Great Ways With Eggs – Fresh Tastes by Bev
By Bev Laumann, Author of A Taste of The Good Life: A Cookbook for IC & OAB
As summer approaches, many of us are looking for meals that are quick to fix and lower in calories. Look no farther than the eggs in your refrigerator for foods that are nutritious and bladder friendly, but often low in calories. When meal time rolls around, eggs are an IC patient’s best friend. Naturally alkaline (with a pH of about 8), egg whites can help neutralize the bladder-provoking acids in other foods you may be eating. Egg whites can also easily fit into a vegetarian IC diet, providing a source of protein that is both meat-free and soy-free.
A whole egg contains a fair amount of vitamin B12 too. Vitamin B12 is especially important for vegetarians because, although a form of it may be in vegetables, that form cannot be utilized by humans. Only the form of vitamin B12 found in animal products can be effectively used by the human body. Vitamin B12 is a vital part of numerous chemicals needed by the body and is utilized in every cell.
Eggs contain several nutrients that are especially important for people with chronic illnesses. The selenium and zinc for instance, promote tissue repair and aid cell growth. Eggs are a good source of niacin and iron– nutrients involved in the formation of red blood cells and transport of oxygen to the tissues.
Concerned about cholesterol? While eggs are certainly nutritious they do have one huge drawback: they have more cholesterol than any other food in the typical American diet. A large egg yolk can have a whopping 215 mg. of artery-clogging cholesterol. An easy fix for recipes is to ditch the egg yolks but keep the whites. In many baked goods, you can even substitute two egg whites for each whole egg called for in the recipe.
What about refrigerated egg white products such as EggBeaters? Most of these products are simply egg whites with some colorings, flavorings, flavor enhancers, or preservatives added. The problem is, sensitive IC bladders may not be able to get away with the additives. Read the labels on different brands and be especially wary of any that list “natural flavor” or “hydrolyzed protein”. Hydrolyzed protein, often made from soy and added to mild foods to enhance the flavor, has a bad reputation for triggering bladder flare-ups.
As a quick snack, half a hard-boiled egg serves up protein without a lot of calories. Extra protein can be added to vegetable dishes by topping with chopped eggs. Protein-laden snacks before bed (as opposed to sugary ones) seem to aid some IC people get a better night’s rest and have a flare-free start on the next day. Just why this happens is not known, but the phenomenon has been noticed by enough people that it’s worth mentioning (and worth a try if your usual habits include a bedtime snack).
There are so many ways to prepare eggs and so many recipes that use eggs, a short article couldn’t possibly cover them all. But here are a few suggestions for bladder-friendly ways to enjoy eggs:
Easy Mexican Snack
- Spread a couple tablespoons of refried beans on a corn tortilla; sprinkle with a pinch of ground oregano (or ground cumin if you can get away with it); add chopped hard-boiled egg whites and some grated Monterey Jack cheese; roll up and heat in the microwave.
– serves 2
- 2 small, cooked boiling potatoes, cooled and peeled
- 1 sunburst or patty pan squash
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 egg
- 3 egg whites
- vegetable oil spray, margarine, or butter
- Chop the potatoes in 3/4-inch chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Coarsely grate the squash into the same bowl. Toss with the salt, oregano, and eggs. Melt a little butter or margarine in a skillet, or else coat with vegetable oil cooking spray. Heat skillet and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Stir while cooking. When eggs are set, use spatula to remove to a serving dish. Wonderful for breakfast!
Italian Breakfast Eggs
– serves 2
- olive oil or non-stick vegetable spray
- 1/3 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- dash salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a large roasting or baking pan or a shallow casserole dish with about three-quarters of an inch of warm water and set it on a shelf in the center of the oven. Coat the insides of four custard dishes with olive oil or a non-stick vegetable oil spray. Thoroughly whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Divide among the custard cups. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Set the cups into the water in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees F. until eggs are set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Carefully remove cups and dry before serving.
– serves 4
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced red bell pepper
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled
- 4 Tbsp. butter or stick margarine
- 3 tsp. low-fat milk (or rice milk)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- pinch ground cardamom
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1/2 tsp. cold water
- Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet and fry the bell pepper for a minute or so over medium heat; remove and set aside for the moment. Chop the raw potatoes into chunks about an inch across, then steam until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash the hot potatoes with butter and milk, then add in the egg yolks, salt, cardamom, and chopped bell pepper; mix well. Do this quickly so the potatoes don’t cool too much.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes into four rounded mounds on a buttered (or non-stick) cookie sheet. (For entertaining, use a pastry bag with a large star tip to make fancy spiraling puffs). Mix the beaten egg with the cold water and carefully brush onto the potatoes. Brown potatoes under the broiler until they are a light golden brown about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula and serve.
Turkey and Egg-Stuffed Cabbage
– makes six cabbage rolls, serves 3
- 1 large head cabbage
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey or turkey meat sliced in matchstick-thin strips
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 Tbsp. Health Valley Low-fat chicken broth (or other monosodium glutamate-free broth)
- 1/2 tsp. dried sage
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (see note)
- dash salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (as above)
- Remove six large leaves of cabbage and cut out about two to three inches of the tough inner rib. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch each cabbage leaf about a minute until soft and pliable. Combine the turkey meat, egg white, rice, chicken broth, sage, parsley, and salt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide turkey mixture into six equal parts, and form into four-inch oval- shaped mounds. Place a portion of meat mixture at the stem end of a cabbage leaf, fold in sides around the meat, and roll up the leaf.
- Grease the bottom of a covered casserole or baking dish with melted margarine or vegetable oil spray. Place the rolls in the baking dish, with leaf edge on the bottom. Pour the half-cup of chicken broth over all. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes, basting once.
Note: Women with vulvodynia who need a low-oxalate version can substitute dried chervil for the parsley, or just omit it altogether.