Take it or leave it.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I once quoted the sage Ramana Maharshi who said, "On the spiritual (yogic) path, vegetarianism is absolutely essential."

Of course for most people a vegetarian diet would include eggs and dairy. But the spiritual teachers, while eating ghee (clarified butter) and other milk products - not to mention being a little on the heavy side, especially around the middle, sorry guys but it's true - shunned eggs, which they viewed as a form of killing.

Indeed eggs are baby chicks to be. Granted, the sages were living in an age (1800's and early/mid 1900's) before factory farming, when hens are mass-produced, cruelly confined to pens, where they are force-fed and bred for the eggs they lay, which are destined to be scrambled or served sunny-side up.

There is no chance these eggs could ever wind up as chickens, and even if they were allowed to hatch, given the superabundance of hens and eggs, one could argue that eating them would be a form of population control.

Of course I jest, but it's funny where twisted logic can take you.

But even if you avoid factory-derived eggs and instead exclusively choose those laid by organically-fed, free-range, hormone-free hens, the health hazards inherent in the egg-a-day habit overwhelm their paltry benefits, the major one being taste. Yes, they are savory. We are hard-wired to crave fatty-foods, and eggs derive most of their calories from fat (and cholesterol, which I'll get to). Take it from a guy who used to eat 12 eggs every morning (the bodybuilder's breakfast), and loved every bite, eggs are quite habit forming. And eggs are a good source of certain nutrients, not the least of which are selenium and choline. But as I once wrote, eating a food for one or two vitamins is like eating your poop for the fiber. Why take the risk? (Besides, a daily multi-vitamin is a great way to top off any nutrients you may be deficient in.)
And like eating feces, that egg for breakfast can really make you sick. I may not have devoted enough words to the ills of eating eggs in my book The Paradigm Diet which you may or may not have read. If not let me know and I'll gift you a copy.

Back to eggs. Yes, but the taste! you say. Eggs are comfort foods. Are they now? The dictionary would beg to differ. Merriam-Webster would call a comfort food "a traditionally eaten food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the person eating it, frequently with a high carbohydrate level and a simple preparation." Eggs have no carbohydrates (or fiber). And their preparation is not as simple as the true comfort food: the banana, which is simple to prepare (simply peel) and carbohydrate rich (95% of its calories come from sugar and starch). Or better yet, potatoes. Carb rich, easy to prepare, and warm when you boil them for 10-15 minutes and eat with salt and/or salsa. Just some ideas in case you're needing an egg replacement - not that I'm trying to change you!

But the nostalgia! you say. I ate eggs when I was a kid! I did too, remember. I also wore diapers, which I thankfully gave up. Not all childhood pastimes should extend into adulthood. What about moderation? An egg or two a day or per week or once in a while surely isn't all that bad. Moderation is a tricky subject and different for each consumable item. Moderate water consumption is a couple glasses a day. But how much strychnine or cyanide could you consume and still be called moderate? My argument is that eggs belong more to this latter class (poison) than the former (essential nutrient). Read: best left for the rats. Or Rocky.

But onto our list.
1. Eggs are high in cholesterol. Just one large egg contains over 200 mg of cholesterol, which is 70% of the daily maximum. Cholesterol is not an essential nutrient, since your liver makes enough to fulfill all its important functions, which include serving as a precursor for hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and vitamin D. Cholesterol intake has been implicated in heart disease, which reigns as America's number 1 killer. Indeed more women die of heart attacks and strokes than of breast cancer.
2. Eggs constipate. They contain zero fiber, an essential nutrient necessary for bowel regularity, a deficit of which can cause hemorrhoids, constipation, diverticulosis, and cancer. If you enjoy an egg omelet for breakfast, which has no fiber, then you stand little chance of consuming the recommended amount of 25-40 grams of fiber (I'd recommend 50 to 100 grams) at lunch and dinner alone. By comparison, one banana contains 4 grams of fiber.
3. Eggs stink going in and coming out. There is no mistaking the sulfur stench of eggs. And they rot in your gut, giving rise to fetid flatulence on the "back end." Anecdotal evidence and personal history suffice as support here.
4. Eggs are a common source of multi-antibiotic resistant bacteria, mainly Salmonella. One study conservatively found that 5% of eggs carry Salmonella, that's 1 for every 20 you eat. If you eat 2 eggs a week (moderation? you decide) you can count on getting food poisoning every 2 or 3 months. And be sure to scrub your pan and utensils after preparation and consumption, since egg remnants can coat counter-tops and cabinets and attract flies and bacteria, adding to the pathogens already present in and on the shell.
5. Of course there is the resource depletion associated with producing animals and animal products for food. The water usage, land usage, grain and grass usage, etc. In this environmentally conscious time, a high carbon footprint seems so Stone Age.
Ah, lessee, eggs (being high in amino acids and fatty acids) are acidic, which all that to-do about alkaline diets seeks to reverse. That's all I have on the subject. Why belabor it?

But remember: I think you're perfect as a wild rose and my high regard remains whether you eat eggs or abstain. If you do, and you experience the olfactory phenomena so common in my egg heyday (or eggday?), just warn me to leave the room - although I'm sure your farts smell like roses, too.

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