Leggo Your Eggos, Peeps

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I know it’s hard to imagine, but I don’t miss the straight-up scrambled, hard boiled, or poached eggs I used to eat (especially the seemingly always-runny plate when I ordered “well done”).  I do miss — and so occasionally indulge in — bread pudding or other desserts made with eggs. My fridge is probably egg-free 90% of the time.  But when I do procure a few eggs for family or friends, I try to get them from a friend with chickens (best) or buy organic.

I gave up dairy for dietary and health reasons, but have become increasingly concerned about the ethics of food production, including the treatment of animals.  When you buy and consume industrially-produced meat and dairy products, you are supporting an unhealthy (antibiotics, hormones, and possible infections such as e coli and salmonella) as well as cruel (overcrowding, no fresh air, throwing away live male chicks, clipping tails and beaks, etc.) business.  So, on all levels, regardless of what you choose to eat, it’s just best to buy organic and local when possible!

But you only eat “free-range” or “cage-free” eggs, so that’s safe and healthy, right? Nope. Actually, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no definitions for cage-free or free-range (as in, I could keep chickens in my car and call them free-range — a bad idea on oh-so-many levels). . . and the CDC estimates that for every reported case of salmonella poisoning there are actually 38 unreported incidents.  Why risk it?

“Organic and pasture-raised” – this is what you should look for on your labels. My family likes an occasional scrambled egg or french toast, and we have company this week, so I just paid seven dollars here in Kona for a carton of such eggs a few days ago. Ouch. But I’m willing to walk by my favorite lotion and vegan scones to buy organic. (Okay, I’m being dramatic to make a point. You know I walked right back over to the scones.)  Did you know that at Whole Foods you can actually get a bio of the hens who laid your eggs – and a signed egg shell for $9.95 (I’m totally serious about the bio!).  I’m not sure we need to take it this far, but I’m passionate about supporting humane practices at every level of the food chain, whatever we decide to eat.

Speaking of, my other “beef” today has to do with militant definitions of being vegan or vegetarian or herbivore or paleo or clownivore. . . “If you’re a committed vegan, you don’t eat eggs. Ever.”  Well, okay, if you haven’t ingested one calorie of animal-derived protein for 999 days and 7 hours, that’s awesome — and I love being part of a community of like-minded and like-eating peeps — but this attitude doesn’t do animals or our food system any favors, and it certainly doesn’t win vegans any friends.  Rather, it may perpetuate an image of vegans as condescending and disdainful, when what we all need to do is encourage our circles to consume sustainably, responsibly, and compassionately.

The basic problem, as I see it — and this applies to our entire food supply, not just eggs — is that most Americans are more interested in cheap food over quality food. We have got to demand healthier food across the spectrum.  Now go out there and make your bad self a tempeh scramble. . . yummmmmy! 🙂

Tempeh Scramble (from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s brilliant Vegan Brunch —have I mentioned that I LOVE her?)
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb tempeh, cubed
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
4 large leaves swiss chard, torn into pieces (or any leafy green)
Directions:
1. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute the tempeh in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned.
2. Add red bell pepper and onion and drizzle in remaining oil. Saute for about 5 minutes until veggies are softened but still slightly crunchy. Add garlic and thyme and saute for 2 more minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Add greens and saute until just wilted. Serve immediately.
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One response »

  1. Thanks Hannah for encouraging peeps to purchase eggs from local pastured hens, this is definitely the way to go and we Paleoites are equally concerned about food quality and food production ethics!

    I have to say that I am amazed by the huge differences between eggs from pastured hens versus [vastly inferior] factory farmed eggs. First of all, the pastured egg shell is so much thicker and stronger and they’re noticeably more difficult to crack open. Then the yolk is a deep orange color, as compared with the anemic pale yellow yolk of a factory egg. Also the yolk of a pastured egg stands up much higher after the egg is cracked as compared with a factory egg. Finally, nutritional analysis of pastured eggs confirms that they are far superior in every way to factory farmed eggs! Oh and pastured eggs taste much better! Just some really obvious and dramatic differences there, as you have probably seen! Pastured eggs FTW! ☺

    We all know why there is such a difference between pastured eggs and factory farmed eggs. I always cringe when I am in an average grocery store and I see that the factory eggs are proudly labeled as coming from hens with ‘All Vegetarian Feed’, like that was a GOOD thing. Hens, like humans, are omnivores and your happy pastured hen hops all over the place cheerfully eating all of your insects and worms and grubs [all very nutritious BTW, and if we were really practicing what we preach we Paleo types should probably be eating lots of bugs and other gross stuff like that] in addition to plants and seeds. As a result their egg quality (and I’m sure their health in general) goes way up. [wonder if any of this would apply to humans, things that make you go “hmmm”, oh sorry, wrong blog, I’m just sayin’! 😉 ].

    Ok anyway enough of that, please don’t ban me, I love your food quality and food production ethics message here….also thank you so much for not being a “militant clownivore” [hilarious!] and being willing to even talk about eggs, not to mention being willing to occasionally feed eggs, the most nutritionally dense food on the entire planet, to your developing children! ☺ [you can just forward the hate emails from any militant clownivores straight to me. ☺ ]

    Just one quick question, are you replacing the eggs in your recipe with soy for health reasons? Or do you not really like to eat eggs (taste or whatever) as you said you don’t miss them? Just curious!

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