Organic, Free-Range and Pasture Raised Eggs
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Have you been occupied with buying toilet paper, WFH and home workouts? Have you also been eating out less? Whether you are a home chef or Deliveroo & Netflix type, we are all going to eat out less and probably shopping grocery a lot more. Hopefully my grocery shopping guide may become handy. You don't need to cook in order to use or benefit from the guide. But of course it would help if you enjoy cooking too.
Shall we start with eggs?
What types of eggs do you buys? Organic and free range are better than barn eggs, but there are much better options.
If we talk about eggs, we need to talk about chickens, how they are supposed to live, eat and play. Other than grains and seeds, chickens eat lots of random things when they are out and about - worms, little plants, little insects, spiders and many tiny and gross things that we don't want to know about. Just like us, in order to be healthy, chickens need a nutritious diet. They also need to roam outside in the sun, behave naturally, play and exercise. Unfortunately many chickens aren't lucky to live a healthy and natural life filled with sunshine and fresh air. Some of them live under cramped, stressful conditions and more likely to get sick. Obviously we want to avoid stressed out chickens and eggs. Let's find out how to get the best eggs from the healthiest chickens.
What are the differences between barn, organic, free range and pasture raised?
Caged or Barn Eggs - Conventional hens are cramped in cages with restricted movements. I don't really want to go on but you can imagine the animals are closely packed in tiny spaces, limited fresh air, little sunlight, fed industrial feed with hormones and antibiotics to fight infections. Need I say more? No added hormone. Free of antibiotics. These should be the minimum standards when buying any sort of meat, eggs, dairy or animal products. Sometimes chickens do get sick (e.g. infections, or E. coli) so farmers may have to treat them with antibiotics but the eggs are not affected. Omega 3 Enriched Eggs. This may just mean that the chicken feed includes omega-3 enriched grains like flaxseeds. There is no indication whether the chickens are free range or have access to outdoors. Cage-free. Whilst these chickens are not kept in cages, they may still be kept inside in relatively cramped conditions, limited sun light and prone to diseases because of crowding.
Free-range. Slightly better than caged because the chickens have access to outdoors. This can mean they have a field to roam or just a small fenced-off area to potter about. Like us, chickens need sunshine to produce vitamin D, so free-range chickens eggs may contain more vitamin D. Organic. Organic eggs may just mean the chickens are fed organic feed without antibiotics and hormones. It is definitely better if the eggs are free range AND organic.
Certified Human, Humanely Raised, Pasture-Raised. Different countries have differing labelling standards. It is worth learning about the labels but let's not get too bogged down. Producers usually make it obvious and clear for customers to understand their eggs and animal products are humanely raised. Look for words like certified, organic, bio. For more, please check out https://certifiedhumane.org/. Humanely raised chickens eat the best diet of seeds, insects and worms, they can move freely, play, enjoy sunshine, fresh air and green pastures. They also get "dust-bathing" to remove excess oil, parasites such as lice and mites. Studies find that pastured raised eggs were more nutritious than conventional eggs, with higher omega 3, minerals, vitamins, and lower cholesterol and saturated fat. Conclusion - Pasture-Raised is the Winner Pasture-raised eggs are the best quality eggs you can get. Like anything else, please don't let "Perfect" get into the way of "Good". If you cannot find pasture-raised eggs, go for small-scale, free-range, organic and omega 3 enriched eggs. Even conventional eggs still count as one of the most nutrient dense foods for your health. The Mile and Bite Grocery Shopping Guide
Please get in touch if you are interested to learn more about my grocery shopping guide. You can download pdf versions of paleo food list and one page shopping list here. Feel free to comment and ask questions as there is so much more I'd like to share with you. Additional Information Free-range Farming: A Natural Alternative to Produce Vitamin D-enriched Eggs https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24607306/ Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of aged hens and pastured hens https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/renewable-agriculture-and-food-systems/article/vitamins-a-e-and-fatty-acid-composition-of-the-eggs-of-caged-hens-and-pastured-hens/552BA04E5A9E3CD7E49E405B339ECA32
Certified Human https://certifiedhumane.org/