Tag Archives: heart disease

Raw Eggs: Let’s Crack this one Apart

Raw Eggs: Let's Crack this one Apart

Here’s what you need to know: eggs are good for you and it is a fallacy that their dietary cholesterol content somehow contributes to high LDL blood cholesterol levels. These are unrelated factors regardless of what conventional dietary guidelines will have you believe.

In the “old days” people were always eating raw eggs. See: grandma and her quirkiness. See the expression: “you don’t need to tell me how to suck eggs” etc. But since the advent of factory farming and industrial, sadistic production of chicken and eggs, it became common for raw eggs to be contaminated with salmonella and worse. So it has become a preventative practice to cook eggs because heat kills salmonella.

My rule is that if you are buying the kind of eggs that need to be cooked so that they don’t make you sick, you should just avoid them in the first place. Because what else is lurking in that sickening, industrial egg? What was the chicken eating? What were the conditions? What kind of drugs and hormones was that chicken on so that it could survive being cramped in a battery cage, pecked nearly to death and surrounded by feces? Don’t just cook those eggs, throw them out to the raccoons. Stop creating a demand for eggs that can hit store shelves for under $3. Seriously, people.

WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IN AN EGG

You want eggs that come from a small farm where the chickens actually go outside and get sunshine on their backs. This natural form of Vitamin D is essential for synthesizing all the other vitamins and nutrients that will make your egg nutritious rather than a waste of your time, or worse, inflammatory.

Another reason you want chickens that go outside is because you want them to peck grass and forage for bugs, especially the kind of bugs that hatch out of fresh cow patties etc. Sounds gross, but this is the circle of life and you need to get on it. Eating grass means high carotein content; eating bugs means high DHA content.

FREE RANGE FOOLERY

At the store you will see plenty of labels on eggs stating they are “free-range”. Well all this means from a regulatory point of view is that the chickens have ACCESS to a tiny door which leads to some form of outside pen. This does not mean that the chickens use the access door, nor does it mean that the outside pen has any grass or bugs in it whatsoever. Furthermore, the chickens used in large-scale egg operations are weak, inferior animals (suitable only for laying eggs, really) who are too timid and ill-equipped to go outside, so they generally do not choose to venture out the terrifying access door. What I am saying is that you cannot win with a large-scale operation.

So you are going to have to find eggs from a small-scale operation. My rule of thumb is less than 500 chickens. That way a human farmer can actually keep track of the chickens and their various issues, and can remove sick chickens from the flock and also just act like farmers instead of factory foremen. You can get these kinds of eggs directly from farmers, farmers’ markets, CSA clubs and also in Ontario from the “Small Flock” egg co-op, which is a co-op of farmers who keep less than 500 chickens per farm but sell under one label. And of course you can also just keep your own chickens if you want to be hard core.smallflock

FEEDING FLAX TO CHICKENS

You see the “Omega-3” label on eggs as well, and this just means that the farmer (or factory foreman) feeds a high ratio of flaxseeds to the chickens. Chickens are pretty efficient at metabolizing flaxseeds and producing eggs higher in Omega-3 fatty acids as a result – so this is a valid claim.

However factory eggs also happen to contain 19 times more pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids than pastured eggs, so you can see why it is essential to add some Omega-3 back into them so that they are not a total junk food. Adding in some Omega-3 will reduce the inflammatory effect of all that Omega-6 – but in the end it will not make very much Omega-3 available to you. Tricky, huh?

What you should know is that chickens who eat grass and forage for bugs produce eggs that are just as high, if not higher, in Omega-3 fatty acids – yet they have 19 times less inflammatory Omega-6 issues to mitigate.

So when you see the “Omega-3” label on eggs, what that says is that these are industrial, factory chickens that have been slightly ameliorated with a health claim for more Omega-3s. It’s kind of like adding Omega-3s to a candy bar – at the end of the day, it’s still a candy bar and the inflammatory properties of the candy bar just can’t be magically canceled out by the additions of some Omega-3s. So let’s call these eggs “industrial plus”, but let’s not confuse them with the eggs from small-scale pastured chickens.

EGG NUTRITION

More than half of the protein in an egg is in the white, but most of the nutrients and all of the fat are in the yolk. Misguided conventional nutritional advice favors protein and fears fat, which is why freaky conflations like egg-white omelettes exist. I’m sorry for you if you ever had to eat one of those.

I don’t think you should throw any part of an egg away; I think you should eat the whole egg. But if you were going to favor any part of the egg, favor the yolk.

A big, natural yolk should be bright orange and contain at least 5g of fat, nearly 3g of protein – and no meaningful carbohydrates. The yolk contains 13 essential nutrients including 10% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D , 5% of your B6, B12 and Vitamin A – all in a super bioavailable package. It is also a source of lutein – for your eyes, and biotin (Vitamin B7) – for glossy hair and dewy skin. However it should be noted that raw egg whites contain anti-nutrients which bind with biotin, among other things, which both make it unavailable and can lead to a biotin-defficiency.

The white of an egg contains nearly 4g of protein – so nominally more than the yolk. The reason everyone has this idea that the whites are soooo much higher in protein is because it is a lean protein, which excites a lot of people who hate fat. There is neither fat nor meaningful carbohydrates in an egg white. So it can totally be used as a pure protein supplement if you are somehow lacking protein – like if you are a vegetarian who eats eggs. But if you are looking for protein, why don’t you just eat the whole egg and get nearly 7g, plus a bonus of all the healthy fats, fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients in the yolk?

EGG WHITE TRICKINESS

While the protein in egg yolks is readily available in its raw state, egg whites contain trypsin-inhibitors which ironically make it more difficult to digest protein. Easy fix is to cook the egg whites, which mostly disables both the trypsin-inhibitors and the anti-nutrient avindin (which binds with biotin). What I am saying is that there is no benefit to eating raw egg whites. Cook them already.

WHY THE CHOLESTEROL CONFUSION?

Two things.

First: When you cook an egg yolk right through, the cholesterol becomes oxidized. When you eat that oxidized cholesterol, it causes inflammation in the body. The body reacts to this inflammation by producing protective cholesterol, including LDL cholesterol. Ergot it has been broadly interpreted that eating eggs raises blood cholesterol serum. A more accurate interpretation is that eating hard-cooked egg yolks can cause inflammation which leads to elevations in LDL cholesterol.

Second: Eating factory eggs, which are freakily high in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, causes inflammation in the body which makes the body react by producing protective cholesterol including LDL.

It is very, very easy to fix both these issues. Just use small-farm biodynamic eggs and eat your yolks raw or soft-cooked. End of discussion.

HOW TO WIN AT EGGS

Egg whites are better for you cooked. Egg yolks are better for you raw. So either add raw yolks to your smoothie, or else soft-poach eggs or serve them sunny side up or over-easy. It’s really not that complicated.

My daughter doesn’t like eggs, so I secretly put a raw egg yolk in her breakfast shake some mornings. Recipe = 1 raw egg yolk, 1 cup raw organic milk, 1/2 TBS organic raw cacao, 1/2 TBS coconut oil, 1/4 tsp raw honey from our own bees, 3 drops stevia, vanilla, cinnamon. She falls for it every time.

FURTHER READING

Review study shows eggs do not contribute to heart disease risk, in fact offer beneficial effects

Three Eggs A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The Cruelest of All Factory Farm Products

An article from Salon about the social costs of purchasing factory farmed eggs, meat and dairy, which accounts for 80% of antibiotic use in America.

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Books: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox

There are thousands of books about what to eat, and while so many of them are essential reading, I think this one pulls it all together into a simple yet mind-blowing concept.

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox

This book is written by an Ontario (shout-out for local) naturopath, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, who became fascinated by the x-factor of Vitamin K2 and the way it has eluded our modern foods and created a huge nutritional deficit and misunderstanding.

For starters, most books about building bone density (for example let me cite “The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach” by Annemarie Colbin) will talk about Vitamin K1 and totally miss or misunderstand Vitamin K2, which is completely different. These books will tell you to get your Vitamin K1 from leafy greens like kale and spinach. This is great advice on the surface, because our intestinal bacteria can convert Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2 – so long as our intestinal bacteria is in tip-top condition (rare) and so long as we eat mountains and mountains of kale and spinach, which is probably going to degrade and disorganize our intestinal bacteria. In other words, we are not ruminants. We do not have the kind of stomachs and digestive systems that can efficiently create the amount of K2 that we need for optimal nutrition.

Now I want to step back for a moment because I hate the idea that there is a supplement out there or a specific vitamin that we “need” to fix everything going on inside us. I’m more of the school that if we start loading up on one vitamin, it is just going to throw our other vitamins and minerals out of whack and cause greater problems. So in general, I want all of my nourishment to come from whole foods, and not from supplements. And NEVER from synthetic vitamins and supplements, which studies have shown over and over to cause more harm than good.

SO WHY AM I SO ENAMORED WITH THIS BOOK, AND WITH K2?

Because Vitamin K2 is something that has been systematically (and let’s say accidentally) bred out of our food system by industrialization. And when we don’t get Vitamin K2 in our system, we have no way of sending calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A to their proper locations where they can do the most good. Vitamin K2 is the organizer, the director, and without it, calcium binds to our soft tissues instead of our bones and causes heart disease. Whereas getting K2 back into the diet literally REVERSES heart disease.

Consider what conventional health protocols have us do: take calcium and vitamin D supplements every day of our lives. Without any consideration for Vitamin K2, all this does is increase our risk of heart disease, and actually increase our risk of brittle bones, fractures and osteoporosis. The conventional advice does the exact opposite of what it intends. The conventional protocol is outright dangerous and wrong.

HOW DID WE GET VITAMIN K2 BEFORE INDUSTRIALIZATION?

There are two factors that have contributed to removing K2 from our food supply. The first is factory farming, and the second is the advent of refrigeration. Because of the efficiencies of factory farming, our livestock is treated like a commodity and eats commodity corn and grains in order to grow bigger and fatter in a shorter period of time. The resulting fats from these animals do not contain Vitamin K2. Whereas if you can get your hands on pastured ruminants and pastured eggs (the animals need to literally eat grass from weaning to slaughter, or peck at insects in the field and feel actual sunshine on their backs), you will be getting a dose of Vitamin K2 in the fats and yolks.

Another point is that when we eat conventional animal foods, we are (correctly) advised to eat the lean protein and avoid the fat. This makes sense but not because of the “message” you have been hearing: not because saturated fats are bad for you or because they will make you fat. You must avoid these fats because conventional GMO grain-fed animals have to be saturated with antibiotics and other medicines to keep them alive until slaughter on a diet that fills them with disease – all those toxins are concentrated in the animals’ fat. If you eat that fat, you are getting a dose of the worst of the worst. Whereas the fat of a pastured animal, presumably (you’ve got to take responsibility and research your own food from the specific farm and area you are from) is free of antibiotics, toxins and GMOs and is rich in Vitamin K2, the best source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin D. Amazing what a difference a little natural farming can make.

My second point was about refrigeration. Obviously we all love our fridge and it has created a million conveniences for us, and even scores of nutritional benefits. However because of these efficiencies, we no longer need to culture or ferment food to keep it from spoiling. But as it happens, culturing and traditionally fermenting food is a great way to increase access to locked nutrients in our foods, such as Vitamin K2 and a host of B Vitamins.

However it depends on the ferment and the culture. Some cheeses don’t contain any Vitamin K2, some contain lots (Dutch Gouda). Fermented or coagulated tofu made from soybeans doesn’t contain any Vitamin K2, whereas soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis creates Natto, and contains the highest amounts of K2. (The best K2 “supplements” you can buy are whole-food versions derived from Natto).

This book is so important I’m going to go all-caps and bold and call it a FOUNDATION BOOK. This will subvert your understanding of calcium supplementation, Vitamin D supplementation, saturated fats, fermented foods and even vegetable loading, to a degree. This book will show you how the conventional nutritional guidelines are leading us down the path to disease, and how a traditional approach to eating can actually reverse the damage done.

The great news is that the body wants to heal itself, and all we have to do is feed it human-appropriate food and get out of its way.

My mother and I found this book in the spring of 2012, and read it in tandem. Almost every day we were calling each other exclaiming, Did you read the part about the something or other?! Hopefully you will have the same thrill when you read this with all your friends and relatives… (!)

Jenny McGruther at Nourished Kitchen has put together some great resources about these concepts, as well as an interview with Dr. Rheume-Bleue. You can find out next-level info like making your own K2-rich cheese at home.

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