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  • Jan Clementson

Title: Egg Food Sensitivity: Understanding and Navigating Alternative Options

Introduction


Eggs are a common food that many people enjoy and rely on for their nutritional benefits. However, for some individuals, consuming eggs can lead to food sensitivity and intolerance, resulting in unpleasant symptoms. Traditionally, eggs have been more associated with allergies in children with Allergy UK stating that only in rare cases will egg allergies persist into adulthood. Yet, there seems to have been an explosion of egg sensitivity in adults. Most people, though, are simply unaware that eggs might be causing a problem. With the increasing popularity of the IgG food intolerance test, these hidden egg sensitivities are being revealed and taking people by surprise - including me (i recently tested positive for egg senstivity). In this blog post, we'll explore the intricacies of egg food sensitivity, its symptoms, and provide alternative food options and delicious recipes for those who need to avoid eggs

Understanding Egg Sensitivity


Allergies and intolerances are separate conditions with different underlying mechanisms. Food allergies involve the immune system and are triggered by the body's response to specific proteins in a particular food. In the case of egg allergies, the immune system reacts to proteins found in eggs, such as ovalbumin or ovomucoid. Symptoms of an egg allergy generally occur quickly and can range from mild (such as hives or itching) to severe (such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis). Intolerances, however, typically stem from difficulties in digesting or processing certain components of eggs, especially the protein components. Symptoms can vary from person to person and are charactised by a delayed symptom manifestation that can take anywhere from a few hours to 3 or 4 days. This is why it can be so hard to pinpoint a food sensitivity. However, it is possible to have both an allergy and an intolerance to eggs, as these conditions can co-exist in some cases.


Common Symptoms


Symptoms and severity vary from person to person. Here are some common symptoms, although it is important to note that these symptoms can overlap with other conditions or allergies.

  • Digestive - abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, gas or flatulence

  • Skin - itchy skin or eyes, rashes, hives, eczema, swelling of the face/lips/tongue/throat

  • Respiratory - runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma-like symptoms

  • Other - headaches, fatigue, joint pain, brain fog or difficulty concentrating


Do you suspect you have a problem with eggs?


If you have ever had an immediate or severe reaction to eggs, then consult your GP about an allergy test to get this assessed. However, if you suspect that they just don't agree with you, then you can either test for an intolerance via an IgG Food Intolerance Test - such as the YorkTest fingerpick Premium Food Intolerance Test - or you can try eliminating from your diet eggs, egg products and hidden eggs for 3 months. At the end of 3 months, if your symptoms have ceased, try re-introducing eggs in one portion over 7 days. Monitor your symptoms during the 7 days to see if you have a return of symptoms. Be aware that it can take 3 or 4 days for symptoms for manifest. If you have no symptoms, try reintroducing egg products one at a time every 7 days. If you get a return of of symptoms, take out the food that you have just re-introduced, continue with the elimination diet for another month, then try again at re-intoducing.


FOODS TO AVOID


it is generally recommended to avoid all types of eggs...... including chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, and any other eggs from different sources. Even though the specific proteins that cause the sensitivity can vary, they are generally present in eggs from different species. This includes eggs or egg-derived ingredients contained in products such as baked goods or hidden in condiments such as sauces. Legally, eggs need to be delared as a food allergen on food labels. Start to read product labels for hidden ingredients and get familiar with other names for eggs.


Other Names for Eggs


It's worth noting that while these ingredients are derived from eggs, their presence in food products may vary. Always check the specific ingredient list and allergen information provided by the manufacturer to ensure the absence or presence of egg ingredients in a particular product.

  1. Albumin (or egg albumin): This refers to the protein component of eggs and may be used as an emulsifier or binder.

  2. Globulin: Another protein found in eggs, it can also be used as an emulsifier or stabilizer.

  3. Lecithin (or egg lecithin): Lecithin is a natural emulsifier commonly derived from soybeans, but it can also be derived from eggs. Check the source of the lecithin to determine if it contains eggs.

  4. Ovalbumin: This is the major protein found in egg whites and may be used as an ingredient in various processed foods.

  5. Lysozyme: It is an enzyme found in egg whites and sometimes used as a preservative in certain food products, such as wines and cheeses.

  6. Ovoglobulin: It is a protein fraction obtained from egg whites and can be used as an emulsifier or thickener.

  7. Ovomucin: This protein is present in egg whites and can function as a stabilizer or emulsifier in food products.

  8. Ovomucoid: It is a glycoprotein found in eggs and may be used in processed foods as an emulsifier or binding agent.

  9. Ovotransferrin: A glycoprotein derived from egg whites, it can be used in some food products as a stabilizer or binding agent.

  10. Conalbumin: Also known as ovotransferrin, it is a protein found in egg whites that may be used in certain food preparations.


Baked Goods


Eggs are a versatile ingredient commonly used in baking to add moisture, structure, and richness to various baked goods. Here's a list of baked goods that typically contain eggs:

  1. Cakes: Almost all cake recipes include eggs, such as chocolate cake, vanilla cake, carrot cake, and red velvet cake.

  2. Cookies: Many cookie recipes rely on eggs, including chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, and peanut butter cookies.

  3. Brownies: Traditional brownie recipes often call for eggs to achieve the desired fudgy texture.

  4. Muffins: Eggs are commonly used in muffin recipes, whether they are sweet, such as blueberry muffins, or savory, like cheese and spinach muffins.

  5. Pies and Quiches: Some pie crusts require eggs, and custard-based pies like pumpkin pie and lemon meringue pie rely on eggs for the filling. Quiches also contain eggs in their custard-like filling.

  6. Pastries: Various pastries, such as croissants, Danish pastries, and puff pastry, often use eggs in their dough to create the desired flaky texture.

  7. Breads: While not all bread recipes call for eggs, some enriched breads like brioche, challah, and certain sweet breads contain eggs for a tender and rich crumb.

  8. Pancakes and Waffles: Both pancakes and waffles typically include eggs in the batter for a fluffy and light texture.

  9. Coffee Cakes: Coffee cakes often have eggs in the batter to provide moisture and structure to the cake-like base.

  10. Sponge Cakes: Classic sponge cake recipes rely heavily on eggs to create a light, airy, and springy texture.


Egg-Containing Condiments


Several food condiments contain eggs or egg-based ingredients. Here are some common examples:

  1. Mayonnaise: Traditional mayonnaise is made with eggs, oil, and vinegar or lemon juice. It serves as a base for various dressings and sauces.

  2. Hollandaise Sauce: This creamy sauce typically contains eggs, butter, and lemon juice. It is commonly used in eggs Benedict and other egg dishes.

  3. Tartar Sauce: Tartar sauce often includes chopped pickles, onions, herbs, and hard-boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise.

  4. Caesar Dressing: Traditional Caesar dressing contains raw egg yolks, along with garlic, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, and other ingredients.

  5. Thousand Island Dressing: Some versions of this dressing include hard-boiled eggs, along with mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and other seasonings.

  6. Aioli: Aioli is a Mediterranean sauce similar to mayonnaise. It typically consists of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks.

  7. Remoulade Sauce: Remoulade sauce can contain hard-boiled eggs, mustard, capers, pickles, and mayonnaise, among other ingredients.



EGG ALTERNATIVES


For many, eggs are a staple part of their diet making it challenging to avoid those foods if a egg sensitivity is a problem. Fortunately there are many alternative food options available that provide similar nutritional benefits and culinary versatility, so it doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice flavour and nutrition. The challenge is understanding just what those alternatives are.



Baked Foods


When it comes to replacing eggs in recipes, there are various options that can provide similar functionalities. The choice of substitute often depends on the desired outcome or the specific dietary requirements. It's important to note that the success of these substitutes may vary depending on the recipe and the desired outcome. It's recommended to experiment and adjust the amounts based on your specific needs.


Here are some excellent alternatives for eggs:

  1. Applesauce: Substitute ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce for each egg. It works well in baked goods, making them moist and tender.

  2. Mashed Banana: Replace each egg with ½ mashed ripe banana. The natural sweetness of bananas also adds flavor to your dishes. Bananas work best in baked goods like pancakes, bread, and muffins, adding moisture and sweetness.

  3. Silken Tofu: Use ¼ cup of blended silken tofu (softer consistency that regular tofu) as a substitute for each egg. It works wonders in recipes that require a creamy texture, such as custards or puddings.

  4. Yogurt or Buttermilk: Substitute ¼ cup of plain yogurt or buttermilk for each egg. These options work exceptionally well in pancakes, waffles, and muffins.

  5. Flaxseed or Chia Seeds: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency. This mixture can be used to replace one egg in recipes.

  6. Yogurt or sour cream: Use 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream to replace one egg. These dairy-based products work well in cakes, cookies, and quick breads, providing moisture and structure.

  7. Carbonated water or baking soda and vinegar: In some recipes that require leavening, you can use 1/4 cup of carbonated water or a mixture of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to replace one egg. These options work well in recipes like cakes, cookies, and quick breads.

  8. Commercial Egg Replacers: Various commercial egg replacers are available in stores, which are specifically formulated to substitute eggs in baking. These products are often made from a combination of starches and leavening agents. Be aware that these are often highly processed, so choose one of the other healthier options where possible.


Egg-Free Condiments


There are several readily-available condiments in the supermarkets that are egg-free. But you can also buy good egg-free alternatives to your favourite sauces from specialist providers such as Biona and Baytree. it's always a good idea to carefully read the ingredient labels before purchasing any condiments, as ingredients can vary between brands. Additionally, formulations can change over time, so it's best to double-check the label if you have specific dietary requirements or allergies


Here's a list of some common egg-free condiments that you can find in most supermarkets:

  1. Tomato Ketchup (check the label as some brands may contain egg)

  2. Mustard (e.g., Dijon, wholegrain, English mustard)

  3. Barbecue Sauce (double-check the label as some brands may contain egg)

  4. HP Sauce

  5. Brown Sauce

  6. Sweet Chili Sauce (check the label as some brands may contain egg)

  7. Soy Sauce (most brands are egg-free, but always verify the label)

  8. Worcestershire Sauce (most brands are egg-free, but always check the label)

  9. Hoisin Sauce (verify the label as some brands may contain egg)

  10. Tartar Sauce (some brands may contain egg, so check the label or look for vegan versions)

  11. Salad Cream (verify the label as some brands may contain egg)

  12. Mango Chutney

  13. Mint Sauce

  14. Horseradish Sauce (check the label as some brands may contain egg)

  15. Salsa

  16. Cranberry Sauce

  17. Apple Sauce

  18. Pesto (check the label as some brands may contain egg)

  19. Relish (e.g., pickle relish, onion relish)

  20. Hot Sauce (e.g., Tabasco, Sriracha, Frank's RedHot)


Delicious Egg-Alternative Breakfast Recipe Examples


Breakfast can often be the most difficult meal for many avoiding eggs. Here are some recipes using egg alternatives.

  1. Tofu Scramble: Heat some oil in a pan, crumble tofu into the pan, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add your favorite vegetables such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs.

  2. Chia Seed Pudding: Mix ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp of maple syrup, and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Stir well and refrigerate overnight. Top with fresh fruit and nuts.

  3. Applesauce Muffins: Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a muffin tin. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt. In another bowl, mix 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce, ¼ cup of oil, and ½ cup of sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fill the muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes.

  4. Silken Tofu Chocolate Mousse: Blend 1 package of silken tofu with 1 cup of melted dark chocolate, ¼ cup of maple syrup, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Pour into individual cups and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Top with whipped coconut cream, fresh berries and chia seeds.

  5. Banana Pancakes: In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, mash 1 ripe banana and mix with 1 cup of non-dairy milk and 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.


Egg-Free Recipe Websites


There are plenty of freely available egg-free recipes to get you started. Here is a selection of some good websites that provide such recipes:

  1. The Vegan Society - They have a dedicated recipe section that includes a variety of egg-free recipes suitable for vegans. Website: https://www.vegansociety.com/recipes

  2. BBC Good Food - This popular recipe website offers a collection of egg-free recipes. You can use their search feature to filter recipes specifically for egg-free options. Website: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/

  3. Allergy UK - Allergy UK provides a selection of allergy-friendly recipes, including egg-free options. They have a specific section for egg-free recipes. Website: https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/recipes

  4. Vegan Recipe Club - This website is dedicated to vegan recipes and offers a range of egg-free options. Website: https://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk/

  5. The Intolerant Gourmand - The Intolerant Gourmand is a food blog that focuses on allergy-friendly recipes, including egg-free options. Website: https://www.intolerantgourmand.com/recipes/

  6. Free From Fairy - This website specializes in free-from recipes, including egg-free recipes. Website: https://freefromfairy.com/

  7. Wallflower Kitchen - Wallflower Kitchen offers a collection of vegan and gluten-free recipes, many of which are also egg-free. Website: https://wallflowerkitchen.com/

  8. My Fussy Eater - While primarily focused on family-friendly recipes, My Fussy Eater also includes a variety of egg-free options. Website: https://www.myfussyeater.com/

  9. The Little Blog of Vegan - This blog provides vegan recipes, some of which are egg-free. Website: https://www.thelittleblogofvegan.com/

  10. Deliciously Ella - Deliciously Ella offers a range of plant-based recipes, some of which are egg-free. Website: https://deliciouslyella.com/recipes/



What if egg exclusion does not resolve your symptoms?


Consult a nutritionist or other healthcare practitioner who can help you to identify and address potential underlying causes or functional imbalances leading to the food reactions.


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