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,
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