Summer Superfood Scramble:
How to Supercharge Your Breakfast for All Day Energy and Health
BY MEGHAN MCDONALD
If you’re anything like us, you love summer! The warm sun, the long days, the gatherings with friends, the trips to the ocean, and the abundance of fresh finds at the local farmer’s market. In addition to summertime must-haves like organic avocados and arugula, one of our year-round staples is fresh eggs from healthy, pasture-raised chickens—but these aren’t always easy to find at the farmer’s market or in the supermarkets.
Not only that, but buying eggs these days can be downright confusing with all kinds of health claims being made by egg companies trying to convince you that theirs are the best:
And so on… they all sound pretty good on the surface—and some of them definitely are! But dig a little deeper into the others and you quickly realize that not all eggs are created equal and what sounds good on the surface may be hiding something deeper below it.
So in everyone’s best interest, we thought we’d clear a few things up so you can easily discern the good from the not so good and on top of that offer one of our all-time favorite summer egg recipes to boot.
When it comes to choosing high-quality, healthy, humane eggs, here’s what you need to know…
Non GMO vs. Organic Eggs
Non-GMO means that the feed given to the chickens does not include GMOs (such as genetically modified corn, soy, etc.) and, therefore, the eggs that the chickens produce are free of GMOs. While in general it’s ideal to buy non-GMO eggs (as well as produce and groceries) this does not mean that the chickens or their feed were not exposed to pesticides or other harmful chemicals, which can be detrimental to the endocrine and immune systems. While non-GMO products are a step in the right direction, there’s something even better: organic.
Organic means that the chickens and their feed have never been exposed to pesticides, chemical fertilizers or GMOs (since certified organic products cannot include GMOs by law). In our opinion, it’s best to shop for and buy organic eggs since you will be avoiding both GMOs as well as other health-hazardous pesticides and chemicals. While organic eggs can sometimes be more expensive, if you love eggs as much as we do or eat them almost daily, we highly recommend purchasing organic eggs to avoid the buildup of toxic chemicals in your body.
Cage-Free vs. Free-Range vs. Pasture-Raised Eggs
Cage-free means that the chickens are not housed in cages, however, this doesn’t mean that their living conditions are spacious or that they have access to a natural habitat. Usually, there are hundreds, even thousands, of hens living in a large enclosed barn space, without access to the outdoors. While this is slightly better than keeping chickens cooped up in small cages for their whole life (yes, this is the sad truth of most factory farms), the reality is that cage-free hens still have very little room to move about.
Free-range is a term that indicates the chickens have access to outdoor areas, however, standards for free-range conditions can vary from farm to farm as there’s no defined space requirements. That means that one farm might have thousands of square feet of outside space available while another might just have only one hundred square feet all together. One farm may have grass available for the chickens, and another may have cement. While the term “free range” sounds like an upgrade over “cage-free,” more space and animal welfare isn’t guaranteed.
Pasture-raised means that the hens laying the eggs are provided access to outdoor areas to feed and forage on grass for at least some of the time. This is great because studies have shown that when chickens are able to forage on their natural diet, eggs tend to have lower saturated fat and cholesterol and higher amounts of omega-3 fats, beta carotene and vitamins A, D and E. Unfortunately, however, there are no government standards for this label, so just like the free-range eggs above, pasture-raised conditions can vary from farm to farm.
So how can you be sure you’re buying the best quality eggs from happy hens?
Certified Humane, Organic, Pasture-Raised Eggs
In order to make sure that the eggs you’re buying are highly nutritious and adhere to the highest standards of animal welfare, look for certified humane, pasture-raised eggs. Unlike traditional free-range and pasture-raised eggs, which lack consistent standards, eggs that have been certified humane must adhere to specific standards of space and outdoor access. For instance, pasture-raised eggs that are American Humane Certified or Certified Humane®, must guarantee 108.9 square feet of pasture space per hen with living vegetation (grasses and grubs) and allow them to perform natural behaviors (such as pecking and scratching). They must also provide areas of shelter and shade as well as access to housing. Pasture-raised eggs that are both certified humane and organic are by far the best eggs you can buy.
Some of our favorite eggs that tick all these boxes are Handsome Brook Farm Organic, Pasture Raised Eggs. This brand is made up of a collective of small family farms that believes that the happier and healthier the hen, the tastier the egg. We love their eggs not only because of the animal and environmental welfare practices they support, but because they also taste great. The recipe below features their eggs, and their rich, nutritious orange yolks, as the centerpiece along with some of our other favorite summertime superfoods.
Recipe: Summer Superfood Scramble
This recipe is the perfect summer dish when you’re you’re looking for something savory but sweet, hearty yet healthy, and packed full of superfoods. It’s especially great for entertaining and makes for the perfect breakfast for overnight guests or a brunch with friends before the summer sun hits its peak.
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
1 medium organic orange sweet potato
½ chopped organic white onion
6 organic, pasture-raised eggs (We love Handsome Brook Farms!)
4 oz organic arugula
1 organic avocado
⅛ teaspoon organic turmeric
⅛ teaspoon organic smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt, more to taste
1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and mix together with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
2. Wash, peel and chop sweet potato into ¼ to ½ inch cubes. Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato cubes and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add the onion, cayenne pepper, turmeric, smoked paprika, and salt. Stir for 1-2 minutes until onion becomes translucent.
4. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the arugula, stirring for another 1-2 minutes until wilted.
5. Slowly add the eggs and allow them to begin to set at the bottom of the pan. Once the eggs begin to cook around the edges of the pan, use a silicone spatula to push the eggs around. Continue stirring until scrambled to your liking.
6. Once the eggs have cooked, remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh avocado and salt and pepper to taste.
Using High-Quality Ingredients
As with all of our recipes, we feel that it’s not so much your skills in the kitchen that make the difference, it’s the quality, freshness, and wholesomeness of the ingredients you use. Here are a few of the health benefits of the superfoods incorporated in this recipe.
Handsome Brook Farm Organic, Pasture-Raised Eggs
As mentioned, we love these organic, pasture-raised eggs because they are humane for the hens and healthier for the humans. They are higher in vitamins and omega-3s and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat than conventional eggs. For more information on Handsome Brook Farm organic, pasture-raised eggs and recipe inspiration, visit: @HandsomeBrookFarm
Organic Coconut Oil
Studies have shown that coconut oil helps increase nutrient absorption and fight fungal infections. It’s medium chain fatty acids are also great for fueling and nourishing your brain.
This awesome leafy green packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including several B vitamins, calcium, zinc copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. These compounds help to support and boost the body’s overall immune system, and the phytochemicals found in large quantities within arugula inhibit the activity of cancer-causing cells.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory with a unique chemical composition of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that help support the immune system and fight against disease within the brain and body, including Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
Organic Smoked Paprika
Similar to turmeric, paprika also has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting compounds that can help support the body’s immune system. It’s also a wonderful digestive aid and may even help prevent cancer.
Keep in mind that each time you purchase organic produce and pasture-raised, certified humane eggs, like the ones from Handsome Brook Farm, you are effectively voting with your dollar for a better and healthier food system and a healthier, more nourished you. After all, one of the most effective ways to initiate change is to align your purchases with what you value. By opting for non GMO, organic fruits, vegetables and groceries along with organic, pasture-raised eggs and grass-fed meats when you shop for food, you’re creating a demand that influences what farmers and companies invest in. Choose wisely, choose well!
This article is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Handsome Brook Farm, whose products and ethos comply with Conscious Lifestyle Magazine’s stringent quality and integrity guidelines.
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About The Author
Meghan McDonald is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. She holds a Masters degree in social psychology and has conducted award-winning research into the nature of human social behavior. Meghan loves exploring exotic destinations worldwide and learning about all things conscious, healthy, and whole.