Why Everyone Should Be Eating Organ Meat

April 7, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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You’ve probably heard a lot about how important it is to eat organ meat:  things like liver, kidney, tripe, heart, and even brain.  What do these meats have that the muscle meat that we’re used to eating doesn’t have?  The answer is A LOT!  Organ meats are the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids.  In the olden days (yes, I use that term purposely vaguely because it’s different for different cultures), organ meat was revered and saved for those at the highest echelons of society (exactly who depended on the culture, sometimes it was saved for pregnant women, sometimes the head of the family or tribe, sometimes the oldest members of the society, sometimes the hunters, etc.).  I remember my mom cooking liver once a week when I was a kid (I also remember hating it, which is strange because I look forward to it now).  But most of us don’t eat any organ meat anymore.  So, what changed?  How have we, as a society, migrated so far from organ meats in just a couple of generations?  I think the answer to that question could be a dissertation in itself, but there is one BIG benefit for us:  organ meat, even from grass-fed animals, can be very cheap compared to muscle meat (and organ meats from grass-fed animals are even higher in nutrients than organs from grain-fed animals).  So, not only do you get to eat the healthiest meat from the animal, but you get to save money doing it!  If you’re living on a tight budget, this might be a great way to work in some grass-fed meat!

I urge you to be adventurous with organ meats. I love ordering more unusual organ meats and things like feet and knuckles in ethnic restaurants, especially French and Chinese (although you do need to be careful of gluten ingredients when you do this).  But when it comes to cooking at home, certain organ meats are easier to find than others.  I suggest starting with the three organ staples:  liver, kidney and heart.  All three are available from US Wellness Meats (both beef and lamb, but also look at their variety of organ meat sausages) and liver is available from GrassFed Traditions  (bison, beef and lamb).

Compared to the muscle meat we are used to eating, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and the very important vitamin B12.  Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source.  Organ meats also contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, including arachidonic acid and the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.

Liver is known to be one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A of any foods.  In addition to containing dozens of important vitamins and minerals, it is an outstanding source of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 (and other B-Vitamins), copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, and iron, which is in a form that is particularly easily absorbed and used by the body.  Kidney is particularly high in Vitamin B12, selenium, iron, copper, phosphorus and zinc. Even though heart is technically a muscle, it also is also a superfood.  Heart is a very concentrated source of the supernutrient, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, important for cardiovascular health and also rich in kidney and liver), contains an abundance of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12; folic acid, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc, and is the number one food source of copper.  Heart also contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat (which means it is rich in the amino acids glycine and proline), which are essential for connective tissue health, join health and digestive health (see The Health Benefits of Bone Broth).

I recommend incorporating organ meat into your diet at least twice per week.  In fact, the more organ meat in your diet, the better, especially if it’s grass-fed.  Because the flavor can be challenging for some and because cooking organ meat can be daunting, I am devoting all of my recipe posts for next week to delicious organ meat recipes! (Update: you can view all my organ meat recipes here)


Hi Sarah!!!! I just read your book and I know how much you stress organ meats for healing our guts. I was wondering since I can’t really get ahold of grassfed organ meats regularly ( and also because they kind of disgust me especially to eat almost daily) is grassfed dessicated liver pills okay to substitute with?Btw I really enjoyed reading your book and excited to start healing my body with everything I learned from it! Paleo has helped me more than anything else I’ve tried already and when I found out about your book I have confidence that this approach will help heal my acne and eczema for good. Thanks for sharing with the world!

Oh and one more thing is celery powder okay to have?

I have the dame question as above, about liver pills. Wondering if frozen raw liver is okay as long as it has been frozen for 14 days or if you recommend cooking it and then taking it in ‘pill” form. Thanks!

curing all malignant cancers by eating animal kidneys . 150 gram cooked kidneys every day for 4 to 5 days where the cancer dissappears completely from all the pats of the body,after that use one cooked kidney every 6

[…] Now, I’m just a writer so don’t take your eating advice from me, but I’d like to point out a couple of words worrying me about this craze: Organ Meats. Some Paleo promulgators say you can eat as much organ meat as you want on this diet, in fact, the more the better. Here’s what one Paleo promoter has to say: “I recommend incorporating organ meat into your diet at least twice per week.  In fact, the m… […]

this is brutal – what kind of a world is this where you have to eat an animal’s organs to be well? Maybe this is why aliens are reported to maintain vats of human parts and organs in solution, and there are numerous cases of human mutilation (covered up) where the organs are sucked out through a small laser precision hole and the anus is cored out. They have to eat to, after all. Look at it from this side of the equation and, ah, maybe the light begins to dawn that the creator of this realm is a vicious psychopath. I think I will stay sick, because I am not eating that sh*t.

I was wondering about chicken gizzards. I know they are considered an ‘offal’ but how do you cook them? I have only ever had them deep fried. Thanks!

Is canned cod liver considered as “offal” or as “seafood” when it comes to the recommendations of weekly intake made in The Paleo Approach?

[…] Organ meat is rich in nutrients that are not found in conventional cuts of meat; they are like meat multivitamins! Liver is high in vitamin A which helps strengthen teeth and the immune system. Bone broth is also a very nutrient dense food and can help heal leaky gut and other digestive problems. If you would like to learn more about the health benefits to organ meat and how to include them in your diets, check out this article! […]

[…] Organ meats like liver (especially if grass-fed) contain Vitamin D, tons of vitamin and minerals, and more glycine than muscle meat.  Just because you don’t love liver, doesn’t mean your child won’t.  It’s a soft meat and many young kids find the texture more enjoyable than muscle meats.  If your child isn’t a big fan, check out my recipes for hidden-liver meatloaf and hidden-liver Turkish meatballs. […]

I would recommend to look for anticucho recipies. I buy a beef heart once in a while from the farmer’s market; and I put it cup in chunks and marinated with Peruvian hot-pepper pastes (Aji Panca is the main one; but I also add Aji amarillo and Rocoto). The marinate bath is mainly out of white vinegar, but I add wine too, a lot of cumin, salt and fresh ground pepper; a lot of fresh garlic is a must; also add dry garlic (I mean why not). The trick is to add a paste of oil, aji amarillo, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley and dry garlic while grilling; or right before putting it to broil.

Play around with the recipes, and you can find Aji Panca, Amarillo and Rocoto in Amazon. And if you refuse to put Peruvian Aji; please DO NOT CALL IT ANTICUCHO! It is going to give it a bad-rep!

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