The word “SUPERFOOD” is used quite often nowadays to sell you tons of berries, powders, and juices from exotic parts of the world, promising vitality and everlasting youth. The truth is, however, that there are several SUPERFOODS that are more easily acquired for a fraction of the cost found right here in our own backyards. A while back, I took a look at the superfood gelatin and how to get more of it in your diet. Today, I am featuring another superfood that has been around for ages and ages but is often overlooked: liver.
Liver, yuck! That is what you may be thinking. And maybe it is not the tastiest food that you have ever had. You may even have unpleasant memories of liver served to you as a child. But before you totally close yourself off to the idea, let’s take a look at what the liver has to offer and how you may be able to incorporate this amazing superfood into your diet.
In times past, liver was prized for it’s amazing properties to heal and strengthen. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten and moved on from liver, leaving this organ to be tossed away and discarded. It’s time to revive the culture of eating liver. And many people are already on board as people re-learn the magical benefits of the awesome superfood.
But isn’t liver full of toxins?
The idea that liver is a detoxifying organ therefore filled with toxins is a common misbelief among folks these days. The truth is that the primary function of the liver is to actually neutralize toxins. And what the liver stores is a ton of essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants—vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron. These nutrients help the liver flush toxins out of the body. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems.
And what about Vitamin A Toxicity? There has been research that shows that moderate amounts of synthetic Vitamin A can cause health problems, toxicity, and even birth defects. This, however, does not pertain to the naturally occurring Vitamin A found in liver. Toxicity from naturally occurring vitamin A only occurs at VERY high level, and it would be extremely difficult to consume enough liver to reach those levels.
What Makes Liver So Fabulous?
Liver is by far the most nutrient-dense food that Mother Nature provides. Gram for gram, it gives us more nutrients than any other food source. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation the leading experts in Traditional and REAL food eating, some of liver’s best qualities include:
- It is a superb source of high-quality protein
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
- Contains and abundance of B Vitamins ~ especially B12
- Is one of the best sources of folate
- Contains a very usable form of iron
- Good source of trace elements like copper, zinc and chromium
- Contains an anti-fatigue factor ~making it a favorite among athletes and body builders
- Good source of CoQ10 for heart health
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA
When talking about consuming liver, the same rules apply as for good quality meats. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” So if the animal that you are consuming from has eaten a diet full of GMO-laden soy and corn and been exposed to dirty living conditions with lots of pesticides and antibiotics, the quality of the liver will reflect that.
My recommendation is to eat only liver from pastured and grass fed animals. When an animal is raised in humane conditions and allowed to eat it’s natural diet, the animal will be healthy. Cows are natural grass eaters, and chickens are made to be pastured, dining and foraging. That is why meat from pasture-raised animals and eggs from pasture-raised chickens have more Omega-3 fatty acids in them than commercially-raised meats and grocery-store eggs. The livers from these animals are healthy and a great source of nutrition.
A word about CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) : Animals raised in these horrible places are often surrounded by their own crap, pumped full of antibiotics, and treated horrendously. Choosing to support farmers who practice ethical and humane ways of raising livestock is voting with your dollars for a better future for us all.
How to Consume it?
1) JUST EAT IT
Many folks just straight up eat the stuff. Fry it up and mack it down. There are many recipes on-line to add more of this superfood to your diet like liver and onions and chicken liver pate.
The best tip that I have seen is to add a bit of pureed liver to to any ground meat that you are using. You can mix it in with your burgers, taco meat, or ground meat for red sauce. Start small. Add just a tiny bit and increase as your taste buds or family tolerate it.
You can puree it in your food processor and freeze in tiny portions to be added to your meals weekly. My family doesn’t even notice that I add a small amount to their meals once in a while.
2) FROZEN LIVER PILLS
If eating liver just isn’t for you. (Trust me, I don’t blame you. It’s an acquired taste for sure!), you can make your own frozen liver pills. Basically, you chop liver into TINY, pill-sized pieces, freeze them, and then pop a few pieces into your mouth daily. See how to make them HERE.
3) DRIED LIVER PILLS
An even easier way to consume this superfood is through dried liver pills. I make these myself by pureeing liver in my food processor, then dehydrating it at 105’F (to preserve the vital enzymes and nutrients) for 24-48 hours. I pour the puree onto unbleached parchment paper at first, and then peel it off after about 12 hours to flip it. I pulverize the dried liver in my food processor and encapsulate. I take 3 of these liver pills a day with my breakfast. My sweetie and teenage daughter do as well.
My last batch, I dehydrated 6 pounds of grass fed beef livers and encapsulated them. THESE are the capsules that I used. Luckily, my sweetie is on board with the whole liver things and tediously helped me fill all of my capsules.
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So, what do you think? Are you able to get over the “yuck” factor and add this superfood to your diet?
photo credit: depositphotos.com / lisovskaya