Easter is around the corner! The shops are filling with chocolate and painted eggs but… are eggs good for you? I’m not talking about the chocolate kind but about the chicken egg. Let’s investigate the ayurvedic perspective of eggs :)
Want to know about ayurveda and chocolate? Then read this post.
Ayurvedic properties of eggs
These are the ayurvedic properties of the egg:
- Rasa (taste): sweet
- Virya (energy): hot
- Vipaka (aftertaste): sweet
There is a difference in how the doshas respond to the egg white and the egg yolk (the yellow).
The egg white is Vata, Pitta and Kapha balancing. This means that egg whites are good for everyone!
The yolk is Pitta and Kapha increasing and Vata reducing. So the yolk (or complete egg) is good for Vata types. Vata often forgets to eat and can use some strength. For Vata an egg breakfast can be a good idea. Because of their heating energy Pittas should eat eggs (or at least egg yolks) in moderation.
Eggs have a highly nutritive value which makes them great when recovering from illness or building the body when it is weakened by disease. They provide vigor to the body. But that’s also exactly why Kaphas should avoid eating too many egg yolks!
And finally, eggs are also considered an aphrodisiac and aiding fertility.
Eggs are tamasic
So egg whites are balancing for all doshas, but it is not all good news… Animal products in yoga and ayurveda are considered tamasic. This means they cause inertia in the body and mind (tamasic foods basically turn you into a couch potato). Too many tamasic foods dull the mind and body. I personally think no food is off limits, but it is good to have an honest look at your choices.
We need sattvic (pure), rajasic (energising) and tamasic (impure) foods, but it is important to balance proportions. In the modern day western diet there is too much emphasis on tamasic foods like meat, processed foods, precooked foods, high sugar foods etc.
If you eat a lot of tamasic foods, eggs will further imbalance you. But if eggs are just one of the few tamasic foods you eat, you’re already doing really well compared to many other people! As usual, Ayurveda is all about perspective, and your unique constitution.
The karma of eggs
Another reason why yogis avoid eggs, meat and fish is because of the karma they carry. The karma of eggs is less bad than the karma of meat as the animal is of course not killed for food. Karma also depends on the kind of eggs you get. By buying eggs from closed cage chickens you are actively contributing to a twisted system and you are going against animal welfare.
Also, battery hens are never going to give you an egg that is rich in nutrients like a free range chicken egg. Just compare the colour of the yolks. Here’s a tip: if you get eggs from the store look at the number that is printed on them: if it starts with 0 they are organic and free range. If it starts with 3 they are cage chicken eggs; they are the worst and you should definitely avoid them.
I’m lucky that where I live I can get eggs from the farmer’s market and I know the chickens get to roam free and get good food, so I do eat eggs. I avoid eating them at a restaurant or bistro café as I don’t know what kind of eggs are used.
How to eat eggs
Eggs can be heavy to digest. Here are a few tips to make them easier on your stomach and gut.
Avoid mixing eggs with dairy
I have memories of eating eggs as a child and having to drink a glass of milk with my meal and having the most awful burps afterwards. Kids know! No eggs + cheese together either (read my blog post about food combinations here).
Add herbs and spices to make eggs more easily digestible
- When you have an omelet or scrambled eggs add as many fresh herbs and spices as you want to aid digestion: coriander, parsley, chives, spring onions, basil,… all go very well.
- Black pepper will also help with easier digestion.
- When you have a soft boiled egg you can add a pinch of cumin, it’s very tasty!
- The ayurvedic properties of eggs are Pitta and Kapha increasing and Vata reducing. The egg whites only are tridosha balancing.
- Eggs are tamasic and carry impure karma but they have their place in our nutrition, especially for Vata types.
- If you do eat eggs get organic and free range eggs. Know where your eggs come from.
- Add spices and herbs to your egg to improve digestion. Don’t mix eggs and dairy.
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