Chicken And Eggs – Organic VS Non-Organic

Who Likes Chicken

Just about everyone…well maybe not vegans and vegetarians, but most meat eaters. It is particularly popular amongst people watching their weight, bodybuilders, or anyone looking for a lean and healthy protein source. You can get chicken all around the world, and due to it’s taste, or lack of taste, it can be used in many dishes and is available in endless variations. With so much going in it’s favor, it can be easy to over look where the chicken is coming from.

I Love Chicken But I Only Have It Once Or Twice A Week

That probably doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge change for me. When I was growing up I didn’t eat chicken from one end of the year to the next, now don’t get me wrong, I loved the smell of it and was jealous when I would go to a friends house and they would be eating chicken legs or chicken nuggets, and given half the chance I would have eaten it too, but my parents wouldn’t let me or my brothers or sisters eat chicken. Why? Because they were way ahead of the game. They knew that the chicken available was battery chicken, and was really bad for you.

It was hard to understand when I was a kid, but I accepted that we just didn’t eat chicken. The closest thing to chicken that we would have was turkey at Christmas. My Mom would go down the country to her hometown a couple of days before Christmas Eve and get two organic free range turkeys. Once the holidays were over we didn’t have turkey again until the following year.

I have only started eating chicken on a regular basis in the last 5 years. The reason being that it has taken that long for organic free range chicken to become commercially available here in Ireland. The scary thing is most people are still eating the “regular” non-organic chicken.

What Is The Difference Between Organic And Non-Organic Chicken?

The is a really big difference. Non-organic chickens are kept in large over crowded warehouses, and are not free to go outdoors. These conditions are unnatural and produce sick and unhealthy animals, so antibiotics and steroids are routinely added to the feed to prevent disease. Organic free range chickens are free to roam around outside to search for their natural diet of seeds and insects. Their diet is usually supplemented with feed made up of organic seeds.

It’s The Same Story With Eggs

Eggs are an absolutely excellent food. They are a complete protein and should be included in your diet, but only if they are organic free range. The “regular” non-organic eggs you buy are from battery chickens. These chickens are kept in tiny cages, stacked one on top of the other, and never get outside. Unfortunately this isn’t just the chicken’s day job, they don’t get to punch out and head home from a hard day in the cage, kick back with a cold one and watch the game, this is their whole life. As you can imagine this kind of environment is highly stressful, and just like chronic stress effects us, it effects animals too, so out come the antibiotics and steroids again.

Luckily my parents knew a local woman who had a farm who supplied us with enough eggs for the week. My Dad asked her not to feed the chickens commercially produced “chicken meal” because it was animal derived and also contained antibiotics, instead she fed them seeds in addition to whatever they found pecking around the yard and grassy land around them.

If Non-Organic, Non-Free Range Chicken Is So Bad, Why Would It Be On The Market

Well it all comes down to profits. The food industry is very tricky, and they will use every loophole and technicality they can in order to convince you that their product is the best you can get. If you don’t believe me, here are some creative “wordings” that are used:

Barn Raised Chicken: This is basically the same thing as battery chickens. They aren’t allowed outdoors, and may still be in cages.

Cage-Free Chicken: Cage free means the chickens are not in cages, but it doesn’t mean the get to go outside.

Free Range: This can be very misleading. Just stating “free range” can often mean that there is a window on the shed or that the cages are two or three inches above average size.

Fresh: They aren’t old or stale? Whatever that means. I think all food you buy kinda needs to be fresh, this is just putting in a word to make the product sound better than it is.

So What Should You Be Looking For When You Buy Chicken Or Eggs?

Organic Free Range Chicken. Sometimes the packaging will just say “organic”, but if you read the label it will often say something like “raised on an organic diet, free to roam paddocks/pastures”. This is the type you want.

Organic Free Range Eggs or Organic Omega Enriched Eggs. Just make sure it states free range somewhere on the packaging as well as organic. Omega enriched just means the chicken’s were fed flaxseed which is high in plant omega 3, which is fine.

You should also be aware that any processed food you buy that contains eggs or chicken is using the “bad” kind, unless it says organic. This includes frozen pre-made meals,  deli meats, ice cream and fast food.

So think about it, if you are eating cheap chicken and eggs on a regular basis, over a long number of years, and all those antibiotics and steroids are in your food, don’t you think your health might suffer?

Like I said at the start of this post, chicken and eggs are excellent sources of healthy protein, you just need to be very conscious of how they are being produced. I would rather pay more for top quality chicken and eggs and have it a little less often instead of paying less for cheap unhealthy chicken and eggs and eating them more often.

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