No, you are not losing your mind, our weekly blog is appearing today, on Thursday, instead of our normal Friday slot. I know, for Type “A”ers like us, this can be a bit much to handle, but for the sake of Good Friday, I thought we’d break a few rules.
That was a nice little segue into our topic for today’s stuff to read while you’re pretending to work (thanks for that great phrase Tony Gentilcore). One of the longest food traditions to celebrate the Easter holiday is the use of eggs.
There are many interpretations as to when or why the egg has become a symbol of Easter. The first related to Christianity is that the egg symbolizes the empty tomb of Jesus. The shell appears to be dead, but inside there is life waiting to break out. The Easter egg is a reminder that Jesus rose from his tomb and brought new life. The Christian Church has officially adopted the custom, regarding eggs as a symbol of the Resurrection.
The colouring of egg shells dates back at least 5,000 years ago when painted ostrich eggs were found in graves of Egyptians. In Christian tradition, chicken eggs were painted red to symbolize the blood of Christ that was shed at his crucifixion. The decoration of Easter eggs has different meanings in the many Christian denominations.
The Easter egg tradition may have also merged with the celebration of the end of Lent. Originally eggs were forbidden during Lent, and there was a surplus that needed to be eaten before they spoiled (imagine, the chickens didn’t stop producing for 40 days to match the demand!).
Now that we’ve covered the history part of the lecture, for those of you who are not nerds like me, we can get to the juicy stuff. Undeniably eggs are synonymous with this time of year, and are abundant in the feasts that celebrate Easter. But eggs have certainly been given a bad rap over the years. We have all heard that we shouldn’t eat too many eggs because it will lead to high cholesterol. In recent years it has become clear that the bigger culprit in heart disease is saturated fat and not cholesterol. Modern recommendations are that one can eat up to 7 eggs per week without increased risk of heart disease. Please note that this is not the same for diabetics, who should consume less.
In an attempt to stop the egg haters, here are 8 Health Benefits of Eggs
- Eggs are incredibly nutritious. Eggs may be the most complete nutritious food on earth. A single egg contains the following % of the RDA: Vitamin A-6%; Folate-5%; Vitamin B5-7%, Vitamin B12-9%; Vitamin B2-15%; Phosphorus-9%; Selenium-22%. They also contain decent amounts of Vitamins D, E, K, B6, Calcium and Zinc. For you calorie counters, that 77 kcals, with 6g protein and 5g of healthy fats.
- Eggs are high in cholesterol but DO NOT raise blood cholesterol levels. Yes eggs are high in cholesterol, but the liver also produces large amounts of cholesterol every day. When we eat more eggs, the liver produces less cholesterol, evening out the effect. In 70% of people that eat significant quantities of eggs, serum cholesterol is not raised.
- Eggs raise HDL (Good) cholesterol. This goes hand in hand with #2. Total cholesterol is not the only thing to look at. One must also compare the ratios of LDL:HDL; it is not as simple as only looking at 1 number. People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
- Eggs change forms of LDL. LDL is the bad cholesterol. Eggs can help change LDL from the very bad small dense form, to a less terrible large form. People with a higher percentage of small dense LDL molecules are more at risk for heart disease than those who have large LDL molecules.
- Eggs contain Choline. Choline is used to build cell membranes and plays a role in signaling molecules in the brain. Surveys indicate that approximately 90% of people do not get enough dietary choline.
- Eggs can help eye health. Eggs contain antioxidants lutein & zeaxanthin, which build up in the retina and can reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Eggs are also high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
- Eggs have high quality protein. The essential amino acids found in eggs have the proper ratios, so our bodies are fully equipped to make good use of them. A large egg has 6 grams of complete protein.
- Eggs are fulfilling. Eggs score high in the satiety index. Substituting eggs for bagels or other breakfast foods can lead to less overall caloric intake throughout the day.
Now that I am done beating the egg drum, I figured I’d give you something to take away with you (generous of me, I know). The mark of any good chef is their ability to make a great omelette. Here is a recipe for one of my favorite stunning omelettes, Mediterranean Caramelized Onion Omelette.
3 Large Eggs
Small Handful of finely cut herbs such as Parsley, Oregano, Basil
Pinch of Salt
Tablespoon of Butter
½ Large Yellow Onion
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Sprinkle of Brown Sugar
2 Medium White Mushrooms
Handful of Spinach
Feta or Goat Cheese
- Beat eggs in a bowl vigorously
- Add herbs and salt to eggs and incorporate
- Heat pan over medium to medium low heat
- Add butter and let melt
- Add onions cut in long thin slices
- Add splash of balsamic vinegar
- Add sprinkle of brown sugar
- Add in thinly sliced mushrooms after approx. 5 min.
- Let cook slowly to develop a nice caramel colour (20-30 minutes)
- Add in spinach to wilt
- Mix in feta or goat cheese
- Heat a separate pan to medium heat
- Coat pan with butter
- Pour in egg mixture
- Follow the video link by one of the Godfathers of French cuisine to make a beautiful omelette in the traditional fashion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCHCsOBZ58M
- Before folding, add in caramelized onion mixture
- Enjoy one of the best omelettes of your life
*** I also quite often will add finely cut bacon, because who doesn’t like bacon!
Shane Pizzey MKin, CSCS, CEP
Founder of Aspire Health & Performance and wannabe chef