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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

4Grain Vegetarian Eggs

Humans are the only animals capable of modifying their environment and food supply to the point it is detrimental for all future generations.  Recently the attention has been focused on genetically modified organisms (GMO) with respect to food but we don't have too look far to find additives like artificial colourants, flavours and preservatives.  It is surprising just how many foods have high fructose corn syrup (HFC) as a sweetener despite a suspected correlation between HFC and autism.  Corn is used to such a degree not only in foods but the manufacturing of other products that severe corn allergies are increasing.  Just when I thought I had heard it all, I spotted vegetarian eggs in the grocery store!  Hello!  Eggs are one of the perfect foods, high in protein and a good value for your food dollar.  Now they are just one more thing for the food industry to muck up.

vegetarian eggs
Pictured are the 4Grain vegetarian brown eggs I saw in the grocery store.  These are eggs produced by chickens fed an all natural vegetable diet with no hormones, anti-biotics or animal by products.   The diet consists of four grains (wheat, corn, flax, and milo) and soy products only.  They are certified by the United Egg Producers.  The premise is because the hens were fed a vegetarian diet these eggs are suitable for lacto-ovo vegetarians.  However, they don't mention the ethical treatment of these hens nor do they mention these eggs may be deficient in some nutrients due to the lack of proper nutrition.

Chickens are insect scavengers.  In the garden, they can be beneficial for controlling slugs, grasshoppers, fire ants, termites, fleas, flies, lawn grubs and many other damaging insects.  They will literally destroy a vegetable garden with their constant pecking to get at the insects so for this reason they need to be fenced to the perimeter of the vegetable garden or use portable coops.  Vegetarian eggs definitely are not cruelty free!  They are factory farm raised under restricted conditions.  Removing insects from a chicken's diet requires penning them in a fashion off the ground where they cannot get to the soil, something that is most unnatural for them.  According to their website, the chickens are free to roam but it would not be on soil otherwise they would be eating insects and worms so their entire existence is likely spent on a fenced cement pad where they are free to roam in the enclosed area, more than likely in crowded conditions.  Denied of their natural pecking tendencies, chickens will turn on other chickens often  pecking them to death.  From an ethical animal husbandry perspective simply the way these chickens are being raised is a far cry from a cruelty fee manner.

From a dietary perspective, the eggs are lacking nutritionally.  In comparison to regular large eggs, the 4Grain eggs are slightly lower in protein, 6.3 g compared to 7 g but they are supposed have more Omega-3 fatty acids.  A full comparison of nutrients would likely uncover what is not being shown that soy is not the best estrogen replacement for women and excess corn products in our diets is already reeking havoc.  Since wheat is part of the diets there could be traces of gluten in the eggs that would make these eggs unsuitable for those on a gluten free diet.  Nutritionally, I would make and educated guess that these eggs are inferior to even the chicken farm raised eggs.  I would also question whether the density of the shell has been affected by the vegetarian diet.  If so, it makes these eggs more susceptible to bacteria contamination like Salmonella as well as reduced storage time.  As far as using the colour of the egg, this is only a marketing tool.  Brown eggs come from brown chickens; white eggs come from white chickens.  The colour of the shell is determined by the breed so has no bearing on the flavour or nutrition of the egg so should not be used as a marketing ploy.

Avoid the hype and marketing when it comes to eggs.  The best eggs are those from free range, organically fed chickens preferably from a local farmer.  These chickens are humanely treated, not penned or prevented from pecking.  In other words, they are raised in a cruelty free manner.  Nutritionally, free range eggs are superior to factory farm raised including vegetarian eggs.  If you can't find them from a local farmer, free range eggs are available in some grocery stores. They are the same or a bit less when bought from local farmers but  bit more expensive.


1 food lovers commented:

Carolyn said...

Thank you for this! I am trying my hardest to feed my son and myself as naturally as possible and the recent rush of labeling of eggs has been enough to make my head spin. I bought these eggs out of curiosity - son ate them, had no comment - but then I decided to investigate. Immediately CORN and SOY PROTEIN bopped me on the head. Say what? Okay they say on the website of the cage-free that they are allowed to live in their natural environment but are they really? They are still fed that diet.

I just want an egg I can trust, and it is so frustrating to encounter all these labels. Argh. Thank you for your thoughts on these eggs. I won't buy them again.

Carolyn