Last week the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) published “The Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” All foods on the list are healthy foods, seven or eight of the ten are quite healthy if, of course, they don’t kill you. Eggs are #2 on the list primarily because they can harbor Salmonella. Something on the order of 1 in 10,000 eggs have the bad bug in them and can make you sick if you eat them raw. Yet generally, they will help keep you healthy. They are a great source of protein. Eggs from hens eating weeds and bugs are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, making them a good depression fighting food. In fact, pastured eggs make the list of “depression buster” foods here at the Rebuild website. (Read more about the Rebuild philosophy that foods can fight depression.)
A whole lot of healthy foods appear to be trying to kill us these days and it seems prudent to approach the menu with a bit of education. In the case of eggs, you cannot always wash that Salmonella off. It can be contained inside the egg shell. The graphic picture I posted this spring here tells the story. The poor gecko apparently violated the privacy of that chicken in a major way and it received the sort of punishment only a hen can give. It was found later inside the egg shell of that hen.
Eggs can certainly be contaminated with Salmonella, regardless of how the hens are raised. Your chances of exposure are pretty slim at 1 in 10,000 eggs. On top of that fairly low chance of illness, we have a bit of a unique case as well in our household since we raise our own laying hens. My exposure to Salmonella must be orders of magnitude higher when I am cleaning the hen house than when I am eating a runny egg. In addition, I have probably developed some level of immunity to the Salmonella strains we are growing on the property. My son has his own technique for building immunity. When eating at home, I do not worry about Salmonella in our eggs. On the road or at a restaurant, I do not eat undercooked eggs.
An undercooked or raw egg will have a slightly higher nutrient value, but you should consider the risk when making your food selection. Either cooked or raw, the Omega-3 rich yolk from a hen eating bugs and weeds (or even on a flax or fish diet) will help you fight depression.
To add eggs to your diet, I offer Mom’s “Sweet Omelet” recipe, a great option for brunch. Mom writes:
Back in my days as a waitress, I remember trying the jelly omelet heralded on the menu. It was a simple omelet filled with strawberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar–an alternative to French toast.Here is my healthier version, crafted to be part of a brunch buffet or a simple dessert. They look more like crepes than omelets. Plan two eggs person. Whip them up with 1 tablespoon of water for every 2 eggs. Add a pinch of salt.
1. Heat a non-sticking crepe pan over a medium-low heat. Don’t try to rush this with high heat: you’ll burn the eggs.
2. Melt a teaspoon of coconut oil or butter and run it around the pan.
3. Pour in the whipped 2-egg portion. The egg mixture should be a thin layer in the bottom of the pan.
4. Loosen the edges as the egg cooks. Don’t let the egg over-cook. Browned eggs are not tasty!
5. When the egg mix has cooked through enough to be lifted, lift it and flip it over for another 1 to 1 ½ minutes.
6. Your egg will resemble a crepe.
7. Turn it out onto a warm serving plate.
8. Place some fresh sweetened fruit down one side of the circle and roll it up like a crepe.
9. Treat the top to a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a piece or two of fresh fruit. Serve immediately.
10. The key to flavor here is FRESH fruit. Try berries. That’s my favorite. Peaches and nectarines also work well.
11. As an option, sprinkle some crushed almonds or walnuts over the top for extra nutrients and texture.
Enjoy! As one of our favorite whole foods, I submitted this post as part of Real Food Wednesdays.