The official definition of “free range” as it pertains to poultry and egg farming is somewhat limited. It says that as long as the chickens are given a way to go out of their cages, then the hens as well as their eggs can be labeled as free range. Then there are others definitions for what kind of feeds they are given, which this time determines if they’re organic or otherwise.
This has resulted in a number of labels for eggs that usually serves only to confuse consumers. The use of the term free range eggs in this article is closer to what is meant by the label pasture-raised and includes with it the organic definition. When you allow chickens to seek their own food in a safe and natural environment, they become healthier chickens and produce healthier eggs. Since eggs are a major part of the human diet, this method of poultry farming ultimately benefits human health.
Read on to find out the health benefits of free range eggs and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid strongly recommends you add this source of protein in your diet.
Free Range Eggs Benefits:
Egg protein is classified as a complete protein. For a source to be considered as such, a type of food has to have all the nine essential amino acids present, and they should be in adequate proportion. The amino acid content of eggs is well studied and their value as an excellent source of protein is accepted as common knowledge. Beyond the nine essential, there are other kinds of proteins in eggs that are considerably beneficial. Ovalbumin, for example, is one type most abundant in the egg white and has been used as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning.
There is also a wide range of B vitamins and adequate amounts of vitamins A, D and E to be found in eggs. One of exceptional abundance is the B-complex vitamin choline. This nutrient plays important roles in maintaining cell membranes, transmitting nerve signals, and protecting the liver from fat accumulation. Some of the B vitamins, like niacin, are mostly found in the egg white. The A, D and E vitamins meanwhile are all in the yolk.
The high cholesterol content of eggs is a disadvantage that is sometimes too emphasized. You have to remember that certain beneficial fatty acids are also present and most of it is concentrated in the yolk. There are about 109 milligrams of omega-3 essential fatty acids for every 100 grams of eggs. It’s described as essential because it is crucial to normal development but the human body doesn’t produce it.
All these benefits are naturally present in eggs regardless of farming methods. The advantage of raising poultry in a free range organic way is that the eggs produced have more of these nutrients. The hen’s diet affects the nutritional quality of the egg. Therefore a free range chicken with access to clean pasture is likely to lay eggs with better nutritional quality. Free range eggs have been found to have higher A and E vitamin content, and double the amount of omega-3 fatty acids compared to eggs from conventionally raised poultry. Besides having more nutrients, eggs from free range chickens have also been found to have less cholesterol and saturated fats.
Free Range Eggs Practical Uses:
The culinary properties of free range eggs are basically the same as regular eggs. You can do with them all the common preparations such as boiled, scrambled, poached, pickled, etc. Here are a few cooking tips that might help.
Separating the egg white from the yolk – This is more often necessary in baking recipes. There are various improvised methods to accomplish this such as cracking the egg over a funnel. The egg white would drip through the small opening but the funnel would trap the yolk. The easiest method of course is simply to use an egg separator.
To pierce or not to pierce – Some people use an egg piercer when making hard-boiled eggs. This is supposed to prevent the shells from cracking as sometimes happen in this preparation. While the effectiveness and safety of this method is still being debated, you should consider that piercing the shell before the egg is cooked may increase risk of bacterial contamination. Adding table salt or vinegar to the boiling water is a better way to prevent cracking.
Controlling cholesterol intake – If you need to carefully watch your cholesterol, poaching the egg is better than frying it. The latter requires cooking oil which certainly adds more dangerous fat to the meal. A double boiler can be used to make even and better textured scrambled eggs. Unfortunately most recipes for this method still require a minimum amount of butter and/or cream.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of grass-fed beef, bison, buffalo or lamb that will help you in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the protein sources on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)
• Soaked or sprouted beans and legumes
• Raw seeds and nuts
• Roasted Seeds and Nuts
• Regular or Canned Beans and Legumes
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of free range eggs, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of free range eggs.