How to replace the nutrition that eggs provide
Margaret Moss suggests some ways.
There are a number of reasons why people avoid eating eggs.
John and Susie own a residential home for elderly people. They are afraid of salmonella in eggs. The answer is to cook them well, but gently. Cooking at too high a temperature changes the chemical structure of the egg creating harmful substances. Scrambled eggs are safer than fried eggs, as they are cooked evenly.
Cynthia is allergic to hens’ eggs. It would be worth trying duck eggs, but only eating a few, or she may become allergic to them too. Again, they need to be cooked well but gently. Her mother, Anne, wonders if she should avoid allergenic foods like eggs in her next pregnancy. The answer is no. So long as she herself is not allergic to them, she should eat them, throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. It would be best for her to breastfeed exclusively for six months, and then continue breastfeeding for another six months, while introducing the foods she eats to the baby. This is how a baby’s immune system is programmed to see egg as normal, and not to react to it. If her baby does react to eggs, Anne should avoid them herself, until she finishes breastfeeding.
Joe has coronary heart disease, and is worried about eggs raising his cholesterol levels. However, eggs are not associated with coronary deaths. Cholesterol in food relates little to cholesterol in blood. A recent study showed that 45 to 60 year olds in France have an average cholesterol level of 6.2 units, which would be regarded as high here, yet France has a low heart disease death rate. Joe should avoid milk and sugar, not eggs. Some cholesterol is needed for making the male and female sex hormones, the adrenal hormones, cortisol and aldosterone, and vitamin D.
Sally has ulcerative colitis. Bacteria involved in this disease thrive on meat and fish proteins which she needs to avoid. Some people with ulcerative colitis also need to avoid eggs.
Fish provides protein, along with valuable omega 3 fats, which are needed by the brain, and which reduce inflammation.
Meat is another good source of protein and is not, in itself, an unhealthy food. However, meat that has been smoked, barbecued, or cured with nitrate or nitrite, like ham, bacon and sausage, should be avoided.
Hard cheese provides a broad assortment of amino acids and is not associated with heart disease. Producing hard cheese removes most of the harmful sugar that is in milk. Avoid Dutch cheese if it contains nitrate or nitrite.
Unlike other nuts, cashews must be cooked. They can be bought already roasted, or they can be roasted in a moderate oven for about ten minutes, with a stir half way through cooking. Cashew nut butter is tasty. Do not have large quantities of nuts if you have cold sores or genital herpes, as nuts provide too much of an amino acid needed by herpes viruses.
Eggs contain lecithin, which breaks down bigger fat globules into smaller ones, so that they can be processed to make energy. Lecithin protects us from gallstones. Soya lecithin granules can be used instead of eggs. They can be sprinkled on porridge or mixed into soups.
It is necessary to eat some fatty foods in order to obtain the fat soluble vitamins. This is especially important for babies, and it is why they should not be given skimmed milk.
However, maize is a good source of zeaxanthin, so long as you eat the common yellow maize, and not white African maize. So you could eat corn on the cob, try Italian polenta recipes, or have maize porridge for breakfast.
Saffron also contains zeaxanthin (but it is rather expensive) as do spinach, lettuce, oranges and peas.
Infants who spend most of the time indoors, and people with dark skin who live in temperate climates, are at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency. So are people who cannot absorb fats efficiently.
Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium, and is therefore needed by bones and teeth. It may protect us from cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Folic acid protects babies in the womb from spina bifida, and is believed to prevent heart attacks, strokes and senility. It is needed for transporting oxygen around the body.
To replace the vitamin B12 in eggs, you can use the other animal sources, meat, fish or cheese, or else take a good quality supplement. Do not rely on supposed plant sources, like spirulina; they provide compounds similar to B12, which prevent it working properly.
First published in 2007. Updated 2013.