I was on periscope the other day, doing a little tour of what’s in my fridge right now and there was a whole bunch of liver in my fridge in various forms. And so I wasn’t surprised when someone asked me why on earthy I was eating the stuff! (It was preceded by a couple “ews” and a whole bunch of other people saying “yay!”. It’s quite polarizing!)
I answered but I thought that topic was worth repeating here, during this newest recipe I’m sharing. (Which I can’t take credit for, by the way, as it was put together by my wonderful and uber-creative mother!)
Liver, in my opinion, is as much of a superfood as we get. And I think when you dig into it just a little bit, it’s easy to understand why.
Our livers are one of the biggest powerhouses in our body. The liver clears and processes toxins we are exposed to. It, however, DOES NOT STORE TOXINS! That’s a big misunderstanding for why people say you shouldn’t eat liver. Toxins are stored in fat. Now, if you kill an unhealthy animal that is busy processing toxins and eat the liver–yes, you’ll ingest some of those toxins…but that’s why you usually see recommendations for eating grass-fed, pastured livers. See note below on my thoughts on the practicality of it all.
The liver also is responsible for making clotting factors that keep you from spontaneously bleeding to death and balancing anti-clotting factors that keep us from spontaneously throwing clots to our lungs and brain (yikes, again). It’s also responsible for cholesterol/sex hormone metabolism, balancing immune system responses, keeping our iron levels stable. Livers also store a vast majority of important minerals, vitamins, and cofactors that our cells need to thrive. There are many, many, many other important functions of the liver but these are just a few of the highlights.
In animals, livers are just as important…and we can use all of these benefits when we eat liver from healthy animals. All those stored vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients do wonders for OUR cellular function and serve as an amazing source of energy.
Speaking of energy: liver is really high in B vitamins, as well as a host of other micronutrients, so getting it in during the morning really helps my energy levels throughout the whole day. And since I avoid caffeine for my hormonal health, it’s a really nice way to get some energy while keeping my cells and signaling pathways happy!
(Here’s why it won’t keep you up: there are other forces at play, such as the rise and fall of melatonin and cortisol that dictate your sleep/wake cycles. The B vitamins will augment the high energy levels are you designed to have in the morning but will get “overpowered” from a sleep perspective by the fall in cortisol and rise of melatonin at night. This is a complex subject but that’s my overly-simplified take on the matter.
Aside continued: if you know you have issues with sleeping and fatigue, you might enjoy reading the Fatigue Fix Guide that Megan of GingerNewtrition and I put together. It’s a 25-ish page free guide that goes through a lot of the underlying health reasons why people have fatigue and what to do about it.
Aside continued some more: and if you know you have a lot of underlying hormonal problems and are looking for hormonal, adrenal, and neurotransmitter testing and a customized protocol, our Healthy Hormones Group Program is kicking off in April. We’ve never seen any other program that allows people to get this personalized for their individual needs to we’re really happy to be able to offer it for women who are struggling with these problems. Megan and I have both experienced how terrible hormonal imbalances can be so we are totally with you on this! Go here to learn more about the program.)
- 1lb of grass-fed/pastured liver*
- 4 oz coconut oil or pastured lard
- 1 carrot (medium size)
- ½ parsnip (medium size)
- 1 small apple, peeled
- 1 small onion (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ of coconut milk or milk (I either make my own or buy this brand without any added thickeners and it comes in a BPA-free can)
*in my opinion, any liver is better than no liver at all, even with the potential for added hormones/toxins that are fed to conventionally raised meats. If you want another opinion, Sarah Ballantyne has talked about this over at thepaleomom.com as well. But whenever you can, try to get the best meat you can. I like checking out local farmers markets or natural food stores first and then heading over to Whole Foods or USWellnessMeats.com if that doesn’t work out.
- Melt butter in the frying pan
- Add chopped carrot, parsnip, onion, and apple to the pan. Cover and sauté for about 20 min.
- Add pieces of liver and cook on medium for 5 min on each side.
- Let the whole mixture cool for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mix into the food processor and blend well.
- Add salt and coconut milk and blend again until everything is smooth.
I like dipping these AIP-compliant plantain chips into the liver pate and eating the combo for breakfast. Alternatively, I’ll dip carrots or cucumbers into the pate and eat it like that. It’ll keep in your fridge for about 5-7 days…though I have to say that mine doesn’t usually last this long!
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