EBV and eggs may seemingly have nothing in common and if you have Epstein-Barr Virus infection, you may not even consider that EBV may affect your ability to tolerate eggs, or that eggs might affect you if you have EBV!
Why Eggs are no Longer a Perfect Food
Eggs used to be considered a perfect food and are a wonderful source of a few key nutrients if you have your own hens. Most of us do not have access to hens or a local farmer’s eggs from hens that peck around in the dirt, move freely in the sun, and eat worms as they are supposed to.
What you buy is eggs from factory farms. Factory farming produces eggs that are questionable in health benefits, and you can assume restaurant and bakery eggs are resourced from the same factory farming sources.
Eggs, Vaccinations, and EBV…
Components of eggs have been used in some vaccinations (even simple flu shots), and that, according to some claims, can even lead to shifts in one’s immunity and potentially increase the risk of allergy to eggs. If you already have EBV, make sure any vaccination you agree to does NOT contain eggs! I will explain why shortly.
I am quoting CDC here: “The virus-containing fluid is harvested from the eggs. For flu shots, the influenza viruses for the vaccine are then inactivated (killed), and virus antigen is purified.
According to Pediatrics in Review, apart from flu shots, other vaccines of concern are measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), rabies, and yellow fever vaccines.
EBV triggers Egg Allergies!
Research suggests that EBV promotes IgE –mediated egg allergy! In a study with 34 patients with an egg allergy and 34 healthy controls, egg allergy was confirmed by an open-food challenge. The results showed that EBNA-1 IgG and two viral miRNAs were highly expressed in patients with egg allergy compared to the healthy controls. Moreover, the expressions of EBNA-1 IgG antibody and one of the miRNAs positively correlated with the level of egg-specific IgE. There are also many anecdotal stories of people with EBV not doing well on eggs. If you have EBV, acute or chronic, it would be worth it eliminating the eggs to see if you feel better.
IgE allergy is a true and serious allergy and you do NOT want to experiment with it. If you do have EBV, you want to read the IgE section of this article further on.
Eggs are Highly Allergenic (not only for people with EBV)
Yes, eggs have become highly allergenic for the general population as well. This risk for serious side effects from egg allergies, such as anaphylactic shock, comes with IgE allergies. Avoiding eggs as individual food is simple, but avoiding them in prepared foods is much harder as they are hidden under unfamiliar names. The important nutrients from eggs can be found in other foods, so nutritional deficiency on an egg-less diet is unlikely with proper nutrition education.
The complexity of Egg Allergies or Sensitivities (not EBV related)
While some allergies are to eggs alone, if the reaction is caused by certain livetins, it can imply an allergy to chicken as well. Ovomucoid is a specific protein that is heat stable & causes many allergies to both raw and cooked eggs. Because of their different make-up, some people suffer from allergies to just the yolk or the white. As you can see, eggs have many components that can become allergic.
How to Self-Test for Egg Allergies and Sensitivities
- The most traditional way to test if you have egg sensitivity or allergy is a 2-week egg elimination diet. For 2 weeks you simply avoid ALL egg-related products and all eggs (see a complete list later in this blog). Notice a shift in any symptoms and complaints you have had – use the table I provided here if that helps. You challenge the eggs after 2 weeks by having one hard- boiled egg three times a day for up to 3 days straight. As soon as you notice a symptom, remove the egg again. If there is no symptom after 3 days, you are ok with eggs.
With EBV, I would bypass the egg challenge. We already see in research that EBV can promote IgE allergies to eggs.
You can really pinpoint egg allergy or sensitivity in this way, and typically, after 2 weeks of elimination, you will not need all three days of the egg challenge. Most of the time, the reaction will be faster and quite pronounced. Pay attention, as it can be any symptoms- from gut issues like abdominal pain, cramping, constipation or diarrhea, to joint pain, skin eruption or rash, brain fog, and more…
Here is a sample Egg Challenge Check List and a blank one for you to use (hint: you can use this to challenge any food in future). Again, if you have EBV, do not even test this!
IgE Allergy is SERIOUS!
If you do not have EBV and want to learn if you have a true allergy (which can cause anaphylactic shock, just like an allergy to peanut), then ask your doctor to run a panel of IgE and include eggs in it- it is as simple as that. This is the most serious reactivity and you should not gamble by “cheating” with some eggs in your diet, moving forward, if your IgE is elevated.
IgE elevation to any food is serious – the food simply has to be removed the long term. I suspect that if you do have IgE to eggs, you probably already know that you feel awful every time you eat eggs. However, the list of hidden sources of eggs further in the article may surprise you and may help you completely eliminate eggs and with that, perhaps the rest of your mysterious symptoms that still linger.
Non-IgE Egg Sensitivities
But IgE allergies are just a tip of the iceberg. Most food reactivities (in this case regardless of EBV) are actually various types of sensitivities rather than a true allergy. They may not be life threatening like IgE allergies, but they still do a lot of damage if you do not eliminate the food for at least 6-12 months and then slowly bring it back on a rotation basis (the golden rule is no more than once every 4 days).
There are various types of sensitivities, for example, IgG can be run by your doctor as well, and is most commonly recognized. Think about it as more of a delayed response (G for gradual). IgG sensitivities are hard to figure out because of the delayed nature. It may be that you experience joint pain in your foot by late night or next morning after you had a wheat bagel, all the while you assume you are just aging and it is arthritis. IgG is worth testing.
There are other sensitivities as well and various labs like ALCAT, US Biotek, and Elisa Act that look at some of them. My professional preference at this time, after years of working with all these three, is Elisa Act just because of the largest number of types of reactivities it checks for. All these labs, unfortunately, are out of pocket blood tests and are not inexpensive. So if we are just concerned with eggs, the good old elimination diet we just discussed is really all you need!
Here are the types of reactivities Elisa Acts tests for. Notice that it does NOT include IgE – remember that this can be tested by your regular doctor and should not break your bank.
Eggs in your Food Chain
If you have EBV, we can assume you have a higher risk of the real IgE allergy to eggs, which then means that you have to eliminate it long term, period. How do we make sure we do not consume eggs by mistake? Here are most common and most predictable sources of your egg exposure:
- Eggs of other bird species: duck, goose, turkey, ostrich, quail & plover should be avoided
- Soups: bullion, consommé, other soup stocks, noodle soup, mock turtle soup, egg drop soup
- Bread and noodles: egg noodles, spaghetti, bread or rolls made with eggs or brushed with egg for glazing; pancakes, pretzels, waffles, muffins, breadcrumbs, breaded foods
- Sauces and spreads: mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, hollandaise, Bavarian cream, tartar sauce, béarnaise sauce
- Desserts: ice creams, custards, baked goods, cakes, meringue, creampies, pudding, cake flour, cake mixes, cookies, macaroons, ices, ice cream, sherbets, icing, donuts, custards, fruit whip, most candies except hard candy, some baking powders
- Meat, egg and cheese dishes: soufflés, quiches, meatloaves, meatballs, hamburgers, powdered eggs and egg substitutes (egg beaters)
- Beverages such as eggnog, root beer (in some egg is used as a foaming agent), malted drinks, Ovaltine, ovomalt, eggshells may have been used to clarify brewed coffee; some wine may have been fined with egg white – so check carefully before consumption
- Straight egg products: powdered or dried egg, binder, coagulant, egg powder, egg white or yolk, egg protein, frozen egg, dried egg solids.Here is the “foreign” words that indicate eggs that you would not suspect, so please READ LABELS of your food products!!!!
- silico albuminate
How Do You Live without Eggs: SUBSTITUTE!!!
So that you do not get really depressed over it, here are a lot of ways you can cook and even bake without eggs – I thought you would appreciate this cheat-list so that you can keep your sanity.
EGG SUBSTITUTIONS (all for 1 egg)
Egg as a Binder
- 1/3 c. water and 3-4 t. flax seeds. Bring to boil and simmer 5-7 minutes to create gel consistency. Strain out flax seeds and use
- 1/3 c. extra water plus 1 T. arrowroot powder and 2 t. guar gum
- 2 ounces organic tofu
Egg as a Leavening Agent
- 1 Tbsp baking powder plus 2 T. liquid
Egg as a Liquid
- 1/3 c. apple juice
- 4 Tbsp pureed apricot
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
Eggs in Baking
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 5 T. hot water
- Ener-G Egg Replacer: 1½ t. powder plus 2 Tbsp hot water
- Approximately 4 Tbsp of applesauce, banana or other fruit purees
What to do about the Number 1 Reason we Love Eggs: PANCAKES!
I am coming to the rescue. I actually LOVE this recipe and it seems to work no matter what flour I use. Sometimes I will freshly grind raw buckwheat berries (not the roasted ones) or quinoa. It is best for making more of the European pancakes, the small thin crepes. Also, I have made waffles out of this batter and I would freeze them. If you use harder nuts like almonds, you want to soak them well first. Of course, adjust the ingredients to get the perfect batter consistency!
|½ c. ground cashews (or other nuts)|
1 Tbs maple or rice syrup
1 ½ c. amaranth, quinoa or rice flour (or gluten-free mix)
1 ¼ c. water
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs olive oil
¼ tsp salt
And how do you Survive the Holiday Season without Christmas Cookies?
Have no fear. I have adjusted the EdgeVeg recipe for Gingerman Cookies so that you do not feel deprived. Happy Holidays!!
|Gingerbread Man Cookies (inspired by the edgyveg)|
|3 cups gluten-free flour|
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 13/4 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp melted coconut oil
¾ cup coconut sugar
1 egg worth of egg replacer
½ cup molasses