Pastured Eggs

Healthy Eggs:

Eggs are an extremely healthy and economical food, providing complete protein in the whites and a variety of healthy fats in the yolks. Egg yolks contain large amounts of important nutrients for the brain. For best nutrition, use eggs from pastured chickens.

Read More >> Download the Healthy 4 Life booklet

How Often to Eat & How to Serve:

We recommend eating whole eggs and egg yolks as frequently as you like.  You may have them served in any way you like, with the exception of not frequently consuming raw whites, or consuming the eggs in dried or powdered form.  Egg yolks are quite delicious and healthy when eaten raw, but the whites contain a substance called avidin that interferes with the absorption of biotin (one of the B vitamins), and also trypsin inhibitors.  These substances are neutralized by cooking.  Never eat powdered eggs, as they are a source of harmful oxidized cholesterol.

We encourage the use of extra yolks in smoothies, sauces and custards, and recommend always eating the whites with the yolks included.  Our Chapter Leader, Lisa, calls the modern invention of a whites-only omelet an “abomination“, but says that if you know someone who eats them “I will will trade their yolks for my extra whites (but to first of all, tell them about the nutrition they are missing!)”.

Most of the nutrients are contained in the yolk.  The common recommendations to avoid eggs (and in particular egg yolks) due to fears about cholesterol are unfounded.  Healthy people the world over have been eating eggs without restriction before this modern trend of heart disease ever occurred. For more information about cholesterol see the articles below.

We recommend two or more eggs per day and additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.  in our Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

For recipes see: Recommended Reading or attend our Classes

Avoid Confinement Eggs:

The modern factory-farmed eggs come from chickens who never see the sun, and are fed a diet exclusively of grains and soy.  All of the factory farm horrors are true when it comes to eggs.  The chickens are treated as unfeeling, unthinking machines, they are kept in much too small cages… and well, we won’t go in to all the details.

Organic supermarket eggs are a little better due to the fact that the bird’s food is not grown or treated with chemicals, and their food is not legally allowed to contain GMOs.

Eggs from Pastured Poultry:

The best nutrition comes from pastured poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, etc.) that are eating nutrient-dense diets themselves.  These birds are not naturally vegetarian.  On a mixed farm their diet includes of a wide variety of bugs, seeds, grains, green sprouts and natural sunlight, as well as the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors and express their “chicken-ness”.

Nutrient-dense eggs have a deep yellow yolk.  A deep yellow yolk is not proof of nutrient content, as there are other ways to get a yellow yolk, but finding eggs with a good color should give you a some indication of the quality, particularly if you have talked directly to the farmer about how he or she raises the birds.  Eggs from healthy animals will also have more flavor and more structure to both the yolk and the whites.  In comparison, supermarket eggs seem watery and tasteless.  Not all local pastured eggs have great yolk color.  If you find a farmer who is doing a great job raising eggs, cherish them (and send us their info)!

Many of us prefer to find eggs from chickens that were not fed soy or corn.

Questions to Ask:

What do you feed your chickens? The ideal feed is a combination of organically grown grains, legumes, grasses, greens, worms and insects. Less than ideal but still acceptable to many is organic lay pellets and organically grown corn and soy. At the bottom of the heap are commercial lay pellets, conventionally grown corn and soy and cottonseed meal.

Do you use antibiotics? If the health of a whole flock is threatened, then the judicial use of antibiotics can usually be tolerated by the consumer, as long as eggs from that period are not sold. Antibiotics routinely added to the feed ration, however, must be strictly avoided.

How many birds do you have? How many chickens in the whole operation, and how many in each flock? Smaller is better. Even with a big operation, if small flocks are maintained–maximum 100 to 150–then the chickens can maintain a chicken society (a pecking order) and will be less stressed.

What are living conditions like for the birds? Do the birds have regular access to the outdoors? What is the square footage of their house and yard? If chickens are given enough space, they are less likely to become stressed and/or diseased.

How fresh are these eggs? Small producers sometimes store eggs for a period of days or weeks until they have enough to make a delivery. Eggs should not be older than 10 days when they are brought to market, and should be labeled with date of harvest.

Are the eggs fertile? What is the ratio of roosters to hens? Anywhere between 1 to 10 and 1 to 20 is a good balance. If the producer keeps roosters, the flocks will better resemble a natural chicken society and the hens will be less stressed.

What breed are your chickens? While this likely doesn’t matter much to individual egg quality, it gives the consumer an idea of how much the producer knows about his birds.

May I visit your farm? While you might never do this, the producer’s response will give you an idea of whether he or she is proud of the operation or ashamed of it.

Read more >> Real Eggs from a Real Farm

Local Sources:

Raise Your Own:

We recommend talking with your farmer about how they raise their animals.  Precisely what is in their feed.  We also recommend having a small backyard flock of birds yourself.  This is legal in Eugene and surrounding areas.  Read the ingredients on the bag of feed, give them kitchen scraps, make sure they have access to bugs.  This way you know what good nutrition the animals are receiving!

“What we need to do is attach chicken houses to every kitchen. Every kitchen should have an attached number of chickens to eat the kitchen scraps and keep them out of the landfill, and provide us with fresh eggs. If you can keep parakeets in your condominium, throw out the parakeets, they’re just nasty noise makers, and put in two chickens.”

Joel Salatin – The Politics of Food

Articles on the Weston A. Price Foundation website:

Pastured Poultry: