Eggs, they’re one of my favorite topics and I’ve written about them several times, but after clearing cholesterol this week, it’s time to put the nail in the coffin and kill the BS that we should eat eggs. We have nearly exhausted the fact that cholesterol foods do not raise cholesterol, but we will review that first. Remember that small dense LDL is undesirable and large buoyant LDL we don’t mind? Well eggs actually shift the proportion of small to large. This is a good thing. To further back this, last year my Dad had read a report on an 88 year old that ate 24 eggs a day. The man’s blood work was good, as was his cholesterol levels and he was generally in good health. We tested these ourselves; sometimes I ate a dozen eggs a day. When I went to Yosemite I only packed 4 dozen eggs for the trip. With 30 miles of hiking in two days, I think the eggs were sufficient in doing their job (because I’m a fat-burner I could get away with this. The eggs provided fat and energy for me, whereas a sugar-burner is dependent on carbs and would not have faired so well), plus I didn’t lose any muscle tissue. People ask me my favorite choice of protein: eggs, red meat and liver. I eat eggs and red meat everyday; there is just so much nutrition to be had with these selections. I also have added interest as I’ve taken my love for being Primal and self-sufficient to another level, by partnering with my dad to raise our own chickens (a logical step since we eat so many eggs). So today’s post will differ from prior one’s because we’ll touch on homesteading. We’ll also look at different ways to prep eyes, because people tell me they can’t do eggs or they don’t like them. Lame excuse and you’ll see why once we get to that part. Before you begin daydreaming of your dream chicken coop and raising your own egg layers, let look at why I nutritionally love eggs:
- 1 egg has ALL 8 amino acids (hence it being my favorite protein to maintain precious muscle tissue)
- 1 egg has 200 mg of cholesterol
- Source of fat-soluble vitamins like A (growth and development), D (mineral absorption and bone health), and K
- Great source of B vitamins for vital functions (pastured have more folic acid and B12)
- Vitamin E (also higher in pasture-raised)
- Minerals like iodine (thyroid), phosphorus (bones and teeth), potassium, calcium
- Great source for carotenoids lutein and zeanxanthin, which is good news for eye health and individual prone to cataracts or macular degeneration. Plus eggs are a more bioavailable source of these than vegetables.
- Choline, which is in every living cell and a major component of the brain. It actually helps prevent fat and cholesterol from sticking to arteries.
- Pasture-raised have higher levels of omega-3
Alright, so I keep mentioning pasture-raised (not just organic, you want this label), why is this important? Chickens are omnivores, so they cannot be labeled as grass-fed because they love to munch on worms and bugs. Most chickens and what you get at the grocery store are not raised on pasture but in confined spaces. They are not as nutritious as pasture-raised point blank. They are 19 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6. Want to know how to discover a quality egg? The darker the deeper the orange hue, the higher the concentration of fat-soluble vitamins. Of course there are variables like time of year (spring provide the richest eggs), the chicken, diet, etc. Color will fade with age as well. This is when we get to the benefits of proudly raising your own chicken outside in the grass in the sunlight!
- Sunlight acts as a nutrient and naturally boosts egg production
- Cost saving, especially if you eat a lot of eggs like we do
- Resourceful, you can grind up their shells for feed to provide calcium. Plus you can feed those scraps, spare cabbage wedges, and carrot shreds.
- A great lesson for children, building compassion, self-efficiency, pride and more (like you can see here with my nephews, who fill in for me when I can’t always fulfill my duties)
Okay, so maybe you don’t have time, don’t want your own chickens, and don’t have space for them. You still need to look for pasture-raised eggs. Check local farmers markets (Baeslar’s sells L&A eggs) or find a farmer searching Eatwild.com. For those chicken homesteaders out there, something I learned that I loved is that you can freeze them. During the winter months you are not going to get many eggs, so to keep up supplies freeze them. Place eggs in a glass bowl, pierce yolks, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt for every two eggs, and place in the freezer. They can stay in the freezer for up to nine months, which is awesome!
Now that we know we should eat eggs and we have an abundance of them how do we eat them? I’ve heard that raw is best (salmonella? Salmonella chances are so small 3 eggs in every 1000 of commercially raised eggs, so you can bet the numbers for pasture-raised is less), but I’ve learned that this is okay, but regular consumption of raw egg whites can disrupt the digestive system. The whites contain enzyme inhibitors that may interfere with protein digestion. This frees up cooking the eggs, oxidation is only a concern when eggs are forced through tiny holes at high pressures (like with commercial processing). This means you can cook your eggs in a variety of ways: Poach, scramble, hard-boiled, over-easy, quiche, muffins, with bacon, egg salad, coddled, shirred, crepe, tamale, creamed, frittata, deviled, baked, look at these pictures and you can see the variety of ways that you can prepare eggs. They look yummy to me and show that eggs don’t have to be boring. Hint: for perfect hard-boiled eggs bake parallel on racks for 30 minutes at 325. Enjoy!