Farm Fresh Eggs!
Despite what you may have heard about eggs—they can be a wonderful part of a healthy diet. However, all eggs are not created equal. Those suspiciously uniform less-than-two-dollar white eggs at the grocery are nutritionally quite different from free-range chicken eggs. In fact, they are almost a different food altogether! Free range chickens on small family farms tend to eat a diet of grass, insects, vegetables (table scraps) and small amounts of grain. These free range chicken eggs have: 1⁄3 less cholesterol, 1⁄4 less saturated fat, 2⁄3 more vitamin A, 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene, and more than 2 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and are thought to have many health benefits including: reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, helping with hypertension, ADHD, joint problems and skin ailments. Omega-3-fatty acids are “essential” fatty acids. This mean means that our body cannot make them: we must get them in our diet. The typical American diet is woefully deficient in omega-3’s. Many people have heard that eating fish is a good way to get omega 3’s into the diet. However, it is wise to practice caution with fish: farm-raised fish are highly contaminated and nutrionally wimpy. Wild-caught fish are better, but are also contaminated with mercury and are being depleted by over-fishing and habitat destruction. Most nutrition experts recommend limiting wild-caught fish to no more than 2 times per week. I say rather than eating wild fish (mostly caught in China), try eating free-range eggs from your local farmer! Eating eggs several times per week can increase your intake of omega 3’s. Even if you struggle with cholesterol, eggs can still be a part of your diet. Recent studies have shown that a moderate egg intake does not increase blood cholesterol levels. Pair your eggs with black beans and rice (gallo pinto) as they traditionally do in Latin America and you have yourself a Powerhouse Breakfast! The extra cost of free-range local eggs is well worth it. Given the amount of protein, vitamins and fatty acids that one free-range egg has: it is one fantastic neatly-wrapped little package.
Ode to the Egg (from punch magazine)
Pledge of a feather’d pair’s affection,
Kidnapped in thy downy nest,
Soon for my breakfast—sad reflection!—
Must thou in yon pot be drest.
What are the feelings of thy mother?
Poor bereaved, unhappy hen!
Though she may lay, perchance, another,
Thee she ne’er will see again.
Yet do not mourn. Although above thee
Never more shall parent brood.
Know, dainty darling! that I love thee
Dearly as thy mother could.
Dr. Kim Dulaney is a family doctor who is passionate about food, family, and faith.