Let’s be honest, eggs aren’t always available and throughout time, cooks have come up with numerous ways to avoid their use. Whether it’s was because there was an egg ration, or like recently, because the weather kept you home and you ran out of eggs and were unable to get to the store or because you or a family member is allergic to them, or because you hate the taste of them, or because like me, you’re a vegan.
I actually stopped eating eggs when I became a vegetarian because I found out the truth about eggs. Eggs are not safe to eat. Over 100,000 people a year are poisoned from salmonella from eggs. Eggs are not healthy to eat. I’ve known for a long time that they are high in cholesterol but found out even more of the “bad” truth after reading various sources that discussed landmark research which I’ll briefly highlight below. And I was quite pleased and couldn’t really believe that as I was finishing writing my post for today, I ran across a short video from my favorite website, Nutritionfacts.org written by Dr. Michael Greger. Today on his post he has a short video: Who Says Eggs Aren’t Healthy or Safe? which gives further information about and supports my topic.
Several studies have been published over the years that prove that eggs are high in cholesterol. That fact has been in the media for quite some time. In fact, I remember to this day when I was a little girl and my father was diagnosed with very high cholesterol. One of the things our family doctor insisted he take out of his diet (1966) was eggs along with reducing red meat and high-fat cheese from his diet!
Among other important topics, the landmark Harvard’s Nurses Health Study started in 1976 on women’s health, was a rigorous, 17-year study that followed 40,000 women and compared the dangers of smoking to the dangers of eating animal products. The study found that the number one single cause of death was heart disease, and dietary cholesterol consumption was a significant risk factor for death. The second leading cause of death they found was from smoking-related cancer.
According to the study, the daily consumption of the amount of cholesterol found in eating just one egg a day exceeds the safe upper limits for cholesterol intake which contributes to artery plaque buildup that can lead to stroke, heart attack and death.
A single egg yolk, depending on it’s size, contains 215 mg to 275 mg of cholesterol — that’s more cholesterol than the 210 mg of a burger made up of ⅔ pound of beef, 3 (.75 oz) slices of cheese, and 4 bacon strips on a bun! In fact, eating ½ an egg a day exceeds the limit which is 90 mg or less per labeled serving!
The data suggests that the cholesterol found in eating just one egg a day shortens a woman’s life as much as smoking five cigarettes a day for 15 years (or 25,000 cigarettes) … meaning that the more eggs we eat the shorter we may live. The data also showed that eating eggs increases Type 2 Diabetes. On a positive note, the data also showed that the most protective behavior was eating fiber — thus eating oatmeal every morning may extend our lives!
The key point: eggs make your bad cholesterol go up and for hours after you eat it sets off vascular inflammation and impairs endothelial function (often regarded as a key early event in the development of atherosclerosis) which leads to artery clogging plaque which leads to heart attacks.
In my journey to be feel better and be as healthy as possible, after watching my father, who passed in 1999, suffer in his later years from poor health, it was not hard for me to give up eggs after I realized the health benefits it would bring to me.
Most of us believe it is a perfect source of protein, but as I have shared before, there are many, many plant-based choices of protein that are available to us. Eating an egg-less, meatless, plant-based diet has shown to improve mood, lower the risks of cataracts, neurological disease, food poisoning, heart disease, diabetes and may even help reverse rheumatoid arthritis. My mother has suffered from this type of arthritis since her 30’s’ and since I have moved toward a diet that has removed processed sugar and is plant-strong, nutrient dense, I no longer suffer the aches and pains of joint inflammation. I no longer have to take pain medication. My mood is “lighter,” and I am a happier, more positive person. There is no time like the present to make healthy choices. It’s never too late to do better after we know better. Over the past few years I have discovered that with all of the options out there for us to choose, I truly don’t miss eggs in my healthy kitchen.
For some, you are wondering is it possible to make pancakes or French Toast without eggs? You probably didn’t even realize but in fact, for pancakes, or any “flat” baked product that requires only 1 – 2 eggs, it can usually survive without an egg! The main thing is to substitute a little extra liquid (1 – 2 tablespoons) to make up for the missing egg. And remember, I have a really great French Toast recipe in my Breakfast Recipe section.
Picking the right egg replacement:
When picking the right egg replacement it’s important to understand the functions of the egg in your recipe. Also, what do you want to replace, the whole egg, or the yolk or just the white? This will help determine what to use for the egg product.
Eggs have different uses –
- They add moisture
- They bind ingredients
- They act as leavening agents – make things lighter/fluffier
So, take out a few of your favorite recipes and take a quick look. If the egg is the main liquid ingredient, it adds moisture. If the recipe has 1 egg but also contains baking powder, soda, or yeast, the egg is the “binder. If there is no soda or yeast, the egg is the leavener.
Be daring and just get in there and try your substitute. It’s so worth it. For some recipes, you will want to consider how your replacement will influence the final flavor. For some recipes, like some cupcake or cookie recipes, you may discover it’s as simple as leaving the egg out and that it really doesn’t even need to be in the recipe.
Today on the market there are several brands of powder forms of egg replacements. I honestly have not tried any of these because they are a bit spendy for my budget. I’ve discovered some pretty easy and inexpensive healthy options Here are 5 of my simple tricks and tips I have found to use in my healthy kitchen.
- Take 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and combine with 3 tablespoons of water. Set the mixture aside for a few minutes to gel before adding to the recipe. This replaces one egg.
- Fruit makes an excellent replacement for eggs. I use bananas, apple sauce or puree, the most. You can also use canned pumpkin or any high pectin content fruit. ¼ cup of applesauce or mashed banana will replace 1 egg. I am careful to not use bananas where that flavor might be too strong and overpowering (like sugar cookies where you want that “vanilla” flavor to pop). For some recipes, when using a fruit puree as a substitute, add an extra ½ teaspoon baking powder to keep your item from becoming too heavy or dense (the egg’s role is the leavening agent). Try the blends of different fruits like peach/apple or strawberry/apple for some delicious tasting muffins.
- For savory recipes, such as a vegetarian loaf (remember my Savory Vegetarian Neatloaf where I use both the oats and flaxseed mixture), try things like mashed potato, tomato paste or rolled oats. These agents help to thicken and gel with the other ingredients. Also bread crumbs, cornmeal/flour, arrowroot and whole-wheat flour are good substitutions. I have also tried using tahini, or seed butter (sunflower) or nut butter (almond butter) which are more mild flavored nut butters. These have worked the best for my meatless burgers, or meatballs where there are wonderful extra spices that blend with the replacer.
- Silken tofu (firmer types don’t blend as well) is fabulous as a replacement for recipes with a heavier consistency like custards, cheesecakes, puddings, and Quiche. It’s also great in brownies and cakes as it takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking. Generally, 1/4 cup of tofu will replace one egg. Whip or beat it before adding it to the recipe. You can also use 1/4 cup of soy yogurt per egg.
- For an egg white replacement, mix 1 tablespoon plain agar powder (available from most health food stores) with 1 tablespoon with water. Whip together, chill and then whip it again. And when you need a sweet glaze on top of a baked pastries or for a white, crackled look, use a simple mixture of powdered sugar and a small amount of water, whisked until smooth, and brushed over the top when the baked goods are barely warm so that the glaze doesn’t melt off or soak into the pastries too much.
So, see, with all the healthy and humane options, trust me, you won’t even miss eggs! And just think by trying even a few of these simple tricks and tips to replace eggs in your diet it will be another simple way to be making a difference for your health, your food budget, the animals, and the planet.
You can make easy, delicious food. And you’ll feel so glad you did!