Friday, January 25, 2019

Food Fact Friday: Eggs! (Part Two)


I was shopping for eggs a couple of days ago, when I realized just how many options there were, and just how confusing it might be for someone who wasn’t sure exactly what to buy. I think we all want to make good, healthy, informed choices, not over-spend, and keep animal well-being mind, so I decided to make a Food Fact Friday out of it!

It’s important to start out by saying that here in Canada, eggs are free of added steroids or hormones and as a country, we have high quality standards when it comes to caring for the hens that lay eggs. Furthermore, MOST farmers care a lot about the animals they tend to (it’s in their best interest) despite some of the horror stories we hear.

However, even within these parameters, there exists a fair amount of variety between systems that farmers use to house hens, and what they feed to them.

While all Canadian egg farmers provide hens with access to food, water, a clean environment and protection from inclement weather, the hens don’t necessarily have access to the outdoors. Free-range/pastured birds have access to the outdoors, weather permitting. (But because there is no legal definition of free-range in Canada, this varies farm to farm).

There is also an important distinction between free-range and free-run. Free-run means that the birds have access to the entire barn floor area, and are not kept in cages – but they don’t necessarily have access to the outdoors either.

I personally prefer to buy eggs that are free-range/pastured, and ideally from a local farmer. I like the idea of the hens being able to roam around and get sunlight, and hens in a free-range environment are likely to have access to more heavily pigmented foods like plants and insects – which is their natural diet. This diet (generally speaking) leads to a more nutritious egg with a darker yolk. But even then, yolk color can vary. Below are eggs from a new carton and older carton of eggs I used the other day when making a frittata. It's interesting to see: both of these are free-range eggs; one is organic. 





Finally, just a reminder that by buying locally, we are supporting farmers in our area, and we get the freshest (eggs in this case) food possible. It’s truly win-win!

Did you know? Omega-3 fatty acids are present in almost all egg yolks? Some hens though, are fed an enhanced diet higher in certain nutrients (like Omega-3’s), which ultimately affect the nutrient content of the eggs.

Did you know? Pasture-raised hens eggs are often naturally higher in Omega-3’s because of their diet (from forage legumes like alfalfa and clover, and mixed grasses). However – if you’re looking to include more Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you’re far better off to source it from much denser sources, such as wild salmon, sardines, or grass-fed beef!

Find out more about Canadian egg farmers here: I was shopping for eggs a couple of days ago, when I realized just how many options there were, and just how confusing it might be for someone who wasn’t sure exactly what to buy.

It’s important to start out by saying that here in Canada, eggs are free of added steroids or hormones and as a country, we have high quality standards when it comes to caring for the hens that lay eggs. Furthermore, MOST farmers care a lot about the animals they tend to (it’s in their best interest) despite some of the horror stories we hear.

However, even within these parameters, there exists a fair amount of variety between systems that farmers use to house hens, and what they feed to them.

I personally prefer to buy eggs that are free-range/pastured, and ideally from a local farmer. I like the idea of hens being able to roam around with access to sunlight, and hens in a free-range environment are likely to have access to more heavily pigmented foods like plants and insects – which is their natural diet. This diet (generally speaking) leads to a more nutritious egg with a darker yolk.

When buying locally, we are supporting farmers in our area, and we get the freshest (eggs in this case) food possible. It’s truly win-win!

Did you know? Omega-3 fatty acids are present in almost all egg yolks? Some hens though, are fed an enhanced diet higher in certain nutrients though (like Omega-3’s), which ultimately affect the nutrient content of the eggs.

Did you know? Pasture-raised hens eggs are often naturally higher in Omega-3’s because of their diet (from forage legumes like alfalfa and clover, and mixed grasses). However – if you’re looking to include greater amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you’re far better off to source it from much denser sources, such as wild salmon, sardines, or grass-fed beef!

Find out more about Canadian egg farmers here: https://www.eggs.ca/onthefarm



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