Pete Evans

Eggs

Eggs

They aren’t known as incredible eggs for nothing! Made up of a very interesting combination of ingredients, eggs are the kind of nutrient-rich, organic whole food that, if tolerated, are a great addition to any diet.

They aren’t known as incredible eggs for nothing! Made up of a very interesting combination of ingredients, eggs are the kind of nutrient-rich, organic whole food that, if tolerated, are […]

The reason I get so excited about regularly eating fully pastured-fed eggs is, not only are they the freshest and tastiest, but they are also much more likely to have higher nutrient quality. By eating the whole egg (except, of course, when only the yolk or the white is called for in a recipe) you ensure you get the most amount of nutrients possible, meaning your body gets more bang for its buck.

Another awesome quality of eggs is that – along with having a heap of essential vitamins and minerals – eating a few a week is a wonderfully natural way to boost the body’s intake of the critical essential fatty acid, omega-3 – as long as the eggs you choose to eat have been fully pastured and not mostly grain fed – as well as enrich it with a source of high value protein.

The protein in egg is often referred to as “HBV” protein, meaning protein with High Biological Value. In fact, eggs are used by the World Health Organization (WHO) as their reference point for evaluating the protein quality in all other foods.

The reason eggs are considered to be a “complete protein” is thanks to the whole gamut of amino acids within them. Eggs have a complete range of all essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for the protein in eggs that’s why they are made up of protein considered to be of high biological value. Pretty amazing stuff, right?

But let’s get back to the all-important essential fatty acid omega-3 and why eating fully pastured raised (and not grain fed) eggs is a great way to naturally pump your body full of these important brain building and anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats. Keeping in mind, of course, that any typical factory farmed and/or grain-fed eggs may not have any of these beneficial fats at all!

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile you’ll know just how important it is to get enough of the essential fatty acid known as omega-3 into your diet – both through the foods that you eat and with good-quality supplementation.

For years, scientific research proved there is a strong connection between regularly consuming (considered to be two to three times a week) omega-3 fatty-acids and healthy brain development. It’s a good bet that more omega-3’s are better, as our ancestors got these at virtually every meal by eating the meat and fat of the wild animals they hunted. In truth, eggs were actually more of a seasonal treat for us in those days.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also scientifically proven to protect against cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. And more and more research is being done into its role in the prevention of other chronic modern-day diseases because of the ability of the fatty acid EPA – a longer form of omega-3 found only in animal-source foods – to effectively bring inflammation in the body under control.

The best part of the egg to get omega-3 fatty acids from is the yolk. And this is where I encourage you to think global, act local.

Don’t get sidetracked by the confusing array of labeling terms on supermarket packaging. You are likely to find everything from “pasture-raised,” “pastured,” “free-range” and “cage-free” on egg packaging, but labeling laws allow products to display these terms even if the chickens spend little to no time outdoors

My advice is to get to know your local egg producer and find out how their chickens were raised and what they were fed. I also encourage you to think beyond organic and instead ask for pasture-raised eggs. The reality is “fully pasture-fed” trumps “organic” every time.

Research has proven the eggs of hens who are grass-fed and naturally allowed to forage for bugs are more nutrient dense.

Research has also proven the ability to increase the amount of available omega-3 in eggs by supplementing the hens’ feed with the likes of krill or flaxseed oil. However, most interesting is the fact that if hens are pasture-fed on legumes rich in omega-3, such as clover and alfafa, the amount of omega-3 is significantly increased. Meanwhile, the ability of chickens to naturally forage for bugs improves this even more.

What a hen eats also has an impact on the amount of available vitamins in the eggs it produces. All B vitamins are found in eggs, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, biotin, and folic acid. The rich choline, omega-3 and cholesterol (yes, cholesterol) content of fully pastured eggs makes them an outstanding brain food.

But it’s the Vitamin E content – important for your heart and also for helping prevent fats in your diet from going rancid and harming you – that is impacted the most. Research has found the Vitamin E of eggs from hens who foraged on pasture was about 200% greater than vitamin E in the yolk of eggs from caged hens.

Along with being packed full of vitamins, eggs remain a rich source of certain minerals that can sometimes be difficult to obtain from other foods and are a very good source of both selenium and iodine, as long as the grasses and other plants the bird foraged on were also rich in these nutrients.

New scientific research is also showing that eggs are egg-cellent at helping increase the body’s resistance to a number of different diseases.

It’s true that eggs are high in cholesterol – just one egg contains about 180mg meaning that one egg is about two-thirds of your supposed recommended daily intake (RDI).

However, several recent large-scale diet studies suggest the content of an egg may be little concern in relationship to heart disease. In fact, there is no causative link between cholesterol and heart disease and the fact is dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol have virtually zero correlation at all.

Instead, by eating cholesterol you effectively lessen your body’s need to manufacture it —as cholesterol is essential to the earth of every cell in your body – and it reduces the unnecessary burden on your liver (that would otherwise need to laboriously produce it). Not only this, but dietary cholesterol really is brain food! A fourth of all your body’s cholesterol is actually in your brain and absolutely needs to be there for your brain to work properly. You also need it for making many critical hormones, as well as that all-critical fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin D!

Equally interesting is the link between egg intake and increased levels of HDL (what is erroneously called the “good” cholesterol, when it merely has the job of carrying actual cholesterol) in participants. Nonetheless, moderately higher HDL levels are more typically associated with better health. Not only did egg intake increase the number of HDL (high density lipoprotein) molecules, it also improved their composition and allowed them to function more effectively.

It is important to note, however, that some people are either allergic or immune reactive to eggs and they aren’t for everyone.

Immune reactivity to chicken eggs is actually fairly common, in fact. Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind suggests that if you find yourself are struggling with persistent inflammatory issues or resistant weight loss while eating a lot of eggs (coupled with low carbs) it may be worth trying a short period (for example, two weeks) of eliminating eggs, followed by eating a big serving to see if your symptoms improve a little during the abstinence from them or if any adverse symptoms emerge within about 72 hours of resuming their consumption.

This common food sensitivity is likely, in part, a result of some of the unnatural ways that conventionally raised chickens are frequently fed, but also because our ancestors didn’t eat eggs that frequently (think about what time of year wild birds typically lay eggs and nest).

It’s also important to remember that chicken eggs aren’t the only egg options to eat these days. Some people may do find it much better eating duck eggs instead (which many consider tastier, anyway) or turkey, goose or quail eggs that may be occasionally available.

You may want to experiment and be a little adventurous! In some cases one type of egg works when another doesn’t. Some folks are simply out of luck entirely, though, I’m sorry to say. For those lucky enough to be able to eat eggs without any repercussions, they are a superior and inexpensive source of complete, biologically available protein and many important nutrients.

I love eggs so much that I usually eat a them a few times a week and I really enjoy a pasture-raised poached egg for breakfast with some sauerkraut or kimchi on the side. During the oyster season, I also love whipping up an oyster omlette for breakfast – not everybody’s cup of tea, I know, but I love the delicious saltiness that bites through the delicately fried texture of the egg.

And the fact that however you choose to eat your eggs, most of us should get into the good habit of consuming them regularly because if you choose a great nutrient-dense source of protein like this and include it in your diet on a regular basis, you can’t really go wrong.

My top tips:

How to choose fresh eggs

  • When looking at the freshness of the eggs in your refrigerator, it’s important to look at the quality of the whites and yolks, rather than relying on the best before date.
  • Supermarket eggs are often packed three weeks prior to the date on the packet, meaning the eggs aren’t as fresh as they could be.
  • When you crack an egg, you are looking for a cloudy egg white – wateriness and clearness in the liquid is one way to indicate that the egg is old.
  • Similarly the yolk can also be used to determine the freshness of the egg. Bright yellow yolks mean the eggs are nice and new while duller yellow can often indicate that they have been sitting around on the shelves for a long time.
  • The deeper the yellow colour, or the more “orange” the yolk looks, the more likely that egg was pasture raised and is rich in not only healthy omega-3 fats, but also beta-carotene (yes, it’s not just in carrots!)
  • Use your nostrils and if you smell anything funky, particularly sulfur, then it generally means the egg isn’t in good condition.
  • I like to break my eggs onto a separate plate first (rather than straight into the dish) as that way I can make sure if I have an off one, it doesn’t wreck the rest of the recipe.

How to cook the perfect egg

Eggs can be one of those ingredients that are a little hit and miss in the kitchen unless you know these great chef secrets. Hot tip: It’s all about the timing!

  • How long to cook an egg depends on the temperature of the eggs and water as well as the size of the egg and the volume of water (ie. the bigger the egg, the longer it takes).
  • If you desire a very soft-boiled egg – known in French as oeuf a la coque – that ensures the white is creamy and the yolk is just warm then you need to time three minutes for a 60-gram egg in two litres of boiling water.
  • For the next level of consistency – known as a coddled egg – boil for two minutes longer.
  • By boiling for another minute (so six minutes all up) and then refreshing the egg in water you will have a mollet egg, which has a creamy soft yolk but also has a white that is set enough so the eggs can be peeled and the yolk won’t run. I use these kinds of eggs in my salad.
  • Finally, if you are looking for a hard-boiled egg, then boil for 10 minutes in total and refresh in cold water. This is the trick of the trade to making your hard-boiled eggs creamy, not crumbly.

Cook with love and laughter,
Pete

By Pete Evans

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