Many people drop one animal-based food at a time, saving eggs until last. But it can make a lot more sense to get rid of eggs right at the very beginning. That’s because a strong case can be made that eggs contain more misery-per-mouthful than any other food. A hen requires about thirty hours to lay just one egg, and about 90 percent of America’s hens are confined to tiny cages where practically all of their natural impulses are completely frustrated. Even free-range egg farms are typically associated with disturbing practices ranging from the grinding alive of male chicks to the systematic slaughter of aging hens.
Despite what the industry would have you believe, eggs are certainly no health food. Their nutrition profile is appalling: zero fiber, loads of saturated fat, and more dietary cholesterol from just one egg than is recommended for an entire day.
Avoiding eggs might at first appear difficult. Eggs show up in all sorts of baked goods: pancakes, muffins, waffles, cakes, pies, puddings, you name it. Yet despite the fact that eggs may seem ubiquitous, they’re remarkably easy to avoid.
When you think about it, there are two main ways that eggs are consumed. The first is in foods like scrambled eggs, omelets, and souffles—in each of these cases eggs are the main ingredient. The second way that eggs show up in foods is when they’re used in relatively small quantities for their binding, moistening, or glazing properties.
Regardless of whether eggs are the star of the meal or a bit-player, they’re usually easy to replace. Scrambled tofu is an outrageously good alternative to scrambled eggs. There are likewise great super-eggy omelet recipes made entirely from vegan ingredients. To equip yourself with the ultimate arsenal for bypassing eggs, you can turn to cookbooks like Vegan Brunch or Whole Grain Vegan Baking. Most general-purpose vegan cookbooks are loaded with egg-free recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes, pancakes, and muffins.
You can even go egg-free while using recipes that call for eggs. Just swap in vegan products like Egg Replacer or Beyond Eggs. In some cases, when eggs are used for moistness, simple ingredients like applesauce, mashed bananas, chia seeds, or flax seeds can replace eggs while providing additional flavor.
If you’re looking to capture the flavor of egg yolks for recipes like quiche, French toast, or custard, there’s an easy solution: a vegan product called The Vegg imparts a flavor indistinguishable from egg yolk—without all the fat, cholesterol, and animal cruelty.
Even when you’re buying packaged food it’s easy to avoid eggs. Most natural food stores sell vegan versions of just about every product that typically contains eggs: cookies, muffins, waffles, even mayonnaise.
Eggs may be ubiquitous in Western cooking and processed foods, but as we’ve just seen they’re surprisingly easy to remove from your diet. With the obvious exceptions of sunny-side up and hard-boiled eggs, you can effortlessly replace eggs without anyone but the hens noticing the difference.