Poisonous Health Eggnog




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

Eggnog healthy?
I got Coumarin poisoning from "cinnamon"!!! "Cinnamon" sold in the U.S. is a different plant "Cassia" entirely which contains toxic crap.
I also got nutmeg poisoning which isn't fun, just dumb.

Jeez. This is the worst instructable I've ever done. I'm confused and possibly brain-damaged. What's going on?

Okay, if you're not totally poisoned and If you're on a low-carb diet this stuff is totally within the rules.
This eggnog is low-carb and high-protein. It's so decadent and delicious it seems like it should be illegal. Check your diet rules, but if you're on a low-carbohydrate diet such as Atkins, Zone, Caveman, or one I'm working on, the "cavity healer" or "tooth" diet, this eggnog can be just the thing.
If you're lactose-intolerant either add a lactase pill or substitute your favorite <seedmilk plus calcium source> for the cow milk.

Adjust the recipe to conform to your rules and taste.
Here's the basic recipe:

quantity Ingredient
Milk 750ml
eggs 6 raw or boiled eggwhites, 1 or 2 yolks
olive and/or fresh flax oil 100ml
Cinnamon enough but not too much (it's fricking poisonous at more than 1 gram/day. see next step.)
Xylitol 1 level teaspoon - It's a natural tooth-healthy sugar
vanilla a few drops or a teaspoon.

A: see the next step.
Q: Other than being poisonous, such a rich drink is healthy?
A: Books such as Protein Power and the Atkins books explain body's metabolism and how getting your calories from protein and oil can be healthy.
When you quit carbs you'll need to eat a lot more oil than you're used to just to get enough calories. In the past I haven't managed to do this and have developed food cravings which broke the diet. My current "tooth-healing" diet isn't supposed to be a weight-loss diet, which makes it easier ingest enough fats and avoid food cravings. I haven't had bread, cookies, etc in months and don't miss them. I've got a lot more energy than I used to. I'm getting skinny but not losing weight, which means my muscles and skeleton are getting stronger.

Step 1: Coumarin Poisoning From Cassia "Cinnamon"

I ate probably almost a cup of cinnamon in the last week while testing various versions of this project.
I feel weird.
Like I just want to stare at one point and let my eyes unfocus and not move my head.
But before everything goes to static I get fidgety and move my head.
Has this happened to anyone else?
I think I'll take a break for a while...

WARNING: Don't eat too much Cinnamon. according to wikipedia the "cinnamon" we get here isn't "true cinnamon" and it contains coumarin which bad for your liver and kidneys at least.

The Spice Page explains the different kinds of plants called "Cinnamon" and claims you can eat up to 1 gram of the local "cassia" crap per day without getting coumarin poisoning.

A friend of mine was eating cinnamon with a spoon because she'd seen reports of
cinnamon being investigated for diabetes/sugar metabolism and other health benefits.
So I thought I'd try it.

Eggnog usually also has nutmeg in it, but having experienced a nutmeg poisoning/overdose, I never use it. See the comments for the story of how that was. Damn. Food is dangerous.
I guess it actually IS the leading cause of death here in the States.

Step 2: Dump It in and Blend

Not much to it, just dump the ingredients in the blender and hit the button. Then drink it.
To make it extra frothy and smooth blend everything but the milk, add the milk and blend again. The lecithin in the egg yolk will help keep everything in suspension. Wait a bit and blend it again. Xylitol goes into solution much more slowly than the sugars you're used to, and your drink will only be sweet on the bottom if you drink it too soon.

How did this recipe come about? I actually made eggnog by accident.
I was about to go on a hike and needed to ingest fuel.
I was out of flax seeds and couldn't make a budwig formula.
I would have made a health chocolate milk but I'd recently corrected an iron and iodine deficiency and had plenty of energy. The stimulants in the cocoa would have made me nuts.
I threw a bunch of stuff together and suddenly realized I'd made eggnog. Damn it's good.

Step 3: Eggs

I used to use raw eggs for this but I just found out that cooked eggwhite protein is much more bioavailable than when raw.
Whites from boiled eggs blend just fine. In fact they totally disappear into the liquid. Don't overcook them, it will increase the eggy taste.

Everything you ever wanted to know about eggs is here on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_(food) Wikipedia page] and the Egg Nutrition Center.
It seems that salmonella contaminationo is much less common than most people think. 1 in 30,000 eggs according to that source. You'll need that statistic if anyone sees you eating raw eggs.

Why eggs?
Chicken egg whites are one of the cheapest sources of high-quality protein. Not just for individuals but for the planet. Body-building friends first alerted me to what a bargain eggwhites are. This particular bodybuilding system called for eating 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. That would be 190 grams of protein per day. A large egg has 6g. That would be 32 egg whites per day, which cost about $3 at that time. Tuna was very cheap at that time also, but eating that much tuna would bring with it too much mercury.
The eggwhites contain a complete set of amino acids, water, and not much else.

The book Diet for a Small Planet gives eggs a good score. Chickens can be amazingly effecient at turning feed into eggs.

Step 4: Xylitol

Xylitol is a type of sugar that doesn't cause tooth decay.

How does that work? Streptococcus Mutans, the bacterium responsible for most tooth decay. can live on many sugars, including the ones your saliva enzymes make from starchy foods. It can only build a plaque from sucrose, such as comes from beet and cane sugar. Once hidden under a plaque, the bacterium anaerobically breaks down sugar to acetic acid, which slowly dissolves your teeth, causing a cavity. Look up "cariogenic" on your favorite interwebs.

I found out about xylitol from Finnish friends. They're all crazy about it. In their country it's made from birch trees. When it goes into solution it's an exothermic reaction, so it cools your mouth when you eat it. That and the idea of "health sugar" could tempt one to consume excessive quantities,
which can cause humans to get the runs. Check. Verified.

Don't let your dog get into this stuff. Xylitol is poisonous to dogs as is Chocolate.

Shopping for xylitol easier on products.google.com than on ebay. I've can't get it from
Eva's and Nutty Nutrition. as of may 2008.
My most recent buy came promptly from www.vitaminexplorer.com for $3.91/lb.
Has anyone found a better source?



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    33 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 1

    Coumarin is fat soluble not water soluble. To separate it from the cinnamon, I stir cinnamon powder in boiling water and let stand for a few minutes. Then I pour the liquid through a coffee filter (reusuable plastic kind) and dump the gooey mass at the bottom which contains the coumarin. I'm sure that this separated & filtered liquid is NOT 100% coumarin-free but nevertheless I feel better about consuming it, confident that there is much less coumarin there after this process.


    "However, essentially all toxic materials in cinnamon are lipid soluble, Dr. Anderson says. Therefore, he uses a water-soluble extract."

    "We recommend that people take ¼ to 1 teaspoon daily," he tells us. "Or if they want to take more, to boil cinnamon in water and pour off the soluble portion and discard the solid cinnamon."



    7 years ago on Step 1

    Cassia has 1250 times more coumarin than Ceylon Cinnamon. Relatively small amounts of coumarin can damage the liver of particularly sensitive individuals. So make sure that your Cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 1

    The only issue here is that Ceylon Cinnamon does not produce the blood sugar benefits that the other, more common, forms of cinnamon give. Therefore, it may be safer but it isn't the same. It isn't harmful in small amounts (up to 1 gram) unless you are a very sensitive individual. Your safest bet is to consult a qualified herbologist and or a pharmacist when taking it as a supplement.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Be careful with xylitol. For some people, even traces can require sudden and furious visits to the WC.


    7 years ago on Step 1

    Here's the thing that people don't seem to understand about food and herbs... Even NATURAL stuff is dangerous. Even organic plants and what not can cause grievous harm.

    Um, excuse me, but digitalis grows very organically and naturally, and, unless you have a heart condition, and take *just* *the* *right* amount, it can easily kill you. Or make you very sick, at least. Some idiots use it for weight loss, and wonder why they get high blood pressure and... symptoms of poisoning! Imagine!

    The USA has nothing to do with it... I'm sure you can poison yourself with a number of things on your spice rack in any country in the world. For example, lemon grass is pretty toxic, so is clove and mace.

    Heck, using regular cinnamon the way he described using cassia might have been worse! Why? It would have caused him to go into hypoglycemic shock... that is, unconscious with VERY low blood pressure. BTW, he could have *died* that way, in fact, a good deal more likely than the coumerin poisoning.  That is, if he were alone and no one checked in on him for a day or two.

    Also, coumerins are very natural. A large number of plants carry it, like king's clover, Mexican vanilla, and most things, to be honest, that taste like vanilla save the real thing. There are a number of commonly used herbal medicines that contain coumerins, and indeed, it's a part of the health benefit!


    9 years ago on Step 1

    Herbs are, and always have been medicinal. As far as side effects from cinnamon, headaches, dizziness and lack of coordination would even be expected with real cinnamon. It lowers blood sugar so drastically that it can provoke hypoglycemia in non-diabetics.

    If you are all looking for a reputable source of properly identified herbs, consider buying organic products from a heath food store or herbalist. The standards are very different.

    Sorry if I sound somewhat preachy. That always seems to happen when I speak English.

    Thanx BayouMonroe for the clarification on Cassia/Cinnamon. I am a chartered Herbalist and I was unaware of this substitution.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'd heard that a rounded teaspoon of grated nutmeg can kill you (from my Pub. Health prof a million years ago), AND that Victorian ladies, who wouldn't dare drink alcohol, used to get high on grated nutmeg. 

    I experimented with a 0.25 level teaspoon of grated nutmeg and had amazing energy levels for about 4 hours w/o any other noticable effects.   I suspect that potency varies with nutmeg just as it varies with other plant-derived intoxicants.

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    actually for my sociology class at school we had to do a presentation on drugs. in one of the books i read it said that a table spoon of the stuff is the equivalent to a joint


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    yep, but netmeg can make you start tripping out after so much...and will give you a bad headache if you overdo it


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Unhandyman, are you serious and knowledgeable about smoking nutmeg, or are you acting silly?  (If so, we expect better silliness....)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I was baking and eating a lot of (health, of course) oatmeal cookies and I forgot the recipe after a while. I was putting teaspoons or tablespoons of nutmeg in and after a week or two I had an episode of not being able to understand many words. I was talking to my friends and they started making up really great words. I thought. So they rushed me to the hospital for $7k worth of tests. I missed the follow up visit though, because my brain wasn't working well enough to get me there.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    2 spoonfuls is supposed to make you hallucinate. Wow, thats horrible! Hope you are better now (maybe thats why you make such awesome projects....... sort of like alice in wonderland where the drugs help make an awesome story)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I know a guy who took a couple spoonfulls of nutmeg and starting seeing rats crawling on everything for a while... and he's pathologically terrified of rats so.... yeah

    So.. I'm not 100% clear on the nutmeg issue. Was it an OD as in "deadly if not treated" or just "naturally stoned.. for a long time?" Not that I plan on doing this, but what were the final results of everything? Did they treat you for something specific like Greg House would or just flush you with fluids?


    9 years ago on Step 1

    Most commercial versions of the spice labeled as "cinnamon" and sold in the USA are not actually cinnamon at all. Hence, the toxic side-effects. It is not the same spice our grandparents bought and consumed.http://www.ceylon-cinnamon.com/Identify-Cinnamon.htm
    Thanks to the influence of giant corporations, the FDA now allows a cheap alternative called "cassia" to be sold and labeled as "cinnamon" but unfortunately, cassia "cinnamon" contains coumarin--which is potentially toxic. It also thins the blood and can cause liver and kidney damage.

    This link has an interesting and helpful chart on identifying true cinnamon.

    Unfortunately, the USDA allows spice importers to sell these faux cinnamon products without declaring them as such--and food manufacturers are allowed to use the term "cinnamon" as a generic phase. However, you can avoid these potentially toxic cinnamon imposters by purchasing the authentic item, which is labeled "Ceylon Cinnamon."

    Please shop around because unfortunately, there are many websites that take advantage of consumer health concerns by overcharging for their Ceylon cinnamon products.

    I buy Ceylon Cinnamon directly from "Surfas" (a chef supply source). For SoCalifornia residents, they have a store in Culver City'; or you can order Ceylon Cinnamon online at www.culinarydistrict.com. It's pure, it's safe and it's delicious.

    Note: when you are consuming real cinnamon, you will notice you don't need to use as much as the cheap commercial type--because Ceylon cinnamon is more fragrant and flavorful.

    Bon appetite and good health!



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    in wikipedia it said that artificial vanilla contains Coumarin not natural.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    always get naturally derived vanilla, artificial products kill us and natural vanilla plants produce coumarin, a natural poison within it's stalks as a biological process byproduct. NEVER DRINK ANY DIET SODA WITH ASPARTAME!!!! ONE OF OUR RELATIVES DIED FROM KIDNEY FAILURE BECAUSE OF IT!