It turns out that for all the childhood fear and drama about organ meats, they are actually good for you. If you aren’t already eating liver, you should be!
The objection I get most often, including from my mother-in-law, is that liver is the filter organ, so it contains toxins and is bad for you. Liver is a filter of sorts, but that is hardly the whole story. As Mark’s Daily Apple elaborates:
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!
Okay, so we’ve established that the liver is a processing plant by design, rather than a physical filter whose express purpose is to accumulate toxins, but what about animals raised in industrial, intensive operations? The liver from a pasture-raised cow with a perpetually cud-filled maw can undoubtedly handle its relatively light toxic load; the liver from a CAFO-cow feeding on grain and exposed to environmental pollutants is surely another matter entirely. Right? Sorta, although it’s more complicated than that.
Why eat liver? WAPF sums it up well:
“Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In summary, liver provides:
- An excellent source of high-quality protein
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
- All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
- One of our best sources of folic acid
- A highly usable form of iron
- Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
- An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
- CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA”
It also blows any other “superfood” out of the water on nutrient comparison. Don’t believe me? Check out this post.
Convinced? If you are new to offal, I suggest an easy recipe like this one to help get over any *ick* factor:
Liver and Onions (with Bacon)
Yield 4 -6
An incredibly nutrient dense and delicious liver and onions recipe topped with bacon (because it makes everything better).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Brown bacon in a pan and reserve grease.
- Wash the liver and slice in to thin (1/4 to 1/2 inch) slices.
- Rinse well and pat dry.
- Mix the coconut flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Grease the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with the bacon grease.
- Dredge the liver slices in the coconut flour mixture and place in the baking dish.
- Thinly slice the onions into rings and layer on top of the liver mixture.
- If desired, sprinkle onions with additional spices.
- Cut butter in to small pats and place over sliced onions.
- Add water to the pan to keep all moisture from cooking off.
- Place in oven and cook at least 30-40 minutes until well cooked and onions are soft. It may take up to an hour depending on the thickness of the liver slices.
- While cooking, crumble or cut bacon into little pieces.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with bacon pieces.
Do you eat liver? Love it? Hate it? Share below!