Why Organ Meat, aka Offal, needs to be incorporated into your family’s diet NOW!
Ha! That intro was so dramatic and scary at the same time…but seriously, the wisdom of multiple millennia worth of generations past has all but been forgotten. Your grandparents ate liver and onions and all it was ever associated with was being grossed out. Did you ever stop to think why they ate it in the first place? Maybe they had no idea either but somewhere along the line someone figured out that organ meats are REALLY good for you. I’m going to tell you why they’re so nutritious and also how to make what I believe is not only the most palatable form of organ meat but I’d go so far as to say it’s down right delicious! It’s a staple in our home and has been since just before my wife got pregnant with our twin boys. It’s Chicken Liver Pate! (sorry for all you spelling and grammar studs, I don’t know how to make the little line above the “e”. Single tear…) Saddle up partners, there’s going to be a lot of content here.
So here’s 7 Reasons Your Family Should Eat Chicken Liver Pate:
1. Retinol – aka – Preformed Vitamin A – This is reason is #1 because most people don’t realize how hard it is to get adequate amounts of Vitamin A from their diets. I’m sure you’ve been told to just eat carrots and you’ll be all set, right? Fortunately I’m here to tell you that’s mostly NOT true! Yay! The human body’s ability to convert plant forms of Vitamin A (beta carotene) into the usable version (retinol) is pretty weak at best and abysmal at worst. There’s around a 3% conversion rate in healthy adults. There’s also another myth that the human body only converts “what it needs” when in fact the evidence points to the contrary. In other words, the more Vitamin A deficient you are, the harder it is for your body to convert plant based forms of it into Retinol. The good news is that chicken livers are packed full of preformed Vitamin A so you don’t have to worry about eating multiple pounds of carrots every day. Vitamin A is one of the critical fat soluble vitamins that we can easily get adequate amounts of in just 1 serving of chicken livers per week!
As far as Vitamin A benefits are concerned they are numerous and often underestimated. Most people know that Vitamin A has something to do with keeping our eyes healthy but did you know that in relation to that it also plays an important role in our circadian rhythm? That’s right, it helps to regulate our sleep! And if that’s not a big deal to you then you need to stay tuned here at Food Fitness Family because I’m going off about sleep in some upcoming content. Next, I’m personally always on the look out for ways I can get an edge with gaining lean body mass and boosting testosterone and once again Vitamin A comes in as an almost completely looked over element of both. In fact I read a study that showed that the administration of Vitamin A and Iron (another nutrient not in short supply in this chicken liver pate benefit list) together had results equivalent to the administration of testosterone itself! And by the way ladies, healthy testosterone levels are not just important for guys. Vitamin A also promotes healthy immune function, fertility, skin and much, much more but I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. Also, although I don’t want to get into detail here, if you’ve ever heard concern about “vitamin A” toxicity, please, please, do you homework on that one. In short, it’s blown way out of proportion and for the most part is referring to synthetic supplementation and not whole food sources. Chris Masterjohn has written extensively on the topic of Vitamin A if you want to nerd out like I do.
2. B Vitamins, most notably Vitamin B-12 and Folate – A close second on this list of reasons you should be eating Chicken Liver Pate is it’s one of the best food sources of Vitamin B-12 that you can get and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s in a nice bio-available form. For B-12 this is VERY important because lots of folks (especially folks with any gut issues like SIBO) will have trouble assimilating B-12 to begin with. The next happy little nutrient (totally just reminded myself of Bob Ross painting “happy little trees”, but I digress) is Folate which is the preformed version of Vitamin B-9, also the most bio-available version on the market, as it were. What’s cooler is that B-12 and Folate actually work together in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. Weird. I’ll say it now and I’ll definitely say it again: whole food sources of nutrients wins every time over supplementation. Food synergy is fundamental in understanding even the basics of nutrition. The nice thing is that we have everything already wrapped up in a nice little package when we eat food in it’s original state and grown in the most optimal conditions possible. The list of benefits for these two B-Vitamins alone is too much to list here but some highlights are: improved mood, increased energy levels and memory, it’s crucial to proper heart function, healthier skin and hair, it helps offset adrenal fatigue (HPA Axis Dysfunction), it’s involved in a myriad of metabolic functions including enzyme production, DNA synthesis and hormonal balance as well as maintaining a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system. And that’s to name just a few! I’m also skipping the fact that every other type of B-Vitamin is represented in this one food (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B7) – I’m just hitting some highlights!
3. It’s CHEAP! – We’re poor. ‘Nuff said. Local, pastured, organic Chicken Livers are $3.99 lb in the Seattle area. We have some of the highest food prices in the nation. We don’t use fancy wine. We use $3 buck Chuck from Trader Joes. I remember when it was called $2 buck Chuck! You know the story behind the Charles Shaw brand of wine at Trader Joes is actually quite funny. I don’t know if it’s really true or not. You be the judge (link). Squirrel! Sorry about that. Anyway, the point is that Chicken Liver Pate is cheap to make so for anyone with a young family like us, it’s a no brainer.
4. Thyme and Rosemary – These two seemingly ordinary herbs have what are considered by many to be a very surprising array of health benefits and have been used since ancient times for their efficacy. We’ll start with thyme. First, it has remarkable anti-viral, bactericidal, fungicidal, antibiotic, diuretic, antispasmodic, expectorant and antiseptic properties. In addition it helps the body eliminate toxins and boosts the immune system by supporting the formation of white blood cells thereby increasing resistance to common infections. Rosemary is a vasodilator and as such increases blood circulation and also has a long history of helping to improve cognitive performance. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It helps detoxify the liver, reduces stress and your cortisol levels. On top of all that these herbs are one of the main contributors to making your chicken liver pate incredibly delicious!
5. Anti-Fatigue Factor – There’s a reason that liver was the most highly prized portion of an animal after a hunt among indigenous people groups and even animals. There’s a yet undefined “anti-fatigue” factor intrinsic in liver that as a fitness freak like myself, I’ve never been able to even remotely duplicate with any pre-workout supplement on the market. And trust me, I’ve tried them all. It’s hard to put your finger on because it’s not anything pronounced but you just always seem to have a little bit more “push” during a workout. If you’ve ever done CrossFit or similar high intensity style workouts you’ll know exactly what I mean. It doesn’t end with just a great workout though. I’ve known several people that I’ve given this stuff to that struggled with low energy levels and not because of poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep. ALL of them noticed considerable increases in healthy energy levels and once again, all reported it was nothing too pronounced, in fact they didn’t even really realize it until after the fact. It’s kind of spooky! But it truly works.
6. It’s absolutely delicious! – If you make it right. I’ve given my recipe to others and, hate to brag but I’m going to anyway, some of them have told me that it didn’t turn out as good as mine. Ah-hem. But not to worry! We made a video detailing how to make it step by step and we’re also including a free downloadable pdf cheat sheet at the bottom of this post that gives all the tips and cooking strategies that I’ve learned over the years of making this incredible dish. The proof of it being delicious is at the end of the video where my two 4 year old twin boys are eating it straight with a spoon. Little kids won’t tell you something’s good if it’s not. Especially your own kids.
7. It’s Full of Minerals – As if Chicken Livers weren’t already packed enough with nutrients there’s still more that’s worth mentioning. A lot of people don’t even think about minerals when they think about nutrition but rest assured, you need to start. Take magnesium for example. Not a ton in pate but just to illustrate my point on the importance of 1 mineral, magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in our body and because of modern day agricultural methods, most soils are so depleted of this mineral that most people aren’t able to get adequate amounts from diet alone. Total rabbit trail there but important nonetheless. On the subject of noteworthy minerals in Chicken Livers, a 4oz serving provides a quarter of your daily value of Copper and Zinc, two thirds of your daily value of Iron and most notably a 4oz serving of Chicken Livers provides 118% of your daily value of a super important mineral called Selenium. Selenium fights inflammation, helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, has anti-aging properties, is critical for proper thyroid function, prevents cancer, helps immune defense, aids in fertility and reproductive health, improves mood and lastly (and my favorite because it helps build lean muscle mass) it increases IGF-1 (Insulin Like Growth Factor). Are you impressed yet? Chicken Liver pate is where it’s at.
I’m sick of writing about the benefits since I could honestly keep going…
Suffice to say that this stuff is truly a panacea of health wrapped up in one tasty little appetizer. So instead, at the risk of this article becoming longer than it already is, I’m going to do you a favor and provide a link to downloadable, abbreviated “cheat sheet” of everything I’ve included in this post PLUS a detailed recipe and ingredient sourcing guide in PDF form.
Next up on Food Fitness Family keep an eye out for upcoming content where we show you how to make the other 2 of our TOP 3 Super Foods you should be making at home for your family – Eastern European Sauerkraut and Super Rich Bone Broth. We’re hoping to get the videos and articles for these up in the next few weeks so stay tuned and sign up to our e-mail list to stay up to date by visiting our “Talk to us” page!
Finally we’ll also be getting started on the Fitness Foundations content where we’ll cover the basics of the Squat, the Kettlebell Swing and the Deadlift. We’ll be discussing the why and how of these functional movements in detail so again, lots of stuff you won’t want to miss…thanks for checking us out!