Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Liver Pill Adventure

My friends think I am really crazy for this one...someone even called me Hannibal today at work while I was explaining my new morning routine. 

Before you begin to think I have gone off the deep end too, let me explain. Ever since I read Chris Kresser's post last month, I have been trying to figure out a way to stomach (get it?, "stomach"?) eating more organ meats.

What Are the Nutritional Benefits?

I ran across the idea from many different resources explaining reasons why we should all try to add organ meat (especially liver) to our diets. The best explanation of benefits I could find came directly from this post: How To Eat Organ Meats. In his article, Chris Kresser says: 

"Liver is by far the most important organ meat you should be eating. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, and contains many nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere.... 

Liver is an important source of retinol, which is pre-formed vitamin A. Just three ounces of beef liver contains 26,973 IU of vitamin A.... 

Folate, choline, and vitamin B12 are three more nutrients that are found abundantly in liver, and they can be especially important in the context of a Paleo diet. Two Paleo staples – muscle meat and eggs – contain a high proportion of the amino acid methionine, and higher intakes of methionine increase homocysteine production. This increases the need for vitamins B6, B12, folate, betaine, and choline, which recycle homocysteine. can be difficult to get enough folate on a Paleo diet without including liver, because other than liver, beans are actually one of the best sources of folate. This is especially true if you eat lots of muscle meat and not enough folate-rich greens." 

He also has a great chart here:  Natures Most Potent Superfood

But... Liver is a Dirty Organ!
You may also hear lots of people telling you "gross, why would you eat liver? It stores all the toxins...I'd be careful if I were you". Fortunately, these are usually the same people who tell you to stop eating bacon and butter. So, you probably aren't listening to them anyway. But just in case you're feeling like a feisty rebuttal, you can let them know that the liver does not, in fact, STORE the toxins. Rather, it processes them. In fact, often times the liver is evaluated to test the overall health of the animal and make sure it is fit for human consumption. Therefore, if you would eat the animal, you can absolutely eat the liver. You can find more explanation here: Does the Liver Store Toxins?

So I Decided to Try It - Liver Pill Style!

Boosted energy, clearer skin and stronger hair & nails, increased stamina and overall better moods have been some of the benefits I have heard people claim to achieve from consuming raw beef liver. Being the curious, human-guinea-pig that I am, I decided that I would give it a go and make a steadfast attempt to consume at least 1oz of liver a day. I decided to try to freeze the liver and make my own frozen liver pills. That way I wont taste the flavor or texture as it is going down, and by making it part of my morning routine, I won't forget it! 

You can find grass-fed beef or bison liver from your local farm, online resources and sometimes, if you are lucky, your butcher at Whole Foods will have some behind the counter (and its CHEAP!). Don't worry if they refer to the liver as "dog-food!" either...they just aren't used to people asking for it! I found mine at my local WF after three attempts asking the guy behind the counter. Each time they looked at me like I was a weirdo, but I've seen that look before. No biggie. I bought 2 pounds the day the guy finally said he had it (he was even taunting me a little when he brought out this GIANT bag...most likely 15-20lbs worth of it and plopped it on the counter and said, "here ya go, how much do you want? Or do you just want the whole thing?"...sheesh... Men... :) 

So here is what you can do if you want to follow the protocol that I do daily. Word on the street is that if you freeze raw liver for 14 days the dangers from parasites which may be living in the liver will be eliminated. So take your liver out of the freezer and let it thaw a bit on your counter (living in a non-air-conditioned apartment in SoCal, it softened up pretty quickly). I then took kitchen scissors and cut strips, then cut chunks (about the size of a gummy bear). I would say that in total, 10 "gummy bear" sized chunks equals about 1oz (which is my daily consumption goal for now). Flash freeze them on a piece of wax paper and on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about 1 hour.  After you can transfer them to their permanent storage home.  I store the pills in a glass jar in the freezer.  

During my morning routine I make my bulletproof coffee and use this to wash down the pills. (I promise you won't even taste the pills if you wash it down with the bulletproof coffee...just make sure the coffee is cooled down enough!). I pop two at a time into my mouth, take a gulp of BPC, tilt my head back and swallow 5x and I am done! 

Tonja tried it and didn't have much luck with masking the liver flavor/texture. So everybody is different... don't beat yourself up if you can't handle the flavor!  I just know what works for me and my body and I know what I can handle and what I can't!  I have only been doing it for 5 days, and I SWEAR that I feel an increase in energy in the mornings.  It pairs nicely with my bulletproof coffee as well in helping fill me up in the mornings so I don't get hungry and want to snack throughout the day.  

Does anyone else have success stories from eating raw liver?  Any horror stories? Leave a comment! :)