Un-Ode to Eggs, Cholesterol and All

By: Sarah Copeland

I set out not to write an ode to eggs. I was afraid I would be too obvious, embarrass myself with my unabashed affection for them.

My love started long ago. Mom would serve eggs for breakfast every morning before school. It got me through until lunchtime, headache and hunger-pain free. Those things tasted good and stuck with you, too. I was sold. I preferred the drippy yolks then as I do now, on anything from toast or pancakes to polenta or frisee au lardon.

If you asked me to eat my way through all 200 varieties of chicken eggs known worldwide, I'd gladly take you up on the challenge. Why? I just love their taste. And lucky for me, the large egg—72 calories, 6 grams of protein and 10-percent of your daily need for Vitamin D—is also pretty cheap, relative to other proteins of course. Even if you buy the "fancy" cage-free, vegetarian-fed and organic eggs that cost a little more. And I recommend you do, because they aren't fancy. They are eggs the way they were meant to be.

But I had a goal not to make a hero of the everyday egg. So I went digging for the egg's dirty past, no matter how trite, to aid my mission. Cholesterol, the obvious solution. What about egg's cholesterol?

Aha. Here's a story. Not long after culinary school, I was working the pastry line at a three-Star French restaurant in New York City. For a year, I lived on minimum wage, freshly spun glaces (ice creams) and eggs, eggs, eggs for every other meal. They were fast and affordable.

That fall, at my annual appointment, my doctor noted I had lost 20 pounds but my cholesterol had increased enough to get his attention.

Eggs, I said. I race around a busy restaurant 60 hours a week and eat nothing but ice cream and eggs.

Just recently, I read a report by Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center on the USDA finding that eggs are significantly lower in cholesterol and higher in Vitamin D than previously thought.

It turns out that the ice cream and lack of dietary fiber (vegetables and fresh fruit) in my diet during my restaurant job was likely to blame for the oddities in my weight and cholesterol, not the scrambled egg dinners after all.

I still consume eggs almost daily as my main protein, along with tons and fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains. And, my cholesterol has been behaving like a good little friend for ten years and counting. I once again believe that eggs aren't bad guys at all. Not even a little.

Oh darn, I just wrote an ode to eggs. Blame it on Megan Palmer's insanely delicious egg dishes, which I'd gladly eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They put me right over the edge.

Photos and post by Sarah Copeland. Recipes by Megan Palmer.

Sarah Copeland is a food person and serious egg lover. Follow along with Sarah on her blog, edibleliving.com, and be sure to check out her first cookbook, The Newlywed Cookbook.

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