ORLANDO — This is all about appreciating eggs.
In May 2017, I was chatting with my sister Kerri when we first got on the subject. I was getting concerned, I said, but my sister brushed off my fears with a quick wave of her hand.
“They used to say that,” Kerri noted, “but now they don’t believe that anymore.”
It was music to my ears.
In these turbulent times, when so much in the world seems to be going miserably wrong, we had shifted away from all those horrors to settle on a far more pleasant subject: eggs. More specifically, the fact that I had become a major egg fan late in life, but often found myself wondering what strange allure eggs held over me.
In May we celebrate National Egg Month, and checking around, it seems I wasn’t the only one doing some celebrating. The Egg Nutrition Center has been urging the un-eggthusiastic to grab a carton during their next visit to the supermarket and find out how many glorious things can be done with them.
“May is a perfect month to celebrate the arrival of spring, mothers, and the Incredible Egg,” the Egg Nutrition Center noted. “While eggs are commonly associated with breakfast and protein, many aren’t aware of the nutrient package the whole egg provides.
“One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and high-quality protein all for 70 calories,” the Center added. “Plus, nutrition research suggests eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.
Whew. Kind of like a cool glass of water every morning from the Fountain of Youth. Can’t beat that.
Of course, the promotion of eggs isn’t just about health and protein. How about the economic impact as well?
The North Carolina Egg Association, representing North Carolina’s egg farmers, also urged folks to crack a few this month and then go for some hard-boiled, scrambled or poached beauties.
“The entire month of May is dedicated to the many virtues of nature’s own miracle food, the egg,” the association noted.
“Eggs provide high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern. In fact, the quality of egg protein is so high that scientists frequently use eggs as the standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods …. now, that’s Incredible!”
Notice that word incredible again.
I didn’t become an egg enthusiastic out of an obsessive desire to get healthy — though perhaps I should have. It all started in August 2016, when I found myself in the hospital, hooked up to an IV, just days before Labor Day Weekend.
A Hospital Menu: The Egg Rules
A week earlier my left leg had swelled up and been in a lot of pain when I walked, and when I finally went to a walk-in clinic, the physician took one look at me and said “I’m pretty certain you have a blood clot in your leg, and you need to go to the nearest emergency room — now!”
I took his advice. After a scan of my leg at nearby Florida Hospital, a grim looking doctor rushed over to me in the waiting room and told me I had several blood clots in my leg, and they needed to immediately get me admitted and hooked onto an IV, because if one of those blood clots moved to my lungs or heart, I’d be gone. So there I was.
Next up for me, as I relaxed in the hospital bed and let the medication do its magic, was getting used to the hospital’s menu — which was actually pretty good.
Until then, I had always had oatmeal in the mornings — that was my wake-up-and-face-the-day meal. It had been for years. And to be very honest, I was probably more than ready for a change.
So I opted for eggs for breakfast. And suddenly, it was like an epiphany: enjoying the meal immensely, I kept thinking, Eggs where have you been all my life?
After that, I became an egg devotee, consuming three eggs every morning, nicely scrambled, for breakfast. Occasionally I might break away and try cereal or back to that old standby oatmeal, but not that often. I had fallen in love with the egg.
At that point, I started to wonder why I had resisted them for so long. And I think part of it was out of health concerns: as my sister and I had been discussing recently, it was that long-held view that too many eggs are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol. And as Kerri noted, that was one of those health concerns that have faded off in recent years.
My own research found that to be true: on the question of how many eggs you can safely eat in a day, the science has now concluded that up to three whole eggs per day are perfectly safe.
Furthermore, eggs are now believed to raise HDL, or High-density lipoproteins, one of the five major groups of lipoproteins, and the one believed to be the “good” cholesterol.
Suddenly it pays to be an egg eater.
And plenty of folks are singing high praise about eggs. Right around the time I was going into Florida Hospital, an article titled “6 Reasons Why Eggs Are The Healthiest Food on The Planet” by Kris Gunnars was published in Authority Nutrition, gushing about that which the chickens produce.
“Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as ‘nature’s multivitamin,” ” Gunnars wrote. “They also have unique antioxidants and powerful brain nutrients that many people are deficient in.”
But I’m not a nutritionist so I don’t analyze this stuff on a regular basis.
I just knew I was in love with waking up to my plate of scrambled eggs and hot coffee. That provided me with the energy and morale boost I need to take on the day.
Eventually, my primary care physician did in fact pull me off of daily eggs in September 2017, because of a cholesterol level that was too high for his sense of comfort. I was restricted to three eggs a week.
It worked. My cholesterol level is back to normal. But I do miss my daily eggs breakfast, and I’ve gone blandly back to cold cereal.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the point where I’m sick of eggs.
But I do know that I’m quite pleased the jury verdict is now on the side of eggs being healthy and nutritious for you. That’s exactly the news I’ve been waiting for.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Koby’s New Home”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.