A couple of years ago, somewhere in the southern states of America, (it could have been Chattanooga) I got talking to a lady who owned a second hand book and bric-a-brac store. We had a perfectly lovely conversation until she asked me what I was writing about (I’d mentioned I was writing a book). When I told her it was about how a standard diet negatively impacts our health, the environment and animals, and how a vegan diet was the antidote to this, she got very animated.
She got the most worked up about eggs, saying she didn’t understand how I didn’t eat them, telling me how they were the most healthy food you could eat, and she went as far as to say that eggs are ‘God’s own protein,’ whatever the feckin’ heck that meant.
Firstly, she was most decidedly not the best advertisement for her health claims regarding eggs. I don’t want to snark (ok I do, but I shan’t), let’s just say she was very evidently NOT healthy.
Secondly, I haven’t eaten eggs for 23 years, and I am still here and thriving – not a shrivelled pile of protein-deprived fatigue, convulsing on the floor. I do not believe I am missing the so-called protein of God.
I didn’t want to continue the conversation, so I just wrapped it up politely and left. I intuited that she would not have been open to receiving any actual facts on eggs, as invested as she clearly was in what were probably lifelong, myth-based beliefs, so I let it go. Although I believe in advocating when possible, it’s also important to know when to conserve your energy for better opportunities!
In case YOU have questions about eggs, or in case you get asked questions by curious friends – who you feel may be more receptive to facts than my book-store lady; here are some of the common egg myths dispelled.
Eggs are good for you
Yes, eggs do contain protein. But they are also very high in cholesterol, and like all animal products, they contain destructive saturated fat. Just consider this for a hot second: Eggs have inside them the wherewithal to grow ONE cell into a baby chick in a relatively short space of time. They actually contain the most concentrated form of protein (second only to animal brains). This is excessive for humans – ‘too much of a good thing,’ if you will. We have been led to believe that the more protein the better, and some people eat egg whites believing them to be the healthiest and most protein-filled part of the egg, but this is just not a balanced form of protein for humans to be ingesting.
Because of this, consumption of eggs is very closely linked to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
You do not need eggs for health. You can meet ALL your protein needs with plants.
How is the egg industry cruel? The chickens aren’t killed or anything…
Ok, so I don’t need to go into why battery hen farming is cruel – that’s obvious.
Cage-free, free-range and organic are just great labels to make you feel you are doing something good for the hens when you buy eggs. BUT, in terms of hen suffering, they mean nothing. And all across the board, baby male chicks are gassed, ground alive or suffocated, being of no profit to the egg industry.
All that farmers need in order to classify their eggs as free range, is a tiny ‘door’ hole in a barn, so they can say that chickens have access to fresh air. These barns are normally crammed with so many thousands of hens, and hens are hierarchical, so only a very few will see the fresh air. Most will live in very cramped conditions, walking around (as much as they can walk) in their own pee and poop. Many grow deformed or die and aren’t discovered for ages. They are also debeaked without anaesthetic, just like battery hens.
What if I have chickens in my back garden and I treat them well? Surely it’s ok to take their eggs?
This article very nicely explains the ethical stance regarding backyard chickens that are kept for eggs.
Also, the reason hens KEEP laying eggs is because their eggs KEEP getting taken away. They would only normally lay enough to fill their nest.
Laying so many eggs takes up a lot of energy, and so lots of chickens eat their own eggs to replenish the nutrients they’ve lost in this effort. Lots of backyard hens are rescues from the egg industry, so they will often do this, as they are attempting to restore a lifetimes worth of nutrient loss.
If you’re wondering whether you can eat the eggs that backyard hens don’t eat that might otherwise go to waste? Weeell, you could…but first, reread about the health dangers of eating eggs!