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No, I don’t have the answer to which came first — the chicken or the egg.

But I do know I love eggs. And because I enjoy my CSA egg share delivery (I also get veggie and fruit shares) from Grant Family Farms so much, I decided to do a post specifically on eggs. I’m into week 21 of this year’s 26 week CSA harvest and I’m already starting to freak out about Josh and the gang ditching me for the winter. Okay, so I understand (sort of) how hard these farmers work and I understand (sort of) how they endure long days and erratic and volatile weather and I understand (sort of) how much they deserve a short break — but what about me? What am I going to do when I don’t have my weekly delivery? How will I get by for the other 26 weeks of the year?

Okay, okay. I’ll get a grip and suffer through the long winter without you, Josh.

And in the meantime, I’ll appreciate and enjoy the abundance of incredible veggies, fruit, and eggs I’m receiving right now. Oh my gosh, the kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) from last week was amazing (kabocha bisque recipe to follow in my next post)!

Those of you out there contemplating joining a CSA, run right now and do so. Hurry, hurry, hurry! Opening my big red box of produce on Thursday evenings has become the highlight of my week. Yeah, I know, I have a very boring social life.

If eating fresh, local, straight-off-the-farm, organic food isn’t enough to tempt you, think about the positive impact this lifestyle has on the environment. Most food travels an average of 1500 miles before it lands on your plate. By joining a CSA and supporting local farmers, you are not only enhancing your own health and the health of the ecosystem, you are also building a relationship with the people who grow your food. For more information on CSAs, small farms, and sustainability in Colorado, please refer to the articles and links listed at the end of this post.

I’m a nutrition therapist, so health is my business. I also have celiac disease, which is a genetically predisposed autoimmune disease. I know first-hand how important it is to nourish your body and boost your immune system with healing foods. There’s no better way to do this than to eat a variety of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits.

Oh, and eggs, too. Colorful ones — and no I didn’t dye these. The eggs pictured here are from the chickens at Grant Family Farms. Different breeds lay different colored eggs. Farm fresh eggs from free-range chickens also have much darker, orange-colored yolks that even look heartier and more substantial. And they are. Chickens that eat a varied, natural diet produce more nutritious and tastier eggs. The chickens are happier and so are we.

There’s been a long running debate about the frequency of egg consumption and the increased risk of heart disease. People have been shying away from eggs because of a fear their cholesterol levels will go up. I’ll give you my take on it, but first and foremost, if you have concerns about cholesterol, heart disease, and eggs — please consult your health care practitioner.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t have low cholesterol levels, so you’ve been warned.

According to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Gerald Gau, “Eggs are high in cholesterol, and a diet high in cholesterol can contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels. However, the extent to which dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol levels isn’t clear. Many scientists believe that saturated fats and trans-fats have a greater impact than does dietary cholesterol in raising blood cholesterol.”

There are a variety of studies that have shown no connection between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, one recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests 2 eggs per day could actually help LOWER cholesterol levels. Eggs have been given a bad rap. It’s the junk food, highly processed foods, hydrogenated and trans-fats, stress, lack of exercise, and an occasional contrary gene that contributes to heart disease, not the misunderstood egg.

Eggs are one of the best sources of quality protein available. In fact, eggs contain all the essential amino acids and are used as the reference standard to measure other sources of protein. One egg has only 75 calories and is an excellent source of choline, riboflavin, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin D. Lutein and zeaxanthin contribute to eye health and help prevent age-related eye degeneration. Eggs also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, thiamin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, iodine, and zinc. All for a measly 75 calories. The egg is definitely a nutrient-dense super food. So, if you want an inexpensive and low calorie way to boost immune function; support bone and muscle tissue; promote healthy thyroid function; and encourage brain, heart, and eye health — make eggs part of a healthy diet.

Now, one little minor thing about eggs — they’re considered one of the eight major food allergens. Although adults can have allergic reactions to eggs, it’s more common in children. Signs and symptoms include skin rashes, hives, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems. Avoid eggs and egg products if you have a known allergy to them.

If not, find yourself a good source of organic eggs from happy, free-range chickens. If you’re in the Denver area, check out Grant Family Farms. (The first article listed below has information from Josh Palmer, CSA coordinator for GFF.)

Go forth and eat eggs.

In good health,
Melissa

Sharing Organic Produce
Wyoming News, April 2008

The Face of the New American Farmer
Edible Front Range, Spring 2008

CSAs: Standing for Sustainability
Colorado Springs Independent, April 17, 2008

Sharing the Farm: CSA projects provide people with fresh food from local land
Loveland Reporter-Herald, June 2, 2008

Changing Economy Changing our Behavior
Fort Collins Forum, June 12, 2008

15 Responses to “cracking the egg mystery”

  1. Diana says:

    Melissa, I feel your pain! I’ve been casting about for a winter CSA…still looking. It would be great to have farm-fresh abundance all through the dark months…

    In the meantime, there’s always sprouting. My boyfriend just got us an Easy Green Sprouter (his gadget, really – I was fine with glass jars!) but actually, it is kinda cool as it eliminates the need for rinsing…& can grow any kind of sprout: lentil, aduki, mung, alfalfa, clover, radish…all good for winter salads.

    :-) Diana

    P.S. Love your pretty eggs!

  2. Lo! says:

    Melissa – By no means does your enjoyment of your CSA box mean that you have no life! It’s the highlight of our week as well. This year, we joined a CSA with a slightly shorter season, so our bliss has already ended. But, on the bright side, we’re looking forward to next summer.

    We also adore good, local eggs. And we were lucky enough to find a source for those nearby. Thank goodness!!

  3. Shirley says:

    Those eggs are gorgeous! Eggs have gotten an unnecessarily bad rap, as have good fats. (Similarly, read Michael Palin’s statements on low-fat diets and how the info on their success, or lack thereof, has been deliberately misleading.) We have one family in our support group who does organic farming on a small scale and when they host, we all beg for a breakfast meal with their eggs. They have such incredible flavor and the yolks are the most spectacular deep yellow.

    Oh, I could see the joy of getting that CSA box!

    Looking forward to the bisque recipe. :-)

  4. Melissa says:

    Diana — interesting about the Easy Green Sprouter! Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out.

    Lo! Looks like we’re in the same boat with missing out on our CSA deliveries in the deep, darkness of winter. Sniff, sniff.

    Hey Shirley — yes, these eggs I get are gorgeous. And yes, I’ve read all of Michael Pollan’s books. He’s one of my favorites, too!

  5. Shirley says:

    Thanks for showing who I really meant, Melissa. Michael Pollan is speaking nearby in the spring … our group hopes to get tickets. (We have actually met Michael Palin, the actor/travel show host of Monty Python fame, and were in a documentary with him. At least, I have a somewhat reasonable explanation for that brain slip … maybe?)

  6. Sarah says:

    Melissa-
    In addition to cholesterol, it may be that saturated fats have also gotten a bum rap! As a fellow nutritionist, a great site to check out for the “other side of the story” is http://www.westonaprice.org, an organiztion that promotes traditional diets (and fats!) in a very thoroughly scientific manner.

  7. The three of us go through five dozen eggs every two or three weeks, so I sure hope they don’t mess up our cholesterol! They’re so good, though, and they’re a great, cheap source of protein. Eating eggs helps eat less meat.

  8. Melissa says:

    Shirley — I knew who you meant and I totally understand the brain slips. We all have them. Darn!

    Sarah — I’m very familiar with the Price Foundation and thanks for pointing that out for my readers. A friend of mine works for them. And I totally agree, fats aren’t bad. Not healthy fats like coconut, olive oil, or avocado. I did a whole post on fats and oils last year. Here’s the link:
    http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/?p=300
    Thanks for your comment, Sarah. Good information!

    Mrs. Mordecai — you’re so right about eggs being a good and inexpensive source of protein! One thing to consider though; sometimes when you eat too much of something (even a good thing) you might develop a sensitivity to it. Especially if you have a digestive issue like celiac. You can actually create sensitivities by overdoing it. I’ve cut back my egg eating because I don’t want to create a problem with them. I still eat a lot of eggs though. Nothing like a farm fresh egg from a happy chicken!

  9. Andy Grant says:

    Melissa…..

    Thank you so very much for what you have written here. It is so cool for me as a farmer to see and hear such convincingly postive input!!!! Make me want to go out there again and try harder…do more..and do it better. Hail storms are so heart breaking….but comments like yours sure re-energizes me!!

  10. Andy Grant says:

    ,,,,,another thing we haven’t figured out….is after the last week of deliveries ……those egg laying beauties don’t stop…and we don’t know wht we will do with the eggs then until we start up again in June 09…any ideas? Another thing, I see you are from Golden and we WILL have a drop in Golden next year!

  11. CeliacChick says:

    I eat tons of eggs and my cholesterol report from my doc is always “beautiful”.

  12. Melissa says:

    Andy — no, thank YOU! I have a plan, more on that later.

    :-)

    Kelly — beautiful!

  13. Becky says:

    I understand every-body is different. I eat eggs frequently and the last time I had my test results (about 3 months ago) my cholesterol was actually low LOL! Viva la EGGS!

  14. Margie K says:

    I just wanted to share my wise mothers’ motto:
    “An egg a day” She always liked a scrambled egg for lunch. She lived to 93 without high cholesterol.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for the comment, Margie. Those “wise mother” mottos are often very true. We need to pay more attention to what our mothers and grandmothers were telling us. Especially the ones who lived to be 93! Good for your mom!

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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