organic super expensive eggs

Those lovely free-range, organic super expensive eggs you’re buying…are they worth it?

‘Free run’ for all intents and purposes, means that hens are raised inside a barn without access to the outdoors but are free to roam around (and sometimes they even have a nesting area and a ‘dust bathing’ area (these are good things for hens ;) . Typically, free run hens have 2-3 times more space to move around in than caged hens – which sounds good…but a caged hen has space the size of a piece of paper to move around in. That considered, 2-3 times more space is not much. Regardless, the evidence suggests that cage free hens are less likely to harbour the dangerous bacterium Salmonella that can be associated with eggs. It’s also worth noting that 97% of eggs produced in Canada are raised in cages.

Now, what about organic or ‘free-range’ you might be asking. Certified organic eggs and eggs that have certified claims of being raised ‘free-range’ have access to the outdoors. Sometimes the outdoor access need only be for 1/3 of the hen’s life in order to qualify as free-range. But beware! In a facility with 100,000 hens, you may have an outdoor run of only 50 square feet – hardly enough room for 100,000 hens to ‘roam’ around in freely.

So what do I recommend? Eggs are a relatively cheap source of protein. That said, most people can pay the couple extra bucks to buy eggs certified as ‘free-range’ or organic – it’s your best chance of ensuring your eggs are raised in the most humane and safe manner possible. If you’re as cheap as I am, then I suggest buying your eggs from Safeway. They have made a corporate commitment to buying eggs that are not caged – they may not be organic or free-range, but at least they are not caged. (http://www.spectrumnutrition.ca/free-range-eggs)

Nitrite and processed meats…

You may have noticed that when you’re looking for your deli ham or turkey, that you can now find ‘natural’ deli meats or processed meats that contain ‘no preservatives’. Do not be fooled. Processed meats are required to be preserved with Nitrite in this Country so these ‘natural’ products just contain nitrite in a different form: Cultured Celery Extract instead of the more traditional Sodium-Nitrite to be specific.

Nitrite is actually found in abundance in many vegetables; carrots, spinach, turnips, beets, celery – but that doesn’t mean we should be avoiding these healthy foods in our diet. You see, nitrite itself is not the main concern when it comes to the carcinogenicity (cancer causing properties) of processed meats. The concern is with a chemical substance called nitrosamines which can from in meats (especially red and processed meats) when they are exposed to high and dry heat.

The bottom line? Limit your consumption of processed and red meats to no more than once or twice a week. Additionally, be sure to use cooking methods that avoid direct contact between high heat or flames with these types of products, like stewing or low heat baking instead of BBQ’ing or frying. (http://www.spectrumnutrition.ca/nitrite-processed-meats)

Diet and inflammation…

It looks like the jury has deliberated and come back with the results: it seems you can’t ‘decrease inflammation’ by simply modifying your diet.

Researchers have linked inflammation to all sorts of diseases: heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, even Alzheimer’s disease. But the burning question isn’t only whether inflammation is linked to these diseases, but the question is… Does decreasing inflammation decrease the risk of these diseases and can that inflammation be reduced through diet? The answer to both those questions remains elusive. ..although many fad ‘diets’ out there would like you to believe otherwise (think gluten free, the zone or anti-inflammatory food pyramid).

Researchers have looked at everything from omega-3’s and 6’s, to olive oil, nuts, legumes, whole grains of course fruits and veggies but have not come up with a convincing argument for any of these foods in terms of reducing inflammation. They did, however, find that hands down losing weight and exercise does reduce inflammation.

So what do I recommend? Eating a diet high in fruit, veggies, whole grains and the like are healthy ways to meet your nutritional needs and keep your weight down – so munch away, but make sure your eating plan is planned around losing weigh if you need to …and don’t forget to keep yourself moving! (http://www.spectrumnutrition.ca/diet-inflammation)