How to reap the benefits of liver without turning your kitchen sink into a murder scene

    When I made the adjustment from a vegetarian diet to a more “primal”, “paleo”, “carnivorous”, or “Weston A. Price” (choose the label as you will), some of the changes were easy. I welcomed grass fed butter into my life. I began to use coconut oil frivolously, even using it as an excuse to make popcorn nearly every night. I felt okay about spending $3.99 on a Synergy Kombucha, (thank goodness I’ve started home brewing it). I even felt great about eating a steak from my favorite farm. 
    Some of the changes took a little getting used to. The first time I heard of raw milk I imagined yellowy, clumpy, off smelling warm stuff. (Ew, I can’t even read that sentence without it bringing back horrible and false images.) But after hearing people in the community talk about it like it’s a real treat, I did my research and found some at the local farmer’s market. And they’re right. It’s incredible. It’s like full fat milk, except thicker and more delicious. It takes all my might not to dunk cookies in it every time I enjoy a glass.
    And fermented cod liver oil? You have no idea how many times I had to hear the ladies from Balanced Bites tout the amazingness of that until I finally told myself there were just no excuses for why I wasn’t taking it. And once I found the right flavor (cinnamon tingle!), it wasn’t that bad. It’s health benefits completely outweigh the 3 second Eww Factor.
    Oh, and sardines. My first experience with sardines was preparing them for a special little boy I babysit. His favorite foods at the time were sardines, avocado, tofu, and mac & cheese. (At least he got some of that right! Winking smile ) His mom taught me how to debone them and mash them like you would canned tuna. I was grossed out. Fast forward a couple years, and I found out how much nutrition was packed into that tiny little can- omega 3’s, calcium and protein, oh my! I mashed them up with the perfect avocado, threw some Celtic sea salt on top, and realized that not only did I not mind the taste, but I kind of enjoyed it.
    The idea of fermented vegetables wasn’t too hard for me to grasp, but I wasn’t too excited about trying them either. I’ve tried my mom’s Norwegian dumplings and sauerkraut on Christmas day, but never really enjoyed that. (I like the Norwegian brown cheese tradition better.) Luckily, the owners of a great local fermented veggies company called Firefly Kitchens came to my class and taught us what they do…and how to do it ourselves for much cheaper! They also gave us samples, and I was impressed that I actually enjoyed the taste of carrots more when they were fermented than any other way. I quickly embraced the many amazing flavors Firefly Kitchens has to offer. At first I just had a tablespoon a day, but in no time I was adding a ton to most of my meals. And like any other quality food, this added up financially. It was good timing, as the farm that I worked for was giving out cabbages like nobody’s business. At first I stuck with Diane Sanfillipp’o’s amazing and easy saurkraut recipe, but in no time I was making up my own.
    Lastly, bone broth. I feel kind of silly that I was ever unsure about this one, because it’s now on regular rotation in my house. I have a crockpot of it simmering at least once a week, since I drink a mug of it a day plus add it to soups and stews. I feel nourished with every sip! I think I was first nervous about making bone broth purely because of what it is. Raw bones. I guess you can’t expect a former vegetarian to completely embrace every part of consuming animals right away. I didn’t know where to purchase these bones (your favorite local farm, PCC, or Whole Foods), what kinds to use (knuckle or marrow work best) or how to know when it’s ready (8-24 hrs, but you really can’t go wrong!). Once I figured out those little details, I was golden.
    Here comes in liver. Look. I was feeling pretty great about my reintroduction to a plethora of different well sourced meats, but kept hearing all that talk about how wonderful organ meats are, blah blah blah. I thought of organ meats as my grandmother’s favorite snack of braunschweiger, which had no appeal to me once I realized what part of the animal is came from. But here’s the thing. There is no food higher in nutrients than liver. Let me repeat that. There is NO food higher in nutrients! liver info
    Liver is extremely high in B vitamins, the bioavailable version of vitamin A and iron, contains trace minerals, CoQ10 (for cardiovascular health), is a great source of DHA and EPA, and has an “unidentified anti-fatigue factor”. I’m all about the anti-fatigue factor! As Chris Kresser wrote, ‘In general, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats.’ That’s insane!
    With all those incredible nutrients offered (plus the fact that many people with autoimmune conditions usually lack them even more than the standard person), I realized once again (like the fermented cod liver oil situation) that I would have to find a way to enjoy it. Thankfully, a friend from school created and shared an amazing liver pate recipe. Handling and cooking the liver was a little difficult for me, and I did not enjoy the naturally bloody aspect of the liver itself. There’s just something not very pleasant about watching your lovely kitchen get splattered with fresh bright red blood as you cook. (I know, I’m really selling this well.) Luckily, Charlotte Smith, the owner of Champeog Creamery in Oregon, feels the same way, and she documented a helpful (and humorous) video of herself delving into the cooking with organ meats world. Although I was re-inspired by her and my newfound taste for liver pate and delicious meatloaf, it’s not something I want to cook every week. Here’s where the secret lies. Enter: Liver Pills. homecooked liver & beef meatloaf with veggies
    Yes, you can actually cut raw liver up into tiny pea sized pieces, freeze them, then swallow them like you would any other pill, and WA-LA! You just consumed the food with the highest amount of nutrients without the ‘yuck’ factor. The enzymes and nutrients in raw (as opposed to cooked) liver are the most potent. Freezing the pills for 14 days before taking them is important, as the freezing kills any pathogens. This being said, I would always get the highest quality straight from a trusted farm, so that you know it was grassfed and pastured appropriately.
    My liver pills are happily freezing and I’ll enjoy the benefits in two weeks from now. What are your thoughts on liver pills? Amazing? Exciting? Too weird?

liver pills

6 comments

  1. Amy

    Oh! Thanks for sharing this! I made pate once and didn’t really enjoy the process of making it, but I’ve been wanting to add more organ meats to my life. I think I’m going to give this a go. Great blog Emily!

  2. adriane

    Love your blog! I have yet to try liver pills, but I should! We put liver in our hamburgers (grind it up first in the food processor, which is super disgusting looking btw). We also eat liverwurst for breakfast from US Wellness Meats (you should try their pemmican). And we love our fermented cod liver oil. Nick and I take the cinnamon tingle, but it’s too “spicy” for the boys so they take the chocolate flavor which tastes nothing like chocolate in my opinion, but they like it. Love the sour kraut too! Have you tried making your own? I also brew kombucha and the boys like playing with my extra scobies and then we toss them in the garden.

    • Emily Delahunty

      Thanks guys! Adriane, I also really like ground liver in burgers. I also have a great meatloaf recipe with liver. I’ll definitely have to try liverwurst from US Wellness Meats. I also take cinnamon tingle FCLO and make my own kombucha and sauerkraut. I used to only eat it for the health benefits but now that I’ve perfected my recipe, I eat it with almost all my meals and can hardly keep up with making enough! That’s pretty adorable that your boys get to play with extra scobies! I bet your garden appreciates them as well. :-) Thanks for reading!

  3. Devyn

    I love the idea of liver pills! I have yet to venture into organ meat territory, but I think this would be a good transition. I love reading about your journey and food adventures, Emily :)

    • Emily Delahunty

      Thanks Devyn! They certainly are food adventures these days. It’s keeping me busy! If you make liver pills, I recommend using chicken liver- not as much of a taste as beef liver pills! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  4. Pingback: my second trimester and three new liver recipe I don’t hate! | Beets and Bacon

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