What is one to buy???
So I was a little enlightened last night while re-reading one of my nutrition books until midnight. I thought buying organic, free-range, hormone & antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed eggs was the best thing to buy. After all, we all know healthy chickens produce healthy eggs. In other words, when it comes to eggs, you get what you pay for. WRONG.
Although it's pretty obvious, I hadn't given it much thought. Chickens aren't vegetarians! They're omnivores, so being fed a strict vegetarian diet isn't natural and causes the eggs to be deficient in many natural nutrients and vitamins. But the USDA Organic label requires farmers to use vegetarian feed. It's done with good intentions becauses the disgusting, cheap alternative that factory-farms use is animal bi-products (unwanted baby roosters, beaks from debeaked birds and other parts are tossed in with the typical bird feed). So there was a reason that rule is there and is a much better alternative. Obviously eating vegetarian-fed eggs are healthier than factory-farm, supermarket eggs that were given animal bi-products. *shiver* Isn't that just disgusting?
Anyway, the best choice when buying eggs is PASTURE-FED. Not free range as that JUST means they aren't in individual cages. PASTURE-FED means the animals roam around eating grass, dirt and bugs - the way they're supposed to eat! This means the eggs are high in vitamins A and D, trace minerals from the dirt and all of the benefits of a very healthy, sturdy animal. Even better is to find a farm that sells pasture-fed eggs from chickens who roam and eat on organic pastures/farmland. :) So it may not be USDA Organic, but that's not what's important here.