This Week on the Farm: Duck vs. Chicken - The Whole Egg
By Bronwyn Hill, Naturopathic Doctor
Over the next few months, Bronwyn will be contributing a series of interest pieces, sharing insights on the treatment of common health concerns via the use of food, lifestyle and other natural treatments.
If you have any ideas for topics or questions for Bronwyn, forward them our way and she will address them in her column.
The lovely folks at Fresh City Farms asked me to some research on eggs; specifically duck vs. chicken; both of which some of you may have tried in your food box over the last few weeks.
Let me preface the details on chicken vs. duck by stating what a great food I think free-range eggs are! So nutritious, versatile, and totally yummy. Eggs (especially the kind you get in your Fresh City Farm box) from free-range birds are one of the best sources of protein and healthy fats. Eggs contain all essential amino acids for protein building, are chock full of B vitamins, Vitamins A, D & K and iron. The fats in eggs are found in the yolk, and to set the record straight – yes, eggs contain cholesterol, but in an unsaturated form. This means eggs are not the "bad guys" we all thought with respect to elevated cholesterol levels and associated disease.
Last note regarding the nutritional benefits of eggs – it’s all about the bird that laid ‘em! Birds who are raised outside, on a grass/plant food diet are far superior to the poor cage-bred species.
So duck vs. chicken – what are the differences?
Nutritionally speaking, duck eggs are larger and contain relatively more protein and albumin than chicken eggs. Duck eggs contain more fat per serving, this includes about double the omega-3 and chlolesterol content. Keep in mind, this cholesterol is not the bad guy – as long as it is consumed in moderation. It is likely the specific protein composition of duck eggs is also unique; which could account for why some with allergies to chicken eggs are o.k. with duck, and vice versa. It may also be that if you are newly introduced to duck eggs (with their different protein and fat content), that your immune system and digestive tract will react strongly at first.
If on your first try, duck eggs did not agree; try isolating the white and yolk (try them both on their own – one day at a time), and consider taking a digestive enzyme beforehand. Enzymes ensure that you break down the proteins and fats properly which minimizes any digestive side effects. Another way to ease the eggs into your tummy would be to combine them with a generous serving of greens and sprouts – both of which are full of the latter!
A few last notes on cooking your duck eggs – I have tried them a few times and find that they cook best at high heats, quickly. I am preferring the result when I have them easy over with a bit of coconut oil; vs. scrambled or poached. Chefs say the higher albumin content of duck eggs makes them "set" easily – apparently great for baking, but not if you like well-done eggs (they can get rather rubbery).
Let me know what your experience with duck eggs has been – how do you enjoy them at home?
Bronwyn Hill, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor & food lover. She is currently in practice in Toronto's Forest Hill Neighbourhood, at Mahaya Forest Hill Integrative Health. She specializes in using food as medicine, acupuncture & traditional chinese medicine & botanicals; and has particular experience treating digestive concerns, women's health concerns including menopause, stress management, insomnia, healthy detoxification, and chronic respiratory conditions including asthma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter @drbronwynnd.