- You should not wantonly climb in trees to look for nests and destroy eggs. 98. You should not use cages to trap birds and [other] animals.
One Hundred and Eighty Precepts
These Daoist sayings are hard. I can understand not wantonly destroying eggs, but not using cages to trap birds and other animals? We wouldn’t have farms without them. Some would argue that would be a good practice, but for people who believe they need eggs and meat, the way to follow this with limited land resources would be to pasture-raise our farm animals. This is expensive and uses a lot of land, raising the price of eggs and meat.
I used to buy my eggs from a discount store at a discount price. The poor hens, most likely trapped in battery cages, probably never saw sunlight or moved outside of their tiny cells. (In a 2014 report, 95% of U.S. eggs came from hens trapped in battery cages.) What a miserable existence. I found the shells overly easy to crack open. They reminded me of the egg breakage I’d read about among wild birds. These fowl are experiencing losses in breeding success due to contamination by post-1945 “residues of synthetic organic chemicals used as pesticides and in industry.”
As I learned, I moved to slightly costlier eggs.
One day my son cut his finger and bled profusely. I remembered reading that eggshell membranes can be used to temporarily stop excessive bleeding. I grabbed an egg and struggled to get a little bit of the membrane out of the bottom of the shell. I got only a small crumpled piece out, and put it on his little cut.
The cut immediately stopped bleeding. We were both stunned.
I then looked up more information on those membranes. They can be used to
- treat wounds to prevent scar tissue;
- reduce the effects of osteoarthritis;
- improve health of skin, hair, and nails.
That was the end of cheap eggs for me. I began buying my eggs from local farmers, and when they weren’t available, got organic eggs from the supermarket. I immediately noticed a difference when cracking the eggs—the shells were tougher to break open.
But how to separate the membrane from the shell? I tried a few methods, none of which worked very well. The membranes were slick, tore easily, and took forever to separate from the shells.
Okay, so maybe the problem, again, was with the eggs themselves. So I moved to the most expensive eggs—organic, free-range, certified humane (raised and handled), and no synthetic pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.
Viola! The membrane, tough and gauzy, pulled right off in large pieces. So easy! And to me it meant the membrane must be full of nutrients, especially collagen. I wanted those nutrients.
I clean the membranes and drop them into my Vitamix to blend with greens for my smoothies.
To me, it’s worth the extra expense to get high-quality eggs, not only because I am prone to osteoarthritis, but also because as a survivor of highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, nutrition is extremely important to me. I want to maintain my cancer remission! Healthy eating can only help, in my opinion.
Plus I’d rather get the membrane from eggs I cracked, so I know the source, than something that has been put through a chemical or other process, and then who knows the quality of the membrane anyway. Probably not from the healthiest eggs.
And another benefit. I clean and dehydrate the shells, crush them with a mortar and pestle, then add lemon or lime juice and have my own calcium supplement.
I am happy to follow the Daoist precept to avoid at least the battery cages and go with free-range, organically fed, humanely treated hens. Happy hens make good eggs, which please me.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
For the healthiest eggs, look for free-range or pasture-raised organic eggs that are not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
One Hundred and Eighty Precepts, http://fore.yale.edu/religion/daoism/texts/
“An estimated 95% of all eggs in the United States are produced in conventional cage systems, sometimes called battery cages.… According to UEP, conventional cage systems typically provide each laying hen an average of 67 square inches of floor space. In some egg operations, hens have less space.” https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/47ce/d140eac346b2b8d59781291411dd60148bfe.pdf
Treating wounds: http://eggmem.org/en/about/page1.php
Treating arthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697588/
Improving health of skin, hair, and nails: http://eggmem.org/en/about/page3.php