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Eggs: yes or no? Q & A with Sondi Bruner

I’ve always liked eggs, but lately I’ve fallen in love with them, especially when I cracked three fresh eggs into my date walnut loaf last week.

It turned out to be more eggy than loafy but got me thinking about the whole debate around whether eggs are good for you or not.

I intuitively feel they are fantastic little gems but just to be sure I thought it wise to get local expert Sondi Bruner’s view on the issue.

Sondi is a holistic nutritionist and one of my favourite food bloggers. She is creative, engaging and has the gift of making complicated things so easy to understand. You’ll see.

Plus check out her loaded Frittata recipe down below!

1. One day eggs are good for you, next day they’re not. What do you think?

I am a huge fan of eggs and wish I could eat more of them! (I have an intolerance to eggs, and can only manage eating them about once a month, much to my dismay.)

Eggs are a delicious source of protein. They’re packed with stress-busting and energy-boosting B vitamins. They’re full of healthy omega-3 fats, which nourish the brain, fight inflammation and promote cardiovascular health. In my view, what’s not to love about all that?

I know that some people are scared of eggs because they contain cholesterol. Unfortunately, cholesterol has become a scapegoat fat that is unfairly blamed for a lot of health issues. The truth is, our bodies need cholesterol. It maintains our cell walls, helps us produce bile for digestion, and is intricately involved in making hormones. Most of our cholesterol doesn’t come from dietary sources – we make about 80% of the cholesterol ourselves, and the rest comes from food.

There isn’t any conclusive research that shows eggs cause high cholesterol levels, either. There are plenty of sensationalist bcp_111127_9998-2headlines about eggs (for example, one study made headlines around the world last year when it claimed that eggs were as bad as smoking), which can make it very confusing for consumers.

I encourage clients to read beyond the headlines and question these studies. Newspaper articles are just a snapshot of the research, or a direct reprint of the journal’s press release. Often, when you go to the original study yourself, you’ll find additional information that can help you interpret what the research means.

I believe that fresh eggs are not causing our society’s health woes – it’s the refined foods, the sugary junk, and the processed and packaged foods filled with chemicals that are making us sick.

2. What are the differences between regular, organic, free-run and free-range eggs?

Eggs are classified based on how the animals are treated and what they are fed.

I don’t advise eating conventional eggs, as they come from chickens that are often pumped with medications and growth hormones, and never leave their teensy cages. (If you’re looking for more information about this, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is a good read.)

Free-run eggs come from chickens that aren’t kept in cages and can roam within a barn, while free-range eggs are produced from chickens that also have access to outdoor space. These animals might still be given medications or poultry feed that contains elements that are not part of a chicken’s natural diet (for more info about what chickens are eating, check out this article on my website.

Organic eggs are laid by chickens who have been humanely treated and fed an organic poultry feed. They have open access to outdoor space, where they can pick and graze on the land. They’re not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. In my opinion, these animals are the healthiest source of eggs.

3. What kind of eggs do you recommend? Do you favour a specific brand?

I like to buy organic, free-range eggs from farmers I trust. I’m not married to a specific brand; I like to visit my local farmer’s market and buy directly from the vendors. I can ask them questions about how they treat their animals, and what the chickens are fed. I don’t always buy from the same vendor, as fresh eggs often sell out quickly!

Sondi’s recipe: Loaded Veggie Frittata

This is a very forgiving recipe – add in whatever veggies you have on hand, or alter the number of eggs. You can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

6 organic free range eggs

1 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 ½ cups shredded greens (spinach, kale, arugula, whatever you like)

Salt to taste

In a medium-sized pan, sauté the red onion and garlic until soft. Add in the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to exude their juices. Toss in the greens, and let them wilt. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, crack your eggs and whisk them together. Mix in the cooked veggies, tomatoes and salt.

Pour the mixture into a round cake pan, pie plate, or your serving dish of choice.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes, until the eggs are set and the frittata is lightly golden. (Times will vary depending on the size of your dish, and your oven.)

Feature image credit: Sondi Bruner

Side image credit: Barbara Cameron Pix

Additional resources recommended by Sondi

Picking the good egg (decoding egg labels)

Chicken out! (decoding egg labels)

Why American eggs would be illegal in a British supermarket and vice versa

Eggs: Healthy or not?

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