Thursday, July 30, 2009


So a nutritionist from John's Hopkins reports....

A new study in the online journal entitled Risk Analysis reports that eating one egg a day accounts for less than 1 percent of the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of American men and women. This, in my opinion, helps deflate the myth that all eggs are always bad for you and can never be included in a heart-healthy meal plan.

The researchers cited lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet, smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle as chief contributors (30 to 40 percent) of someone's heart disease risk, with men having higher risks than women. Risk factors that could be potentially treated, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, accounted for a whopping 60 to 70 percent of the risk. In this light, a single egg doesn't seem so big a threat.

Eggs have gotten a lot of bad press of late. There seems to be a constant drumbeat, perhaps in the media, about eggs being off-limits if you want to keep your heart healthy. (Just today, I was seeing a patient of mine with young children and, coincidentally, one of his daughters asked me, "Are eggs bad for you?")

Instead of worrying about an egg a day, I think we should turn our attention to the potential risks of stress (especially chronic stress), physical inactivity, and poor overall diet choices (like diets high in junk foods and low in fruits and vegetables).

This research, which was (full disclosure) funded by the Egg Nutrition Center, serves to further substantiate the premise that healthy adults really can eat (whole) eggs without upping their heart disease risk significantly. And what's more, the authors noted that their analysis did not adjust for all the health-promoting benefits of eggs, which might decrease some heart disease risk.

What is it about eggs that could actually help your heart?

Eggs are high in choline, an organic, water-soluble nutrient that's usually grouped in with the B vitamins. They are also high in betaine, a nutrient related to choline. Together these 2 are associated with lower levels of homocysteine (an amino acid that studies has shown to be related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease). It's good to keep homocysteine levels under control because high homocysteine levels usually suggest chronic inflammation, a process that has been linked with heart disease, as well as to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Treatment of a high homocysteine level usually involves supplementation of the B vitamin folic acid—but don't take more than 1,000 micrograms—1 gram—a day, or it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Eggs are a great source of high-quality (or high biological value, HBV) protein; in fact, they are considered to be the best overall source of protein.
Eggs provide 13 essential vitamins/minerals, including riboflavin, an important B vitamin needed to help your body get energy from food. Eggs also contain vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin lacking in the diet of many Americans. People who are overweight and/or have diabetes are at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Eggs also help you feel full, since your body produces a hormone called PYY when you eat high-protein foods. PYY tells your brain you're no longer hungry, so if you're trying to lose some pounds, opting for a high-protein snack like a boiled egg can really help you feel full (and it's only 75 calories). I personally like the organic eggs high in omega 3 fatty acids (the healthy fats), from chickens raised without hormones or chemicals. These eggs are higher in omega 3s because of the healthier feed given to the chickens. The high-omega-3 eggs add another possible benefit to a balanced diet.
However, if, for whatever reason, you want to keep the fat and cholesterol content in your diet low, eat the egg whites and skip the yolk, since all the protein (and virtually none of the fat) is in the whites. There are even cartons of pure egg whites in the grocery store that make it easy. Or you could separate the eggs at home by discarding the yolks, or at least a few of them. This study, however, seems to be suggesting that even the egg yolk isn't anywhere near the health risk people have perceived it to be for all these years. They're also a very affordable source of protein, a big plus in today's economy!

Bottom line: If you really like whole eggs, and your doctor or dietitian thinks they're fine for you, then go ahead and enjoy them, yolks and all!

I love this for one reason and one reason only - I think egg producers across the USA, Canada and beyond have got us thinking, eggs in the grocery store are nutritious, while they are, I also believe those produced by folks like us, are significantly better.

One of my goals is to create a venue for backyard chicken farmers to validate themselves through an organizational effort. More on this soon.

Chickens are Giants....

Either the chickens are growing or the coop is shrinking.
In this picture is; Sunny (Buff), Millie (RIR), Loa (Arcauna), and the doggone rooster!
Missing; Scat and Hoot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Fruits Of The Labor...

Arugula, Italian Parsley, Tomato's, Cilantro, Bell Peppers, Mesclun and Chickens... are all burgeoning.

So, here is a more serious post... furrowed brow in place...
I am amazed at how, once the soil is prepared, add water and POOF! The garden grows. What a wonderful bounty and what better than to have grow it ourselves. I have noted before and heard,when people eat food locally grow, the health benefits are more significant. I postulate, that as you walk about and breath, touch and live in your local area you bring on local attributes which your system recognizes and is accustomed to - good, bad or indifferent. Ceterus Paribus (everything else equal)... I imagine eating locally grown food would benefit the omnivore in numerous ways. This translates to eggs as well of course since chickens scavenge in the yard are eating bugs and weeds from the local area and therefore are leaving those trace element in the egg.
Therefore, I went on a quest to see if someone had done "the study"... so, while I have not found "the conclusive study" here are some data points which one could theorize that locally grown food are better. Why? They are not adulterated! Period. Eggs are the same theory...

Excerpted from various other sources.... which I am going to put in quotes since it is not in my own pen...

"Produce is at its peak nutritional value when it is ripe. But fruits and vegetables that will be traveling long distances to market aren't picked when they are ripe, but before ripeness. While the produce might gain color and softness on its journey to the supermarket, nutritional value comes through the stem from the living plant. Once harvested, a vegetable is as nutritious as its going to get. And in a double whammy, nutritional value actually decreases every day past harvest. Nor is nutritional value on the top of the agenda for large commercial vegetable farmers. In the days when all produce was local, horticulturists developing new strains of fruits and vegetables only had to consider several criteria: taste and nutritional value. But today, with much of the growing and harvesting handled by machines and with produce shipped around the world, several other criteria take priority, and taste and nutrition take a back seat. Sturdiness and shippability are one factor, and uniformity of size is another. Another key factor big producers take into account is grocery case eye appeal.

While these new criteria are important to the grower's profits, they add nothing to the health of the consumer. If anything, they detract from it. Sturdy produce that stands up to lengthy shipping will be shipped long distances, taking days on its journey to your table, and losing nutritional value with every day that passes between harvest and eating.
So for your health's sake, take a step back in time when you're shopping for produce. Find your local vegetable stand, preferably one on the road right in front of the farm where the fruits and vegetables are grown, selling what was picked that day. Eat produce that was intended to be grown in the area where you live, and buy it at its peak of ripeness, rather than produce that was picked unripe and shipped thousands of miles.

If you live in the city, finding the farm stand might take some doing, and getting there will require some driving. But what better excursion that a relaxing drive in the country to buy freshly picked vegetables? So urban that you don't even own a car? Then look for your local health food store; most of them will have a fresh produce section, and their staff will be glad to tell you where the produce comes from and what days it's delivered.

You might even want to add some healthy outdoor exercise into the mix and grow your own! But if you lack the yard space, time, or inclination, by all means, support your community fruit and vegetable growers by buying your produce ripe, locally grown, and freshly harvested."

These are great reason, pretty qualitative in nature but reasonable. I still want to know if food pulled out of the soil next my bedroom is better for me than a potato pulled out of the ground in Idaho?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photoshop or not?

So, as I am becoming known at work for my prowess with chickens... a light-hearted co-worked decided to mock me...

So my face is slammed in into some poor unsuspecting kids body who is obviously happily holding his Buff Orpington. And it is quite obvious, this kid needed someone to explain the buttons on the shirt are for his collar and his hair looks like Edgar Winter or that creepy actor from The Firm - Tobin Bell. Seriously that guy is the creepiest actor out there. He scares my chickens and me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Manure Among Us...

Another nugget I discovered... chicken manure leeching into the surrounding garden mixed with ABM bedding material is the holy grail of garden growth... Good night Marianne!

The past week while on holiday ( I love that expression - "I going on holiday... right-o, bring the car around and put the luggage in the boot!) , the compost pile was leaking into some fruit trees. It was as though I walked into the backyard 12 mos later.

My test this weekend will be to take the chicken manure and begin spreading and mixing it with the surrounding soil to see what effect it has. I am keeping in mind the heat of the chicken manure and the potential burning of the plants.

I will report back...

BTW - look at the line-up in this movie... can't believe I've missed it!

This is bad....

So, I've landed.... and much to my chagrin was awakened this morning to crowing. So while I was holding out hope that my rooster was a hen, it is, in fact a rooster. Bummer... Me needs to find a home for it now. Besides, my neighbor is about as friendly as a badger and one hint of me being in the wrong on something will send her to the City to file a complaint.

I would love to keep him, but ordinances say otherwise. Even if I did, the roosters crow is the saddest crow ever heard and I would need to hire real roosters to come over and teach this bird how to really make my neighbors mad. In fact, this morning I thought my kids were coughing, only to realize "caw-ca-cough, cough cough" is not a kid sound, but a chicken-type sound. I walked out there thinking I would see a spent bottle of Jack Daniels and an empty pack of Camels. The rooster winks at me as I walk up...

So, I then research the question!

If I keep him - do I muzzle him or send him to a Beverly Hills throat doctor and alter him to sound more hen-ish? Why do I risk this...? Standing like Rosa Parks at the front of the City Chambers, not budging cause I am going to KEEP MY ROOSTER! Not quite the landmark political statement, but a statement nonetheless, because fertilized eggs are better for me and the City is not taking away my health intiative! So, are they? Are fertilized eggs healthier?

"Ehhhhh negative tower, fertilized eggs are not healthier, they just have more opportunity"

So, with that little nugget, I need to find a home for old Kapalua, Rue Paul, or whatever it's name is now... "Pat!" Remember Pat on SNL? Anyway, Pat needs a home. My kids are heartbroken...