Eggs are nature’s perfect food. You may ask, “Aren’t eggs bad for your cholesterol?” For years the public has been told to avoid eggs, especially the high-cholesterol yolks.
The egg scare started in the 1950s and 1960s, during a campaign condemning cholesterol. Most patients and doctors still hold fast to the idea that eggs are bad for you because of their high cholesterol content, even though hundreds of studies have shown that the amount of cholesterol we eat has very little influence on our cholesterol blood levels. More to the point, specific studies have shown that consuming moderate amounts of eggs does not even affect our blood cholesterol levels.
Egg yolks do contain cholesterol, but what has been conveniently overlooked is the fact that they are also one of the richest sources of choline, a component of lecithin, which many people have eliminated or reduced in their diet.
Choline acts like a fat and cholesterol dissolver. It keeps the cholesterol in the egg moving through your bloodstream and doesn’t allow it to accumulate on arterial walls. Lecithin breaks fats into small droplets and improves digestion. It also keeps cholesterol soluble, which keeps it moving in the bloodstream and helps prevent blockages or clots.
Eggs are also rich in minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids. (If you don’t want to eat eggs daily, one easy way to get these benefits is to make a healthy smoothie with a tablespoon of soy lecithin every day).
Another important fact to know is that farm-raised, free-range or organic eggs from chickens feeding freely in the fields contain a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your HDL cholesterol level.
In recent research at the Kansas State University, scientists found a new substance in eggs called (take a breath) phosphatidylcholine that was found to block any LDL (bad) cholesterol from entering our bloodstream.
When I went to the market to buy eggs as a boy, the farmers used to have a small candle (later a flashlight bulb) set in a metal box with an opening just large enough to sit each egg in it. That way you could tell how fresh they were by the size of the air pocket in them. The larger the air pocket, the older the eggs were. I would not be surprised to see those same boxes still used at the markets in small French villages.
How To Buy Eggs
If you can, buy farm-fresh, free-range and cage-free eggs from a producer you know. This is by far your best choice. In Austin, we can get this type of eggs from Boggy Creek Farm, Louis Young’s Farm, Soncrest Egg Co., and Coyote Creek Farm.
Be aware that, in some cases, free-range does not mean a whole lot. The USDA allows any farm that has a little door available for the chickens to use to be free-range. So, cage-free is a better designation if you want to make sure those chickens actually scratch the earth, feed on earth worms and gravel (what did you think the shell was made of?) like at my
grandmother’s farm. Your next choice should be organic omega-3 eggs, then organic eggs like those from Organic Valley.
How To Cook Eggs
The best way to cook eggs so they are easy to digest are poached or soft boiled, like the British like to eat them. Why? The egg white needs to be fully cooked as it could cause biotin deficiency over time.
On the other hand it should not be overcooked (as in fried) which creates carcinogens. The eggs yolk is a lot easier to digest when barely cooked (sunny side up) or still raw but warm.
Hard-boiled eggs are much more difficult for your body to assimilate. By the way, scrambling your morning eggs exposes them to oxidation, so I try to avoid cooking them that way.
3 Methods Of Cooking Your Eggs Gently
1. Poached in simmering water with a teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of sea salt added. Both help the white to coagulate. Let the egg poach on one side for a minute, turn it around gently and finish cooking. Drain it on a paper towel. I like to add tomato sauce to mine.
2. What I call butter-poached. I learned this technique a long time ago from an English cookbook (they know a thing or two about eggs, these lads). I melt a pat of butter gently in an egg-poacher. When it is liquid, add your egg. Let it poach gently at low temperature. The way I like mine is with crushed sea salt on the white and cayenne pepper on the yolk. Sometimes, I use a touch of turmeric for its health benefits.
3. Soft-boiled eggs, another English technique we have adopted heartily in France, especially in the South. In the wild days before World War II, rich English society loved to spend their winters on the Cote d’Azur. They left us a few new cooking ideas. Bring your cooking water to a gentle boil, add your eggs carefully and cook for 3 minutes from the time you add the egg to the water. Take the eggs out gently and run under water for about 30 seconds to avoid overcooking. I like to eat mine with a little sea salt and black pepper and dip in long pieces of French baguettes cut finger-size.