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Is it real food ? What real food looks like - with pictures

Saturday, December 07, 2013

There are very few items in the average supermarket that qualify as real food in my opinion.
I would like to do a little series over the next couple of days about what real food looks like, using in part my own photos and in part photos from the internet.
It is getting more and more difficult to distinguish real food from food-like substances and sometimes the only way we can know is by knowing the producer of the food. Buying local and from people who we know is the best way to buy almost anything and find good quality, but in the case of food our life and health may depend on it. After all if we end up buying a poor quality used car it will most likely only cost us money.
Rather than listing which foods are not real I want to do the opposite: give real examples of what real food looks like.

I want to start with the food that is produced in our own yard almost every day and that is also an example of a very healthy food, containing all essential proteins and a good amount of fat, the egg.
Eggs are so nutritionally complete because an animal will develop from them with all it's body parts and tissues so eggs have to have all the raw materials for bones, brain, skin, blood vessels, tendons, muscles, organs etc.
Eggs are nature's most perfect food because the only thing that is missing for eggs to turn into life is energy in the form of heat.
Eggs had a bad reputation for a long time, because people thought that the cholesterol in eggs causes heart disease. But cholesterol is actually a building block for many parts of the body.
But the eggs I am talking about are not the kind you will find in most grocery stores.
Instead they are in such high demand that they are hard to find unless you have a friend with chickens or ducks or raise them yourself.
Good eggs come in all sizes and colors, from poultry that lives on pasture, with plenty of sunshine, the ability to move around and forage for bugs, slugs, insects, seeds and some grasses and herbs, including many of those we consider weeds. They eat grains in significant quantities only when there is nothing else to eat. When egg producers advertise that their animals are fed a vegetarian diet than this is not a mark of quality because poultry are omnivores.
My own ducks do not get commercial poultry feed even in the winter when there is snow cover because then I might as well feed them wheat, GMO corn and soy with some fishmeal and vitamin/mineral mix added. In the winter we provide a variety of organic seeds and grains and some vegetable trimmings: some oats, corn, sunflower seeds, milo or millet, flax seed, all the leafy greens we can find or a bunch of parsley. We never have to feed antibiotics because our animals never get sick. Most diseases in poultry are due to overcrowding, stress, lack of sunshine and unsanitary management.
So if you want healthy eggs that have a lot of the good fats, have richly colored, bright yellow yokes (without needing to add yellow coloring to the feed) you may want to become friends with someone who keeps poultry (the right way) or start keeping some in your own yard. If you choose the latter make sure to check your local ordinances to see if keeping poultry is permitted. If it isn't work on having those ordinances changed.
Here are a few photos from our little farm:

duck and chicken eggs (brown egg: chicken, black egg: Cayuga duck, largest egg: Rouen duck, smallest egg: domestic mallard duck, spotted egg: Mallard/Runner cross)

egg with the shell removed (we found this one frozen)

Bobby, one of my daughter's laying hens

part of our duck pasture

one of our ducklings from this year

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • RUDITUDI2000
    Love the encouragement you put in this blog...maybe I will reconsider chickens. Problem I forsee is my dog....he has "caught" a few of our neighbors...hmm something to think about, the eggs look and sound fantastic!
    1628 days ago
    I just love that you raise your own ducks and chickens and that you do it in such a responsible way. It's still pretty common for people to do that here in Italy, so it's not very difficult to get good quality eggs around here. I hope this practice catches on and continues to grow in the States as well. Thanks for sharing how you do it.
    1630 days ago
    Eggs are one thing I have become TOTALLY spoiled for!! I will NEVER buy regular eggs again!! My chiropractor who is also a casual friend, has the BEST eggs I have ever had! Because her chickens are kept at the grandmother's house, doted on, and fed no chicken feed, they are happy hens! They are pastured, fed vegetables and organic grains. The yolks are so flavorful...I just hate regular eggs now! I eat local organic at last resort but they aren't the same. The only issue is, she has limited supply so I do run out sometimes.
    1631 days ago
    I so agree Birgit- and I can second the suggestion for keeping chickens. More and more cities and towns allow keeping a few hens, we are allowed six but I keep a dozen- the neighbors don't care cause I share. The girls eat leftovers, veggies, fish and whatever they find running around. They are happy and healthy and easy to keep, I have a heat lamp in the coop to keep the water from freezing. Nothing beats a fresh egg! I can't get chicks (in the varieties I want) so I get them from My Pet Chicken.

    For apartment dwellers, look into a CSA box. In spring/summer and fall I get Full Circle Farms box, they sell eggs as well as produce- I don't do it in winter because I had an issue with it freezing and wilting. It's kind of fun to open the box and come up with new ways of preparing new or unusual vegetables!

    Most groceries these days have organic produce and then there are the natural food stores. They may be a bit more expensive but I'd rather pay a little more for a tomato that tastes like a tomato as opposed to the box it came in.
    1631 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/7/2013 9:56:53 PM
  • SKATER787
    I'd love to see a live web cam on the ducks!
    That would be so therapeutic and entertaining.

    Remember, when cooking the eggs, don't cook the yolk. That's what I've just learned recently. Cook the white but the yolk shouldn't be cooked to avoid oxidation. Over-easy is the way to go.
    1631 days ago
    I'm jealous. Maybe when my youngest moves out in a few years I'll get some chickens and ducks. I grew up next door to my grandmother and she grew most of her own food and raised chickens as well. I must admit that I actually DID appreciate how good we had it when I was young. When I went to my friends' houses and tried Pop Tarts and Pizza Rolls it was all I could do to not spit them out.

    Sadly, my kids have not grown up in quite the same environment. Most of their food was home-cooked, but none of it was home-grown. :(
    1631 days ago
    Those black duck eggs are really interesting! I loved when I had a salmon faverolle hen that layed speckled eggs, and two Americanas that layed green and blue eggs. Sadly, my dog got them, so now I have silver-laced Wyandottes, but they have to stay in their run, so they don't get as many bugs and worms as when I could let them run around in the yard. I'm hoping to get things set up so that they can go into parts of the veggie garden that are fallow to fertilize and scratch out the weeds. Even eating Purina feed plus our food scraps and excess greens from the garden my hens' eggs look MUCH different that grocery store eggs; the yolks are much larger, more golden, and more rounded when cracked into a pan. I also feed them flax in their scratch grains, so hopefully that contributes to Omega-3 in the eggs.
    1631 days ago
    this is so interesting thank you live in an apartment no chance of organic free range eggs it is so irritating when articles are written that organic is just the same even here in Spark
    1631 days ago
    I have been buying farm eggs for a few years now, there is a big difference. I loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing this important information.
    1631 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    Eggs are great! I need to find a better source, since the best I can get nearby right now is organic and supposedly cage-free. Good idea to do this series.
    1631 days ago
    I also eat farm fresh eggs. We buy from a local farm. I do not eat store bought eggs anymore. What an amazing difference!
    1631 days ago
    I have heard many times that chickens produce identical eggs no matter what you feed them (within reason). It's the chicken meat that will reflect the food they eat.
    1631 days ago
    I live in France right now and what I like the most is much more of the food here is "real". GMOs are illegal, the food is fresher (generally local as much as possible), fewer preservatives and generally tastes much better than what is commonly available in the US. I will really miss the food when I go back home, although I am fortunate to live near an Amish market which helps avoid the crap from the supermarkets.
    1631 days ago
  • SUNSET09
    emoticon emoticon I stopped believing the hype about what is or isn't good for you. As you stated, you need to know it for yourself. Thanx for the education lesson as this info is very helpful. Looking forward to the next "lesson"/s! The pic of the duckling is precious! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1631 days ago
    Eggs are a favourite of mine. Loved the photos. Thanks for the info. Have a great weekend.
    1631 days ago
  • YMWONG22
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    1631 days ago
    You are so lucky, your children also! My plan is to go back to my village to live one day!
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    1631 days ago
    I am afraid I know nothing about raising my own hens or eggs or that, and living in a city makes it difficult to want to anyway - I personally would not have the time to tend to them.

    I try to find organic eggs when I can but I found your point about yellow colouring in the feed interesting. Also you feed them organic seeds? Seeds for organic and non organic are the same source so do you produce your own organic seeds as well?

    Most of society will just take what is there because of the kind of society we live in today. Fast and furious and as cheap as possible.
    1632 days ago
    I love eggs - soooo yummy! Cute and very interesting pics too - thanks for sharing emoticon
    1632 days ago
    I buy my eggs from my friend that has free range roaming chickens. The yolk is a healthy orange in color. the taste is what an egg should taste like no hormones in these eggs emoticon
    1632 days ago
    I loved this blog. We are retiring to a large farm next summer and my one big project is to have my own laying hens. I can't wait! I've been reading as much as I can about it online and talking to a few others with their own flocks.

    Thanks for the pictures and blog!
    1632 days ago
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