Fitness at the Beach: Egg-Zactly
by Rick Moore
Were baaack! Yup, Dave and I finally took a much-needed vacation. Hey, its only been 3 years since our last one. Since opening my fitness center, its been busy, busy, busy. Dave wanted to go to San Francisco and I wanted to visit Los Angeles, so we compromised and went to both! Thatll keep peace in the family.
We got to L.A. and guess what? California had Delawares nice weather. L.A. was experiencing temps in the 40s with scattered showers and wind. We called home and were told we were missing temps in the mid 70s and sun, sun and more sun. So what! We had a blast.
We visited the "Muscle Mecca" of the world, Venice Beach, where we took pictures of the "Muscle Pit" and boardwalk, you know, all the touristy kind of stuff. We didnt get to see any big name bodybuildersit was too cool outside.
But while in California we were shocked to find that gas prices were nearly $2.00 a gallon and a dozen eggs in the supermarket wereoh my god$5.00! Now, you ask, "Why are you looking at egg prices while youre on vacation?" Well, the first reason is that I happen to have spent about 20 years in the food brokerage business, and its hard NOT to look at prices. And the second reason is that I love eggs. I probably eat close to two dozen a week!
Crazy? Not really. I have been doing this for umpteen years now and I havent kicked-off yet.
I really think eggs have gotten a bum rap in this country. I have personal training clients who absolutely refuse to eat eggs because they have "too much fat" and are supposedly "dangerous for your cholesterol." For close to 20 years now, eggs have taken a terrible beating from the medical profession and the dreaded dieticians. It is widely believed that high cholesterol is one of the main factors responsible for heart disease in the good ol U.S. of A. and this put the egg in the spotlight as a villain because it contains a good amount of cholesterol, 215 milligrams to be exact.
Heart disease often involves obstructions of our coronary arteries by fatty plaques, which consist of cholesterol. It combines with calcium to become hard. (Ever heard of "hardening of the arteries"?) Now this plaque, which accumulates on the artery walls, reduces your arterial blood volume and the result is high blood pressure. This makes it much harder for the heart to pump blood through these clogged arteries.
As a result, its been drummed into us that we all had to reduce our dietary cholesterol intake. Because weve listened to that advice, weve dropped our intake from an average of 800 milligrams per day to less than 500 milligrams. Now thats the "bad" cholesterol. But at the same time, weve increased our blood levels of "good cholesterol" by 60%, by eating unsaturated fats such as vegetable and olive oils. Thats very good.
But lets get back to the poor misguided little spheres that our fine feathered friends have offered us for eons. Now it seems the medical profession has backed off on their bum rap that eggs were really off-limits. They say that they may have over-estimated the cholesterol contentthat its really not as stratospheric as they once thought. Some studies also say that high cholesterol in your diet doesnt directly result in high cholesterol in your bloodgenes play a huge part, as does stress, exercise, and lots of other factors.
In spite of almost universal (but probably changing) advice to limit our egg intake, I think its still good to eat our eggs in moderation and enjoy them without guilt. Try them scrambled, poached, boiled, deviled, sunny side up, or whatever. But make sure theyre cooked thoroughly to avoid any chance of salmonella. For example, dont try to go "hard core" and drink them raw from your blender.
The egg contains a near-perfect balance of essential amino acids. By far, the egg is the most balanced and best source of essential amino acids and high quality, muscle-building proteinabout 6 grams per egg. The ratio of aminos is better balanced with the egg than, say, a piece of beef. The eggs superior balance makes its proteins easier to utilize and more readily digestible than those of other foods. And because of its high lecithin content, eggs may actually eliminate more fat from your system than they bring in.
One large egg weighs about 50 grams but has only 70 calories. Yes, there are 4.5 grams of fat and a good bit of cholesterol, but even with that fat and cholesterol penalty, youre getting a lot of nutrition.
So, unless your doctor has given you strict orders to avoid eggs, I feel you should go back and try them again on occasion. Like the commercial for corn flakes, "taste them again for the second time."
Oh yeah, lets get back to the California trip. Dave and I checked out the Santa Monica Farmers Market that Saturday. They close some of the streets to let vendors display fresh fruits and produce. In true California style, its specially grown "organically" without pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. Well, a dozen eggs laid by free-range chickens costs $8.00! Are they worth it? I dont know.
But I do know that we have it pretty good here in Delaware. We can get a dozen large eggs for under a buck.
Remember the slogan, "The incredible edible egg?" Egg-zactly! See you at the beach!
Rick Moore is a personal trainer certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates. He believes in common-sense, drug-free training. Visit him at Ricks Fitness & Health, Inc., in beautiful downtown Milton. Check out his website at http://www.enrapt.com/ricksfitness, or give him a call at (302) 684-3669.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 4, May 7, 1999