In many cultures around the globe the egg is the symbol of life and considered very sacred. In our culture the egg is often received with mixed reviews. Some discard the yolks and load up on the whites, while others cherish the nutrient dense yolks. I for one believe the egg is perfect in its whole form – white with yolk as nature intended!
A whole egg contains:
* the highest and most complete protein of any food – strong muscles!
* valuable fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K, perfectly packaged with the fat you need to assimilate these vitamins – healthy eyes, strong bones, enhanced immunity, improved mood, glowing skin and proper blood coagulation!
* sulphur containing proteins that support our body’s cell membrane integrity – strong cells that could otherwise turn to mush!
* long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA which support a healthy nervous system and mental activity – aka BRAIN FOOD!
* vitamin B which keeps cholesterol moving in our blood stream – anti-artery clogging!
The albumin or “white’ makes up about 66% of the egg and contains 57% of the protein. The yolk makes up 34% of the egg and contains 43% of the protein. It’s easy to see based on this relationship that if you are looking for protein, the whites could be the way to go . . . but are they really?
While whites reign supreme when it comes to protein content, the yolks win when it comes to vitamins and minerals.
The yolk contains:
* 100% of the vitamin A, D, E & K
* 99% of the zinc
* 97% of the vitamin B1 (thiamin)
* 94% of “heme” iron, the most absorbable form of iron
* 93% of the phosphorus
* 90% of the calcium
In addition to protein, the whites also have the majority of the niacin, sodium, magnesium and riboflavin. All of these vitamins and minerals in both the white and yolk need each other for beneficial assimilation in the body. In the case of the egg it’s wise to trust in nature’s ability to create the perfect food and enjoy the egg in its whole form to reap all the nutritional benefits.
* Conventional can mean that hens have little to no access to light, are debeaked (very painful and considered inhumane), live in their own feces, could be treated with antibiotics or hormones and eggs can be chemically treated to present a white gleaming shell (you can bet these chemicals get past the egg’s porous shell)
* Free Range can me that hens have a little access to light, enjoy a “more” natural diet and typically aren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics
* Organic can mean the hens enjoy a “more” natural diet, receive no hormones or antibiotics and may or may not have access to light
* Pasture Fed means chickens are enjoying their natural diet out in nature = best eggs possible!
The best place to get your eggs is from your local farmer’s market. At the market you can speak directly to the farmer/farm about their standards and practices.
For those with an egg-venturous spirit like me, you can branch beyond the standard chicken egg and try an emu or ostrich egg, used below in my quiche recipe. For those of you in NYC, Roaming Acres Ostrich Farm from Sussex, NJ is often at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can also find them at the Columbia Greenmarket on Thursdays. If you can’t find emu eggs in your area, just substitute chicken eggs.
Rena Unger - Holistic Nutrition Chef
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Emu Egg Quiche Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 stick of grass-fed butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp berbere, cumin or curry powder
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 3 cups leeks, quartered and sliced
- 3 cups onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups wild mushrooms
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tbsp mirin or wine
- 1 emu egg,or 10 chicken eggs
- 2 cups shredded baby swiss
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix the flour, butter, salt and spice powder in a food processor. Gradually add water until a ball begins to form. Do not over mix.
3. Set dough aside in the refrigerator to firm.
4. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add leeks, saute until they begin to brown and caramelize. Deglaze pan with 2 tbsp mirin or wine. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add onions, saute until they begin to brown and caramelize. Deglaze pan with 2 tbsp mirin or wine. Remove onions from pan, add to leeks and set aside.
6. Heat mushrooms in same pan until water is released. Deglaze with remaining 2 tbsp mirin. Remove from heat and mix with leeks and onions.
7. Whisk egg(s) with salt and pepper and set aside.
8. Roll dough and form into pie pan. Blind bake the crust for 12 mins. To do this, line the pie crust with parchment paper and top with dried beans or pie weights. Remove the crust from the oven, remove parchment and pie weights, and cool for 10 minutes before filling. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
9. Sprinkle crust with 1 cup cheese, top with leeks, onions and mushrooms, then add whisked eggs.
10. Cover with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake for 30-40 minutes until center is set and top is golden brown.