My Addiction to Eggs Is No Yolking Matter
Most sentient human beings enjoy eggs. Their versatility, price, and basically foolproof cooking properties make them a cracking (not even sorry!) staple. But here's the thing: I am actually addicted to them.
Image via Flickr user aussiegall
Being an addict isn't really an issue if you're at one with your addiction. So here's mine: eggs. I eat a lot of eggs and I am at peace with that. A lot is hard to quantify, but in my case that's upwards of 25 eggs a week. I have a minimum of three for breakfast—hard-boiled, Himalayan pink-salted (this is who I am) and crushed up on rye bread. Then, around two egg-based dinners a week on top of that. Sometimes my repertoire extends to an omelette, sometimes poached, but I mainly eat them hard-boiled. Why fuck with a beautiful thing? Last week, I had 27 because I was in Athens and had reached my limit with Souvlaki. In 2012, I flew to Shanghai and managed to get six hard-boiled eggs through customs for the 13-hour flight. Best meal of the week, mate.
It all started in late 2008 after seeing an acupuncturist, Maureen, for stress and insomnia. On our second session, Maureen suggested a protein-heavy breakfast (and rightly so—the link between a high protein breakfast and staving off hunger is insane). This had nothing to do with stress, but since I felt like a superhero after every session, I allowed the egg thing to happen.
I started with a boiled egg every day and immediately felt better. My energy knew no bounds. They tasted great, not to mention the buy-one-get-one-free texture. And the versatility! Each one is a tiny miracle containing a thousand unctuous promises. Soon I switched to two, then three, and before long was eating them in the street, at parties, on transport. The private and the public melded.
By 2011 I was eating six a day, and that's when I began dabbling with the big stuff. Think Old Cotswold blue-shelled, Stonegate doubled yolkers, Braddock duck eggs. They weren't easy to source but I shopped around, asked friends and looked online. With the right browser, anything was possible. Obviously I lied about the quantity I was eating. I am a reasonable person and eating 25 eggs a week isn't. But I did tell some friends. Some people thought it was weird. But some people are also dicks.
Before long, eggs were all I could think about. During sex, shopping in Westfield, while trimming the fat off a piece of steak. Older friends would discuss in vitro fertilization. I would nod, sympathetically, wondering whether a petri dish-grown egg would affect its taste. Concerned friends would mention Edwina Currie and the 1988 salmonella scandal and all I could think was: halved, mashed with mayonnaise, mustard, a pinch of cayenne. Curried eggs, mwah.
This all probably sounds like I just really like eggs. But one week in December, I stopped eating eggs for a week. I'd been in the same job two years, my life was feeling staid and, quite frankly, I needed to cut loose. So I started eating porridge. The arrogance of me! Within 24 hours I had flu and ruined Christmas. Obviously I can't prove the two were linked but it's patently obvious they were. By New Year's day I had recovered but still felt tired, irritable, and sad. I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to get dressed and I certainly didn't want any more fucking porridge. So I boiled some eggs and, just like that, everything realigned. Eggs gave me everything I would ever need and, quite honestly, I decided to never look back. Until now.
I'd never really thought about the dangers of eggs until I chanced upon an article that suggested eating eggs is tantamount to smoking cigarettes. How LA, I laughed, scrolling down with one hand, holding a salted yolk in the other. "Just as smoking is often tallied as "pack-years" (the number of cigarette packs smoked per day for how many years)" it read, "egg-yolk consumption was tallied as "egg yolk years" (the number of egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years they were eaten)." To date, my egg yolk year is 126. I don't know what that means but I don't think it's good.
Understandably concerned, I rang my friend who is training to be a doctor. She didn't help. "Epidemiological research [which is the sort that studies large groups over long periods of time and analyzes the link between diets and health] has found no link between eggs and heart disease," she cooed. "However, we're talking about one egg a day, Morwenna, not four of five. God knows what you're doing to yourself. It's time to rethink your diet." I thanked her, put the phone down and immediately decided to reevaluate our friendship. Then I went to Pret A Manger and bought an egg pot to cheer me up.
Still perturbed, I checked the Guardian—which never lies—and read a recent report which suggested a diet heavily based in animal protein (like, say, eggs) was strongly linked to diabetes and cancer. So, I took stock, and cut right down on red meat. Like, I'm not a total idiot. But did I stop the eggs? Did I fuck.
It's just the logic. It doesn't make sense. I eat very well—a lot of greens, lentils, avocado, lean meat, brown rice. I run. I do yoga and I drink a shitload of water. Could I avoid all this if I ate a bowl of fucking Cheerios every morning instead? What would actually make me stop? Would I cut down if a general practitioner said I was killing myself? Maybe. They've certainly tried.
I have a history of high cholesterol which means I am likely to have a heart attack in the next thirty odd years. Mine's familial, which means my diet won't help that much, but still a TC (total cholesterol) level of 6.0 mmol (below five is ideal) in someone my age and build isn't cool and eating less eggs would probably help. In my defense—and I often say this to my general practitioner—we all have to go one way. But when mine checks my cholesterol I still lie, blame cigarettes and promise to eat more mackerel. At least general practitioners are sympathetic towards socially governed addictions.
As with all addictions, there are moments of discord. Like when I think too hard about what eggs actually are. Or the time I cracked one that had already been fertilized and everything went a bit David Cronenberg for a moment. But more often than not, our relationship involves parity and untold joy. Eggs have got me through some pretty bleak days. I owe them a lot. And yet thanks to them, I am hurtling ever-closer towards the void. But what can you do.