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What Does Egg Intolerance Mean?

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

At the clinic we field all kinds of questions about the intolerances. This blog article will hopefully answer a bunch of those for you.

Eggs are an amazing food. They are excellent sources of nutrition, are cheap, and have qualities in cooking and baking that make them difficult to replace.

Sadly, some of us can’t digest them, myself included. We simply do not produce the enzymes to break them down, leading to health issues for us.

I grew up knowing about my egg intolerance and having to say no to all the wonderful egg-filled foods around me. I used to just not make many sauces, dressings or baked goods because trying to make them without egg resulted in disasters and there weren't many product options out there.

Fortunately, egg intolerance is one of the easiest to avoid! The items they’re likely to be in are fairly predictable, and because they’re an allergen to some people, they’re usually easy to spot on ingredient labels. There are also lots of egg-free products and recipes out there now, due to the popularity of vegan diets. It's much better.

First, though: what do we mean by “egg intolerance”?

For the purposes of the dietary intolerances that we follow, “egg intolerance” means that the person can’t digest poultry eggs, and should avoid them completely.

This includes all bird eggs, like duck, goose, and quail.

This does not include fish eggs, so you can continue enjoying that roe with your sushi.

Whites and yolks are both no good.

Fried, poached, hardboiled, etc. - the way they’re cooked doesn’t matter.

But, there’s just one in that batch of cookies, you say? Sorry, the amount doesn’t matter. You can have cookies with zero eggs in them.

What we don’t mean by egg intolerance:

We don’t mean dairy (yes, that’s a question we get). Eggs and dairy are kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near each other, and they used to be depicted together on the food pyramid - but they are not the same. Unless your intolerance includes dairy specifically, you can still have dairy.

We don’t mean oatmeal. Seems like an odd question, but I have gotten it before from someone who was really bummed thinking that their egg intolerance meant they couldn’t have oatmeal every day. You can! Just don’t put eggs in it.

We don’t mean chicken. You can eat chicken, turkey, duck, goose, etc. As much as you’d like! Don’t eat their eggs.

But what can I eat for breakfast?

It is true that so much of our breakfast food in the Standard American Diet is egg-centric, especially if you go out to eat. But there are still lots of good options! Some ideas are:

  • Cereal

  • Toast

  • Bacon or sausage

  • Potatoes

  • Fruit or melon

  • Yogurt

  • Oatmeal

Sometimes I like to make a potato/sausage/veggie “scramble” without the eggs. Add some cheese and hot sauce and it’s amazing! If you like tofu, you could always use that in place of eggs.

Things to be wary of:

  • Baked goods - usually have eggs because they’re an excellent binder and rising agent all in one. Egg wash is often used on top of baked goods to give them a pretty, glossy finish. Look for vegan items or make your own. Most breads are an exception, but reading ingredients is still a good idea.

  • Creamy sauces and dressings (ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, Caesar, tartar) - are usually mayonnaise based, which has eggs. I like using Vegenaise or other eggless mayos, or making my own with aquafaba.

  • Ice creams, candy with nougat or marshmallow - egg is added for extra creaminess.

  • Ricotta and béchamel - egg is sometimes added to make these more firm.

  • Breaded and battered items - crunchy and delicious, and usually made with eggs so the batter sticks to the thing you’re frying.

You’ll have to read ingredients, and look out for egg, egg yolk, egg white, and lecithin (which is made from egg). Basically we need to be careful with choosing breakfast items, mayonnaise and mayo-based sauces, baked goods and desserts, and battered/breaded things.

Egg is fairly easy to avoid, and there really are some great vegan recipes and products available out there these days.

Any other questions? Please let me know!


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