Special needs is not just a season, but a lifestyle. Sometimes we are so busy running to the doctors trying to take care of medical necessities, that we can’t raise chickens or have any animals for that matter. My special needs son’s body functions better when he eats an all organic diet, and frankly, we all do. But, when it comes to store-bought eggs, there are usually 3 different choices: cage-free, organic and range-free eggs.
So, which eggs do you buy?
I asked this question last winter when I ran out of chicken eggs and I had to buy a few cartons at the store. There were 3 general choices, and I wondered. How do you know what kind of eggs you are buying? I honestly hadn’t asked myself this before.
I wondered, Is there a difference between the free range eggs and cage free egg labels you see on the grocery store shelves? What about organic eggs? Aren’t free range eggs organic? I found it to be confusing. So, I read up on the subject and this is what I found out.
Cage-free, organic and range-free, what’s the difference?
*Chickens raised in open barns or shelters, but not in cages. They are typically quite crowded in one shelter.
*Birds are typically fed animal product feed, and it would not usually be organic.
*This is a more humane method of caring for chickens and harvesting their eggs.
*Chickens are fed organic certified feed.
*No antibiotics or vaccines are used.
*They must eat a vegetarian diet.
*They must live uncaged, but not necessarily allowed to roam freely.
*Chickens are allowed to roam in natural surroundings eating bugs and plants.
*Eggs that are store-bought may only “roam” for short periods at a time.
*Local farm raised eggs in this category may have longer periods of outdoor time.
*Look for pasture raised birds, which means eating seeds, insects and plants.
*As long as their food sources are organic, they are about as genuinely organic as you can get.
Plus, some further benefits about free-range eggs are:
According to a study carried out by Mother Earth News in 2007, and other sources:
*Free-range eggs have twice as much omega 3 fatty acids as typical eggs.
*They exhibit 3 times more vitamin E.
*The egg yolks contain more of the antioxidants, lutein and xeazanthin.
*They contain 1/3 less cholesterol.
*They contain 1/4 less saturated fat
*They provide 2/3 more vitamin A.
*They add 7 times more beta carotene to your diet.
Honestly, when you walk into the store you have to buy what they provide. Cage-free sounds good, but there is not really that healthy. Organic eggs are a better choice, but certainly, nothing tops free-range eggs, even if they are store-bought. It is a chicken’s natural way to eat.
I would say choose from your store’s availability in that order. If they don’t have any of those, well, you will probably have to use chia seeds or other backup sources of omega 3s, unless you really aren’t that intolerant of eggs in general. Well then, you are back at square one, and seeds.;-)