It’s been a while since we’ve had Kelli the nurse bestow her infinite wisdom on you, and we know you’re itchin’ for more. Check out what she has to say (though, of course, we’re just giving you this info to be nice—we’re not trying to replace your doctor or nutritionist! If you need medical, dietary or other professional advice, of course go see a qualified specialist who can advise on your individual needs), then let us know your favorite way to replace eggs (straight-up or when baking). I love tofu quiche (I’m fancy)! -Marta
“Are eggs really chicken periods?”
For a straightforward question like this one, I say we skip the small talk and jump right into some (poorly) hand-drawn diagrams!
Every month, a (human) girl produces an egg from one of her ovaries. The walls of the uterus become a nice comfy home for the egg by filling with blood to become plush cushions. If the egg meets a sperm, the cushions become a sofa for a baby to relax on for nine months. If the egg doesn’t meet a sperm, the uterus says, “These cushions are so last month. Let’s make some new ones,” and the body gets rid of the cushions. The uterus, like many of you, is a DIY diva. The body does some interior decorating … and the girl has her period.
Hens, female chickens, have a cycle that can be daily during certain times of the year. Like humans, hens have ovaries, though only the left ovary develops fully. This ovary sends a yolk on its path. The yolk forms what we know as an “egg white” as it moves through the reproductive tract into the shell gland. The shell takes about 21 hours to form and “Cluck!”—out pops an egg! Because this egg is unfertilized, it won’t grow into a cute baby chick.
So, a human “period” is an unfertilized reproductive cycle and the eggs at the grocery store are unfertilized reproductive cycles. I’ll let you decide if eggs are “chicken periods,” but don’t get grossed out now! When you really think about it, our bodies and chickens’ bodies do some pretty awesome things. It’s reassuring to know that our bodies are working fulltime whether we are studying hard or on summer vacation. It’s the egg industry that should gross you out with their lazy practices.
Practically all of the hens who lay eggs to be eaten in our country have their claws and beaks cruelly sliced off and are never given the chance to spread their wings. Hens undergo these conditions their entire lives. These practices leave hens mutilated, stressed, and more prone to become infected with salmonella … which they pass on in their eggs to humans.
Many people decide not to eat eggs for ethical reasons and many more decide not to eat eggs because they are loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat (70 percent of the calories in one egg is from pure fat!). Eggs are wonderful for nourishing a baby chick for a few days, but all of that fat can lead to heart problems in humans.
Besides, we don’t need eggs. Grocery stores sell egg-free substitutes for eggs used in baking recipes. Sometimes you can even just replace an egg in a recipe with half a mashed banana or a few spoonfuls of applesauce. You can even try grilling up some black bean burgers held together by tomato paste mixed with your favorite seasonings for a kick. And when it comes to taste, tofu scramble beats scrambled eggs any day. It just takes a little interior decorating in the refrigerator to finds new ways to be healthy and cruelty-free. -Kelli
Kelli Ellis is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.