Did you grow up eating liver? What about other organ meats like heart or kidneys? Ew, my face is scrunching up just writing this! Obviously this has never been part of my diet, but I just might consider trying some…maybe. Stick with me, I’m not going nutso on you, just read this and see what you think afterward.
(Update, have you seen my post, You CAN Eat Beef Heart? If I can, you can!)
I just hung up from the Urban Homemaker phone seminar that I’d told you about earlier this week. In case you weren’t able to listen in, I took notes so you don’t have to miss out on any of the details.
URBAN HOMEMAKER PHONE SEMINAR NOTES: ORGAN MEATS ARE SUPERFOODS!
Where to find a healthy source for organ meats.
Guests tonight were Maria Atwood and Blair McMorran from Denver, CO, co-leaders of their local Weston A. Price chapter. (Who is Weston A. Price ?)
(Before they started, Maria reminded everyone of something that I have at the bottom of each of my posts: this information is purely for educational purposes, talk to your doctor if you have specific questions and need medical advice.)
Maria began by sharing one thing she loves about the teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) – they help us learn to use ALL the foods that God has made available to us, instead of so many man-made (and less nutritious) foods. She & Blair both agree that we need to get back to the more natural ways of life.
If we know the many health benefits of eating certain foods that we’re not used to eating, it affects our mental perceptions and we lose our tendency to have squeamish feelings about it. Liver is a food that often has some of those squeamish feelings associated with it, so…
Maria discussed some common concerns and the many health benefits of eating liver.
- The most frequently asked question about liver is about its safety. Some have heard it is toxic because it is the liver’s job to neutralize toxins in our body from drugs or other chemicals. However, Maria says that the toxins actually lodge in fatty tissue and in the nervous system, not in the liver.
- Liver is highly nutritious, but very much affected by heat, so she suggests you eat it rare or medium rare to preserve the digestive enzymes and nutrients. If heated too much liver will be rubbery and have a stronger liver taste. Soaking in lemon juice helps decrease the liver taste that some don’t like.
- Liver contains more nutrients gram for gram than ANY OTHER FOOD. This is even more important these days since it has become more difficult to find nutrient dense foods, we have nutrient depleted soil, polluted air, chemicals and additives in our soaps and foods, Fluoride in our water, cell phone and microwave radiation, and the list goes on!
- We take in 10x less vitamin A than our grandparents did due to the above reasons. Liver has the most concentrated sources of vitamin A. Natural vitamin A works to aide digestion, to keep sex organs/reproductive organs healthy, and is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A is also found in yellow butter, egg yolks, and cod liver oil. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, so eat butter with your liver for better absorption.
- Liver is a great source of Vitamin B12 – it improves muscle fatigue, sleep disorders, memory loss, anger issues, and impaired mental function.
- All vitamin B’s are in abundance in the liver. It is a great source of folic acid, which works with B vitamins.
- Liver has a highly usable form of iron, which transfers oxygen to our bodies, needed for proper development of the brain and great for the immune system. Iron in liver is 2-3x more absorbable than the kind being added to our bread.
- Liver contains an unidentified anti-fatigue factor, which is probably why athletes use liver to maintain stamina and energy.
- Liver is a tremendous source of nitrogen-containing compounds that are building blocks for DNA & RNA. It is great for people with Alzheimers or any dementia.
- There are many delicious liver recipes (see link below). Grass fed is better tasting and has more nutrition.
- We should eat it at least once/week or as much as you can afford to.
- Lamb liver is milder than beef liver; turkey liver tastes better than chicken liver. Kidneys are also mild tasting; you could chop it up and put into sloppy joes, stews, spaghetti sauce.
- Sally Fallon (WAPF President) recommends freezing liver and grating it – this is used in a homemade baby formula recipe, and you could also put it in meatloaf – but Blair says you can taste the liver in meatloaf, so a pâté is better with herbs and wine. (Link for recipes is below.)
- You could take the desiccated liver capsules if you just can’t eat liver, but you get a smaller amount of nutrients than you’d get with the real thing. It is also very expensive. Another alternative is to freeze it, cut it into pill size pieces, and take it that way. (At the moment, this is the way I’m considering trying it!)
Blair shared her love of eating beef heart. (We now love it, too – read the post, “You CAN eat beef heart!”)
- She says it has a tasty, rich meaty flavor, a milder taste than liver.
- It is a muscle meat like steak, ground beef, roasts, etc. It is a heavier, more dense meat than others though.
- It contains a lot more protein, and is slightly tougher, so she suggested using some sort of acidic marinade (see recipe link below). She said the longer it marinates, the more tender it will be.
- The recipes she sent to Marilyn are geared to those who are more squeamish at the thought of eating organ meats.
- You can add it in with ground beef so flavor difference is minimal.
- Grass fed makes a huge difference: it keeps longer, better color, smells better, tastes better, much more nutrition.
- Take it slowly, and buy only high quality organ meats.
- If you still have trouble getting used to organ meats, remember they’re powerful meats so they need powerful complimentary flavors to serve with it, like pineapple salsa for one example.
- The enzymes are also affected by heat, so serve it raw to medium rare, or dehydrate meats to make jerky, a great way to eat organ meats. “Beef jerky is a wonder food” – it is vitamin intense, with thiamin, folate, B’s. It is dehydrated, so you can take it anywhere. You can flavor it different ways and it will contain all the dense nutrients of whatever quality meat you use.
- Heart Nutrients – very concentrated CoQ10, B’s, folic acid, building blocks for cell nutrition, we need to get a lot in our diets.
- Synthetic B vitamins are not nearly as bio-available, better from a whole food. Grains have B vitamins but in animal foods there is no phytic acid to bind with the nutrients and make them less available to our bodies.
- Beef heart contains Selenium, Phosphorus & Zinc, along with Amino Acids that help burn fat and store energy and boost stamina and endurance. Blair really notices a renewed vigor after a meal of organ meats. If pregnant, you need to store protein, and especially during the final weeks – this helps with muscle tone and strength so you will have an easy labor! (More on pregnancy health in future posts.)
- More on CoQ10: it is found in beef heart and is highly protective against cancer – found only in animal foods. CoQ10 is a substance present in every cell in the body and essential for cell production, we need a lot and can get 40% of our daily requirement with 1 serving of heart. It protects our heart, improves problems with our gums, and has an affect on many different diseases – read more about CoQ10.
- Heart also has twice as much collagen and elastin – for wrinkle free skin!
- Helps in building joint tissue, or any connective tissue, for post-menopausal women.
- All of this is found together in one food and all these nutrients work together for more energy and to feel better.
- Make your calories count, focus on nutrient dense foods for healthy eyes, heart, liver, endocrine system, healthy babies, and wrinkle-free skin.
They discussed the many nutrients in bone broths/stocks.
- Maria said she never makes soup now without using bone broth, there is no comparison in flavor and nutrients.
- It contains calcium, magnesium, trace minerals, cartilage, glucosomine – for joint health!
- Bone broths help us absorb many nutrients in our bodies
- The gelatin in broth is very helpful for people with peptic ulcers, TB, and babies have fewer digestive problems.
- If you have a digestive issue, first drink Kefir (recipe in the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, and also bone broth for good digestive health.
- Best to consume some bone broth every day, it is soothing to the digestive system, high in minerals, has all the essential amino acids you need, and is high in calcium.
- A splash of raw apple cider vinegar helps draw the minerals out of the bone.
- The key to good bone broth is the right kind of bones: marrow bones are different than soup bones (more meat than bone). Oxtails, whole chickens or turkeys & chicken feet are also rich in gelatin and make a healthy broth to aide in digestion.
- If your broth isn’t gelatinous, you’ve either used too much water or not the right kind of bones.
- Someone asked a question: If you use meat with no hormones, but is not grass fed, will that make a good broth? The answer was yes, but not as good. Grass fed is rich in CLA – this helps you lose weight, prevents cancer. Feedlot cows don’t have it – you are what you eat, you are what your cows eat. There is more cartilage on grass fed animals. (More here about healthy meat.)
Maria mentioned her DVD, which makes all these things seem very simple, she shows how to cook your way to wellness. She also demonstrates making broth. This can be purchased from the Urban Homemaker site.
There was a small mention of a few side issues:
- Conventionally raised chickens or “battery chickens” are crammed into cages, their beaks are chopped off (because they’re so unhealthy and unhappy in those conditions they would peck each other to death otherwise), and fed genetically modified corn & soy, and sadly, they are very sick animals.
- When you hear today about genetically modified crops, it means they’re messing with the seeds in crops to make them hold up so that round-up won’t kill them, then they can spray their crop full of it – great for profits, but then WE ingest all those chemicals.
- Fermented foods should be eaten with every meal. Blair’s family loves Kombucha tea, it’s an easy & inexpensive drink to make.
I’d love to hear what you think of all this, please leave a comment below!
- Here is the link for the organ meat recipes.
- The importance of cod liver oil
- WAP shopping guides (print out the form here and mail in) – these $1 shopping guides are full of information to help you know which foods are better, best, and which to avoid
- Coconut oil for dieting and more
- My “Dark Secrets”
- The many ways my Bosch mixer makes my life easier!
- Find a local Weston A. Price chapter near you
- This link has some different ways to make liver