What Eggs Should You Choose?
Last Friday I had the pleasure of sitting on a discussion panel held before the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim California, hosted by an all natural egg company, NestFresh out of Colorado. They are a specialty egg company with truly cage-free, pasture-raised hens that produce organic and the first Non-GMO Certified eggs. Since my family (well, actually my husband) takes care of nine hens ourselves, I appreciate the difference between an egg from a free range, well fed hen and those from commercial egg factories where hens live their lives in cruel conditions, never seeing the light of day much less a free range. You can taste the difference in the egg and you can see it in the color of the yolk and quality of the white.
The discussion was about what consumers are looking for in natural products these days and how a company can best get their message across. I started off the discussion with what I hear overwhelmingly from my clients and friends — that they are confused by the various labels and marketing ploys by companies trying to pass their products off as healthy. For example, in the egg arena, what does it mean to have the carton read “All Natural”, “Vegetarian” or “Organic”? Everything in the world is from nature, even chemicals, so “All Natural” is pretty meaningless. What is vegetarian exactly–the feed? I know from our own back yard hens that they are not normally herbivores, eating all kinds of bugs and worms. So hens being strictly vegetarian-fed is a bit unnatural.
I do like the idea of organic and Non-GMO, however. And I do want the hens living in humane conditions. So I would look on the label for “Cage Free”, “Pasture Raised”, “Organic” and now, “Non-GMO”.
The last point I made on the discussion panel had to do with GMOs. As a double cancer survivor, I am extremely concerned about the chemicals the farmers spray on GMO foods. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup is being sprayed 10 times as much as crops used to be sprayed before GMOs because the GMO crops are genetically modified to be resistant to it. So the crops survive when every last bug or weed is killed in the field. As a result, they spray the heck out of the crops.
Glyphosate is a terribly toxic chemical and has been linked to cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma specifically (one of the cancers I just happened to get) and has been labeled a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. Currently, 64 countries have banned GMOs for this reason. Crops like corn, soy, canola are nearly all GMO now, and wheat is sprayed with glyphosate at harvest as a drying agent. For this reason, I always recommend that these foods be consumed certified organic. To be certified organic, a product cannot have any GMO ingredients.
The future of organic and non-GMO is uncertain. There is increasingly the concern of cross-pollination as organic farmers find it harder and harder to keep the GMO seeds off their fields and have to contend with the inevitable lawsuits from Monsanto when this happens. I don’t know what the future holds for the organic movement in this regard but I do hope that the world wakes up to the poison that is in our food supply and the cancers and birth defects that will result as more and more people globally consume these chemically laden foods.
After the discussion, I got several questions about the use of glyphosate and its connection to cancer. I was surprised this information seems to not be widely known. I was thanked for bringing it up and spreading the word.
The discussion panel was followed by several hours at the Natural Products Expo West where I got to wander the multi-leveled convention center filled with tens of thousands of companies promoting their natural products. It was like Halloween for the organic foodie! Nearly every company was handing out bags to carry the loot and I walked out with dozens of new product samples I am interested in trying. I live tweeted as I walked around, sharing photos of the most interesting new products. It was a blast and I am grateful to have had the opportunity.
Now I’m taking a few days of vacation in Mexico with three girlfriends. My next blog post may be about the importance of downtime and self-care 🙂
Asta la vista,