Home-cooked real food is vital to nutrition

Homemade egg muffins and variations offer valuable protein at a reasonable price.

Best-selling author Mich­ael Pollan has found when people stop cooking, chronic illness increase at alarming rates.

He theorizes that when we stop preparing food at home we rely more on processed, convenience and fast foods. I refer to these as “franken-­food,” which means even though they look, smell and taste like food, they were birthed in a laboratory and are only a shadow of the real thing.

These food-like substances are unfortunately high in harmful chemicals, very low in nutrition and lead to addiction, resulting in poor health.

As a food professional, I believe a person’s health is their wealth. I also believe eating well is the best medicine. Therefore, I am saddened by the declining value we place on real, homecooked food.

We live incredibly busy lives and there are times when convenience is necessary, so instead of shifting blame, which is never helpful, or becoming the food police, I choose to offer solutions.

I often am asked about cooking hacks because I believe every person wants to eat well and values health. Therefore, today I am sharing a nutrition ninja hack that is super easy, exceptionally nutritious and gives convenience a new look.

It all starts with the mighty, but humble egg. I understand there is a controversy surrounding these little spheres of nutrition, so talk with your doctor.

Let me explain why I chose the egg:

• An egg is the most complete protein source, meaning it contains 100 percent of the amino acids our bodies need for wear, tear and repair.

• An egg is rich in vitamin, critical for bone and immune health, choline for brain and cellular health and lutein and zeaxanthin, which help eye health. These are only three nutrition super powers of the egg. It has so many more.

• An egg is one of the cheapest sources of protein. Seriously at only 33 cents per ounce, no other protein source is costs less. That price is based on Farmers’ Market price for a dozen eggs at $4.

The egg muffins I create usually are done while I am cooking an evening meal. I find it easy to add these to my cooking routine, especially while the oven is hot. The recipe takes minutes to prep, but last all week for “emergency” meals and snacks.

These egg muffins are great for a quick breakfast or an additional topping on a salad. The egg muffins even can become your favorite guilt-free snack. The ideas for eggs are endless and two variations are offered.

Mary E. Ray works as a registered dietitian nutritionist helping people improve their relationship with food and with themselves. She can be reached at Family Healing Healthcare in Elizabethtown at 270-737-1215 or lizbethray@yahoo.com.

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