The egg conundrum..
So I’ve been writing a ton lately about random day-to-day sorts of posts because we’re in the thick of life right now. We’re both just treading water but I will definitely talk about the struggles as soon as I can wrap my head around it! In our home, money doesn’t grow on trees and trying to buy mostly natural/whole/organic groceries has been a struggle. I LOVE Whole Foods but there is no way we can afford to shop there for everything and Canada doesn’t have a Sprouts or Trader Joes, boo! SO, I’ve been doing a TON of research into this because eventually, with children, our already atrocious grocery bill will grow. Craig is a weight gain guy and has been his whole life. His freshman year at Michigan they required him to bump up his weight a substantial amount and they advised him to drink raw eggs. Seriously, to gain weight he blends 14 raw eggs with chocolate almond milk and will wake up at 2 AM, chug it, and go back to sleep. This is my life. Luckily, I feed him with enough actual food that he doesn’t have to do this, except in the morning before practice. I actually will blend four eggs and do the same, in replacement of whey protein. My husband has eaten thousands, if not millions, of raw eggs in the last seven years and has yet to get sick once. So that means we have a substantial amount of eggs in our fridge at one time, Costco is my best friend.
I’ve always felt SO confused buying eggs at the grocery store in the past, haven’t you? There are SO many choices to choose from and I’m always SO skeptical of the labeling. Most labels, I have found are deceptive and con you into buying their products when they actually aren’t what they claim to be. The choices of eggs are endless: brown free range, brown organic free range, brown certified organic free range, brown & white free run, brown & white omega 3 organic, brown & white omega 3 free run and just plain ole’ conventional white. How are we supposed to know which ones are best and if they are even worth spending the extra money on? I’m here to clear things up and help make the choice a little easier.
Despite what prices say, the color really doesn’t matter on quality of the egg. The reason that brown eggs are more expensive is the hens that lay brown eggs are larger and require more food. Thus, the farmers drive up the price of the brown eggs, to pay for the extra feed. Eggs can also be bluish in color but it really just depends on the type of chicken laying the egg.
There are two different categories that are displayed on the packaging to understand: living conditions and feed. I feel like the “size” of the egg clearly speaks for itself.
(Living conditions of the chickens)
CAGE FREE OR FREE RUN = The chickens aren’t kept in battery cages, like most conventional chickens who lay white eggs. This mostly means they are allowed to roam in the factory that they are kept in and in NO way actually means they live outside.
Luckily, some states have banned battery cages due to how inhumane they are. Most chickens can’t even spread their wings in these cages and spend their entire lives in there. (Poor chickens)
FREE RANGE = The hens were allowed some access to sunlight throughout the day. Whether they have an open pen that they can go back and forth between the outside and inside for protection. These, are your most humane conditions.
(Types of feed fed)
ORGANIC = Again, with the label misconceptions some things may say organic but due to USDA guidelines it can be a little tricky. If the label says “100% certified organic” the hens must be fed with at least 95% organic ingredients. There is usually a seal you can find to help distinguish, it’s the USDA seal below. The second is “made with organic ingredients” which means only 70% of the product has to be organic. If you are going for that natural route and want to cut out GMO’s and go Organic, always look for the seals. I literally will avoid buying anything that claims to be “natural” or “organic” if it doesn’t have these seals! The feed itself is free of GMO, animal-by-products, and antibiotics. Also, the grains when grown cannot have had persistent pesticide or chemical fertilizer exposure.
OMEGA 3 ENRICHED= This is just talking about the feed that was given to the hens, that has higher levels of Omega 3’s. I’m not sure the stats on how much this changes the egg but I did read this feed can be extremely unhealthy for the actual chicken itself.
IF NOT INDICATED = I’m not entirely sure what is in the standard feed that is given to most chickens. I won’t pretend that I have researched this but it’s really your decision if that is something that is important to you or not. Very similar, to the “grass fed” beef decision and I want to talk about that in a different post.
I know I threw a lot of information at you and I’m sure you’re wondering which I generally choose. When I say choose I mean just for me because we’d go broke is all his eggs were organic!
“CERTIFIED Organic Free Range”
If you are going to spend the extra money on eggs, these are the best. I HIGHLY recommend checking out a local farmers market and talking to the farmers themselves. This helps small business and you’re getting it straight from the people who are raising them. Plus, I just really adore/respect farmers and can’t wait to have my own garden and chicken coop one day! I really notice a difference in the yolk colors of these eggs and the taste is substantially different.
I hope I helped clear up some misconceptions and maybe save you some money! Leave some comments below, if you have any questions or objections! I’d love to hear your feedback if you raise chickens yourself.