April’s Food-of-the-Month: EGGS

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 69 comments

Several weeks ago my sophomore in high school was sick and home from school, watching me fix my lunch.  “Mom, do you seriously still eat that every day?” he asked as I was cracking open and separating my eggs.  “Pretty much…yeah, I do…I love it!” I replied.  We were referring to my “Daily Scramble,” an equally delicious and nutritious meal featured in the Oxygen Magazine article on my website AND in last month’s post about spinach.  Many times I modify the recipe, but the main ingredients stay the same.  (To me, eggs and spinach go together like peanut butter and jelly…or more precisely, two of my other loves:  almond butter and agave nectar.)

Although the humble egg is not always considered a “Super Food” or “Power Food” by others (possibly because of its cholesterol–which we’ll cover in a minute), this staple in my diet absolutely makes my Top 12 list because of the protein in the egg white.  “Eggs have long been considered the best source of complete protein…”–a term defined as a food which contains all of the essential amino acids (Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness).  The Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health, David Zinczenko agrees:  “The protein found in eggs has the highest ‘biological value‘ of protein–a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein need–of any food.  In other words, the protein in eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources…” (The Abs Diet for Women).  

As a figure competitor, I typically ate six egg whites a day, and sometimes a dozen.  That’s because my diet was extremely geared towards building muscle and shedding fat.  Although I’m not currently competing, I still eat at least four egg whites a day plus one yolk for the choline, “an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain development and memory” (Food for Fitness).  Continually building muscle is important for all of us, and when we combine strength training with protein-rich foods (and of course healthy proportions and kinds of carbohydrates and fats) we experience numerous benefits for our overall health and wellness.

Before presenting some of my favorite ways to eat eggs, let me give some basic facts.  Of an egg’s 75 calories, approximately 15 are in the white, and 60 in the yolk.  The white contains virtually no fat or carbohydrates–partly what makes it the “perfect protein”–while the yolk contains five grams of fat, but also all of the Vitamins A, D and E, plus the choline.  The amounts of protein are more closely split, with the white containing about four grams, and the yolk about three.  Doing simple math, we see why eating multiple egg whites is beneficial for our body’s protein needs while consuming multiple yolks increases our caloric and fat intake pretty quickly.

Regarding the cholesterol debate, “More and more research shows that eating an egg or two a day will not raise your cholesterol levels, as once previously believed.  In fact, we’ve learned that most blood cholesterol is made by the body from dietary fat, not dietary cholesterol.  And that’s why you should take advantage of eggs and their powerful makeup of protein” (The Abs Diet for Women).  In addition, Dr. Steven Pratt of SuperFoods Rx writes:  “It’s important to buy high omega-3 eggs, as they make a considerable contribution to your healthful balance of fatty acids.  Look for ‘high omega-3’ or ‘vegetarian fed’ or ‘high DHA omega-3’ on the carton.”  Increasing omega-3 fatty acids in our diet can help promote cardiovascular health, improve the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, lower triglycerides (a dangerous form of fat), and reduce elevated blood pressure.  Plus, eggs are inexpensive and versatile!

Regarding preparation–especially after Easter when many hard-boiled eggs sit in my refrigerator–I enjoy eating a low-calorie, low-fat version of egg salad.  Halve three (or however many you want) hard-boiled eggs, and discard all but one yolk.  Chop all the whites and yolk, and mix together with a little salt, pepper, and about a teaspoon of mustard–regular yellow or spicy brown.  Voila!  A high protein meal delicious on its own or as part of an open-faced sandwich, placed on top of fresh baby spinach and whole-grain bread.  No need for mayonnaise!

I also add hard-boiled eggs (again, multiple whites, one yolk) to canned, water-packed tuna, another low-fat, low-carb, high-protein food.  Again, no mayo is necessary.  Can you practically feel your muscles growing, your fat melting?!  Plus, this combination is really tasty!  Try it!

Lastly, a lifelong favorite:  poached eggs on toast, which my children also love.  Simply drop a whole egg or two into boiling water, toast your bread, and somehow they’re both usually ready at the same time.  No butter on the toast is needed… just a little salt and pepper.  My kids like me to cut it all at once (so it looks like a checkerboard) and mix it all together, letting the bread pieces soak up the yolk.  Yum!

As always, if YOU have ways you enjoy preparing eggs, please let me know!  I love sharing recipes.  Blessings on your quest towards happy, healthy eating!

 

“So God created… every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.  God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number…‘  And there was evening, and there was morning–the fifth day” (Genesis 1:21-23).      

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