Monday, October 12, 2009

An Independent Life: eggs, free-range style ARE really better

A wonderful article was written by our local Weston A. Price foundation leader, Emmayln McAllister, here in Colorado Springs, CO, detailing the difference in eggs and why you should consider buying your eggs from a producer who follows these strict guidelines! For what it's worth, I raise my hens according to these guidelines, except for the fact that I have not gone to a soy free/ GMO grain free feed. I want to, I really do, but the price difference is so great ($15/50lb. vs. $35/50 lb. of feed) that I would have to raise the price of eggs to astonishing heights! I would have to know that my customers were willing to pay the extra price before I went with such a plan. I truly pasture my hens, they are let out every morning to have complete and total run of my 5 acres. They are safe, most of the time, from predators by good fencing and a couple faithful dogs. So I would be unable to go with part of my flock being feed the "old" way and part feed with non-soy/GM grain. It would have to be an all or nothing deal here. I will be thinking about this one for a while, unless people really ask for the change.

As our devoted customers know, free-range TASTES better too!

Hello, Everyone,

What’s all the egg hubbub about???? Why would anybody go to the extra effort and expense to eat a premium quality egg rather than just an egg from the supermarket? Isn’t an egg, well….an egg?

The answer is, of course, “NO!”

Eggs are not all created equal. Their nutritional benefits vary greatly. Here is the Weston A. Price Foundation’s criteria for nutritious, health building eggs: The eggs must come from chickens that are fed grain supplement, but not soy or any genetically-modified product; they must be pasture-based, meaning that they run around where they can eat green plants and bugs and worms, etc. All of these factors are essential to producing eggs that not only taste great, but ones that provide us with incredible nutrition! An “all vegetarian diet” for chickens does not! We knew this way back in 1932! (See article at the bottom of this message.) Today we know even more about what kind of nutritional benefits good, old-fashioned farm eggs can provide us:

Vitamin D, for building strong bones, enhancing the immune system, reducing blood pressure, alleviating depression, and combating cancer.

Vitamin A, for protein utilization, slowing down the aging process, forming bones and teeth, preventing night blindness and acne; and protecting against colds, flu, infections, cancer and other diseases.

Omega 3 fatty acids, for cardio-vascular health, reducing inflammation and allergies and for preventing cancer.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), for protection against cancer. CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth. There is new evidence that CLA may also reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.

Vitamin E, for repairing tissues and improving circulation; for fibrocystic disease and PMS; for normal blood clotting and healing; for reducing blood pressure, preventing cataracts, leg cramps, cancer and cardio-vascular disease; for retarding the aging process and preventing age spots.

Folic Acid, for energy production and the formation of red blood cells; for healthy cell division and replication; for protein metabolism; for alleviation of depression and anxiety; for the regulation of embryonic and fetal development of nerve cells. Essential for normal growth and development.

Vitamin B12, for proper digestion, absorption of foods, protein synthesis, the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, normal growth and development and for the prevention of nerve damage and anemia.

Beta Carotene, which, in a healthy body is converted to Vitamin A in the liver.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenes, to protect against macular degeneration and colon cancer. Egg yolks are the richest known source of these essential carotenes, which are not generally found in multi-vitamin tablets. The deeper the yellow-orange color of yolks, the more lutein and zeaxanthin they contain and the more eye-protection they offer. There is also new evidence linking lutein and zeaxanthin with a lower risk of colon cancer. According to a recent study, "Of all the carotenoids investigated, only lutein and zeaxanthin showed a protective effect against colon cancer, with an enhanced effect in younger people." (Slattery, M. L., Benson, J., Curtin, K., Ma, K. N., Schaeffer, D., and Potter, J. D. (2000). Am J Clin Nutr 71, 575-82.)

A study conducted and released by Mother Earth News magazine in their October/November 2007 issue found that just two nutritious eggs a day provide a great deal more nutrition and certain food factors known to protect us from disease than supermarket eggs do.

Vitamin D: Three to six times more

Vitamin A: Sixty seven percent more.

Omega 3: As much as ten times more

Vitamin E: Three times as much

Beta Carotene: Seven times as much

A British study conducted in 1972 found:

Folic Acid: Fifty percent more

Vitamin B12: Seventy percent more

Regarding CLA, eggs from pasture-based chickens contain many times more CLA as supermarket eggs, as CLA is virtually non-existent in supermarket eggs.

Healthy Eggs: What We Knew in 1932

In the 1930s, animal scientists were trying to determine the best diet for cows, pigs, and chickens that were raised in confinement. It was a time of trial and error.

In a 1933 experiment conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, breeding hens were taken off pasture and fed a wide variety of feed ingredients. When the birds were fed a diet that was exclusively soy or corn or wheat or cottonseed meal, the chickens didn’t lay eggs or the chicks that developed from the eggs had a high rate of mortality and disease.

But when birds were fed these same inadequate diets and put back on pasture, their eggs were perfectly normal. The pasture grasses and the bugs made up for whatever was missing in each of the highly restrictive diets.

“The effect of diet on egg composition.” Journal of Nutrition 6(3) 225-242. 1933.

Warm regards,

Emmy McAllister, Volunteer Chapter Leader Weston A. Price Foundation, Colorado Springs, CO

(Article reprinted with permission)

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