Our latest edition of Functional Food Friday over at Functional Patterns is all about eggs. Gavin shows you how to make an easy and versatile country style omelet and Candice gives us the scoop on why we should be eating more eggs – and especially the yolks!
If you’re eating egg white omelets please stop immediately! The best part of the egg and most nutrient dense part is the yolk. If you’ve succumbed to the scare tactics that the cholesterol in eggs yolks is going to give you a heart attack – I can assure you that they will not. If you’re worried that there is too much saturated fat in the yolks let me tell you that your body needs that fat and it will help you drop body fat – not store it!
Not only are egg yolks not bad for you, they are in fact really good for you. One egg has about 80 calories and contains 6 grams of high-quality protein. The white has little value other than being a source of protein and is typically the part of the egg that causes an egg intolerance or allergy. Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat, providing 13 essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of B vitamins (several vital functions in the body), vitamin D and phosphorous (essential for healthy teeth and bones), vitamin A (promotes healthy cell growth, skin and immune system) and vitamin E (an antioxidant). Lutein, which gives yolks their yellow color and zeaxanthin are natural antioxidants which protect your eyes and have been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. The yolks are also a significant source of choline – one of the best sources in fact. Choline is a nutrient essential for a host of functions in your body including muscle control and memory. Eggs also help keep your thyroid healthy by providing iodine.
When it comes to eggs quality is important and you should always buy only organic, free range eggs – typical commercial eggs can be up to 19 times higher in omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory and should be limited. If you can find farm raised eggs that is even better as pastured eggs are higher in omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial.
Making an omelet is a great way to get a good dose of eggs, together with some additional nutrient dense proteins and vegetables. They are very versatile in that you can really throw pretty much anything in to them and it will likely taste great if you season it well with some flavorful spices and choose complementary flavors. You can make it Italian style with Pancetta or Proscuitto, Parmesan and mushrooms – Spanish style with, bell peppers and ground beef – California style with tomato, onions and avocado or like our mixed bag version which includes German bratwurst, Greek feta, spinach, mushrooms and some heavy cream. You can make it Paleo or Primal by leaving out the dairy. An omelet is perfect when you need a quick and easy meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner and if you have leftovers you can save it for later to eat cold or re-heat for a snack.
Here are the basics:
- Start with about 6 eggs for four servings – season the egg mixture with your salt and spices.
- Add some olive oil to a pre-heated skillet or wok and fry up your protein (chicken, beef, pancetta or whatever you feel like adding)
- Throw in some chopped vegetables to bump up the nutrient density and add some different flavors and textures – we used spinach but just about any vegetable works – try kale, bell peppers, tomato, scallions
- One your meat is browned and your vegetables have softened pat them flat and our the egg mixture evenly over all.
- Cook on the stovetop for about 3-4 minutes
- Transfer to a pre-heated oven and broil on the top rack at 450 degrees for five minutes or until edges are brown and puff up slightly
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two and then using a spatula, lift the sides away from the skillet, give it a good shake, tip out on to a cutting board and slice it up.
- Serve and Enjoy!