Loving the BITE: Veggie Omelet

14
Jul
2011

It’s true, I’ve been called a “cheap.” I prefer fabulously frugal.  Every once in awhile, my husband comes home to a dinner omelet.  No other meat source, just good ‘ol eggs, cheese, and vegetables.  I think it’s delicious.  But really, I also love it because eggs (cage-free and organic) are only $0.15-$0.20 each.  And nutritious?…You bet.  Recent research and academic reviews have all but completely exonerated them and shown very little to no association with increased cholesterol or heart disease.  In fact, they may just promote health…

Need a cheap, healthy dinner so you can save your pennies for a new bike component?  Me, too.  Let’s improve our health and our rides with this week’s Recipe of the Week :

Loving the Bite: Wonderful Veggie Omelet

Ingredients:

  • 6 large cage-free organic eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter, divided
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup hormone-free Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, gently whisk eggs with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Then, sauté onion and green pepper in 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.  When tender, add zucchini, tomato, oregano and bell pepper. Cook and stir for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is nearly evaporated. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1 Tbsp butter in a 10-in. skillet and allow to melt on medium-low heat.  Once melted, spread across pan.  Add eggs and cook over medium heat.  Continually push back eggs from sides of pan and tilt pan so uncooked eggs run toward sides.  Continue until all eggs are well-cooked.
  4. Working quickly, place ½ of cheese on ½ of cooked eggs.  Add vegetables on top of cheese, and cover with remaining cheese.  Flip other half of eggs over cheese and vegetables.
  5. Place pan lid over omelet and allow to cook until all fillings are warmed and cheese melted.

Serves 2-3

Comments:

Not sure what to think about eggs?  They’ve certainly had an on-again, off-again relationship with health experts in the last few decades.  In fact, they are often the villain of “high cholesterol foods.” Despite the bad press, I believe they can be, and should be, a part of most everyone’s healthy eating plan.  For cyclists, they offer the highest bioavailable (highly absorbed) protein, work as a moderate-speed protein in recovery (being utilized somewhere between fast-acting whey and slow-acting casein), and provide many, many hard-to-find vitamins and minerals.

And, for anyone trying to optimize his or her strength to weight ratio, they may be a key ingredient.

The specifics:

First, eggs contain 7 grams (per large egg) of protein.  Albumin, the main egg protein, is considered the “gold-standard” protein in terms of absorption and is the protein all other proteins are measured against in this respect.  The egg white, where approximately eighty percent of the protein is located, is an extremely lean source of protein.   Eggs contain leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, which specifically helps prevent muscle breakdown and promotes lean tissue protein synthesis.  After a tough ride, eggs provide a perfect, moderate speed source of protein to help repair your muscles and keep them from being used as fuel (add a carb source and coconut oil for maximum effectiveness –see smoothie below).

Next, the yolk contains many important vitamins.  Choline, a B-Vitamin, is important for brain function and homocystine reduction.  Why is this important?  A build-up of homocystine is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.  All four fat-soluble vitamins are found in the yolk: Vitamins A, D, E, and K. In fact, egg yolks are one of the only naturally occurring sources of vitamin D.  And for minerals, eggs contain phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc.

And guess what they don’t contain?  No transfats, no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives or colorings, no chemicals you can’t pronounce, and no list of 50 ingredients.  Nothing to slow your cycling muscles down.  Buy cage-free, vegetarian fed and organic to get the most nutrients and reduce risk of any harmful bacteria. They are a whole, natural food that can be a daily staple.

For fat loss, more than one study has shown reduced intake of junk calories following an egg breakfast vs. a carb one (such as a bagel) because they keep you full and encourage healthy hormone responses to the meal. For a simply dish or snack, hard-boiled them, scramble them, or even fry them (with a healthy oil).  If you’re looking for a more elaborate preparation, try a frittata or our omelet.  Don’t forget them as recovery fuel.  And, as I’ve already stated, they promote upgrades on your bike.  Skip the costly convenience foods and just add eggs!

At-Your-Own-Risk Bonus Recovery Smoothie:

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup milk or ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (raw or hard-boiled.  If raw, use at your own risk – see http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/RawEggs.htm . Avoid raw if you are pregnant, elderly, a young child who reads Loving the Bite posts, or have a compromised immune system)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.  Add ice or water as needed to reach desired consistency.  Relax and feel your glycogen stores replenish and your muscles grow.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.

 

Enjoy Your Ride

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  • http://velonista.wordpress.com Velonista

    Another great post! Thanks. But can you talk more about the cholesterol? I’ve tried to limit my egg consumption to two in the morning (scrambled with extra egg whites mixed in), which means I’m typically reluctant to want to take on more eggs later in the day (that shake sounds good, though). What’s the latest on eggs and cholesterol?

    • Kelli

      Hi Velonista, thanks for the question!  Most recent reviews of research conclude that eggs have no negative effects on blood cholesterol levels and some suggest they have positive effects.  Furthermore, eggs that are from vegetarian fed hens, and have higher levels of omega-3s (usually ALA), have strong positive effects on blood protein levels, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.  Most experts will say that cholesterol in foods have very little impact on our blood cholesterol, that it’s usually the saturated fats in foods that are the issue (that our bodies react to saturated fat consumption by making blood cholesterol).  However, a recent review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reviewed several studies and represented almost 350,000 participants, concluded that there was no evidence to show that (even) dietary saturated fats increase risk of cardiovascular disease.  All this said, many egg choletsterol studies use 1-2 eggs each day and follow blood cholesterol levels, so I think it’s prudent, especially for people who have high genetic risk of high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, or those who’ve had a history of either, to keep it to an average of 2 eggs per day.  So, you may want to save an omelet dinner for a day when you have an alternative breakfast.  In my opinion, the things that have an adverse effect on blood cholesterol are: being overweight (even just 10% over a healthy weight), a sedentary lifestyle, foods and activities that contributute to oxidative stress (remember that these are inflammatory and LDL cholesterol has to be oxidized before it can actually do harm), lack of anti-inflammatory foods (such as omega-3s and other healthy fats), lack of antioxidants in the diet (to reduce oxidative stress), lack of fiber in diets, transfats, processed food ingredients, refined carbs (in Daily Nutrition when they are not immediately used for fuel), and genetics.  The only reservation I have to eggs are any issues with overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions for the chickens and eggs – this is why I emphasize free-range, cage-free, and organic.  Please feel free to reply with any specific questions to all of this and I’ll do my best to answer.  Take care!  Kelli, RD

      • http://velonista.wordpress.com Velonista

        Thanks for the detailed response. I’m still trying to come to terms with HDL and LDL cholesterol and the various forms of saturated and unsaturated fats out there. We seem to be on the cusp of a mainstream re-understanding of fats and how our bodies process them. The science seems to be fairly evolved, but the general public is starting to think beyond fat = bad; trans-fat = really bad. Which is exciting. And great to get some great primers here—along with some terrific recipes! Keep it up!

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Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

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