For many people thinking of going vegan, the idea of ditching eggs comes up and it may feel very daunting as eggs are found in so many foods. Many people will start to worry, what will I eat for breakfast? How will I get my protein? Aren’t eggs incredibly healthy? What about ‘cage free’ eggs? How am I going to make my grandma’s lemon meringue pie?
Getting Honest about the Health Benefits of Eggs:
Despite popular belief, various studies have shown that eggs have a detrimental effect on your health. According to a new study in JAMA with almost 30,000 subjects, regular to moderate egg consumption has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality. In addition, the unsanitary and inhumane conditions found on egg farms create an extremely unhealthy environment for the hens. This often results in dangerous infectious diseases culminating which in turn can be passed to humans when we consume chickens and their eggs. An example of this is the Avian Flu which originated from massive outbreaks on poultry farms. Even bacteria, like Salmonella found on eggs can survive typical egg cooking methods.
The Harsh Reality of ‘Cage Free Eggs’ and the Egg Farming Industry:
There is a common misconception that eating eggs is not ‘bad’ or ‘unjust’ because it is not directly killing an animal. This is because many people do not know about the grave injustices and abuse that occur within the egg industry. Did you know that millions of male chicks are sent to the meat grinder shortly after birth at egg hatcheries because they are deemed unprofitable since they cannot produce eggs?
Laying hens are also placed in deplorable conditions where they are crammed into small cages, often several hens in one cage making them unable to expand their wings or even stand up. Hens are bred to grow so fast and abnormally large (about 6X their natural weight), most cannot support their own weight. They are also forced to lay 250-300 eggs per year. A wild hen only lays 10-15 eggs per year. Due to the highly stressful conditions these hens face, many are very ill and often left for dead to rot in their cages, covered in animal feces. When these hens are “spent”, they are then often thrown into trucks, many suffer from broken legs and wings and sent long distances to slaughterhouses. Investigations have shown many hens are not stunned properly prior to slaughter and many are fully conscious when they are submerged in boiling water.
Similar practices are involved in cage free egg farming. Although the hens are not in cages, they are still placed in very small barns with several thousands of other hens. They also are still subjected to the painful procedure of beak trimming or de-beaking. This process is incredibly painful and the hens are exposed to this procedure without the use of pain killers.
It is a well-known fact that poultry animals are one of the most abused animals in the world today. We have 7.6 billion humans in the world, yet each year, over 50 billion chickens are killed for food.
Spare the Chickens and Replace the Eggs in Your Diet!
If you enjoy eating eggs for breakfast, there are a variety of different vegan meals that you can make that are comparable in taste and protein content.
For those with a soy intolerance, you can enjoy a chickpea flour omelette. Usually made with chickpea flour, plant milk, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and additional spices. The texture and taste of chickpea omelettes is very similar to that of traditional omelette and you can add your favourite things like vegan cheese, onion, spinach, or zucchini. You are also getting a high protein content with the chickpea flour minus the cholesterol of that of an egg.
Another high protein option is tofu scramble. We recommend using organic, extra firm, and sprouted tofu for this meal. Making tofu scramble is simple, all you have to do is press the water out of the tofu, crumble it up with your hands, and toss it in a frying pan with some oil, flavours, and turmeric to get the nice golden colour.
Egg- Free Baking:
Egg-free baking doesn’t have to be difficult. When you know the right substitutions for your favourite dessert, egg-free baking is so easy!
- The Flax or Chia Egg: Simply mix 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds or flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water. Set aside for a few minutes and you have your egg! 1 Tbsp of ground flax or chia is equivalent to one egg. This is a great egg substitution for recipes that use eggs for binding like cookies or muffins.
- Mashed Banana, Apple Sauce, or Pumpkin: Use 1/4 cup of pureed or mashed fruit to substitute for 1 egg in a recipe. This is particular good for when eggs are used in a recipe to create moisture such as cakes, muffins, brownies or some breads.
- Aquafaba: Aquafaba is simply the liquid left over from cooking or draining chickpeas. Didn’t think it had a purpose? Neither did I until I started my vegan baking journey. Simply use 3 tbsp of chickpea water to replace 1 egg white. This is the perfect egg substitution for meringues, marshmallows, or macaroons.
- Nut or Seed Butter: Use 1/4 cup of any nut or seed butter to replace 1 egg in cookie or brownie recipes. This substitution is great for binding and it adds a nutty flavour to your baked goods.
- Vegan Egg Replacer: There are a variety of different vegan egg replacers available to suit any baking need. Simply follow the directions on the box or package
Written by hellosugaredcococut, Peace Fur Paws Volunteer
Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Cornelis MC, et al. Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality. JAMA. 2019;321(11):1081–1095. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1572