Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eggstra Eggstra - Guest Post By Miss Patti Ramos, RD

I was making egg salad the other day - which I haven't done in literally YEARS - and was thinking about how, in class, we'd just finished going over LDLs and HDLs.  I wanted to add a little nutritive info to my post when the idea struck me to reach out to my dear friend, Patti, who just finished her degree at the University of Michigan.  Patti is a Registered Dietitian (so proud!) and I thought - who better to give you the deets on eggs - and fats in general - than her?

So here's the scoop from the lady herself - recipe follows :)

Hello, from Sheila’s friend, Patti, AKA Miss Dietitian! Sheila asked me to write a guest post for her blog, and I was more than thrilled to do so! I’ve known Sheila since our undergrad days at the University of Michigan. From belly-dancing lessons at our lovely Martha Cook home to bake-dates of all things delicious to painting Ann Arbor-town red with shenanigans, I’ve had so many adventures with Sheila and she is such a wonderful friend to have!

Like Sheila, I no longer live in Ann Arbor, but miss it desperately. After finishing up my dietetic internship through UM, I found myself as one of those good ol’ boomerang kids that Generation Y is so famous for these days. Livin’ in suburbia with the 'rents! Job hunting in our lovely Mitten economy! Volunteering with various nutrition-related endeavors to keep my mind on nutrition and to gain more experience in my field as a young Registered Dietitian.

Nutrition is an interesting field these days because everyone’s nutritional needs are so vastly different. Some of us hold a few extra pounds. Some of us are avid athletes and need mountains of food to maintain weight. Some of us have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease that require careful dietary monitoring to maintain good health. This is why it is often tricky to give nutritional advice via blog, which I like to think of as a platform where the writer shouts out their knowledge/advice/opinions with a mega-phone to whomever cross their path. The moral of the story is: always consult your own doctor or dietitian to evaluate your individual nutritional situation.

However, let’s talk about today’s topic of choice: cholesterol! That nasty little bugger that our body needs (yes, we actually need cholesterol!) yet so many of us need to limit thanks to our diet, genes, or both. But first, what is cholesterol used for in our bod? Cholesterol helps to make a slew of different hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Cholesterol, with the help of sunshine, is also necessary for the formation of vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium, contributing to good bone and dental health. Without cholesterol, we might all succumb to osteoporosis and our hormones would be all out of whack! What a world that would be!

But let’s talk about the other side of cholesterol and its two types: HDL and LDL. HDL + LDL = total cholesterol level, which should be below 200. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is dubbed the “good cholesterol”. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is the “bad cholesterol”. We want HDL levels to be >60 mg/dl (that’s milligrams per deciliter, but don’t worry about the units) and LDL to be <130 mg/dl. When we have adequate levels of HDL in our bod, we see a few things: HDL acting as a bad-cholesterol “recycler” and removing it from our body and, therefore, giving us a decreased risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

So how can we amp up our HDL and tone down our LDL? Exercise is one of the best ways of increasing HDL, as well as making sure we get “good fats” – that would be unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated count, too!) – in our diet. Sources of good fats are:

-       Nuts and seeds! Like walnuts, almonds, and peanut butter.
-       Cold water fish, like mackerel, trout, cod, and salmon.
-       Plant-based oils. Think olive, peanut, and canola oil.

And as always, even with foods that have “good fats”, it’s important to watch your portion size! Other ways to lower your HDL include not smoking (or quitting if you do smoke) and drinking alcohol in moderation. This means limiting booze to one drink a day for women and two per day for men. And no, this doesn’t mean that you can “save up” your drinks for a week and drink them all on Saturday night…. On the LDL end of things, you can help keep it low by eating foods that are – you guessed it – low in cholesterol! Foods with high amounts of cholesterol are animal products, like full-fat dairy products and higher fat meats like beef.

Which brings us to…drum roll please…EGGS! We’ve probably all heard over and over again that eggs are good for us, but that the yolks are high in cholesterol. Maybe even some of us have heard that we should avoid egg yolks all together. However, for those of you who love an egg here and there, you’re in luck! Egg-consumption recommendations have been changed recently, my friends. Health professionals now say that healthy individuals without high cholesterol levels can consume one egg daily, without the risk of adversely affecting cholesterol levels. This way, you can get all the nutrients that eggs have to offer. Egg yolks are a great source of vitamins B6 and B12 as well as calcium, iron, and vitamin A.

However, take note of the recommendation of one egg daily. That means…if you are eating things like scrabbled eggs, egg salad, or any other mixed egg dish of the like, it’d be best reduce the number of egg yolks in your concoction. For example, try changing your daily three scrambled eggs breakfast to three scrambled egg whites and one egg yolk. Or replacing half the egg yolks with egg whites in your favorite egg salad recipe. It might seem like a drastic change at first, but give it a try. And always remember that healthy lifestyle changes TAKE TIME! Don’t expect miracles overnight.

And on that note, the lovely Sheila has a recipe for y’all: egg salad! I have not tasted her version of the summery treat, but I am sure it is delicious! Feel free to enjoy in moderation and in happy health.

Signing out,
Patti (Miss Dietitian)

Isn't she the best? Loved spending my college days with her!

Egg Salad:

5 boiled eggs, chopped (easiest way is to cover the eggs in a saucepan, let them come to a rolling boil for about 5 min, then turn off the water and keep them in the the saucepan for another 10 minutes - when an egg spins on a counter top, it's done!)
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tbs pickle juice (my secret ingredient)
3 Tbs mayo
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
5 mini dill pickles, chopped into big chunks
1 chili pepper, finely chopped (I used some tiny red peppers a classmate grew in his garden, but a Fresno would work)
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 leaves torn basil

Mix everything together and taste to adjust seasonings.  I like mustard, pickles, and W sauce, so I find I add a little more of those ingredients.  The sauce for this recipe is a little runny but I like that - I hate when people add so much mayonnaise that you can't taste anything else, so I use it for flavor and not as a binder. Plus, when you put this on toasted whole wheat bread, it keeps hold everything together. 

As per Patti's post, 1 egg/day is the allotment, so this should hold you for 5 servings - this is why I like to bulk up my egg salad with spicy peppers and tangy dill pickles. It's all about finding ways to cut the fat and add some flava!!!

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