Your Definitive Clean Eating Guide To The Healthiest Eggs: Conventional vs. Pastured, Organic, “Cage-Free”

by Gregory
Pastured, Vegetarian, Organic Egg Debate

Scene: 1990s Nondescript Diner.

  • Bob: “Hi, Dan!  What are you eating this morning?”
  • Dan: “I don’t know..last night’s Alice in Chains concert was crazy.  I should eat healthy, but I think I’ll go with something bad for me.  Bacon & Eggs.”
  • Bob: “Bacon & Eggs!  Do you have a death wish?!  Eating like that will kill you at 50.”
  • Dan: “I know that bacon & eggs will clog the arteries.  You are right…I’ll get something healthy.
  • Waitress Flo: “What are you, guys, ordering?”
  • Bob: “I’ll have 2 Bagels with strawberry jelly & low-fat cream cheese…. and big glass of apple juice.”
  • Dan: “I’ll go healthy too.  English Muffins with margarine & grape jelly…and big glass of skim milk…Can you mix in a scoop of Nestle Quick?!  Thanks, Flo!”

Paradigm Shift:

We chuckle at this dialogue, but for decades the media and medical experts (like the immortal Ancel Keyes, but also the FDA food pyramid and American Diabetes Association pushed this now-faulty paradigm.  Eggs are the devil!  Animal products….bad!   Grains & Juices…good!  Even today, you will still have people make these choices for breakfast.  Choosing pancakes, waffles, french toast, bagels, muffins, or toast (what I call “desserts for breakfast”) over Bacon & Eggs.

I’ll repeat this ad nauseum…No links between high cholesterol diet and actual high blood cholesterol exists! Eggs, meat, bacon and alike don’t give you high LDL cholesterol.  It is the foods that put the body in systemic inflammation that do.  What are those foods? Tranfats, vegetable oils, processed foods, excessive sugar, et al.  If you adhere to the motto: “If God didn’t make it….don’t eat it” you will likely live a long time.  Eggs included.

{Read our article on Items You Must Remove From Your Pantry Now: Food Dyes, Vegetable Oils,Cancer Drinks.”}

Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense paleo-friendly foods on the planet.  Without a doubt! They are pocket “protein” balls!  Among other things, they are chock-full of:

  • Choline
  • Iron
  • Selenium (Great at balancing out the toxic effects of mercury in fish & sperm health.)
  • Vitamins A, E, & K2
  • Protein
  • Healthy Omega 3 Fats
  • Vitamin D (Which is hard to get in your foods.  Sunlight is the best option.)

With eggs no worry about excess carbohydrates or insulin spikes.   Hard-boil the eggs and you have a perfect “Pack & Play” food item for adults and kids alike. {Read our article on 4 Perfect high-fat kid-friendly snacks.}  Before we cover the healthiest eggs let’s talk about what’s wrong with our chickens.

Problems with our Chickens

As is the case with our fish and cattle, our chickens are raised in substandard conditions.  (Watch the documentary or read the book Food Inc which illustrates this assertion well.) The main problem with our chickens is that they are:

  • Raised in dark, poorly-ventilated shacks
  • Confined to small cages most of their lives
  • Given antibiotics & other growth hormones to fatten them up & prevent/treat disease
  • Fed GMO-grains

Though less expensive, conventionally-grown eggs are much less nutrient-dense than free-range, pastured varieties.  In fact some studies show that you would need to eat (five) 5 conventional eggs to equal one (1) pastured one. 

Here at Naturopathic Earth, we advocate for food that that has not been corrupted in any way.  So let’s cover the healthiest eggs and offer some red-flags to bad advertising ploys.

{Read our article on the problems with our fish supply.}

Don’t fall for “Free Range” or “Cage Free” Chickens

When we imagine free range chickens, we think they are frolicking in the meadows metaphorically laughing and holding hands with each other.  Alas, this is not the case.  In the strictest definition, “free range” and “cage free” simply means the chickens have access to the outside world, either in the form a small door that allows them to go outside for a few minutes a day or just simply some dirt in their cage.  Whether the chicken had the wherewithal to go outside is moot.  Not to mention free rangers are still fed GMO-grains like the conventional ones.

Don’t fall for “Vegetarian” Chickens

Ignore “vegetarian” label. Chickens are omnivores.  They are wired to eat worms & alike they find when roaming the pasture, not GMO soy and corn.  The vegetarian label is a ruse to trick you!  Eggs from omnivore pastured-range chickens are much more nutrient-dense than vegetarian ones.

Guideline for Eggs

Finally, let’s review the healthiest eggs.  If price is no object, choose your eggs in this order.

  1. Pastured–  These chickens roamed, got sunlight, and ate worm, lizards, grass.  Chickens a la natural!
  2. Organic-These guys are pesticide/antibiotic/hormone free and afforded some outdoor air.  If you can’t find pastured eggs at the local farmer’s market or coop (e.g. during the winter when egg production dwindles) opt for organic.
  3. Anything labeled “Hormone-Free” “Antibiotic Free.”  Though there is nothing backing up their assertions, they are better than:
  4. Conventional run-of-the mill least-expensive eggs.

Now that we have covered the healthiest eggs, we know that not all eggs are created equal.  But don’t let me dissuade you from eating them altogether if pastured or organic eggs are price prohibitive.  A conventionally-grown egg,  laden with pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and alike is still vastly better than most breakfast options.  Eat eggs!  Eat eggs for dinner…we call it “brinner!”  Love the egg!

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