raw (such as in smoothies) it is even more important that they come from a trusted source because you want to make sure they are laid from the healthiest chickens possible to avoid any possible contamination!
Why are eggs so important?
Besides the fact that eggs are a quick and easy protein source, they provide a plethora of nutrients necessary for the human body, especially for children and pregnant women who demand a very high amount of concentrated nutrients. According to the Weston Price Foundation, eggs from healthy chickens can provide an abundance of carotenoids (good for eyes, anti-cancer, skin health), cholesterol (brain health and hormonal support), fat-soluble vitamins (A, K, E, D), minerals, and choline (very important for pregnant women and babies–good for brain development, liver health, et cetera). Not many foods are quite as compact as the humble chicken egg!
For those who can’t eat eggs for some reason during pregnancy, making sure to have liver, sardines, raw milk, and other sources of highly-concentrated nutrient powerhouse foods to make up for what you are missing is important.
Where to source pastured eggs?
Bartlett Farms provides very high-quality pastured eggs if you’re looking for the benefits of pastured, organically fed, soy- corn- wheat-free eggs. The chickens enjoy fresh pasture during summer and are housed in a coop with a greenhouse run in winter. Raw milk, apple cider vinegar, and minerals are their medicines. It is difficult to find any purer eggs than that in this area of the US!