Are You a Good Egg?

I’m not sure about you, but I used to get “analysis paralysis” when trying to choose the right eggs at the supermarket. I could not decipher the difference between cage-free, organic, free-range, etc. There were so many different labels that I didn’t know where to start. It was only after I did some research that I realized just how misleading those labels were. Maybe you’re facing the same problems I did, or maybe you don’t even know you’re not eating healthy eggs, but we’re here to help! Here are some of the biggest misnomers when choosing your eggs and ways to find the best quality, nutritious eggs on the market.

Misleading labels:

As I stated before, there can be a lot of misleading labels, so let’s start with the first one: cage-free. Most of us have seen the video clips of mistreated animals, especially chickens being jammed into cages. So, when we hear cage-free, we immediately think they must be having the time of their lives! Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To be labeled “cage-free,” the chicken is indeed out of the cage, but not necessarily outdoors. Most cage-free chickens never even see a day of sunshine.

The next most misleading label is free-range. To be labeled “free-range,” the chicken must have “access” to the outdoors. This does not mean they will always see the outdoors, as the flock of hens and chickens can be so large that only a portion can see sunshine. In addition, having access to the outdoors does not mean24-hour access—some hens only have 5 minutes of access to the true outdoors!

Finally, the last misleading label is organic. The good thing about being organic is that the hen or chicken was fed organic, antibiotic-free feed, or food. However, this does not have to do with their living arrangement or access to the outside.

Image courtesy of the Humane Society of America

Image courtesy of the Humane Society of America

What you should buy:

After reading all of this, you may be thinking of throwing in the towel when it comes to purchasing eggs. But, don’t give up yet! There are healthy alternatives out there. The best option is organic, pastured (or pasture-raised) eggs. Pastured eggs mean that the hens could roam around outside in the pasture without being crammed into cages. They were exposed to sunlight and natural forms of food. As stated above, having the distinction of being “organic” means you don’t have to worry that the hens were fed feed with antibiotics while roaming the pastures.

If you do your homework and take your time when at the supermarket, you’ll be able to find the natural, healthy eggs. However, if you can stop by a local farmer’s market, make it a point to pick up organic, pastured eggs from a local farmer. If you’re skeptical, ask the farmer questions based on this article so you know you’re only getting the best ingredients.

Why bother eating organic, pastured eggs instead of eggs coming from chickens confined in factory farms? Check out these details below.

Eggs from pastured hens usually contain:

  • 1⁄3 less cholesterol
  • 1⁄4 less saturated fat
  • 2⁄3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
  • 4 to 6 times more vitamin D
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