The Incredible Edible Egg (White)

After scrupulously journaling every bite of food going into my mouth for the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a trend: I’m falling short on my daily protein requirement.

And how do I know my daily protein requirement? WebMD is a source I trust, so I got it there.

WebMD says:

Protein requirements are complicated because the amount we need changes with age.

  • Infants require about 10 grams a day.
  • Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
  • Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
  • Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
  • Adult women need about 46 grams a day.

Okay, so on Fitday.com I set my daily custom nutrient goal to between 45-50 grams a protein a day. On many days I haven’t come close.

Why?

My analysis shows me that I’m eating lots of vegetables everyday, along with fruits, nuts and seeds along with some whole grains like quinoa. But unless I’m eating beans on a given day, my protein requirements don’t stack up.

But I don’t wanna eat beans every day.

Why else?

The Jury is Out on Soy

I have decided that for me, soy is not the right go-to food to supplement my protein intake. And just because the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides huge subsidies for the soy crop in this country, just as they do for corn, doesn’t mean I want soy in every product. (Does anyone remember what high fructose corn syrup has done for us?)

Here are some things to consider:

Beginning in 1996, bacteria, virus and other genes have been artificially inserted to the DNA of soy, corn, cottonseed and canola plants. These unlabeled genetically modified (GM) foods carry a risk of triggering life-threatening allergic reactions, and evidence collected over the past decade now suggests that they are contributing to higher allergy rates.

So after about three weeks of eating vegan, I’m at a fork in the road (yes, pun intended.)

What I’ve decided, for now, is that I will go back to eating egg whites. Egg whites are a protein super-food with zero fat content, and low carbs too. (Bodybuilders have known this for a long time.) Also, I can eliminate cholesterol and saturated fat from the egg by not using the egg yolk.

Last night, after a few days in a row of falling short on protein, I made a “hash” of 1/2 cup of egg whites, mushrooms, 1/4 cup of black beans, and 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes with various spices, salt and pepper. It was delicious, nutritious and filled with protein.

I finally put my protein consumption into the green again.

Ironically, the jar of mayonnaise I’ve been discussing on the blog with religious fervor still remains in the refrigerator unopened with its saturated fat content intact. 🙂

Let me also say, for now, I am still committed to staying off dairy products. Dairy does have saturated fat and cholesterol, so for now I see no reason to go back to it … because there is something pretty satisfying about having a food log that reads: Daily Cholesterol = 0 mg!

It’s just one more step in the journey…

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9 Responses

  1. Luckily, if you buy organic soy products like tofu, it’s non-GMO. I buy a 14-oz tub of organic tofu for under $2. If it’s not organic, likely it contains GMOs. Fortunately, I never have trouble finding non-GMO soy products. Also, check out this article by Dr. Neal Barnard (founder of Physicians for Responsible Medicine) on his take on soy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/settling-the-soy-controve_b_453966.html

    • Thanks very much for the information!

      But I have to ask you – since labeling of Genetically Modified Foods is not required in most states, how can you be sure that just because a food is raised organically that it is not GMO?

      Moreover, how can you be sure that the many sources of soybeans a processor uses to make tofu are ALL non-GMO, just because they say their product is organic?

      I’m sure you realize GMO and Organic are not considered the same thing by the U.S. government. 🙂

      Here are a list of selected soy/tofu product purveyors who are known to use BOTH organic AND non-GMO soy sources: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/what-are-the-safest-nongmo-soy-products.html

      • From my understanding, it cannot be certified organic if it’s made with GMOs. And I suppose yes, I do trust that products that are labeled “non-GMO” are in fact, non-GMO. If I didn’t trust food labels, I wouldn’t eat anything I buy in a grocery store! 🙂

        • Yes, for the most part 99.99% of the time you are absolutely right. But sometimes, when a farmer has land next door to a GMO farm, their crops can get cross-pollinated.

          Here’s what the US government has to say about it:

          http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-in-organic-products/

          However, unlike many pesticides, there aren’t specific tolerance levels in the USDA organic regulations for GMOs. As such, National Organic Program policy states that trace amounts of GMOs don’t automatically mean the farm is in violation of the USDA organic regulations. In these cases, the certifying agent will investigate how the inadvertent presence occurred and recommend how it can be better prevented in the future. For example, they may require a larger buffer zone or more thorough cleaning of a shared grain mill. – See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-in-organic-products/#sthash.yA4V4Jub.dpuf

        • Very true! We could make ourselves nuts thinking about all of this! Contamination is certainly a big problem (which we know happens with cattle farms and neighboring veggie fields). Who I really have a hard time trusting, however, are government agencies/depts like the USDA which is run by current and former meat and dairy execs and bigwigs. They aren’t always forthcoming about information adverse to the meat/dairy industry and they also seem to thrive on pointing out any potential issues/problems with soy. It’s difficult to know who to trust for correct information.

  2. Good point EpicureanVegan! There probably is a revolving door between industry and government agencies like the USDA, I don’t doubt it.

    I guess, for now, I’m avoiding this quagmire by not eating meat, dairy or soy. 😉

    But I sure know you’re right about the “driving myself nuts” part. LOL

    I’ve been making myself crazy over the past 3 weeks figuring out IF I can live a “more vegan” eating pattern, which is why I’ve journaled all my food. I’m glad I did it, and will keep doing it, to see how I’m stacking up nutritionally.

    The egg decision was not taken lightly, as you might imagine. And going back to egg whites, not whole eggs was also in consideration of cholesterol and saturated fat intake.

    In the best of all possible outcomes, the next time I go to the doctor for my check up she’ll say… hey, your cholesterol dropped AGAIN and you lost weight too! Wow, you’re really healthy! 😀

    In the meantime, the last time I went to the doctor my cholesterol dropped to a normal level to the first time in years… and that was BEFORE I gave up eggs and dairy.

    So… I’m pretty optimistic. 🙂

  3. I think your keeping of a food journal is such a great idea. I could see one for counting calories, but to track protein/calcium, etc. is brilliant. I should probably do that too. And so happy to hear your cholesterol levels went down! Meat such a HUGE contributor to bad cholesterol, so I’m not surprised your numbers are better. My husband’s went down from the upper 200s to the 160s winthin 6 months of a vegetarian diet. When I hear that Lipitor is the #1 prescribed drug, it makes me cringe. Sadly, drugs rule when it comes to illnesses.

    • I can be kind of, uh, obsessive when I start fixating on something so journaling got to quickly be an addiction (although I know it’s temporary, I’ve done it before to put my eating habits under a microscope.)

      I’d strongly suggest using FitDay.com. It’s got a lot of bells and whistles, and it’s free.

      I’ve set up my own custom foods for anything that I use regularly that’s not in their food database; I’ve also set up custom nutritional goals. Every day that I log my food, I can also see what I ate nutritionally against the standard RDA’s for selected vitamins and minerals.

      The thing is, journaling your food takes time, and frankly it’s a pain in the butt. It gets to be MUCH LESS of a pain once you’ve done it for a week or two because you build up a list of “recent foods” (the ones you tend to eat a lot) and then you just click on the food and it puts it into your daily food log.

      For example, if you are like me and eat 1/2 cup of instant organic oatmeal for breakfast pretty regularly, the Recent Foods list will not only list “instant oatmeal” since I’ve used the “1/2 cup” last, it puts that exact amount into the food log again.

      But if you REALLY REALLY want to know your protein, carb and fat ratios, you absolutely cannot beat it.

  4. Also, I came across this today… the No Meat Athlete (good site, by the way!) has an interesting article about protein and avoiding protein deficiency (which is the real subject of the post above and why I decided to go back to eating egg whites.)

    More good news about egg whites – they can provide all 9 of the essential amino acids the body needs to make protein.

    Here is the link to the blog post: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-protein/

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