After my Toad in a Hole post, I wanted to say a quick word about eggs. Eggs have received a bad rap in years past, and somewhere along the line this food was demonized, especially the terrible, cholesterol-filled yolk. Not the yolk, yikes!!!!
The truth is that eggs have never been shown to actually raise cholesterol levels, at least not in a bad way. Eating eggs increases your HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind of cholesterol. (1) Plus, did you know there is more than one type of triglycerides? Most doctors don’t even know this fact, and somehow think that all triglycerides are the same. In reality, there are small, dense triglycerides are the ones that are bad for your heart and can cause all kinds of problems. The larger, fluffy ones are benign, and actually help sweep the smaller, dense ones along to avoid blockages. Eggs have been shown to change the small, dense triglycerides into the fluffy, happy guys, keeping things moving as they should. (2, 3)
Eggs are incredibly nutrient dense, but the majority of that nutrition lives in the yolk. That means that for years, millions of “healthy” people have been throwing away the most nutritious part of their food, without even realizing it!
Eat this, not that
When it comes to eggs, they are not all created equal. Have you ever had fresh eggs? Fresh eggs from happy chickens who were allowed to move around and scratch in the dirt and eat bugs? There is a huge difference in both the nutritional content and the flavor of real eggs. I am very lucky that just a few houses down the street from me I have a friend who has a flock of happy chickens, and that this friend lets me buy my eggs from her.
I created this little guide to help you to choose the best eggs.
Good: At the grocery store, at the bare minimum get some organic, free range eggs. Free range basically just means that they open the door of the chicken coop for about an hour a day. This doesn’t mean they actually spend any time outside or eat any bugs (as chickens should!), but this is better than the cheap, factory farmed eggs.
Better: The word you want to look for is “pastured.” This means the chickens get to spend time outside scratching around and eating plants and bugs, which increases the nutritional content of the eggs. Here’s where you will really start to see a difference in the egg, the yolk will be a bright, pretty orange instead of a pale, sad yellow.
Best: Either throw a flock of chickens in your backyard, or find a situation like mine where you get to know someone who raises chickens. It is becoming more and more popular to raise your own chickens, but be sure to check with your city before you invest much time or money as they all have different laws. You also probably have someone nearby who raises happy chickens, if not a neighbor, check your local farmer’s market for a farmer selling fresh eggs. Get to know where your food comes from!
Gross: Conventional, grocery store eggs. The egg industry in the U.S. is completely horrifying. The chickens are crammed wing to wing into huge buildings. Their beaks are clipped so they don’t peck at each other. They never are allowed to go outside, most never see the sun in their lives. Their feed usually consists of GMO soy mixed with other grain. Their sad lifestyle is reflected in the low quality of the eggs they produce. The nutrition just isn’t there, and the taste? Once you’ve tasted a fresh egg from a happy chicken, you just can’t go back to junk eggs ever again.
My favorite egg dish of all time is Eggs Benedict. What’s your favorite way to serve up these little nutritional powerhouses?