Humans around the world have enjoyed eating eggs for almost ten thousand years. Jungle fowl were domesticated to egg-laying hens around 7500 BCE in Southeast Asia, meals in ancient Rome started with an egg course, and even the walls of Egyptian tombs depict eggs.
The first thing you need to know: Organic eggs are best. To get the USDA organic stamp, hens must have access to the outdoors, cannot be raised in cages, and cannot be fed antibiotics or grains with GMOs. Remember the big salmonella outbreak and half-billion eggs recalled in 2010? Organic egg eaters didn’t even have to worry.
The egg might not seem all that exciting at first, but this food has remained a kitchen staple for the greater part of human civilization for a reason. In fact, here are eight of ’em:
- Eggs are inexpensive. While some people balk at the cost of organic eggs, which hovers around $4 per dozen in LA, that’s really only 33 cents per egg – which makes for one cheap breakfast! Commercial eggs may be less expensive to buy, but the costs of flooding your body with hormones and pesticides will show up later. With eggs, always go organic.
- Eggs are a great source of protein. With so many Americans trying to reduce their intake of red meat and pork (and with organic chicken prices around $7 per pound), eggs can make up the difference and provide you and your family with an inexpensive source of fuel. Each egg contains 12.6 grams of protein, which is over a quarter of the recommended daily intake of protein (based on a 2000 calorie per day diet).
- Eggs are quick and easy to cook! It takes less than a minute to fry an egg. In five minutes you can chop a few veggies to add to the mix, throw a whole grain piece of bread in the toaster and you will have a healthy breakfast to kick off the day right.
- Eggs are extremely versatile and can be cooked to suit individual preference. How do you like your eggs: scrambled, poached, fried, pickled, over-easy, sunny side up, soft-boiled or hard-boiled? Or egg whites only? For those with picky eaters in the family, eggs provide the variation needed to keep everyone’s bellies full.
- Eggs work for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or a snack! The egg has a rightful place as breakfast royalty no doubt, but try an egg on your lunchtime BLT or cook up dinner Denver omelets for a change of pace. Hit by mid-afternoon hunger pains? Eat a boiled egg to crank up your energy with protein instead of choosing a sugary snack.
- Eggs are nutritional powerhouses. Back in the day, egg yolks were linked to high cholesterol and heart disease. Those old studies have been disproved, and now experts agree that eggs pack a punch of important vitamins and minerals that benefit everything from your nervous system to your hair and nails. Eggs contain all nine amino acids, a hefty dose of choline and are one of the only foods to contain naturally occurring vitamin D, which wards off depression.
- Eggs work magic in the kitchen. Whether you need a fluffy meringue for a lemon pie, a thick custard for a French dessert or a binding material for your meatballs, eggs are up to the task. Eggs’ unique properties lift, thicken and bind some of our favorite meals and in many cases, there is no substitute.
- Eggs symbolize hope and the eternal circle of endings and new beginnings. Eggs have also been an important fertility symbol throughout human existence. So when you crack open that shell for your next over-easy in the morning, take a moment to consider what your hopes are for the day. Then enjoy one of the easiest, cheapest, healthiest food items around: The egg.