Liver – thyroid superfood, also known as natures superfood has been honored by traditional cultures around the world for generation upon generation. In fact, these foods were rendered non-negotiable additions to the diet where today its just not common to have these foods available in our day to day lives.
Hopefully as you read this and explore the many different options you have in how you prepare your liver, we can work together to bring the consumption of these “sacred” foods back into common practice. In a time where nutrition has become such a confused space, holding onto these practices and sharing them with our future generations to ensure the health of their own families is our responsibility.
Foods such as liver are undeniably nourishing and offer high levels of minerals and fat-soluble activators to support optimal development. We here are EastWest Healing totally agree and are regularly flabbergasted by the results we see in those willing to give it their best shot.
So what makes liver so wonderful? Quite simply, liver is a powerhouse of nutrients containing gram for gram more then any other food on this planet! Liver provides:
- An excellent source of high-quality protein
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A. Liver from your ruminant animals is the best source of Vitamin A (liver from poultry contains about half the vitamin A as beef or lamb liver but may be the best of all livers due to its nice balance of vitamins A. D and K).
- 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.
How to choose liver and what type should you choose?
First choice: choose liver sources from pasture raised animals.
Second choice: organic chicken beef or calf liver
Third choice: non-organic calf liver – these younger animals typically spend the first months of their lives on pasture.
Avoid: liver from conventionally feed-lot raised chicken, hogs or cattle.
Best tasting from best to worst:
Calf liver is by far the best due to its delicate taste and tenderness. Lamb liver runs a close second and chicken liver comes in next because of its lighter flavor and texture. Beef liver and pork liver are by far stronger in flavor and unless cooked just right beef liver can take on a bit of a toughness I personally find absolutely repulsive!
Is liver safe to eat?
As you just read, yes it is but where you purchase your liver is important. Some of the more common concerns about liver consumption are around the assumption that liver contains toxins and the vitamin A content is too high.
To address the toxic factor- liver is a filter designed to neutralize toxins, not to act as a storage site for toxins but in fact does act as a storage unit for 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.
When the body is unable to eliminate toxins it is more often stored in fatty tissues and the nervous system.
As for the concerns about vitamin A being toxic in high amounts, not true. Well true but the facts are not straight. Fact is, if you are supplementing vitamin A from a synthetic source, the potential to overdose is greater, which can lead to toxic overload. According to the Merck Manual, “vitamin A from megavitamin tablets containing vitamin A when taken for a long time has induced acute toxicity, that is, 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin A per day taken for many months.”
Vitamin A found in animal protein (ie. liver) is an extremely important nutrient for human health and does not cause problems except in extremely large amounts.
Vitamin A and Hypothyroidism
Thyroid hormone (T3) and vitamin A work together to support thyroid health yet most people suffering with hypothyroidism are deficient in Vitamin A- a potential major problem for your thyroid health.
Both are required (along with many other nutrients found in liver) to convert your cholesterol into all of your thyroid-protective youth hormones.
Simply put, being deficient in Vitamin A prevents you from being able to use thyroid hormone.
So, no matter how much thyroid medication you take or however many times you change your dose, without adequate Vitamin A your thyroid medication won’t help much.
***Although a nutrient powerhouse and much more absorbable by the human body, once absorbed, iron has no exit route from the body except by blood loss. For this reason a good recommendation for the intake of liver would be anywhere from 3-6oz per week. Less for men and menopausal women, more for women having a monthly cycle or those who regularly donate blood.
A handful of ways to make liver more palatable!
These are all ideas we have tried ourselves or learned from our clients. One thing is for certain, liver supplements have nothing on the real thing! Hopefully we can twist your arm a bit to venture out and tryJ
- Soak It
According to Sally Fallon, soaking liver in milk, buttermilk, sour milk, lemon juice or vinegar tempers the strong flavor it is so well known for while making it much more tender and palatable. The texture of liver has always been a tough one to get past for me but have found the soaking to make a bit of difference. Nourishing Traditions suggests using a more acidic soaking agent such as the juice of a lemon or a tablespoon or two of vinegar.
- Avoid Overcooking.
Whether you like it fried, grilled, with bacon or in sausage, pate or liverwurst, cooking it beyond medium rare will result in a tough piece of liver; the inside should be pink but firm.
- Use lots of yummy fat.
Fat makes everything better, kind of like salt:) It brings out all the delicious flavors. Whether you use coconut oil, bacon fat, lard or tallow, these are all good for you so do not worry, just enjoy!
Note: From what I’ve read using somewhere between 1/3 – ½ cup of fat per pound of liver is adequate.
- Spice it up.
I add all my favorites in a desperate attempt to tone down the liver taste. Not my favorite so any way I can mask it, I do. This includes adding it to meatballs, meatloaf, burgers, stews but by far the most palatable for me is in a pate.
Note: Some of my favorite flavors are onion, garlic, sage, thyme, salt and black pepper.
- When All Else Fails, Pass the Ketchup.
There is not a lot ketchup cannot and does not mask so if its all you can do to get it down, drench it in ketchup. The benefits are too great to pass up when you can add a little ketchup.
Eating raw liver and how to do it
What?!?! I know but no matter how hard some people try (other then the occasional pate made perfect, self included), the consumption of liver is just not happening. Fortunately, this does not leave you to suffer, there are other options for people like us;)
It will take some getting use to but once you experience the benefits, it’s a done deal and you’ll be working on talking everyone you know into doing it.
There are a couple of ways you can approach this:
- Freeze the liver for 14 days in large chunks. (Fourteen days will ensure the elimination of pathogens and parasites.) You can then grate the liver on the small holes of a grater and add it to milk or juice, or even hot cereal. A teaspoon or two of grated raw liver can be added to baby’s egg yolk, or even to mashed vegetables.
- Turn your liver into pills simply by cutting fresh liver into pea-sized pieces and freeze for 14 days. Then just pop a couple with each meal. ***I recommend portioning these out into ice cube trays to ensure you are receiving an adequate dose.
**For both methods, the liver should be of the highest quality available and very fresh.
Recipes straight from The Metabolic Blueprint Cookbook:
Liver with Apples and Onions
- 1 lb. fresh, grass-fed pasture-raised calves liver
- 1 cup milk
- 5 T coconut oil
- 2 T butter
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 T butter
- 1 T parsley chopped
- Pure sea salt and ground black pepper
- Slice the liver into 1/3-1/2 inch thick pieces and soak in a bowl with milk for at least two hours.
- In a large skillet, heat 3 T coconut oil over medium heat and add onions. Let the onions begin to lightly brown and then add the apples. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the apples soften, season with salt and pepper.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and let it reduce by half, stir in the butter and parsley. Put to the side and keep warm.
- Remove the liver from the milk and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 T coconut oil and the butter in the skillet over medium high heat until it begins to foam. Add the liver pieces and cook for 2 minutes or so on each side.
- Serve with onion and apple mix on top.
Pastured liver pate for baby (and those who need something a little more palatable:)):
- 1 T butter
- Sea salt to taste
- 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lb raw chicken, beef or calve liver coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 1-2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- pepper to taste
- Serve atop a veggie stick or crackers
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion with a small pinch of sea salt to bring out the juices and sweeten them. Cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until the onion is sweet and soft.
- Add the liver, bone broth, thyme and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes. The liver will start to fall apart, this is ok. Pour the cooked liver with the liquid mixture into your food processor or blender until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.
- Server to baby on a spoon or the family on crackers, fresh cucumbers, sourdough bread or veggie sticks.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days or can be frozen for months in ice cube trays.
Since the goal is to work together to bringing these foods back into our day to day lives we’d love to hear more about your favorite recipes or ways of getting your liver in your diet.
Just scroll down and share below!
If you are interested in talking with Josh or Jeanne directly concerning your own health concerns, be sure to schedule your free 15 minute (no obligation) consultation here >>>http://eastwesthealing.com/get-start-with-a-private-consultation/