Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The incredible edible egg?
People in the government and the media love to talk about the dangers of raw milk, supposedly a food brimming with microscopic baddies just waiting to wreak havoc on your insides. Consuming raw dairy is described by the FDA as "inherently dangerous" and "like playing Russian roulette with your health." It's a slight relief to me that now a new breed of villain is on the scene: the EVIL EGG! Though of course I feel badly for the 1300+ people currently feeling the effects of salmonella poisoning.
I have been strongly chastised in the past for making it known that I feed Oliver raw egg yolks from pastured chickens (a highly nutritious and extremely digestible food). The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has trumpeted loud and clear on its website for who knows how long that it is dangerous to consume undercooked eggs -- a fact that has been brought to my attention more than once. No distinction is ever been mentioned between eggs from factory farms and eggs from small grass-based organic farms. However, in the matter of nutrition and food safety this makes ALL the difference. You really cannot have a discussion of food safety without talking about where your food is coming from.
If you go to a diner and order an omelet, this is where the eggs are coming from:
Appetizing, right? And yes, these eggs may very well be quite unsafe if consumed sunny-side up, soft-boiled, or raw -- or even well-cooked. It might even be dangerous just to touch one! But really, once you realize the conditions under which these eggs came into existence, you aren't likely to have an appetite for them no matter how they are cooked.
Compare this to the eggs from a happy, healthy chicken that lives mostly out of doors, eating lots of delicious earthworms and bugs, clover and grasses of all kinds, cracked organic corn, and maybe even occasional summer fruits, small reptiles, and scraps from the family's table.
This chicken gets plenty of sunshine and fresh air, and stores amazing amounts of omega-3 fats and the all-important fat-soluble vitamins A and D in its fat, skin, organs, and eggs (which contain 8 times more vitamin D than an egg from its battery-raised counterpart). (I don't have the stats on the vitamin A, omega-3s, choline, selenium, iron, zinc, and vitamin K2, but you can rest assured these are much higher, too.)
Much like the unhealthy environment of the sweatshops of the 19th and early 20th century (which severely undermined the health of every worker), animals raised in densely-packed confinement without light, air, and grass are going to be inherently unhealthy. They will produce meat, milk, and eggs that are at the very least lacking in nutrition if they are not downright dangerous. It is time to take a collective hard look at where our food is coming from and how it is being produced. And it's time to get as far away as we can from the industrial food system that is making our livestock, land, air, citizens, and small farming communities so very very unwell. Real food is something to be eagerly appreciated, to be treasured, enjoyed, and savored -- not something to fear.
I for one am grateful to the bottom of my heart that I can feed Oliver these nourishing and delicious breakfast custards every single day and know that they will be nothing but good for him.