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Liver is nature's wonder food. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth, and should be a bigger part of our diets. I know that I try to sneak liver into as many things as I can (I really hope hubby is not reading this). Most people are rather squeamish when it comes to organ meats, which is why most of us don't eat much, if any of them. But, in truth, organ meats are some of the most nutritious foods we could eat!
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I used to love fried chicken livers when I was little. My folks raised their own chickens and my mom would bread them and fry them up crispy. As I grew older, I developed an aversion to liver. Probably because I went through that “Ewww! That's gross!” phase in middle school and high school. Once that happened, liver was long forgotten.
Forgotten until I read Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link) that is. Liver is one of the superfoods that Sally Fallon refers to and it reminded me that it really should be a bigger part of my diet (and my hubby's, unbeknownst to him 😉 ). Granted, I don't eat liver nearly as much as I should, but now that I am working on healing my body, I am going to try to start eating more of it. It is a very nourishing and healing food, because it is full of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- The full range of B vitamins, especially B12
- Folic acid
- Purines (nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA)
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docasahexaenoic acid), and AA (arachidonic acid)
While B12 is present in most animal foods, liver is by far the best source of B12. Sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, lamb, and eggs are the next best sources. B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies nowadays and it can cause a wide range of problems, from neurological problems, weakness, anxiety, difficulty with focus, depression, and more.
Good quality liver can be hard to find. You want to make sure that you find liver from grass-fed and pastured animals that have not been given any hormones or antibiotics. If you're not sure of the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle, please read this post.
Some health food stores will carry safe brands of liver. If you have a local rancher where you already get grass-fed meats from, ask them. Another place to try is local butchers, as they often have access to grass-fed and pastured meats.
Now some of you may not be able to stomach liver at all, no matter how you fix it. Honestly, I'm right there with you most of the time. The only way I can eat it is when it is mixed in with something that has a lot of spice and flavor. I usually hide it in taco meat, meatballs, meatloaf, or beef chili. The key is to not add too much, or else you will be able to taste that weird, slightly metallic-y taste that liver has. I am going to start venturing out into fried liver though. My mom loves the classic liver and onions, but I just have not been brave enough to whip up a batch. I know that my hubby is definitely not going to partake!
What If I Can't STAND Liver?
If you simply cannot stand the taste of liver, or know that there is no way you could get enough into your diet to make a difference, then I recommend taking a desiccated liver supplement from one of my affiliate partners. I have two that I personally recommend (and take myself):
Perfect Supplements' liver comes from healthy Argentinian cattle (no hormones or antibiotics) that have grazed on pristine pastures NEVER treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or any other chemical contaminants.
With this supplement, 4 capsules is the equivalent to 3 grams of 100% grass-fed beef liver. Because liver is so nutrient-dense, a little can go a long way. To learn more about their dessicated liver supplements, please visit their site here (they have a TON of great info and products). You can also find them on Amazon here.
Vital Proteins desiccated liver comes from pasture raised, grass-fed cattle in New Zealand. Like Perfect SUpplements, these cattle are never treated with hormones or antibiotics and they graze on pesticide/chemical free pastures. With this supplement, 4 capsules will provide 3400 IU (70% DV) Vitamin A per serving, 13.6 mcg (230% DV) B12 per serving. You can also find them on Amazon here.