Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let's Talk Liver

If you have been around the traditional food circles very long, you will soon find one of the things that makes us stand apart from the other Real Food peeps out there.  Sacred Meats.  Yep.  Organ Meats.  Liver.  Heart.  Brains.  Okay if you are gagging...please keep reading, you may learn something.  These are the parts of the animal that most people throw away or use as fishing bait.  But these are also the meats that traditional cultures knew to be the best for strength and healing.

I must first say liver is gross.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have found some magical way to cook it that makes it taste like Filet Mignon.  I will say that I have found a couple of ways to cook it to get it down the hatch so that my family can reap the benefits of this life-giving meat.  

As far as heart and brains...well, we will leave those for another day.  I haven't gotten brave enough to eat brains yet, but we did have the heart of our cow ground into our meat, so we are eating a little of it each time we eat tacos or bologonese sauce.  Haven't noticed any difference.  Would love to discuss that later on a post on why you should consider purchasing a side (or half) of beef from a local farmer.

On to liver.  It's bloody.  It's mushy.  It has a strong flavor.  If you cook it too long it taste like rubber.  And all of the recipes with it feature it with onions which are hard enough to get kids to eat in the first place.  So why even try to get the stuff down?

Almost all tradional cultures prize organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality.  Organ meats are extremely rich in fat-soluble vitamins A & D, as well as essential fatty acids, important very-long chain superunsaturated  fatty acids and the whole gamut of macro and trace minerals.  (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)

So if our grandparents ate liver on a regular basis, why don't we?  Modern science, in an attempt to explain heart attacks and clogged arteries has placed the blame on dietary cholesterol.  This subject is more then I want to get into here, but I will address it simply.  Cholesterol is our body's protection against inflammation.   Inflammation is caused by foreign substances, most likely high-sugar diets, high-stress lifestyles, and the onslaught of poisonous substances in our environment and food (i.e. pesticides,  fertilizers and pollution).  Dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Period.

Another concern about eating liver is toxins.  Because the liver filters toxins from the body, then one would assume the liver of an animal would be full of toxins.  For this reason, I recommend knowing the farm where your liver comes from.  The lower the toxic load on your cow, the cleaner the liver.  Cows raised in rural places on untreated grass will be the healthiest.  Your local organic grocery store should be able to provide you with this information, or the farm the liver is from so you can contact them yourself.  Better yet, take a drive, meet the farmer, see the cows.  Then you really can rest assured you are giving your family the best!
Even organic liver may contain some toxic substances, but its nutritive value outweighs the dangers of any toxins it contains.  Not only does liver provide copper, zinc, iron, and vitamins A and D in abundance, it is also a rich source of antioxidants--substances that help your own liver remove toxic substances from the body. (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)

So, do you eat liver?  Do your kids freak out about it?  Or worse, do you freak out about it?  I've been eating liver more regularly since I found we are expecting Love #5 in October.  My husband and I have been experimenting with different ways to prepare it, so that we can all get more down.  I'm working on some posts/pictures to share with you.  Until next time...

Love and Butter,


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  1. My dad likes calves liver a lot, my mom and brother like it some, I can't stand it. The only way we've ever cooked it is liver and onions. Chicken liver, on the other hand, is one of my favorite foods. About every 2 or 3 weeks, we'll have fried chicken liver for dinner. If I go get fast food (only if I'm really in a rush) I tend to go to Danny's or Popeye's Fried Chicken and get livers. Not nearly as good as at home, but still delicious.

  2. Have you tried it with BBQ sauce that ia my favorite w/valdia onions. I also like chicken gizards any way you fix them but especially w/yellow rice added diced bell peppers and onions of course.