After what feels like a very long Winter, Spring is just a whisper away. If not today, then tomorrow, or in a few days. The time of birth, and rebirth. Time for Easter and Passover, or just lilacs and tulips and daffodils! Time for an abundance of eggs!
Eggs truly symbolize this lighter time, after months of roost crops and squashes, soups and stews. Eating in season is healthier and cheaper and usually means more local. Early Spring foods include asparagus, green onions, lettuces, radishes, rhubarb. All juicy, many detoxifying. Lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores will delight in the egg abundance. Vegans will need other sources of the nutrients found in eggs.
There is so much value in the egg, be it from a chicken, a duck, quail, or turkey. During the “low-fat” craze we were told to only eat the white part of an egg as the yolk contained cholesterol, that bug-a-boo of modern society. It was the precursor to the best-selling pharmaceutical drug worldwide — the famous statin drugs. Yet, as early as the 1950s, it was known that the yolk of an egg also contains lecithin. Natural lecithin, not soy lecithin, which mitigates the cholesterol in the egg yolk. We knew this but ‘advertising’ won out. Because advertising is always truthful, right? Not so.
So we bought egg whites in cartons and eggs with added omega 3s, as nature’s perfect product was considered ‘incomplete’. Hard to believe that Nature got it wrong and the industrial foods of modern times got it right. Pastured eggs are infinitely better than industrial eggs. Industrial eggs are from chickens confined to cages they cannot move around in, given hormones to increase production, so anxiety-driven that their combs must be cut off so they won’t peck the bird in the cage next to them. This treatment alone could put many people off of eggs. But you don’t have to buy industrial eggs. Unless maybe you just want to decorate them for Easter and have no intention of eating them.
But the pastured hen gives eggs of fine protein, with brilliant orange yolks in the spring time. Yolks that stand up in the pan and don’t leak all over in the bowl or that pan. Filled with nutrient density, protein, Vitamin A and D3, which we so badly need after this last winter. Eggs also supply the B-complex vitamins needed in vegan and vegetarian diets. In addition eggs have Vitamin E, lutein (great for eye health), and trace minerals, as well as nutrients we probably haven’t discovered yet. A pretty good package of densely packed nutrients.
And what about the “newest’ Vitamin K2, needed for bone remineralization, heart, and brain? K2 is very low in most American diets because it is missing in modern, manufactured, industrial foods. Vitamin K1 is found in modern green “leafies,” as I like to call them, so vegans and vegetarians and the rest of us get that nutrient when we eat foods like cabbage, kale, and spinach. K1 plays a role in blood clotting.
Newer studies show that K2 is great for heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosous. A 2004 study found that consuming K2 reduced mortality risk for over 50% of participants in a study of people who had heart attacks. Something to think about as 50% of heart attacks occur to people who do NOT have high cholesterol.
Another nutrient low in many Americans that’s high in eggs is choline. Choline keeps cell membranes fluid, able to take in nutrients, and let out waste products. Therefore choline is much needed for a highly functioning brain. So many Americans went the egg-white-only model that this could very well explain the current increase we’re seeing in dementia and Alzheimer’s, at least in part. Other than animal products, eggs are the richest source of choline. Lacto-ovo vegetarians take heart. But even a mild choline deficiency can lead to fatigue, insomnia, memory decline, muscle and nerve weakness, all problems rampant in our industrial society.
Taurine is another nutrient rich in eggs that has been proven to be able to stimulate the growth of new brain cells, something once thought to be impossible. Low levels of taurine can lead to anxiety, increased levels of stress, jagged nerves, and restlessness. Sound like anything you’ve experienced?
Of course lack of eggs in the diet isn’t the only cause of poor biological responses, but it could be an easy fix. The omega 3 fatty acids in eggs sustain you and make you feel satiated longer, leaving you less likely to grab for that manipulated, industrial, snack food. Low omega 3 fatty acids are implicated in arthritis, Type II diabetes, hyperactivity, heart disease, learning disorders, and stroke. Again, the disease of our modern society.
I could go on to extol the value of Nature’s biologically complete food – the egg – but instead I’ll give a nod to those funny yet hard-working hens in my yard. It’s the season for an abundance of their multi-colored jewels found in their nests. So don’t go out and buy another handful of supplements, just buy pastured eggs. And remember that “cage-free” and “free range” do not tell you how much time that the hens had access to their outside world or how natural their diets. Buy organic, which means they have not been fed hormones, and pastured which means they are living the life of a “natural chicken.”