Asking an athlete where he/she would be without protein is like asking a scientist where humans would be without gravity. They’re both a hands-down, necessary component of our everyday lives. Eggs are a part of every gym-junkie’s precious macronutrients and like many sources, can be misleading and low-quality. You’re probably thinking, “well eggs are healthy across the board and can’t possibly be low-quality so I’m good there!” Think again! With today’s technology and increased population comes supply and demand which most certainly compromises even the ‘incredible, edible egg.’ Still not convinced? No worries, everyone’s thinking-cap can come loose a little bit so let me adjust that for you.
Look at it this way; long ago, many farmers thrived and had at least a small flock of hens to contribute to their local people but most of them are no longer around. This is because our nation is saturated with more people with the typical Varuka Salt’s “I want it now” mind-set, making it difficult for local farmers to keep up with. Let’s face it, we want our gains now, too! Unfortunately, soon after along came the “corporate” rich hot-shots in the picture practically giving every farmer the boot from business as they rolled out their blue-prints to generate massive revenue. Once you have something perfect, like an authentic, organic agriculture egg and then alter the “process” of maintaining that status, you are diminishing the quality. This now means that not all eggs are created equal and is where you need to know the value and difference, especially when it comes to one of our most beneficial types of essential amino acids.
Conventional vs. Brown Eggs
Although all eggs share similar health benefits, this is where it gets tricky—and misleading which is where the “process” plays a very huge role. Most of our eggs today are conventional and white in color. These type of eggs typically come from a particular breed (of all white hens) found in large “factory or conventional farms” designed to pack in about 35,000 hens or more; although any breed can be brought up conventional style. Due to the lack of health and quality of the chickens results in the yolks to be a very faded yellow—(hint, hint). They’re stuffed in multiple buildings literally wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling in cages as big as a small filing cabinet, each building and cage beyond maximum capacity. Talk about crowded! I mean the term “packed like sardines” is definitely accurate and an awful way to live. Don’t believe me? Google images on factory farm or conventional chickens. Trust me, you’ll keep scrolling down with such shock and amazement. This image is just one of thousands.
These types of confinement give the birds absolutely no room to move or barely lift their wings. Since they’re so crammed together their diet consists of other hens’ feces and dirt from hardly getting the chance to make its way to eat from its designated container/bin. Great. Poop and dirt?! Well, if that hen happens to make its way to eat from the bin, it’s sadly filled with an inexpensive, low-quality and low-calorie, grain-based feed supplemented with more low-quality vitamins and minerals, even antibiotics and hormones. Really? MORE crap!? In addition, because they eat cheap, drugged-up feed, are unable to move around and exercise is why they cannot naturally grow any muscle mass to maintain a healthy lifestyle—basically worthless meat which is also why steroids and/or hormones are injected on top of that. Wow. What a nice touch.
This decreases the overall nutritious value (hence cheap costs) of the egg including the meat. This certainly isn’t appealing especially if we’re all on the bandwagon of “good, clean protein and calories.” Having said that, here’s a thought: Do you think these factory farmers would dare label their eggs with a reality picture of how their ladies are actually treated as they’re limping around all scraggly with clipped beaks? NO! Because they know everyone wants that home-style, happy-go-lucky feel and approach to their precious eggs. Given this, they’re better off generating misleading stickers/logos that portray a perfect little quaint farm with the sunshine in the background and two-or three “happy” hens.
No, I’m not writing on the behalf of PETA, I’m just a chick who is looking for that extra little bit of help in my health and gains who goes well out of her way to get as much information. Although these details seem rather similar to those horror stories we can’t bear to hear; all I’m doing is painting an elaborate picture to get my point across. After all, most of us are “visual learners.”
If you’re like me and go out of your way to eat organic as much as you can, this is where you have to be careful when purchasing “organic” as “corporate” has been slowly taking over. I couldn’t express more frustration for the fact that all I wanted (before I learned any better) was exactly what it states—ORGANIC, especially for what I’m paying and wasn’t (entirely) getting. These eggs are typically brown in color which also comes from different breed as well (as shown below)—a common misconception is that because they’re brown automatically makes them “organic,” (a silly assumption I was guilty of too). Again, just keep in mind that it doesn’t matter the breed to be conventional or organic. It matters how the breed is fed and cared for that gives their eggs such a negative or premium status. These yolks are however, a slightly darker yellow with a moderate increase to the nutritional value. Finally, we’re getting somewhere…
Here’s the catch: Wait, wait… There’s a “catch?” There sure is. When we think of “free-range/cage-free,” we think of how the chickens are happily prancing around a large open grass area pecking and eating on a “natural” farm. You know, like I just said, the kinds with the “home-style” logos and pictures that are plastered all over the containers. That should be the case most of the time it’s not because they too, can have similar living conditions as the conventional chickens.
I know what you’re thinking: “No way! But these eggs are expensive, that can’t be!” Well, since the feed is a little more expensive and the facilities may cost more to run, it could very well be the reason for the extra expense at the check-out stand. Sadly, although the “free-range” factory farms have no cages, they can still potentially pack in as many birds not giving them adequate amount of beneficial free-range exercise and movement. “Corporate agri-buisness” for organic standards say that the hens must have “access” to the outdoors, but many investigated factory-farm producers have roughly less than a half-dozen 2X2 doors or one very small “screened-in porch” (to “meet the standards”). This obviously cannot accommodate that many birds so the vast majority of them still don’t see the light of day.
Some head-hancho’s dispute people who are concerned regarding their outside activity, responding to claims that the birds don’t want to go outside. This is because they were born and raised INSIDE. They don’t know what OUTSIDE looks like. Even if the opportunity was there, odds are they’re not going to take it up by instinct. Let’s be generous now and say that they were born outside but have since been put inside long-term.
Well, they’re not “humanly” like Warner-Brother’s famous character, ‘Fog-Horn-Leghorn.’ “I-say, I-say they don’t have that kind of memory span, boy!”…Much less they don’t “feel like” doing anything they’re not used to as they are a routine-type of animal. They are however, free of any antibiotics and hormones by law. But hold your horses; that doesn’t make them “authentic, organic agriculture” for what was just covered, including that their diet is still not truly organic. Oh come on already! So why are they even labeled ‘organic’ then?
Chickens are not vegetarian…
The package states “veggie-fed” as an appealing factor although is not entirely true because hellooo! Chickens are not strictly vegetarians! Granted that’s more ideal than the basic low-quality feed, but they also continue to consume a corn-base feed regardless of it being organically grown along with a lot of feces and dirt since they’re still jammed-packed under a sunless roof. I mean it’s not like their grazing the fields here either. Having this “type” of outdoor access is not ideal or really considered legit outdoors. As far as the few hens that do escape outside, they’re not likely to be in hospitable areas as opposed to where they can peck and eat true organic nutrients such as grass, insects, seeds, worms, etc. (that which you can see are not necessarily “vegetarian”).
This is because a lot of the outside is mostly neglected property with dried dirt and/or a pesticide-saturated area that could benefit the chicken if it was cared for the way it’s meant to be. Unfortunately, since they’re meant to be in a building and not a “farm” is the reason for that. So to answer the question of how they’re able to label these eggs ‘organic’ is because these factory-farmers met the “outdoor” standards, they technically have no cages, their feed contains no pesticides, nor do they use antibiotics and/or enhancers. Again, it’s a step-up from the typical horror-house of conventional hens, but there’s surely room and reason for improvements.
Corporate-organic eggs or even conventional eggs may not concern you and be just fine for your preference nor are they likely to harm anyone. If that was the case then there would be consistent reports of law-suits and chronic illnesses going around having sole blame on those eggs, possibly even 86’d. Granted you do hear of a random case here-and-there, but that goes with almost all foods which could result from a number of reasons: Bad handling, insanitary facilities, over exposure to various temperatures, etc. which is another case in itself. But for those who are like me, always looking for something better, your “mom and pops” authentic organic agriculture eggs are your route to improved nutrition and protein, hands-down. Again, this subject is merely just an FYI to help you understand the horrid process that goes about getting you what you want which can overall potentially affect your health, including your gains. That is, if you care or are at least curious.
Free Range and Pastured Eggs
On the other hand, “pastured” eggs are 100% prime-time the best for you, worth every penny and considered authentic-organic. They’re not available in your typical grocery stores unfortunately. You are however, likely to find them in your local mom-and-pop grocery store (depending on the area/environment you reside), quality health-food stores and are almost always sure to find eggs and meat at your local farmers market; (most of the time with a very fair price-tag, sometimes even cheaper). Keep in mind by purchasing local, not only are you contributing to the economy by helping the local farmer thrive, but you’re no longer paying into “corporate” industries and inhumane farming.
These eggs come from legitimately happy hens which vary in shell color (yes, even green) from the various breeds, but their yolks are a very dark yellow, sometimes mistaken as orange as a result in the highest quality. Pastured eggs have 10% less fat, 40% more vitamin A, and 34% less cholesterol than eggs obtained from factory farms. These hens are constantly on a healthy piece of land, “freely” exercising for the better part of the day, pecking, and eating organic, earth-type feed as mentioned. This is also what makes the meat practically priceless. The nutrition sky-rockets the typical conventional egg and is still much better than the “corporate-organic” egg with far better taste to back it up, validating the slogan “the incredible, edible egg.” Oh-snap!
Having said that, for all the individuals on the “clean-eating” bandwagon including your bodybuilders and gym-rats, I am confident they would agree that messing with someone’s health and gains is like robbery and unfortunately a lot of the corporations get away with it—every time. Although the difference in nutrition may not be in vastly amounts, but still, I know nickel-and-diming can also regard your well-being. Of course this doesn’t only apply to eggs as there are other stomach-turning procedures done with other protein sources and foods. Unfortunately, we can only tackle one issue at a time. Hopefully this was the trick to tightening your thinking-cap in which your breakfast, lunch, AND/or dinner could be a “thumbs-down” in quality, not being “eggs-actly” what you ordered.