What about eggs?
Over the years, I have significantly cut down on my use of eggs for a variety of humane reasons, yet I understand that eggs are, and will most likely be, a part of many diets, whether you call yourself a vegetarian or not.
I would like to note here the difference between Certified Organic Free Range Eggs that come from hens that run free and are fed organic feed and the less expensive commercial supermarket eggs that come from hens fed a commercial diet and raised in battery cages. The difference between organic and non-organic animal products is significant, not only because of the deplorable conditions in which caged egg-laying hens are kept, but also the effect these conditions have on the animals, the eggs themselves, and the people who consume them.
The difference between organic and non-organic eggs is startling. Eggs provide two fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3 and those are best when delivered in equal ratios. When you have too much omega-6 and too little omega-3, this imbalance leads to a variety of health problems. Some of those problems may include, overall physical inflammation, high blood pressure, depressed immune function, weight gain, an irritated intestinal tract, and a tendency to form blood clots. Organic Free Range Eggs, that come from hens who roam free and eat green plants and insects, produce eggs that have the perfect ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a balance of 1:1. On the flip side, commercial supermarket eggs produced from hens living in horrific conditions, fed mainly grains, and administered antibiotics in a factory-farm environment, have a ratio closer to 15 or 20:1.
While the cost to the consumer’s pocket is almost double to buy free range organic eggs, the cost to his or her health of not buying organic is much greater. If consumers demand changes in the conditions of hens kept by mainstream egg producers and large commercial suppliers, I guarantee in time, things will change. In most of Europe, battery cages have been banned for health and humane reasons. Surely, we in America can rise to this occasion. But until we do, my solution is to urge you to consume fewer eggs, which is a good thing anyway, and only buy free range organic eggs. Labels can be deceiving, so if possible, buy locally-produced eggs so you know where the eggs come from and how the chickens are kept. If I can’t get local eggs, I simply don’t use them. And it’s much easier than you think.
Knowledge is power. The more we know about our food and food sources and the more control we take over our own diets, the more power we have to create positive change for ourselves and the world around us.