A recent story in Time magazine tried to answer the question “Are Eggs Healthy?” As a nutrition graduate student, and a vegan, I get this question on a regular basis. So here is my quick ‘n dirty response.
Eggs are the building blocks for a baby chicken, so YES, that is why they are nutrient dense. They must fuel a life.
They also come at a price. It is common for people to assume that if the animal product did not result in the immediate death of the animal then there should be no ethical concern about consuming it. Consuming eggs is not as much about if they are “healthy” — it is about if it is ethical.
Eggs are a source of energy, vitamins, and tons of nutrients. But it is important to be also aware that this “food source” comes at the cost of millions of animals that are kept in inhumane conditions. A 2017 article in The Guardian declared, “There’s no such thing as an ethical egg.” In this article you can read about some of the horrors of egg farming, including beak trimming (common practice in the UK), cramped conditions of nine birds per square meter, and squalid overall living conditions.
You can get the same level of nutrients that you get from eggs from plant-based sources. Plus, the plant-based alternatives are often less expensive and have less of a carbon footprint on our planet. Great examples of plant-based alternatives to eggs are flaxseed meal, tofu, vegan eggs, applesauce (when baking), chai seeds, and the JUST Egg.
So are eggs truly an “egg-cellent” food choice? The truth is that the answer ultimately comes down to the consumer. I am not here to be an ethicist or a food cop. But I am a vegan, and I do not eat eggs. My goal is to educate, and I believe every consumer must make their own choice and weigh the ethical merits of egg consumption. Hopefully this blog post will help you make the best choice for you.
For more information on the cost of the chicken industry, check out Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s podcast, and for a great egg alternatively breakfast recipe check out Great Day Fox 26 to see Ashley’s Turmeric Tofu-rrito.