Sept 10, 2010
an egg is a whole food. a few years ago, cholesterol was demonized by doctors and a whole slew of expert medical professionals. eggs contain cholesterol. therefore, many believe that eating high quantities of eggs will lead to heart disease caused by high cholesterol.
cholesterol deals with the structural integrity of our blood vessels. we have been misinformed to the point where we believe that eating cholesterol-rich foods like animal fats and eggs create a surplus of cholesterol in our bodies, causing our blood pressure to go up, making us at risk of a heart attack or other disease.
cholesterol: the facts. [these facts are summarized from the work of Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats*]
– cholesterol is the body’s natural healing substance for the body’s blood vessels. when the vessels are compromised by a poor diet or sickness, cholesterol is needed to fix them. saturated fats and cholesterol are essential elements in our cell membranes because they increase structural stability.
– the consumption of cholesterol helps in the absorption and enactment of hormones that keep us from feeling stressed and also assist in preventing heart disease and cancer. it also helps keep our sex hormones in balance.
– it’s common knowledge that Vitamin D is important to maintain good health. sadly, the knowledge that cholesterol is an essential factor in its absorption is not as common.
– bile, the yellow-brown substance present in the blood that helps break down dietary fats, is produced by cholesterol.
– serotonin receptors, when functioning properly, keep our emotions in line via keeping us from getting depressed or anxiety. not coincidentally, many of those afflicted with suicidal tendencies and/or aggression have low cholesterol.
In summary, Mrs. Fallon states:
“Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but a rather potent antioxidant weapon against free radicals in the blood, and a repair substance that helps heal arterial damage [p.12].”
it’s important to note that the warnings we hear about cholesterol are not complete malarkey. the natural cholesterol present in food can be damaged by exposure to heat and oxygen [oxidation], which is exactly what happens when food is processed by modern machinery. the cholesterol that is then consumed does the exact opposite of the whole, natural cholesterol. powdered and modified egg products, as well as powdered milk [which is added to reduced-fat milk so it doesn’t taste like water] contain this damaged, harmful cholesterol.
the lowering of cholesterol via drugs or diet is not the key to a healthy, long life. the consumption of the right kinds of cholesterol that have not been modified/oxidized, as well as protective animals fats that are rich in vitamins B6 and B12 will increase thyroid function and protect the body from the type of “cholesterol-caused” diseases we’ve been warned about.
*though Mrs. Falon is not a doctor, she has been an expert in this field for many years. her ideas are based in the research of Dr. Weston A Price, a man who has dedicated his life to revealing the nourishment traditions of healthy cultures from around the world. she has raised 4 healthy children on this diet. to those who remain skeptical: Mrs. Falon’s sources page for the first section of her book is 188 sources long.
when i say eggs, i’m not talking about the bleached guys that come in 36-packs for $2.00 at the store. that’s pretty far from an egg. the first factor that determines the quality of the egg is the diet of the chicken. just because the package says “free-range” doesn’t mean the chicken had access to green, sunlit grass, bugs, and worms. grain fed chickens produce cheaper eggs that can be extremely high in inflammatory omega-6.
[a brief note about Omega-6 and Omega-3. according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Americans consume a diet containing 14-25 percent more omega-6 than omega-3. these fatty acids complement each other, omega-3’s reducing inflammation and omega-6 causing slight inflammation. in Mediterranean cultures [where the people are generally healthier], the diet is much richer in omega-3’s.]
so, when choosing eggs, the best bet is to do a little research and find a farm near you. your next best bet is to buy eggs from a co-op or natural grocer. and, to be honest, the price shouldn’t change too much [you are cutting out the middle man] – i get my eggs at $2.50/dozen and i don’t have to drive to the store. these naturally produced eggs are free of salmonella [salmonella is a bacterium caused by the unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in which chickens are forced to live], which means the yolks can be eaten raw – an element of many traditional diets. it is important to note, however, that egg whites should not be eaten raw as they contain a substance that can interfere with digestion**.
applicable personal experience:
this morning for breakfast i made a smoothie: raw milk from a local farm, 2 egg yolks from a local farm, raw honey, kale leaves, frozen berries, and a local peach. it was delicious and filling. i have been eating eggs barely cooked/raw over the past few months and have yet to have any stomach problems.
** this information was found in the book Performance Without Pain, a book by Kathryne Pirtle – a living testament to the healing potential in the diet of the Weston Price Foundation.