Written by Stephanie Eckelkamp for Rodale’s Organic Life
Can a big protein boost early in the day make the difference in how you feel?
Why eggs? They’re the perfect little package. Not only are they protein-rich (about 7 grams each), but eggs—specifically the yolks—contain inflammation-fighting omega-3s; vitamins D, E, and B12; and minerals like selenium. Plus, just two eggs a day fulfills half of your daily needs for the memory boosting nutrient choline, which, per recent studies most Americans severely lack.
And for the low cost of a dozen local organic eggs—$5 or less—there was no excuse not to make the switch. Here’s what I learned when I did.
THE EGG HATERS ARE WRONG
I knew I was going to get some hate from people claiming that all that cholesterol would lead to my premature demise. But, to be honest, I think that’s kind of a load of crap. Nutrition science has come a long way since the heyday of egg white omelets, and much of the traditional advice about saturated fat and cholesterol wasn’t based upon good science to begin with.
Plus, while the American Heart Association used to recommend consuming no more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol a day, they recently decided there’s not enough scientific evidence to stand by that suggestion. Experts now say that, yes, there’s cholesterol in eggs, but, contrary to what we’ve previously been told, dietary cholesterol doesn’t seem to have much effect on blood cholesterol, the type that actually clogs your arteries, for the average person.
Still, nutritionists emphasize that how many eggs you can safely eat per week largely depends on how the rest of your diet looks, which makes it a pretty personal (and variable) recommendation. But since I’m active (I walk my dog 4 miles a day), healthy, and eat a balanced, veggie-rich diet, I felt pretty great about adding 3 organic eggs to the mix, especially to my protein- and fat-deficient mornings.
I FOUND SUPER QUICK WAYS TO GET CREATIVE
As you can imagine, plain ol’ eggs, while tasty, can get boring after a few days. So I decided to jazz things up. My one requirement: This jazzing could only add a minute or two to my breakfast making routine and had to add some legitimate nutrition to my meal. Enter: organic frozen veggies. I’ve had a few bags of these suckers sitting in my freezer for months, so I decided to add them to the skillet with a little butter before dropping my eggs. The verdict: peas and corn added some fun texture and subtle sweetness while ramping up the fiber content. The next day, I did this same combo plus some perfectly ripe avocado and cilantro on top, which was delicious; and the day after that, I added some almost-too-old-to-eat kale to the mix, which was significantly less delicious, but you live and you learn.
I COULD MAKE SCRAMBLED EGGS IN UNDER 4 MINUTES
There’s literally no excuse to not eat breakfast—here’s how I know. On day two of my experiment, I was walking out the door, already late for work, when I realized, “Sh*t, I didn’t make my eggs!” So I turned around, put on the skillet, added butter, and cracked in three eggs, scrambling them right in the pan with a fork—no pre-whisking, no adding a splash of milk, no fancy anything. I finished them with some salt and pepper, and guess what? They were great! Just like normal scrambled eggs, but they were done in the amount of time it would have taken to make a disgusting instant oatmeal packet, which makes me wonder why I’d ever wasted time on those unnecessary steps before. We’ve been living a lie, people.
I COULD SKIP MY MID-MORNING SNACK
Since my normal apple or banana breakfast before this little experiment (eggsperiment?) had pretty much zero protein (or maybe a whopping 7 grams if I added peanut butter), it wasn’t really surprising that I was ravenous by 10 a.m. With my new 3-egg routine, though, I was consuming at least 21 grams of protein every morning, and I was able to keep the hangry monster in my stomach quiet until around 11:30 or 12 p.m. This did wonders for my ability to focus and get things done since I wasn’t constantly preoccupied with what I’d eat next, or refilling my mug of coffee.
THE ROUTINE WAS BOTH COMFORTING AND RELAXING
Making a commitment to one type of breakfast every single day, especially one that requires cooking, might seem like it would be boring or a bit of a pain. But over time, I can honestly say that I found the consistency to be comforting. Not having to wonder what to make for breakfast—or if I’d eat breakfast at all—streamlined my mornings and eliminated any food guilt I’d experienced before. Plus, I was pretty much forced to sit down for at least 10 minutes each morning and eat (believe me, I’ve tried eggs in the car and it doesn’t work), which gave me a moment to relax and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead.
So yes, I’m probably going to keep up my new habit of eating eggs most mornings. Unless, of course, new research reveals that chocolate frosted donuts are the key to longevity. Then I’ll have to eat those. For science.