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Eggs wrongly convicted

Posted: Friday, April 14, 2006

David Ottoson

Food For Life

When I think of Easter, I think of eggs. This age-old symbol of regeneration has been associated with the Easter holiday for hundreds of years. However, when many people think about eggs they think, "Eek, cholesterol." This food, so deeply associated with life, is avoided like the plague by people worried about their health.

The fact is, eggs have gotten a bad rap. The case against them was originally based on trumped-up evidence. Fifty years ago, the Cereal Institute funded some research on eggs. You can draw your own conclusions about why the Cereal Institute was studying eggs. Anyway, instead of using fresh eggs they used dried egg yolk powder in their studies.

The cholesterol in dried egg powder is oxidized and is extremely harmful to the arteries. The verdict came in that eggs are loaded with cholesterol and are bad for your heart. Unfortunately, once a message gets repeated enough it is often accepted as gospel. Eggs were wrongly convicted, and got put on the "avoid" list for health conscious people.

The fact is, whole fresh eggs, as opposed to devitalized, dried egg yolk powder, have never been shown to elevate blood cholesterol. Eggs contain Vitamin B6 and Choline, both of which help protect the arteries. They are loaded with high quality protein. They also contain lecithin, which helps to emulsify fats. Eggs are one of nature's most perfect foods.

I can personally attest to the value of eggs in rebuilding health. Last fall I was very sick and lost almost 20 pounds. After I got out of the hospital, my wife made me a three-egg omelet with goat's milk cheese nearly every day for breakfast. I inhaled them. In a little over a month, I had gained back all the weight I had lost and was feeling much better.

When choosing eggs, give consideration to where they come from. I prefer eggs from chickens who are free to run around. They just taste better. Look for the words "free range" or "cage free" on the carton. There are also eggs available now from chickens who eat a special diet to boost the content of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Eggs can be soft boiled, hard-boiled, poached, scrambled or fried, but I am partial to omelets. Omelets are easy to make, provided you have a good pan with gently slanting sides. If the sides of the pan are too steep, it is difficult to slide the omelet out without ruining it. I use a crepe pan because I don't have an omelet pan. It is just the right size for making an individual omelet.

The following is a recipe for a simple cheese omelet. This recipe uses Gruyere cheese, but really any kind of cheese may be used. For variation, try adding chunks of smoked salmon to the cheese filling.

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• David Ottoson owns Rainbow Foods and has bought, sold and written about food and health for 20 years.

Simple cheese omelet

3 eggs

1 tsp. water

salt

1 Tbs. grated Parmesan

3 oz. grated Gruyere cheese

Butter

Beat the eggs lightly with a little salt, the water and Parmesan. Heat the pan and sizzle the butter in it. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and give it a quick swirl. As it begins to set, gently lift the edges with a spatula so the liquid on top can run underneath. While the eggs are still a little moist on top, add the grated cheese. Fold the omelet in half and slide it out of the pan. Serve immediately.



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