The egg: An icon for Pesach, an ideal for fitness

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a Certified Health Coach and a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

The power of advertising and marketing in our culture should never be underestimated.  There will always be those quintessential TV commercials from our childhood and teen years that will forever be etched into our brains. For me, one of those ads was for “The Incredible, Edible Egg,” I can remember not being overly fond of eggs as a child, yet here was a TV announcer trying to convince the American public that this tiny little food was truly a powerhouse of energy and versatility. As it turns out, he was correct…and hard-boiled eggs figure prominently in my diet today.

This week, as many of us gathered with family and friends to re-tell the story of the Jews’ Exodus from Egypt, we encountered the roasted egg on the seder plate. Interestingly enough, at no point during the seder or the Festival Meal does this egg actually get eaten. However, I have uncovered many variations on what the roasted egg, or “baytsah,” might have evolved to symbolize:

• Springtime, since Pesach is celebrated during this season

• One of the sacrificial offerings which was performed in the days of the Second Temple

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• Roundness of the Earth and the circle of life

• Life: we are all born from an egg

And finally, my favorite:

• The egg is like the Jewish people: the hotter you make it for them, the tougher they get.

However one chooses to view this mainstay of the Passover holiday and the American diet, an egg’s value in terms of nutrition cannot be denied. Packaged in a convenient, easy-to-crack container, the egg can offer 41 IU of Vitamin D, 12 percent of the recommended daily value of high-quality protein, 12 percent of our daily needs of riboflavin, and 9 percent of our bodies’ requirements for Vitamin B12…all for just under 70 calories.  Furthermore, eggs can play a role in weight management, bone health, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, optimal brain function and eye health.

Studies indicate that people who consume eggs in the morning have an easier time curbing calorie intake during the day. Since approximately 75 percent of the fat found in eggs is unsaturated, it has been suggested that healthy men may enjoy up to two eggs a day as part of a low-fat eating plan without raising their risk for heart disease. 

Whether you choose to serve eggs hard-boiled, deviled, sliced atop a salad or packed inside a wrap, you can be assured of deriving maximum protein for your nutritional and fitness needs with this food choice. And remember: It’s not just for Pesach anymore…or just for breakfast!