I never ate liver growing up. I think both my parents had less than stellar experiences with it in their childhoods, so it never made the menu at our house. Until I learned more about whole foods nutrition and ancestral diets, I regarded liver as simply something that most people thought was gross. The liver is where animals and humans process toxins, so it seemed like eating liver would be one of the last things someone would want to eat, right? Wouldn’t it be like eating the garbage can of an animal? Oh my naive ways. Liver, from a good source like organic grass-fed beef or organic pastured chickens, is amazingly healthy for you! Some call organ meats “nature’s vitamins.” Sally Fallon, in her book, Nourishing Traditions (the Weston A. Price foundation cookbook) writes:
“Almost all traditional cultures prize organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality. Organ meats are extremely rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D, as well as essential fatty acids, important very-long-chain superunsaturated fatty acids and the whole gamut of macro and trace minerals. 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 their babies is raw liver, which they thoughtfully chew for them. Folk wisdom throughout the world, including Europe, values brains as a food for babies and growing children.
American cookbooks of a century ago contained plenty of recipes for organ meats, and any authentic cookbook for ethnic cuisine–French, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern or English–will feature several recipes for liver, kidney, heart, sweetbreads and brains. What a pity these delicious and nutritious foods have disappeared from our tables.”
What a pity is right! Organ meats like liver can be an amazingly beneficial part of a nutrient-dense diet, providing energy and nourishment. If you don’t like the taste of liver, which is why I think a lot of people stay away from it, you can take desiccated liver pills. I took these for awhile out of convenience, but have recently begun making an amazing beef liver pate. I spotted some beautiful beef livers at Whole Foods, that come from Cold Spring Ranch here in Maine, USA. These cows get the royal treatment: lots of love, free space to roam, and plenty of grass to eat. I found this simple recipe for pate, which includes fresh rosemary, thyme, and lots of garlic. I added some fresh sage as well. I didn’t think liver could taste this good! I’ve been spreading a small amount on Ezekiel Bread toast and just loving it. It freezes well in glass jars if I happen to make a big batch.
Here are some pictures of the preparation, cooking process, and final result:
If you try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Lastly, here’s more information on why incorporating organ meats like liver into your diet can be very beneficial.