1 TRUE Superfood + 7 great reasons to eat it.
Fuelling our bodies with essential nutrients is not only fundamental to our bodies basic and optimum function, but also our happiness.
While we know this, it's not always as simple as just adding a few more veggies or whole foods into our day. There are 4 things that prevent us from utilising those vital nutrients.
1. Even though we might eat well we may not actually be absorbing those nutrients. It's not so much about WHAT we EAT, but what we ABSORB. Poor absorption happens for a number of different reasons e.g. leaky gut and microbial infections (which I'll go into more detail another time)
2. Generally, our soils are so depleted of nutrients the foods grown in these soils no longer offer us the necessary nutrients our bodies require.
3. For young children, they may not physically have the enzymes necessary to digest certain foods, e.g. some vegetables, until their digestive systems are more fully developed i.e. around the age of 5.
4. When we are under stress our bodies chew up a larger amount of nutrients. It's similar when we eat nutrient dead, highly processed foods i.e. simple carbohydrates such as cereals and pasta or if we are on medication for a long period of time.
Most of us suffer from one or more of the above. So when we do choose foods it's more important than ever that they are FULL of nourishing, health promoting nutrients.
There is one food that blows the nutrient density of whole foods off the scale....
Re-introducing ... Organ Meats. And there is one especially - Liver.
Okay this won't be for everyone. But before I lose you, if it makes it any better I can honestly say there is only one food in the entire world I cannot eat and it's ... Liver (and organ meats generally). I remember being given 'fish cakes' for dinner as an 8 year old and refusing to eat them, I NEVER refused to eat dinner. Mum then reluctantly told me they were Brains! I've never had them again. Then at high school I was physically sick cooking and eating liver in my cooking class (sorry Mrs J.) Then the next time I tried organ meat was travelling overseas. I was invited to a Dinner Party with people I had only just met, when Liver featured proudly as the main meal - I could not eat it and made up some feeble excuse why. I eat most things in their whole form. Just can't do organ meat.
That aside, I have always loved pate and now make my own regularly. It's a fantastic way to enjoy one of natures MOST nutrient rich foods and one we evolved on as a species very successfully. If there is such a thing as a super food, then Liver is it.
Check out my recipe below and a few other tips as to how our family creatively includes organ meat into our diets regularly. Seriously, most of the time, my guys don't even know they're having it.
TIP: I have a good butcher on our team, Pronto in Mosman Park. If you can't get to him, find your own. They are around and I reckon would just love to help you with your creative cooking sorcery.
Now for the WHY.
The word Liver is derived from the word LIFE. Our length and quality of life can depend on how well our Liver functions. When you see the benefits of consuming liver and the life giving nutrition it offers, it makes sense. Something our ancestors understood well.
- Almost all traditional cultures prize organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality. In some traditional cultures, only the organ meats were consumed. The lean muscle meats, which are what we mostly eat today, were discarded.
- Many wild animals eat the organs of their kill first, thus showing a wisdom superior to our own.
- The first solid food that native African mothers give to their babies is raw liver.
- Folk wisdom throughout the world, including Europe, values brains as a food for babies and growing children.
- Cookbooks from years ago contained plenty of recipes for organ meats
- Many of our grandparents, or even our parents will remember eating organ meat regularly.
Toxins? I used to be concerned about eating liver as I thought it was the storage organ for toxins. While its function is to remove toxic substances from the blood and this is a legitimate concern, the liver does not store toxin. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are more likely to accumulate in the body's fatty tissues and nervous systems.
So what's so good about it?
- It's a concentrated source of important nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 andfolic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron, which it stores in abundance.
- It includes an unidentified anti-fatigue factor
- It's high in protein
- It's high in CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function. Our levels naturally begin to decrease as we age.
- It is a good source of purines - nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
- It is also rich in antioxidants. They help our own liver remove toxic substances from the body, (critical in todays (toxic) world). Check out the table below for a summary of all the amazing nutritional benefits of liver and why you might consider adding more of it into your menu planning.
- There is some research to show that when we eat organ meats with muscle meats, we provide the body with more of the necessary co-factors to help with the absorption of the muscle meat, making meat more absorbable and digestible. Or is it simply that we're eating more of the whole food? Now that's food for thought.
Remember that it is essential to eat meat and organ meats from animals that have been raised on fresh pasture when possible, without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed. Pasture-raised animal products are much higher in nutrients we need. And pasture-raised eggs have been shown to contain up to 19 times more omega-3 fatty acids than 'caged' eggs!
In the table below, Vitamins that stand out are the B Vitamins (Nicain, B6, B12 etc), Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorous. Vitamins & Minerals often sadly lacking in our modern day diets.
Ref. Chris Kresser and Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions.
For an easy recipe to try, this Beef Liver Pate recipe is SIMPLE and really good!
If organ meat really isn't your thing but I've peaked your interest, then it is possible to buy it in capsules in a freeze dried form. Just make the source is high quality as indicated above, there are no added ingredients and it's a reputable brand of supplement.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Are you willing to give this food a go? Or if you do already, how do you add them in to your diet?