Liver. Just the mention of the name sends shudders down people's spines. It functions as a vital organ in animals and humans, but is it really something we should be eating? Let's take a look.
|Chuck Norris rarely ate, but when he did, it was liver|
LIVER: A NUTRIENT POWERHOUSE
You may not realize it, but eating organs is one of the best things you can do for health and longevity. Hunter-gatherers even favored the organs while throwing muscle meat to their dogs. Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, organ meats may not be palatable, but they are certainly good for the body. Liver in particular is one of the best organs to chow down on. It's a great source of CoQ10 (important for heart health), contains high quality protein, and is one of the best sources of iron and vitamin A. If you were to compare the amount of vitamins in liver to fruit and vegetables, it's like comparing a Ferrari to a Dodge Neon. Both will get you what you need, but one is supercharged. Case in point: check out the chart below from Paleo Cafe. You'll see that liver has 3x potassium compared to an apple, 4.5x the amount of vitamin C compared to a carrot, and a whopping 1,335x the amount of vitamin A compared to red meat. The next most concentrated source of vitamin A is carrot juice (source: USDA)
|holy nutrients, Batman!|
NOT ALL LIVERS ARE EQUAL
In high school and college, you probably saw those pictures of human livers from alcoholics compared to healthy person's. The same can be considered for animals. Make sure you're choosing healthy, vibrant, red liver when about to chow down. If reading this is not enough to convince you, check out this picture.
|I know which one I'm picking|
MAKING LIVER TASTY
Yes, I realize the thought of eating liver is still gross. There are a lot of recipes out there in the paleosphere and beyond that can help with your aversion to this superfood. Two of the main things you'll usually find in a liver recipe? Bacon and butter. Yum. Knowing this, I made my own liver pâté. (yes I searched how to get those symbols over the "a" and "e.") The liver is from a shipment from PhillyCowShare. They had a box of cow parts that no one really wanted (liver, heart, tongue, tail) so I took it. Score!
1. Gather tasty ingredients. Amount is up to you, but here is what I used:
3 strips of bacon
1/4 chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. butter + another 2 Tbsp. later
1/2 lb. grass fed beef liver
2. First, I cooked the bacon. Then I took the strips out, but kept the bacon fat to saute the onion.
3. Then, I added the strips of liver in with the onion to cook. It probably took about 2 minutes each side. Then I added the bacon back in. (Note: At this point you can eat the liver like steak. I will most likely do this next time)
4. If you're going for more of a pâté, then throw all of this in a food processor or blender and whirl away. Store in a refrigerator for 30 min. or so to let it cool down, and then serve on carrots, peppers, or if you're not 100% paleo, on crackers or chips.
So now you know why liver is so good for you AND you have a recipe to make it a little more palatable. Bacon and butter truly make everything better. But if that's still not enough, check out the links below for more information about liver and some recipes too.
Chris Masterjohn: The Benefits of Liver, Cod Liver Oil, and Dessicated Liver
Mark's Daily Apple: Quick Guide to Purchasing, Preparing, and Eating Organ Meats
Weston Price Foundation: The Liver Files
Chris Kresser: Liver: Nature's Most Potent SuperfoodBalanced Bites: Chicken Liver Pate