#feedthemachine: Cracking the Egg

Like most things athletes do for their training, there is intention behind every choice. The need to “feed the machine” requires selecting the right foods at the right times. However this quest for nutrition does not need to come at the sacrifice of taste.

While social media is littered with the reward and recovery meals, often accompanied by hashtags such as #whywerun… a nod to the balance of life enjoyed by many distance athletes, most meals need to be carefully selected to improve the training or event performance.

Knowing why foods fuel us is key to selecting the right foods at the right time.

One staple for many athletes is the egg.20140610-111118-40278146.jpg

About 2/3 of the egg is egg white, and 1/3 is egg yolk. The yolk holds all of the fat in the egg, but before you throw it out, there are a few more things to consider.

1. THE WHITE: The egg white itself is mostly water, about 90%, only 10% protein; requiring the consumption of A LOT of egg whites for high protein consumption. The white is made up of a thick and thin white, and as the egg ages, the think white thins out; this is the cause of a greater spread of an older egg when cracked into a pan, and will be less “foamy” when beaten. The egg white also has very little flavor.

2. THE YOLK: The yolk is only about 50% moisture; the other 50% is primarily protein and fats. Compared to the larger white, the dense yolk is 17% protein. With age, the yolk pulls moisture from the white, causing it to thin out and flatten. The yolk also contains carotenoids, which is what gives it its yellow/orange color. These carotenoids, specifically lutein, help with vision. The yolk also contains vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty acids, along with L-arginine and leucine which help to maintain blood sugar levels and produce growth hormones.

Keeping just ONE whole egg with the addition of several egg whites (I prefer adding two egg whites for every whole egg) will increase health benefits, assist in the processing of the proteins in the egg white, and add a whole lot of flavor!

As I add my favorite egg dishes in the coming weeks and months I will include links to them here. I hope you enjoy!

Ham and Neufchatel Omelet



References: Figoni, P. (2011) How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. Hoboken, NJ. Wiley Publishers.