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How many eggs should I eat in my plant-based diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 29, 2012 at 3:53 PM

I???m looking to incorporate more paleo principles in my diet. I'm a 20something female who has lost significant weight the last couple of years, but am still obese. My original diet was basically all carbs and sugar, sometimes avoiding meat (junk food vegetarian) and I???ve tried many different diets and right now have settled into a plant-based diet that makes me happy and satisfied. It???s a nearly vegan, pretty much grainfree diet that incorporates a lot of paleo principles. I don't eat any refined sugar or agave or artificial sweeteners (just stevia, liquid splenda and very little fruit).

I have no intention of eating meat. It isn???t an ethical thing. I think meat is disgusting the way some meat-eaters may think eating dog or cat meat is disgusting. The only way I would eat meat is if it???s heavily processed, like into pepperoni or chicken nuggets or something, but I???ve cut out processed foods. I???ve changed my diet immeasurably over the years, going from a ???vegetarian??? who wouldn???t touch anything green (including picking basil and parsley out of my food) to someone who honestly enjoys kale, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. So it???s not that I???m not willing to change, but through all these changes, I???ve never been able to incorporate healthy, non-processed meat. So please don???t tell me to just eat meat, even a little. I'll even say that I'm open to this someday, but not right now - and there are plenty of good threads here about adding meat that I will read when I'm ready, promise.

I love dairy, but have given it up the last 6 months or so based on all my readings about how awful it is (and not only from vegan websites, but from paleo sites and acne sites). The only dairy thing I eat is one convenience food that contains a little bit of casein (listed under less than 2% of ingredients). I???m seeing some good hormonal side effects from not eating dairy, and it???s shockingly a lot easier than I expected, so I want to keep that going.

Where I am willing to compromise a bit is on eggs. I don???t like eggs either ??? the smell of them cooking is nauseating, and I can???t abide by the texture, not even in an egg white omelet. However, I don???t mind eggs when they are hidden away in a paleo bread, almond meal crackers, or black bean brownies. I usually buy liquid egg whites just because they are less messy. Are egg whites ok or should it be the whole eggs, and if so, is there a good liquid brand I can try? Am I supposed to be looking for organic, cage free eggs ??? is that an ethical thing or are they actually healthier?

I see a lot of people posting that ???if you are vegan, you should at least eat some eggs.??? Ok, I???m willing to do it, but how many, and should I be tracking it weekly, monthly, daily? I usually go through baking spurts. I might not eat any eggs for a month, then I make bread and cookies and it takes me a week to eat them (I don't like to freeze them). I get that baked goodies are not the best thing ever, but I feel ok about them as an occasional splurge since I'm not using grains or sugar. Yay for coconut, almond, and hazelnut flour!

I have no protein issue; according to My Fitness Pal I meet or slighly exceed the goal each day. I get about 60% fat, 15% carbs, 25% protein daily. I eat healthy fats like almonds, nut butters, avocados, coconut oil, olives, and olive oil. I supplement with b-12 vitamins and I eat nutritional and brewers yeast. Still, I worry I might be missing something by not eating enough animal products.

I realize my diet isn???t perfect??? I could stand to cut out nightshades, soy, legumes, etc. But for right now, I???m really looking for help with this specific thing, not overall judgments about how I eat or other ways to improve my eating. I understand that my diet is not paleo. I came here because I respect the paleo community, I've read a lot of helpful advice about diet here, and I'd really like to incorporate animal products in a reasonable way. Thank you kindly.

E9a668f7e80156b0df5df3c3751618ed

(110)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:15 PM

*fermented soy such as natto and miso is totally fine.

E9a668f7e80156b0df5df3c3751618ed

(110)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:15 PM

That sounds pretty good. If you eat tofu once in a while, that's okay in my opinion. You don't need to become totally paranoid when it comes to (non-fermented) soy as long as you don't eat it too often. Non-fermented soy such as natto and miso is totally fine. 3+ eggs per day and maybe liver once a week (you can also get some liverwurst if you like it) would be a great addition. Some cod liver oil (for more, see Weston A. Price foundation) could be a good idea. I think your current diet seems to be quite nutritious, especially if you compare it to the SAD. Don't strive for perfection ;)

F4662a80c6c8a46e11e8b2856755f596

(3)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:31 PM

This definitely makes sense, but I'm just learning to cook, so the prospect of doing creative things with meat is very out of my comfort zone right now, and the idea of meat is so unappealing that it's not something I'm willing to try at the moment. Plus, buying organic chicken and meat just to experiment sounds really expensive.

F4662a80c6c8a46e11e8b2856755f596

(3)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:29 PM

I think a lot of it comes down to the snacks I eat (as listed above). Meals are a lot of non-starchy vegetables (no potatoes, and butternut/spaghetti squash only very rarely) and some kind of protein (tofu is low in carbs and has no sodium, so I eat it even though I'd like to cut soy eventually). I only eat fruit a couple of times a week, usually berries. Sometimes I'll make a green smoothie on the weekends with one banana in it, but freeze it in portions to eat through the week so there's no carb hit. That's how I keep my fat percentages pretty high.

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8 Answers

6
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:09 PM

As an omnivore, I don't think cat or dog meat sounds disgusting. Food is food. Your hangup is purely psychological, you can get over that. Eggs are a good start, but whole egg is essential. Dairy is ok, find a good source but that's the case with ANY animal product. If you can get over the whole meat aversion, you can eat a relatively small amount of animal product (a few ounces of liver or a few oysters) and meet your nutritional needs.

6
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:00 PM

tl;dr

I did catch the part about egg whites. Those are the least nutritious most allergenic part of the egg. If you're meatless than you NEED egg yolks and a bunch of them!

3
E9a668f7e80156b0df5df3c3751618ed

(110)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:26 PM

The egg yolk has all the nutrition. Egg whites don't offer you much. I would advise using the whole egg. There are also other ways to incorporate animal foods other than meat and eggs into your diet : butter&ghee (if you eat it), lard, beef tallow

Eggs are one of the best sources of choline (after beef liver): See http://www.cholineinfo.org/for_individuals/food_recipes.asp If eggs are your only choline source, you would need 4 to 5 eggs per day to meet the daily requirement of choline. Just put 'em into everything you cook (you can put eggs in pretty much everything you cook in some way or another - not just bread)

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 29, 2012
at 07:51 PM

eat as many whole eggs as fit within your calories/day target. you really can't eat too many following that guideline.

1
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I would love to see a daily food diary, i think it would be helpful for a lot of people looking to eat "lowish carb" on a mostly vegan diet.

Also, be sure to check out http://rawfoodsos.com/for-vegans/ , which will give you some great tips on incorporating paleo principals on a mostly vegan diet.

As far as eggs, try to eat the whole egg if you can. The egg white is mostly protein, but also contains most of the anti nutrients. The egg yolk is where the majority of the nutrition is located, including cholesterol and choline. Eat as much as you can stand, as these are two nutrients that are almost impossible to get from vegan diets.

E9a668f7e80156b0df5df3c3751618ed

(110)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:15 PM

*fermented soy such as natto and miso is totally fine.

E9a668f7e80156b0df5df3c3751618ed

(110)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:15 PM

That sounds pretty good. If you eat tofu once in a while, that's okay in my opinion. You don't need to become totally paranoid when it comes to (non-fermented) soy as long as you don't eat it too often. Non-fermented soy such as natto and miso is totally fine. 3+ eggs per day and maybe liver once a week (you can also get some liverwurst if you like it) would be a great addition. Some cod liver oil (for more, see Weston A. Price foundation) could be a good idea. I think your current diet seems to be quite nutritious, especially if you compare it to the SAD. Don't strive for perfection ;)

F4662a80c6c8a46e11e8b2856755f596

(3)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:29 PM

I think a lot of it comes down to the snacks I eat (as listed above). Meals are a lot of non-starchy vegetables (no potatoes, and butternut/spaghetti squash only very rarely) and some kind of protein (tofu is low in carbs and has no sodium, so I eat it even though I'd like to cut soy eventually). I only eat fruit a couple of times a week, usually berries. Sometimes I'll make a green smoothie on the weekends with one banana in it, but freeze it in portions to eat through the week so there's no carb hit. That's how I keep my fat percentages pretty high.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 29, 2012
at 09:51 PM

At least one more egg than you are currently eating.

0
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on September 29, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Keep in mind the more you exclude from your diet (dairy, meat, beans, etc.) the more important it is and HARDER it is to get all your nutritional needs from the few foods you do eat. It's not as hard when excluding only grains and legumes, since those are relatively low in nutrients per serving compared to animal foods and leafy greens.

For example, most the people following a "paleo" diet will eat eggs daily. 2-4 eggs per day is pretty standard, if not a little conservative. But since most will be eating sufficient meat, seafood, organs, bone broths, etc. and some will be contributing a little dairy, they can get away with fewer eggs. But if eggs are your ONLY food source of B-12, you'd need to eat a good lot of them on a regular basis. Also, don't forget iron, zinc, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s (specifically EPA/DHA), which are sparse in plant foods.

Also keep in mind that nutrients in plants are less bioavailable compared to those in animal sources. You may have to eat significantly more in plant matter to make up the amount of usable nutrients you could absorb from a much smaller amount of animal foods. So much more, in light of all these points, that it can make one's diet really unenjoyable to have to shove down that much plant matter and deal with the digestive distress that accompanies.

But that's just my two cents. If I were to make a recommendation, I'd say, consider some cod liver oil supplementation for the omega-3s, vitamin D, and vitamin A, and keep points like these in mind as you make your own decisions. I really don't think it's important that you wake up tomorrow as a strict paleo adherent. Just that you make educated choices along the way. :)

0
De2a9874dbc1d6d5918b246eb0bb9723

on September 29, 2012
at 05:21 PM

have you ever considered processing meat yourself into a texture you can abide..? not sure how you might go about it, but perhaps you could try to make your own paleo chicken nuggets by coating some rolled up minced chicken balls in almond meal and shallow frying in lard or... making your own paleo sausages or.. idk, just an idea.

F4662a80c6c8a46e11e8b2856755f596

(3)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:31 PM

This definitely makes sense, but I'm just learning to cook, so the prospect of doing creative things with meat is very out of my comfort zone right now, and the idea of meat is so unappealing that it's not something I'm willing to try at the moment. Plus, buying organic chicken and meat just to experiment sounds really expensive.

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