Liver is one of the most potent superfoods on the planet, yet it’s been seen in our culture as a lowly second-class organ, enjoyed by only a few “weirdos”, usually breaded and fried and served with something like ketchup to drown out any lingering “liverness” that might stick around. But a paleo beef liver pate is on another level! Today I’d like to celebrate this misunderstood organ, bring it back to it’s rightful place in Olympus as a superfood, bust some myths that are keeping us all from eating it, and break the secret that when treated correctly, this inexpensive, misunderstood offal is the key to health, longevity and lasting energy!
But the liver is the body’s toxin filter, so isn’t eating it basically eating a toxic sponge with all the crap the animal was trying to process out?
It’s true that the liver does filter out toxins, but contrary to popular belief it does not STORE them, it merely filters them so they can be excreted in waste. What the liver DOES store is loads of vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, choline, biotin, folate, copper and iron. No big surprise, these are nutrients needed for the liver to function properly, and eating a slice now and then helps YOU get the nutrients you need to get rid of toxins. What happens if you don’t have a well-functioning liver? Toxins accumulate in your body and end up in your fat stores and central nervous system, sometimes causing permanent neurological damage, as well as estrogen accumulation and hormonal imbalance, and an inability to properly metabolize fat.
For all my preggos out there, consider liver a super vitamin. It’s loaded with nutrients important during pregnancy to help support you and growing baby. The nutrients listed above are responsible for supporting a pregnancy in NUMEROUS ways, including promoting full term pregnancy, reducing labor pains (yes, please!), preventing deafness, maintaining the cells lining the lungs, development of bone, face, skull, heart, limbs, palate, and the nervous system, production of DNA in fetal cells, neural tube formation, and the creation of myolin sheath protecting nerves. They also help prevent depression, heart palpitations, hair loss and fatigue in momma. I’ll address all of this in depth in a future article.
What IS important when shopping for liver is to find a pastured/grass-fed source. Feedlot animals are subjected to toxic, inflammation-inducing grains and corn (see HERE and HERE for more information), hormones, heavy doses of antibiotics, pesticides and other industrial chemicals that do stick around in the meat. In addition, pastured meat has been shown to provide a much better nutrient profile, including a healthier omega 6/3 ratio. Plus, it’s just great to support your local farmer!
One note of caution, if you suffer from a condition such as hemochromatosis or other conditions leading to iron overload, iron-rich foods such as liver may not be for you. Know your body!
So how do you take your liver with a smile? It’s all in the preparation!
Paleo beef liver pate recipe:
- 1 pound grass-fed beef liver
- 3 lemons
- 11 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ white or yellow onion
- 2 TB + ½ cups grass-fed butter or ghee*
- Several sprigs fresh thyme/rosemary**
- Salt and pepper to taste
**Not sure what ghee is? See HERE to learn more.
**All my preggos out there, avoid the thyme and rosemary as they can cause uterine contractions.
- Rinse the liver and place in a shallow dish.
- Mince 7 cloves of garlic.
- Juice the lemons and add juice, garlic and bay leaves to dish, rubbing all over the liver.
- Cover the dish and marinate overnight (lemon juice helps purge the liver and gives it a cleaner texture and taste).
- Rinse the liver and cut into chunks (make sure to remove any connective tissue lining the edges or you’ll end up with a very unpleasant chewy end product).
- Chop onion and remaining garlic.
- Heat 2 TB of butter/ghee in a pan on medium heat and sauté onions and garlic for 5 minutes.
- Add liver, herbs (if using), salt and pepper to pan and sauté until liver is cooked through.
- Place mixture in food processor and blend. Add the remaining butter/ghee 2 TB at a time until fully incorporated and creamy. Dig in now or chill and serve as a dip with fresh cut organic veggies. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite offal? Do you have a favorite liver recipe to share? Let us know!