For years I didn’t really believe in protein. “Protein creates acidity,” is what I thought. It sounds so ignorant to say now that for a while I was led to believe leafy greens should be the foundation of our diet. Detox detox detox. Alkaline alkaline alkaline. It’s true that greens are great and eating them is an essential part of achieving health and balance, but eating clean doesn’t always mean eating lean and green.
Protein is vital to a healthy diet. While it is true that nuts, greens, beans, seeds and grains all contain proteins, they don’t contain complete proteins with all essential amino acids in the way animal foods do.
We all come to the protein conversation from different places. Renewing your health and vitality can look very different for each individual. Most of us on the Poppy + Seed team have spent much of our lives eating very clean and very vegan, with little focus on getting the proper amounts of protein. Recognizing that the standard American diet has too much of unhealthy, unclean sources of protein—think bacon and eggs for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, and steak for dinner—the conversation is two fold. If you are a grown man who has been eating heavy meats your whole life, honing in on the greener side of things is probably exactly what you need. If you are young women going into child-bearing years, who may not have properly nourished yourself throughout your teens and twenties while dieting and eating low fat, you need to focus on protein as an essential building block to increase fertility, strength, stamina, and hormonal balance.
One of our favorite reads on this subject is Nina Teicholz’s book, The Big Fat Surprise. She blows the dietary myths that have prevailed over the last thirty to forty years out of the water. For example, eating cholesterol isn’t inherently bad; when we remove cholesterol from our diets completely our bodies are then forced to artificially produce it. This in turn, raises our cholesterol and increases inflammation in our bodies. Looking at my own family as an example, my grandparents, who ate a diet rich in whole foods and animal fats, died of old age. My more affluent grandparents who ate processed food and looked to ‘low cholesterol’ diets both died of heart-related issues. The book truly is a must-read.
All this is to say: Eggs aren’t bad for us. (Free range and soy free preferably, of course.) All ethical reasons for eating them or not aside, if you are looking for a clean and wholesome protein, look no further than the incredible edible egg. Don’t forget the yoke and white is essential!
This recipe is one of our favorite, and very simple ways to make an egg. Make the base a bed of greens and you have the best of both worlds. The perfect little brunch for one, two or twenty. All you need are some ramekins!
BAKED EGGS with SPINACH + PEAS
| INGREDIENTS |
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ghee or butter
- 1 lb (approx) baby spinach, stems removed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 4 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons fresh goat cheese or other soft cheese (optional)
- 4 ramekins or muffin tin
| PROCESS |
Preheat oven to 350.
Coat each ramekin with some of the oil or ghee.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cooked peas until tender—approximately five minutes. Lightly blanch spinach in the same water. You don’t want to overcook the greens, only make them bright green. Toss spinach and peas together with remaining oil, and add a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the spinach and peas mixture between ramekins. Add 1 tablespoon of optional goat cheese to each dish. Break egg over top of mixture.
Bake until the whites are firm and the yolks are cooked around the edges but still soft in the center. Approximately 15 minutes.
Season with a little freshly ground pepper.