Eggs are one of the most economical ways to increase the nutrients in your family’s diet. Eggs are full of vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotene, cholesterol (which is good for you), and saturated fat (also good for you).
Why Pastured Eggs?
I don’t just buy any eggs. I only buy pastured eggs from local farmers who keep their chickens outdoors and let them roam around in the sun, eating bugs. I also only buy eggs from farmers who do not feed their chickens soy.
From what I had read, organic free range eggs were the best.
I knew supermarket eggs were bad. The chickens are crowded in cages. They don’t even have room to move or turn around. They’re pumped with antibiotics and fed genetically modified feed. They’re sick and very unhealthy — which is why it’s so common to find salmonella with factory farm chickens and eggs.
So I always bought “organic” “free range” eggs. It was about a year and a half ago that I discovered truly pastured eggs. The definition of “free range” or “cage free” is that they give the chickens “access to the outdoors”. What does that mean? Uh, nothing. Do they really go outside? No, usually not. They’re crowded into large, windowless sheds and they rarely ever go outside.
They may be “organic” and “cage free” but these are not truly healthy birds. Since they’re not given antibiotics, they are very susceptible to disease. The people who work at these “big organic” chicken farms have to wear cleanroom suits when they go in to visit the birds.
Here’s the thing: chickens need to be outdoors to get vitamin D from the sun. Chickens are also not vegetarians. You always see egg crates boasting a “vegetarian diet”. Guess what, folks? Chickens are supposed to eat bugs and worms. That’s where they are supposed to get their protein!
It was around that time that I discovered this article, Meet Real Free Range Eggs on the Mother Earth News website. They did a study in which they compared the nutrients in real pastured eggs to supermarket eggs.
Just look at these numbers! Compared to supermarket eggs (from factory farms), real pastured eggs have:
5 times more vitamin D
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
But What About the Cost?
It’s true that pastured eggs cost more. But isn’t it obvious that it is worth it? You’d have to eat 5 supermarket eggs to get the same amount of vitamin D from one pastured egg. You may be able to buy a dozen eggs for a buck or two at the grocery store, but you get what you pay for. The national average for pastured eggs is about $4-5 per dozen. However, they are worth that in terms of nutrient density.
I did a little figuring to see how economical pastured eggs really are.
Let’s say you pay $5 for a dozen pastured eggs. That means each egg costs about 42 cents. A “large” egg is about 2 ounces, so you’re paying 20 cents per ounce.
Twenty cents, people. How does that compare to other foods of a similar nutrient density? (The prices are based on what we pay here in California.)
Raw grass fed organic butter ($8 per pound): 50 cents per ounce
Raw grass fed organic cream ($7 per pint): 44 cents per ounce
Pasteurized grass fed butter – ($5 per pound): 31 cents per ounce
Grass fed organic ground beef ($4 per pound): 25 cents per ounce
Grass fed organic beef liver ($3 per pound): 19 cents per ounce
Raw grass fed organic milk ($10.50 per gallon): 8 cents per ounce
Where Do You Find Real Pastured Eggs?
When I made the switch from free range eggs to real pastured eggs, I had no idea where to get them. I had no idea that they were right under my nose at the local farmer’s market. (I’m pretty sure one of them does feed his birds soy, so I only buy from the other two, Rocky Canyon and Healthy Family Farms.)