Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sugar-free meringues and why egg whites aren't for everyone

Misha cuddles with Foxy. (Note: This was not a staged photo. Misha carried the stuffed toy and got in this position all by himself.)

The “incredible, edible” egg has been shrouded in misinformation for years. First, they were good for you, then bad for you, then good for you, and so on. Now, it looks like egg white breakfast sandwiches are everywhere in the fast-food industry.

Those of us with autoimmune disease approach eggs cautiously. Individuals with autoimmune disease and leaky gut often develop sensitivity to eggs, but most often to egg whites. I have avoided eggs for years because a food allergy test revealed I was sensitive to the whites. For some reason, I decided this made eggs completely off limits.

Turns out I was missing out on a nutritional super food by avoiding eggs. They contain:
  • Choline: An essential vitamin needed for cell building, choline is more concentrated in egg yolks than any other food. Nerve signals, including heartbeat, require choline but deficiency is common.
  • Vitamins galore Eggs (especially the yolks) are rich in vitamins A, D, E and all of the B vitamins, as well as the following minerals: zinc, phosphorous, iron, calcium, iodine, potassium and selenium. Rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, egg yolks protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Some individuals are allergic to eggs. Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, second only to milk allergy. Symptoms of an egg allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis. Strict avoidance of egg and egg products is essential.

Sugar-free meringue with strawberry yogurt topping
Most people, like myself, do not have egg allergy but are sensitive or intolerant. We experience delayed symptoms, up to 36 hours later, such as stomachache or digestive issues. People who are intolerant are usually reacting to the whites.

We can still enjoy the benefits of eggs by eating only the yolks. If possible, choose organic eggs from  cage-free chickens. I don't do this but you can rinse the egg yolk to get 100 percent of the egg white off before eating.

I have been adding egg yolks to stir fries, soups and breakfast scrambles. In baked recipes, I have found I need to add some liquid with a teaspoon or so of gelatin to make up for the lack of egg white., or use an additional yolk.

 Autoimmune sufferers should test their sensitivity to eggs by first trying yolks only. But eventually, you might want to try the whites. After saving up egg whites in the freezer, I decided to test my sensitivity by making Sugar-free meringues.

Here's what you need:

4 egg whites (at room temperature)
pinch of cream of tartar
3-5 tsp. stevia powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice

Unfilled meringues

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites at room temperature in a stand mixer until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Add the stevia, vanilla and lemon juice and beat one more minute.

Scoop mixture by heaping tablespoons full onto baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. You should get six large merigues. Make an indentation in the tops for filling later with pudding, yogurt or fruit puree. Bake at 250 degrees for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Eat meringues like cookies, or fill or top with pudding, yogurt or fruit puree. I mixed one cup of plain yogurt with 1/2 cup of frozen berries to make a frozen yogurt topping.

Recipe contributed to:

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