What To Eat NOW: The Eggless Diet

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What To Eat NOW: The Eggless Diet

Eggs are cheap, easy and versatile. Unfortunately, they’re also among the top-ten food allergies, contain high levels of cholesterol and sometimes come from animals who are treated abominably, although not always the case. And, they are easily replaceable.

You know by now that I prefer to eat high levels of plant food, preferably raw. It should come as no surprise that where there are substitutes for animal products, especially fast and inexpensive ones, I’ll take them.

Egg allergies are serious. They cause skin rashes and hives, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and anaphylaxis.  Allergies aside, there are plenty of reasons to skip eggs.

Factory-Farmed Eggs

I can’t get away from the horrific treatment of battery hens. They’re kept in cages less than half their wing span their entire lives. Often they’re debeaked to keep them from pecking other hens to death, which also makes them less able to eat.

Just last night I was watching “Unwrapped” on the Food Network, and the egg farm representative boasted that his hens produce an egg every 25 hours. Given that the average hen produces 250 eggs per year, this particular farm is averaging 100 more eggs per hen, per year.

Ever wonder how? Light 12 hours per day convinces the hen that it’s time to lay. So do the hormones and antibiotics they’re pumped full of their entire lives. In a bit of misandry, male chicks are killed upon birth at the hatchery, as they can’t lay eggs and are the wrong breed for meat.

In the wild, chickens can live up to 20 years. The average lifespan of a laying hen is a mere 18 months. They’re crippled by debeaking, osteoporosis from overlaying and their feet growing into the wire cage floor. When they’re no longer useful, they’re slaughtered.

Cage-Free Eggs

I used to buy cage-free eggs at $4 per dozen, thinking that I was serving the chicken population.  Wrong. These hens are often crowded into barns, still without access to the outdoors. To add to the confusion, there’s no legal definition for free-range designation (much like organic), so you don’t know exactly what you’re getting.

If you buy free-range eggs from hens fed an organic diet, you’re STILL not getting the best nutrition. Unfortunately, corn is a very minor part of the  chicken’s natural diet.  Chickens will naturally eat insects, grasses, leaves, fruits and vegetables, along with small amounts of grain.

The only way to really get humanely treated eggs is to buy in person from a small-scale local farm that allows their hens to roam freely. That way you can see the treatment of the animals, buy the freshest eggs possible and pay a fair price.

When it’s not possible to achieve fresh local eggs, there are many acceptable substitutions. The bonus is that all, save gelatin, are vegan and therefore, cholesterol-free.

Substitutions

Nutritional Facts

Ener-G Egg Replacer (Serving size=1-1.5 tsp)
Calories 15
Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 5mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A 4%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10%
Iron 0%
Bob’s Red Mill Egg Substitute (Serving Size=1 tbsp)
Calories 30
Total Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 20mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%

Food Facts

  • In addition to making a great mousse, avocados are used in salads, sushi, desserts, guacamole, and many other dishes. They are also great eaten alone.
  • Though high in fat and calories, avocados are also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and B vitamins.

“They” Said

  • The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network — Recipes
  • Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking
  • Egg Substitutes: Handy Recipes

Remember that eggs perform different functions in recipes. For example, they serve as leaven in cakes and souffles, binders in cookies and muffins and thickeners in sauces and custard.

Leaveners:

1. 1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. water will replace one egg.  Be careful, as this will produce a slightly yeasty flavor in baked goods.

2. 1 tsp baking powder + 1 TBS water + 1 TBS vinegar equals one egg. This is best in cakes.

Binders:

1. 1 packet Knox gelatin + 1 cup boiling water

Stir gelatin into water until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before using.  Three tbsp. gelatin mixture = 1 egg. Store leftovers in the fridge. To use again, reheat in the microwave about 30 seconds or on the stove over low heat until it has turned back to liquid

2. 1 Tbsp. flax meal (ground flax seed) + 3 Tablespoons water

3.  2 tablespoons of chia + 1/2 cup of cold water. This makes 1/4 c. of chia gel, or one egg.

Thickeners:

1. 2 Tbsp. arrowroot flour

2. 2 Tbsp.  potato starch

3. 1 Tbsp. tapioca starch + 1/4 c. warm water

Commercial Products:

The most common (and readily available) vegan egg replacer is called Ener-G.  It’s largely flavorless and can be used in just about any application where you’d normally use eggs.  It’s soy-free (yay), gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and yeast-free.

Bob’s Red Mill makes one as well, but it’s made of soy and wheat. I definitely prefer Ener-G brand for both the ingredient list and the price.

Mix the powder with water (you may need to add a bit more than the package states, I’ve found), pop it into your recipe, and you’re done. Easy as pie.

Recipes:

It’s hard to love something, say a creamy chocolate mousse or mayonnaise, but stick to allergy-free and/or ethical eating. As usual, I’ve got some recipes for you to love.

Perfect for both the weather and the peak season for avocados, we’ve got a mousse for the masses.  It’s raw vegan (if you don’t use honey to sweeten), full of healthy fats and downright delicious.

Avocado Mousse

Recipe modified slightly from AutonomieProject

4 ripe avocados

3/4 cup sweetener (Agave Nectar or honey)

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup of  cocoa powder

Slice each avocado open and scoop out the insides. Place the inside in a food processor or blender. Next add the sweetener, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Blend or process the mixture until fully blended. The mixture should be smooth and the color of chocolate. You can instantly serve the mousse; however, we recommend you let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour.

Vegan Mayonnaise

People tell me they miss mayo for some reason. My mom hates mayonnaise, so I didn’t grow up eating the stuff and therefore don’t even think about it. However, for those of you who do, this one gets high marks.

It’s one of the few that is soy-free.  Also, as much as I love coconut oil and almond milk, a recipe mixing those things and calling it mayonnaise is too strange even for me. This is a great compromise with an easy-to-find ingredient list.

Recipe modified slightly from M.A.G.

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. milk (I prefer almond)
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (or 1/3 tsp. guar gum)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup light olive oil

In a blender, combine the mustard through the garlic.With the blender running on low speed, add the oil slowly in a thin stream until the mayonnaise is just creamy and thickened (do not over mix). This will keep about a week in the refrigerator.

Vegan Vanilla Cake

Recipe from Vegan.org

Cake is my favorite food. No really, it is. Here we’ve got the incredible, edible, eggless cake.                                                                                                 Give it a try!

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar (I prefer 2 cups Sucanat)

2/3 cup cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

• Then in another bowl combine the following:

2 cups cold water

1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp oil (I use coconut oil, of course)

2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round pans.

Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Gently stir the two together until combined. Be sure not to over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pans and place in oven. Check them after 25 minutes or so. Be careful not to jostle too much so they don’t fall.

Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean –  after 25-40 minutes of baking. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then dump out of pans for cooling the rest of the way.

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