Are Organ Meats Healthy?

Are organ meats healthy

When it comes to discussing nutrition and food, organ meat certainly isn’t the most glamorous subject. For some, the very topic evokes a sense of panic and horror.

Perhaps it brings to mind a memory of being served dense, glossy liver and onions. Maybe it reminds you of walking past a city butcher shop with obscure animal parts displayed behind the windows. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that the culinary term for organ meats—offal—is literally pronounced “awful.”

The History of Organ Meats

There’s an interesting history behind why you might feel squeamish or unsure when it comes to organ meats. Understanding this may help to put the issue into context. It starts with the fact that many of us have become completely removed from the sources of our food.

In recent years, food has become increasingly industrialized, standardized, and commercialized. Grains of all kinds are highly processed, coated with sugar and put into boxes. Heirloom vegetables and unique fruits have been phased out and replaced with generic varieties that are easier to grow, transport and display. Dairy is skimmed, pasteurized and fortified with synthetic nutrients. And every store offers the same cuts of meat—chicken breasts, tenderloins, steaks—all neatly wrapped in plastic and displayed in rows in the refrigerated section.

The Way Food Used to Be…

Our food supply certainly wasn’t always this way. People didn’t always just consume muscle meat. Traditional diets from around the world were rich in dishes containing organ meats and other high protein options. From liver to kidney and sweetbreads to tripe, organ meats were often part of meals.

Many of the world’s healthiest peoples, as studied by Dr. Weston A. Price, ate organ meats frequently. In hunting cultures, organs like heart and brain were consumed first. They were believed to pass on the strength and intelligence of the animal.

Even after the introduction of modern farming, organ meats were savored as special delicacies. Because offal is less plentiful than muscle meat, it was considered somewhat of a rare and special treat often reserved for the wealthy.

Organ Meat: Falling Out of Favor

It wasn’t until around the end of the 18th century when industrialized farming began to take hold that there was a significant shift in the consumption of organ meats. With the spread of commercial techniques and a rising number of slaughterhouses, the availability of meat increased dramatically while the price declined.

Offal, being delicate and difficult to store, eventually became too expensive and time consuming for companies to prepare on this mass scale. It was therefore either discarded or ground and sold off for use in pet food.

The Big Problem of Factory Farming

Factory farming has allowed for the production of large quantities of meat at a good price, but there are consequences to this method that can’t be ignored. It has contributed to substantial pollution, decreased biodiversity, declining nutrient levels in soils and the inhumane treatment of livestock. In it, we’ve also lost the deep reverence that comes along with understanding where our food comes from and the respect that is shown by using the entire animal.

Big Grocery Stores Changed Food Too

Another issue that has contributed to the disappearance of organ meats in the Standard American Diet is the growth of chain grocery stores. Offal is not easily transported and doesn’t keep well for long periods of time, making it a poor fit for large stores. Supermarkets, which first appeared in America in the early 1900s, have also completely changed how people shop for and learn about meat.

Previously there were specialty butcher shops, which provided carefully selected fresh meat along with advice for cooking it. When large stores were built with convenient in-house delis, many local butchers went out of business.

With the closing of these shops came a loss of knowledge on how to prepare and eat unique cuts of meat like organ meats. As a result, only meat varieties that are quick and easy to cook have remained popular.

Losing Out on Nutrients

This scenario is unfortunate for many reasons. From a nutritional perspective, we are missing out on a range of health benefits from organ meats. Offal is particularly concentrated in bioavailable forms of vital nutrients including zinc, iron and B vitamins, alongside specialty nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other foods:

  • Heart, for example, is the best food source of CoQ10, an enzyme important for energy balance and preventing oxidative stress.
  • Kidney contains an incredible amount of lean protein and folate.
  • Liver provides more nutrients gram for gram than any other food, and is particularly rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

Traditional cultures intuitively recognized these health benefits, which advances in nutritional science have confirmed.

Are Organ Meats Healthy?

I have family members who don’t consume organ meats at all because they consider them filters that remove toxins. They assume that, for this reason, they store the toxins and are unhealthy.

Even those who don’t have a problem with the idea of eating organs often have somewhat of an aversion to the taste.

Nature’s Multivitamin

What many people don’t realize is that organ meats (especially liver) are nature’s multivitamins. Liver is an excellent source of many nutrients. Chris Kresser has a great post on the topic where he explains:

Vitamin A

“Liver is an important source of retinol, which is pre-formed vitamin A. Just three ounces of beef liver contains 26,973 IU of vitamin A, while pork liver and chicken liver contain 15,306 IU and 11,335 IU, respectively. If you aren’t supplementing with cod liver oil, you’ll probably want to eat liver a couple times a week to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A, especially if you have skin problems.

Vitamin B12

Although all meats contain some amount of vitamin B12, liver (especially beef liver) blows everything else out of the water, with almost three times as much B12 as kidney, seven times as much as heart, and about 17 times as much as tongue or ground beef.

Organ meats are also high in folate, choline, zinc and other nutrients.

Food for the Genes

Organ meats are also one of the four foods recommended in Deep Nutrition for optimal gene function. (I highly recommend Deep Nutrition if you haven’t already read it!)

Dr. Shanahan compares liver to other foods for nutrient content:

liver vs. vegetables comparison

Do Organ Meats Store Toxins?

This is the most common objection (besides the taste) to consuming organ meats, especially liver. Organs like heart and brain obviously don’t store toxins, but many people are afraid to eat liver or kidney because these organs filter toxins in the body.

While organ meats do function as filters in the body, they don’t store the toxins. The job of organs like the liver is to remove toxins from the body, and as such, they store many fat soluble vitamins and nutrients needed to accomplish this task.

As Weston A. Price Explains:

One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

Sourcing Matters

Of course, we should consume liver from healthy animals–cattle, lamb, buffalo, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The best choice is liver from animals that spend their lives outdoors and on pasture. If such a premier food is not available, the next choice is organic chicken, beef and calves liver. If supermarket liver is your only option, the best choice is calves liver, as in the U.S. beef cattle do spend their first months on pasture. Beef liver is more problematical as beef cattle are finished in feed lots. Livers from conventionally raised chicken and hogs are not recommended.

So, in other words:

To call the liver a simple filter is incorrect. If we want to maintain the metaphor, it’s more like a chemical processing plant. The liver receives shipments, determines what they contain, and reacts accordingly. It converts protein to glucose, converts glucose to glycogen, manufactures triglycerides, among many other tasks, but its best-known responsibility is to render toxins inert and shuttle them out to be expelled – usually in the urine via the kidney. It doesn’t just hang on to toxins, as if the liver is somehow separate from the body and immune to contamination. The liver is part of the body! If your liver contains large amounts of toxins, so do you!

Too Much Vitamin A?

Another concern often heard with liver consumption especially is the presence of too much Vitamin A. But the studies conducted about Vitamin A toxicity looked at moderate doses of synthetic Vitamin A. At even moderate doses, synthetic Vitamin A can be problematic, though the same problems are not noticed in most high doses of natural form.

Many studies, when looking at the effect of a synthetic nutrient in isolation don’t take into account the other nutrients naturally present in foods that balance that particular one. From natural sources, toxicity was only noticed in adults in Arctic explorers who consumed polar bear and seal liver (millions of units of natural vitamin A).

So unless you are an Arctic explorer, it is very difficult to develop vitamin A toxicity from liver. The putative toxic dose of 100,000 IU per day is contained in two-and-one-half 100-gram servings of duck liver or about three 100-gram servings of beef liver. From the work of Dr. Weston Price, we can assume the amount in primitive diets was around 50,000 IU per day.

Bringing Back Traditional Food

It’s important to recognize that if you are iffy on organ meats, you are not alone—it is a perspective that has been shaped by culture and history. There is a shift happening. People are beginning push back on the commercial food system. They are fighting to reclaim traditional foods, to opt for supporting local farmers, to protect the environment, and to eat consciously. As a Wellness Mama reader, I know you’re a part of this real food movement too, otherwise you wouldn’t have braved reading this unique and potentially controversial post.

If you are interested in reviving the tradition of cooking with organ meats, there are several books available on the topic. Two recent favorites are Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal and The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, both of which approach the subject with a spirit of curiosity and culinary adventure. When sourcing organ meats, try to find a local farmer that uses sound farming practices who you can purchase from directly. There are also trusted online sources that ship grass-fed organ meats.

Choosing a Healthy Source of Organ Meats

One fact that is well established is that the health of an animal largely affects the health of its organs. For this reason, just as with any other meat, it is very important to choose healthy sources.

Personally, I strive to eat organ meats, especially liver, once a week or more, especially when pregnant or nursing. I normally purchase organ meats online here when I can’t find a good source locally.

Often, I can find quality meats and organ meats from local farmers and just make sure that the animal was grass-fed, raised on pasture and (if possible) not given grains or antibiotics.

Another Option (For Those Who Don’t Love the Taste)

If the idea of eating organ meats still just isn’t appealing, there are other options to turn to. There are supplements available such as Desiccated Liver and Desiccated Heart, which provide grass-fed, freeze-dried organ meats in capsule or powder form. The capsules can be quickly and tastelessly swallowed, while the powders can be conveniently mixed into foods like soups, stews and chili or patted unknowingly into burgers. This way, all of the nutritional benefits of organ meats can be obtained without extended planning and preparation.

References:

Weston A. Price Foundation: Principles of Healthy Diets
TIME: Supermarket History
Benefits of Coenzyme Q-10
USDA Nutrient Breakdown of Beef
Weston A. Price: The Liver Files
The Vitamin A Saga
Marks Daily Apple: The Liver and Toxins

Do you eat liver or other organ meats? How often and how do you prepare them? Share your tips below!

Organ meats (or Offal) are nature's multivitamin and contain high doses of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, folate, b-vitamins and more.

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Reader Comments

  1. I have LOVED liver ever since I was a kid. My parents were completely grossed out and I would beg for it. For a long time I quit eating it, believing it to be unhealthy– or at the very least, weird! Now I’m married to a German man and happily living in Germany, where many people eat organ meat. We often keep an organic pate in the fridge, but I really enjoy the traditional liver and onions and chicken liver risotto (I know, no rice on this website!). A traditional German preparation that I’ve come to really enjoy is like the traditional liver and onions, but with apple slices included. I’ve had the apple and onion variation with beef, pork and chicken liver. I tend to have problems with B12 deficiency, and I really believe that my consumption of organ meats has helped stabilize that, as well as keep my iron-levels high enough through pregnancy and now nursing!

    • Yum! I love liver+onions, but haven’t had it with apples. Do you saute the apples with the onions?

      • yes, they’re sauteed together. I don’t have any English-language German recipe websites to recommend, but I’m sure a google search can get you a good one. Very simple, very tasty!

        • I just made my liver with apples and onions? I so appreciate this tip. It helped me not to down it in ketchup. I . Love liver! I was just wonder is it ok to give my sister liver.? She is an amputee and takes warfin.

    • I love beef and lamb liver its loaded with nutration when I eat it my skin looks awsome
      liver recipe

      1 lb liver
      1 onion chopped
      1 tbsp chopped garlic
      2 hot green peper
      1 tsp cumin
      1 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp black pepper
      1/4 tsp all spice
      1 lemon juce
      2 tbsp olive oil
      1 tbsp chopped barsley
      1 tomato cut ti small cubes

      marined the liver with salt and peper garlic all spice cumin lemon juce leave it in the fridge

      in a pan add olive oil and sautee the onion add the marineded liver ive it a stir till the water done add tomato and parsely leave it for 5 mins and serve it hot with pasta or bread

  2. My family, including 9 and 11 year olds, love liver – calf and chicken. We eat tripe on a fairly regular basis as well. We recently tried beef heart and it was a hit. I find that it is all in how the food is prepared. I grew up hating the taste and texture of liver….until I found a recipe that recommended the liver remain pink and served with a pan sauce. It is really amazing.

    • I just made liver for the first time in years. I followed the suggestion regarding leaving it a bit pink in the middle. I dare says it was the most delicious liver I have ever prepared…I did use oat flour to coat in lieu of wheat.

  3. Thanks for all the great info! Any ideas on how to transition into eating liver? I would like to add it to my family’s diet but none of us have ever tried beef liver and the idea of eating it grosses me out even knowing all the health benefits. Chicken feet used to gross me out and now I don’t bat an eye but this seems different. Any recipes or tricks to sneak it in would be great! Thanks!

    • I grind it up and do a 50/50 mix with ground beef in chili. My “eww, gross, I can’t believe you eat that” roommate didn’t even notice. And I didn’t tell her. 🙂

      • Oh that’s sneaky lol! Do you grind it after it’s cooked or raw? In the blender? Sorry, I’m a complete novice when it comes to this. Thanks!

        • I would suggest starting out with less than 50/50. I will do meatloaf, meatballs or meatza with 1lb liver and 2lbs ground meat and you can still taste the liver. Now, that is fine if you like the taste of liver, but may be hard for people trying to adjust. I find my kids don’t know the difference. They will eat up beef liver pate with raw veggies too. Also, I have made a hash with sweet potatoes, onions and chicken liver. (Just google the recipe. I can’t remember where i found it.) The liver was just nicely crumbled throughout and then with eggs over that, there was not much of a liver taste. You mix up the meat raw, by the way! 🙂
          I have some pork kidneys in my freezer. does anyone have any good ideas on how to prepare those?

          • We always ate organ meat while growing up, liver, kidney, heart and even calves brains (ugh, don’t know if I could do that now) my mom used to soak our beef/pork kidney overnite in salted water, to sort of clean it, then she would cut all the pieces off, being VERY careful trim all the fat/sinews off, dredge the pieces in flour, salt and pepper and pan fry-there was always a nice brown base left in the pan and at the end, with the kidneys still in the pan, would add a little water and stir meat and drippings around, making a gravy-type sauce – it was always yummee, and this I still do, although I do slice up and saute onions to mix in at the end which is a nice touch. Of course everyone knows how to pan fry liver (dredged in flour/salt/pepper) and onions. We used to just bake the heart in the oven, and I even stuffed one once, and it was wonderful. Actually I am preparing kidney tonight, and this is the reason I am on this site, my daughter thought it wasn’t healthy to eat organ meat – BUT I WAS RIGHT, IT IS BENEFICIAL, unless of course the animal source of these organs are not healthy. I hope you enjoy your kidney this way, I do firmly believe in soaking the kidney overnight in salt though. Enjoy, as I will with mine tonight.

        • I grind it and mix it while it’s raw. Since I put it in a heavily-spiced chili (the chocolate chili from the Well Fed cookbook), you couldn’t taste the liver at all.

    • Start ground it and mix it with your regular ground meat

    • Can you tell me how to prepare the chicken feet? Thanks!

  4. I was just about to start researching a post on liver and why I eat it for my blog. I’ll link them to your post and Mommypatamus’ post about the function of the liver and just highlight some things. And maybe give some “how to eat it without gagging” tips. 🙂

  5. I’d like to see some real-life recipes for liver as well. The only kind I can find around here is calf or chicken liver at the grocery store and I was hesitant about the quality. I’m scared to try it because of the taste/texture thing too!
    I’m hesitant to buy online as well, especially if I’m not sure we’ll like it.

    • Most good butchers can get liver for you, so will have it 2-3 times per week, others will get it in for you fresh. I would never buy it from the supermarket or online (in Australia). when you look at it, it should look fresh – have nice sheen, not be dry or blotchy.
      if you haven’t eaten or cooked with liver much, I suggest trying a home made pate. you can use any liver you like, but I tend to use chicken. im not great with recipes (I like to make stuff up), but basically you saute 1 onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic with your choice of fat (coconut oil, butter, olive oil). put aside. prepare your liver about 350g. with chicken I just remove any obvious sinew, and chop up into even pieces. with bigger livers, I make sure I remove any gristle or tubes you can see. fry these off. add the onion mix. then add salt/pepper/parsley to taste. to this you can then add some brandy or orange juice & zest for a gourmet flavour. add mix to a blender and puree until smooth. you may need to add extra fat to make a wetter smoother mix. put into a serving bowl and serve. to stop it discolouring, you can push clingwrap onto the surface, or cover with clarified butter/coconut oil. this recipe is really easy and once you get the hang of it will only take about 15mins to prepare. its a hit at parties and really cheap. In Australia shop bought pate is very expensive ($5 for 100g) and it will cost about that to make it with 500g of liver.
      I love to eat offal, I grew up on a farm and that was what was normal. it really is delicious and healthy and usually cheap. enjoy!

      • Ok, will have to try this out! Thanks!

    • DO you whole foods where you live? They sell organic chicken livers. Also you can soak the livers in kefir overnight, it will help get rid of the smell.

      • No whole foods here, unless I want to drive a good hour into the city. I think I can get some from a local butcher though.

  6. Thank you for this post! I have been confused about all the benefits of liver! I sneak liver into my family with this recipe:http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/04/recipe-egg-free-nightshade-free-hidden.html
    It is amazing and they have NO clue! I would love to see a good recipe for kidney, and sweetbreads. I have some in my freezer from my side of beef, and I need some creative and good recipes that my family will eat. Thank you!!!

  7. I’ve been reading and some people say to stay away from meat, I personally love meat but I’m just wondering whats going on, why would one say stay away from meat

  8. My parents were constant blood donors during World War II. Their blood was always graded as the highest quality, since they both ate liver once a week. My mother only purchased calves liver, had it sliced very thin. She rolled it in corn meal, and quickly fried it crispy, and drained it immediately. She also served carmelized onions, and a spinach and tomato salad, with a light dressing. It was delicious.
    Now that my husband and I are in our 70s, I include a liver and onions meal maybe twice a year. This not only satisfies my craving for this meal, but I believe it does help in maintaining our hemoglobin levels. We have never had to take any supplements to enrich our blood.
    I know organ meats are “our of fashion” now, but I know that when people are very physically active, or when women have heavy monthly cycles, a boost to the hemoglobin level is necessary for one’s body to maintain optimal health.

  9. Thanks for the good info, Katie. I just cannot bring myself to eat liver. The taste, even cooked with onions, just gags me (without the spoon). But the stats are impressive.

  10. Hi Katie,

    I have no interest in trying liver in recipes (sorry!) but have read on a few blogs about cutting it in small pill-size pieces, freezing for a few weeks, and just swallowing a few pieces like pills each day. This sounded doable to me, so I have some in the freezer right now. Do you feel like this method is ok? Thanks!

    • Ooo, good idea! I swallow other vitamins daily so I could do this too! And I bet it would work just fine. You wouldn’t get a whole lot at a time, but I think the build up over time would work, if you were consistent. The only ew-factor would be getting it cut up into those little pieces (I’m not a big fan of handling raw meat). Thanks Kimber!

  11. Love organ meats! Beef & buffalo liver is my favorite, both of which I consume (from VERY trusted-and-safe sources only) raw at times.

  12. I get fresh raw chicken hearts from a local farm and eat a few of them as a snack several times/week. I tried cooking them once and found I enjoyed the taste of them raw more. I’ve been doing this for years, during times of the year when they are available. I would love to hear from others who consume hearts and about the nutritional value. I assume they are quite nutritious.

  13. I’m currently dehydrating some organic chicken liver so I can encapsulate it. I have a hard time with the idea of eating organs, I see them as the life force of the animal (which is why they are so good for us) which gives me an odd feeling about eating them. I have such conflicting feelings about eating meat, I love it and believe that vegan and vegetarian diets are not appropriate or healthy but I always feel bad about eating another creature that was once living. Anyways, the dehydrated and encapsulated liver will be a good way for me to consume some raw liver daily (I’m dehydrating it at 105 so it will still be raw). I figured if I could consume my placenta this way then I can consume some raw liver this way too 🙂

    • This is a fantastic idea. My iron is low, and I don’t react well to the supplements, and my husband is always suggesting I eat liver, but I like you have the same conflicting feelings, as well, I don’t like the texture or taste. I do placenta encapsulation, and had been toying with the idea of encapsulating liver. If I encapsulate women’s placentas to get the benefits, then why can’t I do the same with organ meat for my own consumption without the ick factor!

  14. The stats are impressive. Glad that I love liver and organ meats. Good source of nutrient

  15. I have under active thyroid and fibromyalgia/CFS, and I’m definitely going too try to eat more organ meats. I love liver and onions or a casserole with onions and tomatoes in, but in the UK we eat lamb’s liver more than the other types, yet I don’t see it mentioned, or even lamb meat itself. Is there a reason for this? I like my liver cooked quickly, so it is still pink, and think I may try grilling slices of heart. As when I tried it casseroled in a gravy, it made me gag. I think you have to find the way to make organ meat palatable for you, as it definitely doesn’t work for me every single way.

  16. Hi,

    I can not find grass fed organic meat/ liver is it ok to give normal liver to my 7 months old?

    • In regards to this whole listeria thing… I just got told by a friend of mine that when pregnant you should eat pate – whereas I think it would be an absolutely wonderful thing to eat. Full of iron, vitamin a, b vitamins and fat. Lovely nutritional stuff for mums to be… Anyways, I can understand that if it was pate that you bought from a supermarket that was packaged it could be a bit dodge but how big would the risk of listeria be in pate that you have made yourself? Also, if you have good gut health and a strong immune system how much would this affect your risk of listeria?
      I just seems to me to be a bit like scare mongering. You can’t seem to eat anything that isn’t straight of the hot plate (fresh) or freshly washed. So yes, let’s promote pregnant ladies to eat low nutrition packaged foods that are so-called ‘safe’. That seems like so much a better idea. ~sorry, I’m just a little annoyed!~

  17. I just skimmed thru the comments, so I hope I am not repeating anything, but I just found an article about homemade frozen, raw liver “pills”!!! I am SO going to do this! You just dice up a partially frozen liver (partially frozen makes it easier to cut, apparently) into pill-sized pieces, freeze them on a cookie sheet (not touching each other) for 15 minutes, then you can store them together in the freezer and take a few a day! I hope this works. I just ordered some grass-fed liver and have been dreading eating it. This way sounds totally doable!
    If anyone finds any problems with this idea, don’t hesitate to let me know!

    I hate to post another site’s link on here, because Wellness Mama is so freaking AWESOME, but the moderator can take out the link if necessary. If not, enjoy!
    http://www.primallyinspired.com/friday-favorites-frozen-raw-liver-pills/

    • I realize this is an older post, but just made the primarily inspired raw liver “pills” from an elk liver. Last year I dehydrated and encapsulated a deer liver. Totally doable but rather labor intensive. Gonna give this a go, but I’ve been told you won’t get as many nutrients from swallowing whole as opposed to chewing it. That, combined with the significantly smaller amount ingested via pill versus actually eating, I’m wondering if it’s worth it at all. Has anyone gleaned any insight on this issue? I’ve been looking for more info on this.

  18. I can’t eat liver….I just can’t. Is there any pill form you recommend for sale?

  19. hi! i have some liver we got from our ranch share. i heard to get the liver taste out of it, to soak it in milk. we do not consumer dairy. can i soak it in rice milk instead? thanks

    • I haven’t tried that, so I am not sure what about milk helps improve the taste. While I’m not certain if it will work, you could certainly experiment… just tell us how it goes!

  20. Thanks for this article. I am currently researching this item as I am preggers and want to eat my aunt’s chicken liver pate at a family gathering tomorrow.

    I am not a huge meat eater in general but actually do love pate and fois gras. I hardly ever eat it so wanted to indulge tomorrow. My multi vitamin is made from whole foods so the vitamin a is from betacarotene so no issue.

    I probably could eat a cup of pate with bread but I think at most I will eat half a cup which would be equivalent to 4 ounces. Unfortunately I doubt it is from organic chickens.

    I just hope that the accutane I took at 16 (am not 36) won’t have any harmful effects all these years later.

    I am visualizing a healthy baby. !

  21. Great Site. I’ve picked up a lot of good information here, one being the recipe for a multivitamin tincture using alfalfa, red raspberry leaf, and dandelion that worked out great for me. I’d really like to incorporate liver into my regiment and was wondering what people’s thoughts are on making a beef liver tincture. Any advice would be appreciated.

  22. Hi i am from Ethiopia, horn of Africa and Ethiopians love eating raw liver very much. the price of raw liver in my country is cheap but you can not find liver through out the day because the demand for it is very high. you can only find it from butchers early in the morning only! We Ethiopians are also raw meat lovers and i don’t think there are other people who cherish raw meat like Ethiopians.

    • Lebanese people are big on raw meat and raw liver too. Actually all organ meats, as we speak Mums cooking tongue today! Eew!!

  23. I felt inspired to add liver to my diet today.. I seared with arrowroot powder, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice.

    I could not stomach it! It was too rich and iron like in taste.

    I made it into a pate and added to my sandwich, and was still very difficult for me.

    I think i will add it to a ground beef pasta sauce- pretty sad that i cannot get over the taste, I really do need the minerals from it

  24. Hi Katie,
    Any advice for a family that can’t afford a large initial investment just yet? Is bottled water any better than tap water? And if so, what brands? Thanks in advance!

  25. Hi, I am interested to know how fish livers compare to other offal in their nutritional content, can anyone point me in the direction of some information please. Did any of the people Weston A Price Study live on a pescartarian diet? Thank you!

  26. Oh thank you for this article! I love liver, chicken hearts and most organ meats. It’s also cheaper to purchase organ meats her in South Africa as it’s considered, ‘low grade’ food…but I love it! I hadn’t eaten organ meats for many months now, but my husband just came across some chicken hearts and beef liver at the super market a few days ago and decided to buy some…great choice! I am so happy especially about the Vitamin A part as I have problem skin; and I am breastfeeding. I came across this site as I wanted him to buy some more next week but wanted to check the health benefits first. I am so happy to hear that I may continue to eat it about once a week 😉

  27. Is venison liver and heart as healthy as liver from other animals because we are hunters and thus can get healthy wild venison meat, cheaper than other quality livers.

  28. I’m so happy I found this site because it’s reassured me that other women have eaten liver while pregnant and had healthy babies. Since about week 16 of pregnancy I’ve been craving beef/calves liver and have eaten it at least once a week (I’m 23 weeks now). I didn’t realize it was on the ‘not OK in pregnancy’ food list and even on the NHS banned foods in pregnancy list because of the retinol content. I was getting REALLY worried that I’ve been harming my baby and this site made me feel a LOT better! Thank you!

  29. is there a good capsule form you can recommend?

    • I buy Perfect brand desiccated liver capsules and usually take 3 a day with some whole food vitamin C.

  30. I purchased the perfect brand of Dessicated liver supplements and am taking the recommended 4 capsules/day along with the butter oil/fermented cod liver oil from green pastures and vitamin codes raw prenatal during my first trimester. The Dessicated liver and cos liver oils don’t state the vitamin A dosages. Do you think I am taking too much vitamin A?

    • I am not pregnant yet but following pretty much the exact same protocol and am wondering the same thing! Were you able to find any answers on this?

  31. i consume raw buffalo liver from north star bison and tried to cook it once was awful cooked /tastes way better raw.

    • Interesting as I love steak tartar and sashimi. Is there anything that you do to prepare the liver before eating or just slice it and eat it? I’ve never heard of eating liver raw.

  32. Here, in Argentina. Liver is ver y common. I cook it on a pan. The key is cooking it just a little, 1 minute each side per liver steak, because the more you cook it the harder it becomes. Then drop some fresh lemon juice on it and eat it! Delicious!

  33. I’m pregnant and taking a food based multivitamin and was wondering if I take liver tablets as well if that is too much vitamin A?

    • I have both eaten liver and taken liver tablets while pregnant, but check with your OB or midwife if you’re concerned.

  34. Hi. I am new to this site. Wanted to check animal organs especially liver stored toxins as often low in B12 and A. I did research on YouTube & a channel explained about synthetic vitamins & mi erals and about NATURAL plantbased plus liver especially beef rich in nutrients. Such a concern trying to find a good healthy grassfed hormone free etc meat where I live in South Australia. Glad I discovered your website and appreciate all your information as well as all the fabulous ideas in the comments. Thank you to all as I am trying to be more open minded regarding balanced diet as taking synthetic vitamins for years has not helped my health conditions. I have never been a junk food eater but thinking was eating healthy but education is certainly a MUST. Love to read comments from people from other countries & walks if life too. Thanks again & I will be subscribing to this site. Cheers everyone.

  35. The source for where you purchase organ meats online, isn’t working. Just thought I’d let you know. I was curious. Thanks!

  36. Hi — I have been getting into the whole traditional foods thing and got some grass-fed beef liver from our local farm. But….beyond the taste, which I’m still a bit iffy on, my eyes get super dry anytime I eat liver (not when I take my cod liver oil though). I tried desiccated too and had the same side effect. Any idea why this can be happening?

    • Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I am not looking for a medical diagnosis — just ideas. Thanks!

  37. Doesn’t cooking deplenish the nutrients of the organs?

  38. Katie I love cooking with kidneys, but will try to come around to more calves liver after reading your article. Can I ask though what your concerns are about chicken livers? I have been making pate with them for a couple of years now or even panfrying Greek style – beautiful on toast. I find the taste a bit more pleasant than calves liver too. Why have you mentioned it as not a great option?

  39. In 2017, the long-living populations do not consume large quantities of meat. You can argue that if they ate more meat they would live even longer but till some valid studies are produced I will focus my consumption on whole plant-based products and get my healthy fats from nuts, seeds and avocados.
    You can also whistle Dixie while trying to eat like humans did 100,000 years ago and I wish you luck trying it…

  40. As someone who does not eat meat and is anemic I want to share that when I added desiccated liver capsules to my daily regimen my energy has noticeably improved. Try it you may like it.

    • Unless you have a medical condition that hinders absorption of iron there is more than adequate iron in whole plant-based products. Personally, I do not consume any animal products and have more than adequate iron in my blood so I donate every six months.
      Perhaps you are not consuming a good whole plant-based diet or you have medical problems.

  41. Even if the organs don’t store toxins, I wouldn’t eat them from CAFO animals, only grass fed

  42. I’ve enjoyed calf and chicken livers since I was a child, along with gizzards and poultry hearts. Don’t care for the taste of pork liver. I could never get past the appearance of brains or the odor of kidneys to try those. And definitely NO “mountain oysters” or tongues of any kind! Do beef and pork hearts have a similar taste to poultry? I’m kinda game to try it but……

  43. I love eating organ meats but reduced eating them due to the commercialization, as the quality been diluted. The article depicts the real scenario of what exactly being done in the market. In earlier days only butchers use to sell meat, nowadays due to commercialization others also involved in it. I hope self-grown animal meat will be the better choice for the quality one.

  44. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I was one of those uneducated persons believing that perhaps toxins were stored in liver and the fat content was too high! After reading this, I will be buying liver (grass fed) this weekend at the market. I’m so excited! I’ve missed liver.

  45. Wife and I drink our pasture raised, grass fed liver raw… blended with pastured egg yolks for extra choline and folate. Our boys drink their liver with frozen cherries, local raw honey, egg yolks and spring water… it’s good enough to consume every Wednesday and Sunday… so nourishing!

  46. You can, and should… since most people are not willing to purchase, prepare and consume organs, encapsulation and supplements provide a viable alternative.

  47. Where is this local farmer with chicken hearts? It has been SO difficult to find chicken hearts here in Utah (I’m surprised how difficult it is to find any organs to be honest).

  48. It is difficult/expensive to get lambs meat in the US. I would love more lamb or even mutton (which just doesn’t seem to exist here) but it’s SO expensive as to be not practical. (for instance, a 6.5 oz lamb heart is 6.50 at one site I can find where a much larger beef heart (~56 oz) can be 1.89-3.50 a lb depending on the source.)

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