Poach Eggs, Not Rhinos

Back in 2014, when I was still an active zookeeper, I was very much involved in the local American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) chapter and their major fundraiser Bowling for Rhinos. If you’ve never attended or participated in a BFR fundraising event, you are missing out.

Bowling for Rhinos (it doesn’t always have to be bowling) is THE major zookeeper conservation fundraising even of every year. I’ve done many iterations– bowling, curling, running– and it’s always a blast.

I remember 2014 specifically because it was also the year I started on my fitness journey, lost over 50 pounds and gained so much energy, stamina, and focus for what mattered the most– conservation of endangered species. Because healthy eating was on my radar, I tended to find ways to connect my two passions– fitness/wellness/healthy habits and conservation. With Bowling for Rhinos approaching that year, I found an interesting way to promote both, and a new motto for me and my lifestyle was born along the way– Poach Eggs, Not Rhinos.

How to Save Rhinos While Eating Right

The funny thing is, before I created my motto, I didn’t really eat poached eggs that much. Sure, I had Eggs Benedict a few times, but I didn’t make it myself. I wasn’t even sure how to poach an egg.

So, I searched for an easy, healthy recipe I could use “poached eggs” in. And I came across something called Shakshuka. If you aren’t familiar with this dish, it’s pretty appropriate for a recipe centered around rhinos. It comes from North Africa/Middle East (which does not actually have rhinos native to the region, BUT it is still a traditional African dish), and is considered a staple food in the Israel. Most importantly, it incorporates poached eggs, and is a very healthy dish, with opportunities for varying how you make the dish.

So I dove in, and began experimenting. And I found that this indeed is a fun dish to make. I also learned how to make poached eggs. Which was really the whole point of my quest.

Eight years later, and my Poach Eggs, Not Rhinos recipe has gotten better and better. So, for National Zookeeper Week, I thought I’d share the recipe that kickstarted my entire ZooFit mentality of connecting our eating to conservation. Save our horny friends, and eat delicious food! Nothing could be better.

Poach Eggs Not Rhinos

Serves 4, roughly 329 calories, Carbs- 29g, Fat- 7.1g, Protein- 10.4g (nutrients are estimated)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 8 eggs (or 2 eggs per serving)
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted, but to each his own)
  • 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Parmesan (optional, if desired)


  1. Pour about 2 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and set heat to medium.  Once hot, place sliced onions, garlic, peppers, and zucchini in pan and saute until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. While sauce is simmering, boil about 2-3 cups of water in medium sized saucepan. Pour a tablespoon of white vinegar into the water. Once at a rolling boil, slowly crack and pour eggs, one at a time, into a bowl. Stir the water to create a sort of funnel, then pour the cracked egg into water.  Let the water settle and the whites surround the yolk. Poach each egg for 2-3 minutes.

3. Between poaching eggs, add tomato sauce, spices and seasonings to stir frying veggies.  Let simmer, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove eggs from heat.  Lower tomato sauce mixture to low heat. Carefully transfer eggs to tomato sauce mixture with a slotted spoon. 

5.Let eggs set into sauce for 3-5 minutes.  Carefully scoop eggs and mixture into a bowl.

6. Top with parmesan, if desired.

See how easy it is to eat clean, live green, and train positive with Poached Eggs for dinner. Keep on rocking your days, and I’ll see you all tomorrow with a special Wildlife Wednesday Workout dedicated to our zookeeper friends!

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