How to Choose the Best Eggs

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Eggs are my morning superfood. When it comes to nutritional value eggs are practically perfect. They are packed with high quality fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E, K, B-complex and minerals iron phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Plus a important nutrient called choline that most people are not getting enough of.

But eggs are not created equal. Not even close. And although buying cage free eggs at the super market is better than the regular ‘ol white ones, it’s not as good as it sounds.

Shopping for eggs can be confusing. Let me create some clarity for you.

Common egg terms and what they mean:

Regular/Conventional (grade A, AA or B eggs)
These hens are most likely raised in small cages stacked on top of each other. Their beaks are clipped and antibiotics are added to their feed. They spend the entirety of their life in a cage with no exposure to sunlight.

Natural
There are no regulations for the term "natural." Any producer can put this label on their eggs -- it has no meaning.

Cage-Free
This term is quite deceiving. The hens are uncaged, but it doesn't mean they're free-range or roaming in the great outdoors. The hens are inside a barn or warehouse where they can roam freely, but the living conditions are typically crowded with little expose to sunlight.

Free-Range
This is another deceiving term. The living conditions are similar to cage-free but the hens must have access to the outdoors. It does not means they will have access to grass or that time outdoors is ensured. There is also no regulation to the size of the area for a given number of birds so crowded conditions are typical.

Certified Organic
Organic eggs must come from chickens that are uncaged and have some access to the outdoors, even if limited. These hens are not pumped with antibiotics. They are fed an organic diet free of animal by-products, pesticides and genetically modified food.

Omega-3
Omega-3 labeling means the hens were fed fish oil or flax seed, but there is no way of knowing the amount since it isn't regulated.

Brown vs. White
The color of an egg is purely based on the genetics of the chicken. There are no differences in nutritional benefits; a brown egg is not healthier than a white egg.

Pastured
These hens are not kept in crowded indoor conditions.  They are not given antibiotics. They are free to roam on pasture, eat bugs and worms and see daylight. These hens not only live a healthier, happier life but also produce a much more nutritional egg.

And the winner is...

Eggs from pastured hens! They are by far the best. Not only do these hens live a happy life, they also produce the most nutrient dense egg. The eggs from these happy hens contain up to 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids then eggs from hens living in indoor, crowded conditions. The amounts of vitamins A, D and E are also far superior. Pastured eggs are one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient critical for healthy growth and development.

Second best goes to organic eggs. Certified organic is strictly regulated by the USDA so you are guaranteed your eggs are coming from hens free of antibiotics. You also know the feed is free of genetically modified ingredients and pesticides. If your not able to find pastured eggs, do your best purchase organic.

The good news is raising chickens is becoming more popular and thus easier for you to find a high quality egg source. Your local farmers market is a great place to find quality eggs. If this is not an option your local natural food store will mostly likely carry eggs from a high quality source.

When using eggs from pastured hens you will not only be able to taste the difference but see it too! The yolk is a beautiful deep yellow-orange. The majority of the nutritional value is found in this beautiful yolk that screams nutrition!  So take the time to purchase high quality, great tasting, nutrients dense eggs. And be sure to eat your yolks!

 

Are You Avoiding This Vital Nutrient?

This topic I am truly passionate about. It's something I will keep saying until everyone is on board. Because it is so important.

Fat is not making us fat. And cholesterol is not giving us heart disease.

If you want to be healthy, you need healthy fats. And healthy fats include saturated fat. I know, it sounds so wrong. It’s ingrained in us to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol.

We need fat for many reasons. Saturated fat included. And we need cholesterol. Sorry to sound like a broken record but when you have heard one thing so many times (“watch your cholesterol”) it takes a bit of repetition to change your thinking. It may also take evidence and reasoning so please read on.

Saturated fat has been demonized. We have been told that high cholesterol levels will give us heart disease. We have been misinformed. This is simply not true.

I’m going to tell you how the demonetization of cholesterol and saturated fat began but first consider this: a hundred years ago less than one percent of Americans where obese and coronary heart disease was unknown. A hundred years ago saturated fats where enjoyed liberally; full fat milk, cream, butter, eggs, red meat...

Wait.....so our great-grandparents ate liberal amounts of food containing saturated fat and stayed free of chronic disease? Yes. And all that cholesterol didn’t give them heart disease? Nope.

So are you wondering why you have been told to avoid saturated fats and cholesterol? I sure was! When I found out what our (healthy) ancestors where eating I realized that something was wrong. I released that I had been taught to be scared of something my body needs.

We have been misinformed. This is how it all started...

This misinformation began with a study publish by Ancel Keys in 1953. He wanted to prove that death from heart disease was correlated to the percentage of calories from fat in the diet. Keys collected data from 22 countries. He then proceeded to publish data from just 6 countries. This data from the 6 countries showed a correlation between heart disease and dietary fats. Yes, you read that right. Keys left out data from 16 countries. How could this correlation be accurate? It’s wasn’t. But data from 16 of the countries did not fall in line with his desired results, so he simply left it out.

Keys could of proven that increasing the percent of calories from fat in the diet reduces the number of deaths form coronary heart disease. All he would of had to do is pick 6 different countries. But he chose 6 counties that presented the results he was looking for. When looking at all the data there is no correlation.

Keys published a more detailed study in 1970 called the Seven Countries Study. In this study he left out countries that eat a lot of fat but have little heart disease. He also left out countries with low fat consumption and a high rate of heart disease. This flawed study further cemented the (false) association of fat consumption and death from heart disease.

Key study lead to a report released in 1977 stating “Dietary Goals For The United States”. The dietary goals where basically eat less fat and cholesterol and eat more complex carbohydrates from grains, vegetables and fruits.

And the low-fat, high-carb lifestyle began. So did the epidemic of obesity with the diabetes epidemic soon to follow. Replacing fats with a highly processed, high-carb diet was a huge mistake. A mistake that has been the main contribution to our epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

More Evidence

Here is a  graph showing a complete study so you can see how cholesterol really effects death by heart disease. This is from World Health Organization's MONICA study.

Notice that the Aboriginals have the lowest cholesterol, yet the highest death rate from heart disease. The Swiss have the highest cholesterol levels yet one of the lowest rates of death from heart disease. There is just no correlation!

Did I mention that fat is good?

Fat signals satiety. It keeps you full and satisfied for hours. It keeps your blood sugar steady.  Low-fat foods drive hunger. They causes sugar spikes and drops, driving you to eat more often. When your hungry and need something quick you often eat convenient, processed foods. These foods are devoid of nutrients and high in sugar. This creates cravings for more because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs. Your body just wants to be satisfied and nourished (that is what fat is good for).

Okay, so fat is satisfying and cholesterol is a good guy too. So what’s so good about cholesterol? Oh so many things...

Cholesterol is your friend. More than your friend; it’s vital.

We need cholesterol because:

  • Vitamin D is made from cholesterol
  • It makes bile salts that help us digest fats.
  • Many important hormones are made from cholesterol, including the sex hormones.
  • Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant that protects us against free radicals.
  • Cholesterol is a repair substance. It’s used to repair wounds, this includes tears and irritations in the arteries.
  • Cholesterol is found in every cell, providing waterproofing and structural integrity.
  • And it’s vital to the function of the brain and nervous system.

In conclusion, to put it no so lightly, we would be dead without cholesterol. It’s a very good friend given a very bad reputation. How unfair.

If your still not convinced....

Cholesterol is so vital that our bodies make it. Our bodies don’t want to risk not having it on hand. On average, only 25% of cholesterol in our body comes from our diet. Our liver produces the other 75%. So if your not consuming cholesterol rich foods, your body will step in and make more. So please, eat the yolks. They a nutrient powerhouse with the added bonus of healthy cholesterol.

Here’s the good thing. You can choose what to eat. We can choose to eat the yolks.

If you were hesitant before, you now have permission to eat a three egg omelet, loads of butter and a nice juicy steak. All in the same day...

 

Sources: http://capitaldistrictvitalitycenter.com/blog/2012/09/low-cholesterol-caution-why-you-need-cholesterol/
http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/05/the-truth-about-saturated-fat.aspx

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How could fat be what I needed to loose fat? For so long I believed that eating fat would prevent me from being thin and healthy. This was a deep rooted belief for me to overcome.

During my quest for health I came to realize that my body needed more fat. But not just any fat. My body needed what I like to call the good fat. And to my relief, this includes butter.

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Homemade yogurt saves you money, tastes better and allows you to avoid preservatives and hidden sugars in store bought yogurts.

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These delicious muffins are easy to prepare. You are going to love them!

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Because this mayo is a healthy, real food.

All you need is pastured eggs, a good quality oil, lemon and salt. Homemade mayo tastes better and it’s a real food! Plus it’s quick to make. The first time I whipped up a batch I was so satisfied! Just like that I had made mayo with ingredients I trust.

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Making your own broth is easy.

Additionally, making chicken broth is essentially free. Those bones and chicken parts that you would of thrown out in the past are now the ingredients to create your delicious broth.

 

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