Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eat meat, why not eat beast complete? Explore offal (like liver)

Do you eat meat? Ok, let's assume you've got the grass fed/free range thing down. Now, do you eat Liver? How about kidneys, heart, related giblets?
If not why not? Bad childhood aroma memories? Time for a taste sensation re-education.

After being vegetarian for a long time, and dealing with some health issues about 18m ago i think i started eating meat. It's not till this last month and reading T.C. Luoma's Zombie Diet article that i began to explore organ meat in the diet - memories of early childhood not withstanding.

What on earth has been keeping people away from this stuff? It's amazing!

If you're gonna eat meat, be complete. If you're gonna eat an animal, dam it EAT THE ANIMAL.

As Luoama writes in Zombie Diet about the nutritional value of liver, just for instance:
one may see "ox liver" as interchangeable with beef liver
Look at this comparison between the Vitamin C content of 100 grams of apple, 100 grams of carrots, 100 grams of red meat, and 100 grams of beef liver.
The apple has 7.0 grams of Vitamin C, the carrots have 6.0 grams, the red meat has 0 grams, and the beef liver has 27.0 grams.
Let's do the same thing with Vitamin B12.
The apple has no measurable B12 and neither do the carrots. The red meat has 1.84 mcg., but the beef liver has 111.3 mcg.
It's no contest.
And it's not much different when you look at other nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, Vitamins A, D, and E, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, and Vitamin B6 – beef liver beats them all almost every time. (bold emphasis mine - mc)
Choline is another good nutrient for the brain, recommended especially for pregnant gals,  and beef and chicken liver is high in this. More goodness.

I was in Paris at a conference when i started exploring this space. There is pretty much literally a butcher on every corner there. So getting liver - calves liver in particular [nutrition info]- and one shop was quite open about only having horses liver (!) - is pretty much simple. That's grass fed, too, natch.

Soaked in milk a few hours, sauted rare with tons of onions and shallots (and maybe some bacon), served with fresh greens and sweet potato, lots of spices, it's amazing. Super super tender, and so just oddly satisfying this is just not your mama's liver.

Today, rather than liver, it was lamb's heart (high in iron) and sweetbreads (high in vitamin c)  (this is the thymus/pancreas, not brains) [nutrition info]. Wow. That was lunch. and again, after eating this uber fast and lovely and easy to prepare food, i felt incredibly restored AND energised. And that without a morning shot of joe. What's in this stuff?

What's not to like? Fat? Cholesterol? Misinformation?
TO folks who are concerned about cholesterol and saturated fat: suck it up. No really, it's ok. Let us liberate ourselves from our "fat is evil" place and understand Balance. The move to liver being safe again - indeed healthy again - shows how our understanding of fat and food is improving.

First, eating dietary cholesterol doesn't increase cholesterol in our blood, and saturated fat is not bad. Saturated Fat does many good things. It's all about balance (overview on balancing fats here). If you're curious about cholesterol, take a peak at this article on cholesterol doing low carb eating.

I'm one with Michael Pollan about "eat less; mostly plants" - and if eating animals, let me add by extension, eat the healthiest types possible like free range & grass fed, and eat as much of the beast as possible. That includes the squishy bits. As Alison Ford writes
Although some people are still squeamish about eating offal, it provides legitimate social and environmental benefits, as well as the nutritional ones. Eating offal shows respect to animals, discourages waste, and fosters a more understanding and intimate relationship between an eater and his food. Plus, as many chefs have pointed out, much processed commercial meat—including ground beef, hot dogs, lunch meat, and sausage—is of indeterminate origin, but offal is impossible to fake—while it can be hard to know exactly what’s in a hot dog, there’s no mistaking that a kidney is a kidney, so you always know exactly what you’re getting. 
It feels GRRReat! Three things about liver and related offal: taste is awesome; nutrition profile is incredible - in fact unbelievable - but the biggest and most consistent surprise so far has been energy. I have not probed far enough into the goods to get why there is such satisfaction that's incomparable - stake doesn't do it; neither does carrot cake. What is with this stuff? Have you had that experience? we know there's saturated fat, true, and saturated fats seem to be higher in satiety (see this 2013 paper, for example) than other kinds of fats - especially monounsaturated, but heh, i've done high fat coffee and it doesn't have this feel. you know? So what's the nutrient profile that's doing this happy joy post prandial delight? Maybe its shock that offal is so un-offal.

If you eat meat, be complete: Give Liver and Offal a try 

free range chickies (source of image) - good to the last giblet
CAVEAT: winner winner chicken liver - not - While chicken livers [nutrition info] have much to offer nutritionally (and also lower on vitamin a, which is perhaps important if considering od'ing on liver - just remember to get as much vitamin d) I have had one poor experience with a recipe suggesting chicken livers could be cooked rare, like bigger animal liver. Do NOT take that advice.

 - or go ahead, try it, and see how long before you hit campylobacter -- you know how we have to cook chicken so it's not pink? same apparently with chicken liver. Here's a recipe that gets them cooked for about 5-7 minutes total (there's two times into the pan). You can also use a thermometer to make sure the innards are at a safe piping temperature (>70C).

If ya don't take this care, Let me tell ya, it's a very special type of reaction - great taste - horrible experience post eating. Again, maybe you'll be lucky and find undercooking chicken livers is grand. Me? i think i'll be making pate with well cooked chicken livers and go rare with other critters.  Pate Recipes Here's a Mark's Apple version of chicken pate.  And better (as it's blender based) a chicken paleo inspired version or two. irony: chickens are domesticated, so perhaps not paleo beasties? i'm just saying.

Cooking is FUN and CHEAP. This stuff is really straight forward to cook. It can all be done in a pan. A cast iron one if you like (i like).

Where else get this kind of vitamin and mineral and nutrient profile for this price? I'm shocked.

If you eat meat: why not get in on this amazing value - on every level of the term value: taste, nutrition, price, satiety and energy.

Feeling Groovy?
If you've started doing liver and associated organs and you feel jazzed and energised and satisfied after eating this stuff, please let me know. It would be great to understand why this is such an effect - assuming it's occurring in more than just me.

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