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If you are picky about what you are eating down the food chain line, be careful. Vegetarian feed often means GMO feed. Corn after all is vegetarian and so is soy. Corn and soy are both the top GMO crops in this country. There are farmers who have moved away from corn and soy based chicken feed and mix their own whole grains. You may have to ask around to find this. Some backyard farmers are making their own grain mixes and using alternatives such as milo and oats. If you are really lucky, you may find a local home or farm that has free range, all natural hens eating nothing but grass, insects, worms and seeds.
We are lucky to get our eggs from one of Joe's co-workers who raises his own chickens on a natural diet. Besides the fact that these eggs are so fresh and delicious, I worry less about exposure to Salmonella than I do with commercially farmed eggs. It's also really adorable to see Joe leave for work with his cooler tote bag for picking up our eggs.
When I lived on my farm in Nova Scotia, I owned several hens and one rooster. I really enjoyed my hens. They were kind and almost affectionate. For those of you who don't know, I will backtrack for a second. I used to live in Nova Scotia. I moved there on a whim and bought a farm on 100 acres. I had goats, sheep, chickens, a horse, peacocks, geese, rabbits and of course dogs and cats. I learned a lot about everything during that time, but mostly about animals and land. During my six years there, I had lots of eggs. I never fed my hens anything except oats in the winter when they could not forage. I didn't know what to do with all my eggs, so my dogs enjoyed many of them and the rest I sold out of my home. These reddish-yolked beauties were the best ever. I had one rooster because I wanted chicks as well as eggs. His name was Rodney. He became my abuser over time and the sweet little Rodney turned into a monster over the years. He turned into a real egghole. I could not walk outside without being spurred, pecked and bleeding through my pants. Rodney had to be relocated when the beatings became too severe for me to withstand as I didn't have the heart to cage him.
Below were some of my hens. I can't find a single photo of Rodney. I must have erased him totally from my hard drive.
It has been long thought that the high cholesterol content of egg yolks can negatively affect blood cholesterol levels and increase the incidence or level of heart disease. In a study released in JAMA in 2008, it was shown that eggs may also lower risk of cardiovascular disease due to their amounts of Vitamin B12, riboflavin and folate. This only suggested that perhaps one egg a day would be fine to consume without increasing risk. While I do enjoy the occasional boiled egg, I limit my consumption purely based on the high fat and caloric content they carry. Joe eats more eggs than I do but his caloric requirement is much larger than mine. I will share my recipe for really delicious egg salad that even our kids love, and no one misses the mayo.
Super Delicious Mayo-Free Egg Salad
Boiled farm fresh free range all naturally fed hen eggs! As many as you want to make
Fresh parsley chopped
Juice of a lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix together when eggs are cool
You can remove the yolks and devil them in this way also.
You can use any herb you like. Lemon thyme, sage or cilantro work well as substitues. If you need a creamier egg salad, add a tspn of mashed avocado. A whole avocado and an egg or two will make for a high calorie meal. This recipe shown below was made with sage, 4 eggs and one tspn of oil. It is approximately 300 calories in total but can be shared by two, as is or on a slice of homemade whole grain bread.
Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999;281: 1387-94.