Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I became a chicken farmer

This one's for you, Jes. Eggs. What is the Omega-3 enriched eggs all about? What is the deal with free range, organic, high omega enriched and why do you really want to pay double the price for these eggs or procure them yourself? Here's the scoop.

First off, in our diets today, we are consuming a large amount of imbalanced fatty acids. We get the Omega 's 6's but not much of the Omega 3's. Omega 6 is in the cheaper oils, especially the soy varieties. Soy is in everything so we become lopsided. This is dangerous in the body. While we want both, getting too much of the 6's and not enough of the 3's is linked to all sorts of diseases in the body. America is famous for this. There is a great article by Dr. Weil that you can read here to help you drive this point home.

Second, conventional eggs are from chickens that don't generally ever see the sun. We want our chickens basking in the sun rays to soak up the D3. We want our eggs full of nutrients. Today, our eggs are void of much nutrition not to mention full of pesticides and hormones. Chickens should be doing what chickens should always be doing; foraging the earth for vegetation and insects out in the fresh air with sunshine. This allows them to get a good diet, exercise and sun. A healthy chicken gives you healthy eggs. If you have to choose, I would pick free range over organic every time. Of course, the best would be both free range, organic with a side of Omega 3 enhanced. If you crack open a conventional egg and a pastured, omega 3 enriched egg, you will immediately see the difference. As with most fruits and vegetables in nature, if not all, the richer the color, the more nutrients and vitamins you are getting. The healthy egg has a rich yolk, almost an orange color. The nutrient void egg has a pale yellow color. Adding flax seed among other things to the chicken feed will aid in getting this rich color. The flax seed add's the important omega 3 side.

Now eggs get a bad rap from some these days and many just go for the whites. There are so many valuable nutrients in the yolk that you want and remember, all fats are not created equal as with calories. Eat the yolk. The yolk and the white were put together in one cute little package for a reason. I know many are concerned about cholesterol but with the Omega 3 eggs, the cholesterol is in a healthy form that the body actually needs. The yolk contains the important B vitamins that the body needs. For vegetarians, eating eggs is very important to get the B's you need. The yolk also contains Lutein which is essential for eye health.  The egg also has selenium for your immune health, vitamin E for your antioxitant and vitamin A for your skin health, among other things. It is a great protein for your body and eating a hard boiled egg after a workout is a great way to get the protein intake so many are concerned with when hitting the gym. I cringe at the protein powders being sold on the market. Horrible stuff, really. Not to mention expensive. Just eat and egg and some almonds and you are getting all you need. 

My last point, and one I never really thought about before I had chickens is about the chicken itself. I didn't really think about the chicken as a living being. I just bought eggs or meat. Now that I have them grazing in my backyard, I realize that they are a living, thinking, feeling creature. They each have personalities. They come up to us and like attention. They are now pets. A few of them will even climb onto my sons lap and like to be petted. Weird. But, this makes me realize how torturous it must be to have thousands of chickens crammed into a little cage for their whole life for the sole purpose of laying eggs. They are suffering. It makes me sad. Like I said before, I have never been an animal activist or anything but now I understand more fully that life should be respected. An animal, any kind of animal, feels. It makes me sad to think of them suffering. It is easy to not think about our food supply that way but when I do, it makes me want to adopt a more committed vegetarian lifestyle. 

So, there you have it. All you wanted to know about the egg. We eat lots of eggs. I believe that they are given to us for our betterment. A chicken can lay one egg a day. We really don't need that many chicks so I think it was part of the game plan for us to eat them. My personal thoughts. 

We lost some of our chickens to heat this summer. We cried. Honestly, I had no idea that I could be sad about a chicken. It is a little life and I do have tender spots in my heart for little things. 

I am going to go make an omelet.

As a side note, Costco, who is so committed to sustainable, healthy food, actually works with a number of farms to get us these good omega , free range eggs. They believe in quality and have strived to make this obtainable for all of us. I love them. They even have organic , fresh blueberries and blackberries right now. I also scored on the no nitrite, no msg, no gluten Italian sausage. 


Liesl said...

I'm so excited for my chickens to start laying. I've posted about it on facebook and someone actually asked me how it was possible for chickens to lay eggs without a rooster. I think it's sad that we don't konw as much as we should about our animals and the food they provide. Most people can tell us about electronics and the benefits they provide, but they've become ignorant of the most important parts of life; nourishment. Thank you for explaining about the diet and exercise chickens need in order for us to have healthy foods.

Jodiane said...

Yes, thanks you so much Shari. I can't wait to get my own chickens going. Um, you didn't post about it, but what is your opinion (if you have one) on consuming raw eggs. You know my dream is to be a 100 percent raw foodist, and lately (after not eating eggs for over 25 years) I have started putting a raw, organic (hopefully free range) egg in my veggie shake. Do you think there is anything wrong with this? I will google it sure, but if you knew any danger in that, I would appreciate you sharing it. Much love and gratitude for your blog.

Shari Goodman said...

I would trust a raw egg that I took out of the coop but not a raw egg from the store. I worry about salmonella although many people have been eating raw eggs for years! I am a huge worry bug about bad food. I am one to always throw things out before expiration dates etc so I may not be the one to ask.

whatsreal said...

I loved finding this in my email today!
It was yummy and inspirational and though I can't do chickens right now I am encouraged to go find some from some local sources.
Thank you!

Kara said...

We are doing GAPS and going through 8 dozen eggs a week right now. We eat them raw regularly. There is always a risk when eating anything raw though. That is one of the reasons the entire supermarket is pasteurized, to save us from ourselves. Healthy immune systems should not fear.

Kelli Brown said...

Thanks for the post, Shari, and for encouraging Ryan to keep the yolks in :)

Lisa said...

This was a great post. Thank you so much for the information.