When it comes to nutrition, eggs are hard to beat. They’re an egg-cellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamins, and are one of the most versatile ingredients around.
But for some people, eating eggs can bring on a host of unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms of an egg allergy include skin rashes, hives, digestive distress, congestion and nausea. If you have an egg allergy or intolerance, there are plenty of alternatives to help supply the nutrients eggs typically provide. Below, we explain how to follow an egg-free diet and which egg-free products you should use to stock your kitchen cupboards.
What Is an Egg-Free Diet?
An egg-free diet is a way of eating that completely eliminates eggs. If you or someone in your household has an egg allergy or has developed an egg intolerance, you may want to consider removing eggs from your meal plan.
An egg-free diet is much simpler on paper than in real life — mainly because eggs hide in a number of popular food products. Therefore, implementing an egg-free diet means taking a hard look at any nutrition labels and recipes that enter your kitchen. While eliminating omelets, quiche and other brunch recipes is easy, eggs will also hide in the following products:
- Prepared meats: Lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, shepherd's pie and breaded meats (like chicken nuggets) may use eggs as a binder.
- Beverages: Milkshakes, coffee drinks (like lattes), protein drinks, wine and beer can contain eggs, either as an ingredient or within froth or foam.
- Baked goods: Cheesecake, brownies, cupcakes, gluten-free cakes, marshmallows, custard and cream cakes, rhubarb pie, chocolate chip cookies, pancakes, muffins, chocolate fudge cake, birthday cakes, baking mixes and other pastries will contain eggs unless labeled otherwise (for example, a vegan chocolate cake will be egg-free).
- Condiments: Mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings and hollandaise sauce contains egg unless otherwise noted.
- Other common foods: Eggs can also hide in pasta noodles, ice cream, French toast and some soups.
What Is the Difference Between an Egg Allergy and Egg Intolerance?
Not all egg intolerances are the same. Some people are allergic to either the white or yolk, others are allergic to both. Some people can tolerate baked goods, as they’re only allergic to the proteins found in raw egg, while others have to avoid all egg-based ingredients.
Whichever egg protein is the culprit, once you know for sure that eggs are causing your symptoms, you can start to remove them from your diet.
If you think your body reacts badly to eating eggs you definitely shouldn’t ignore it. Make sure you let your doctor know, they’ll be able to diagnose the severity of your reaction using a combination of blood tests, skin prick tests and dietary elimination tests.
What Is an Egg Intolerance?
Egg intolerance is an umbrella term used to describe any kind of negative reaction to consuming eggs. If your body doesn’t like eggs, it creates some irritating symptoms to make sure you know to avoid them in future. These can include bloating, nausea and even vomiting.
What Is an Egg Allergy?
Egg allergy is one of the more common food allergies in children. It generally improves as they get older and is usually resolved by the time they become adults. If it doesn’t go away by the age of 16 then it is likely that the allergy will be for life.
An allergic reaction to eggs triggers histamines in the body, resulting in symptoms such as eczema, hives, runny nose, itchy eyes and even swelling . Severe egg allergies can even cause anaphylaxis, but fortunately this is very rare. If you find these symptoms better match what you experience after eating egg, it’s likely you’re allergic rather than intolerant .
How to Start an Egg-Free Diet in 7 Simple Steps
Whether you have an allergy, intolerance or simply choose not to eat eggs due to dietary or taste preferences, following an egg-free diet can come with a learning curve. To help make the transition easier, follow these guidelines:
1. Read Every Nutrition Label
Most products that list egg as an ingredient contain whole egg — meaning anyone with an intolerance (whether to the white or yolk) should avoid them. In the EU it is a requirement for eggs to be listed in bold as an allergen, which makes scanning the supermarkets slightly easier.
2. Know the Different Names for Eggs
When reading food labels, be sure to avoid albumin, globulin, lecithin, lysozyme, ovalbumin and ovovitellin, as these ingredients can include egg proteins. In addition, be wary of any unknown ingredient that begins with "ovo," which is the Latin term for egg.
3. Choose Real Foods
One of the most effective ways to be sure of what you’re eating is to choose real foods. These are foods that are fresh, natural and unprocessed, and that you know exactly where they came from. If you pick something up in the supermarket and can't pronounce or identify something on the label, it's best avoided. Cooking egg-free recipes from scratch with real food ingredients helps you to know exactly what you’re eating.
4. Don't Mistake Egg-Free With Dairy-Free
A common misconception is that all dairy-free foods are egg-free. Contrary to popular belief, eggs are not in fact a dairy product. This means that lots of products use egg ingredients and are marketed as dairy-free.
Note: If a product is labelled vegan then it must be free from eggs, meat and dairy, and is therefore safe to consume on an egg-free diet.
5. Learn How to Cook Without Eggs
Eggs are used to raise, glaze, thicken, quicken, stabilise, emulsify and bind ingredients in a number of recipes. Fortunately, there are plenty of eggless substitutes that can accomplish these same reactions.
Unfortunately, many packaged, powdered egg-replacers are made from poor-quality ingredients that can be high in carbs (like potato starch or tapioca) or inflammatory ingredients (like those made from soya or soya beans). Instead, try these natural egg-free alternatives:
- Aquafaba: This is the liquid drained from tinned chickpeas. When whisked at a high speed it begins to thicken up to a meringue-like consistency.
- Avocado oil: This high-quality extra virgin oil can be used to replace as a glaze or to help bind ingredients in egg-free baking.
- Sparkling water: Sparkling water can be used as an egg substitute to give height and fluffiness to egg-free desserts. In addition, it can help dredge meats, such as with breaded fish or chicken.
- Chia or flax seeds: Want to create your own egg substitute? Simply mix one tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg in cooking.
- Fruit puree: Use 50 grams of fruit puree to mimic the binding effects of one egg. Try blending apples, pears or even tomatoes to act as an egg substitute in savoury dishes.
- Agar powder: If your recipe only calls for egg white, mix 1 tablespoon agar powder (which comes from red algae) with 1 tablespoon water. This works like gelatin to gel the ingredients together.
- Vinegar and baking soda: Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon high-quality vinegar (we love Willy’s Apple Cider Vinegar ). This will act as a raising agent in most recipes.
6. Replace Eggs With Other Nutrients
Eggs are full of health-promoting nutrients such as protein, fat, calcium, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Fortunately, these are all nutrients which can easily be replaced when living an egg-free lifestyle.
A real food diet including meat, fish, vegetables, healthy fats and dairy (if tolerated) can easily replace the nutrients in eggs. To get more of these nutrients in your diet, be sure to include the following:
- Protein: To get more protein, eat plenty of wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry. Be sure to eat nose-to-tail, consuming plenty of organ meats whenever possible, and consider supplementing with collagen.
- Fat: Add plenty of healthy fats to your diet, like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.
- Calcium: To get more calcium, be sure to eat plenty of leafy greens (like kale and spinach) and sardines.
- Vitamins and minerals: Fill up on low-carb veg like green, leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and low-sugar fruits (like berries). Consider supplementing with organ meat capsules, which are filled with beneficial minerals.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Add plenty of fatty fish to your diet, like salmon, mackerel, sardines and cod.
7. Replace Condiments With Egg-Free Alternatives
Eggs hide in a number of popular kitchen staples, like condiments. Fortunately, Hunter & Gather produces a number of egg-free products (in addition to being free of sugar, grains and other inflammatory ingredients).
To help restock your egg-free kitchen, consider the following products:
- Avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a binding agent in egg-free baking.
- Egg-free mayo: Virtually all mayonnaise products contain egg, unless otherwise noted.
- Dressings: Our Greek Olive Oil Dressing is completely egg-free and safe to consume. (Our Ranch dressing contains pasteurised egg yolk, and therefore should be avoided if you're following an egg-free diet.)
- Sauces: Our sugar-free sauces, including our ketchup and barbecue sauce, are completely egg-free.
Make the Transition to an Egg-Free Lifestyle
Eggs are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. However, to those who suffer from an egg allergy or intolerance, they're best avoided altogether.
Eggs can hide in a number of products, from meatballs to wine. However, if you read labels carefully, follow a real-foods, ancestrally inspired diet, learn to cook with natural, egg-free alternatives and restock your kitchen with eggless products, you can make the transition to an egg-free eating plan.
Fortunately, Hunter & Gather offers a number of egg-free products to make your transition easier. Consider stocking up on egg-free dressings and sauces, and avocado oil to begin your egg-free diet.
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.