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How Eating Liver Changed My Life

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After doing all the “right things” in my journey to get pregnant, adding liver daily was a game changer. This is the story of how eating liver changed my life.

The Backstory

I have a long history of disordered eating and over exercise, which ultimately led to a condition known as hypothalamic amenorrhea. In that post, I share all of the details of that journey. Because of this history, getting my body back to a state of trust and nourishment was a long and challenging road – yet so rewarding. 

Summer 2012 a few months into our real food journey.

The years or food and nutrient restriction my body went through, coupled with being kept in a chronically stressed state through endurance exercise, wasn’t going to just fix itself overnight.

Changing what I ate, how I moved, my mental state, and several other lifestyle factors, were all part of my journey. And, all of these factors played a role in allowing me to restore my health and life. However, even after doing all of these “right” things for years, my body was still struggling to get pregnant and keep a pregnancy (we lost one baby to an early miscarriage).

No Magic Pills

I am not one to promote quick fixes or magic pills. As you can tell from my story, I was “all in” doing the work to restore my health. However, my body was not in balance and I still struggled with symptoms of imbalanced hormones. Then, I began learning about nutrient dense organ meats.

Immediately, I began whipping up liver pate and including a scoop daily into my normal breakfast of vegetables and eggs. Lo and behold, after a few months of doing this, I became pregnant with my first daughter. Coincidence? Maybe. I was not completely convinced at that point and certainly not making any statements about how eating liver changed my life just yet.

beef liver cooking in cast iron

Fast Forward

At some point during the first trimester, nausea kicked in and I was unable to stomach my daily liver fix. So I stopped eating it the rest of my pregnancy. Then, a few weeks postpartum, I had a very vivid dream telling me that I needed to get liver back into my diet. Obediently, I went to the store and began my daily liver regimen.

After our struggles to conceive our first child, I actually got pregnant with our second on my very first postpartum cycle. Again, a few weeks into that pregnancy and a bit of nausea, I removed the liver. And wouldn’t you know it, within a few weeks I again had a dream urging me to get liver back into my diet.

So here we are, a few years later with 3 babies in tow and I’m still going strong getting my liver in every day.

how liver changed my life

Really, Liver Changed Your Life?

While dreaming of liver may be a little strange to some, this really was my experience, and I do believe it had a direct impact on my health. Especially during these nutrient demanding child bearing years. My pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum experiences have all been relatively seamless.

I don’t believe in magic pills or quick fixes. Of all foods, liver tops all the charts of bioavailable nutrients that it provides. And for me, liver gave my body the crucial nutrition that it was desperately needing.

Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, 80% of the results are a result of 20% of the inputs. This is how I think of liver in my diet. It provides so much bang for its buck in terms of bioavailable nutrients that by getting in sufficient amounts of this one food, it can reap tremendous benefits on our overall health.

pregnant woman in rocking chair

What Kind of Liver Changed My Life?

Liver from beef is known to have the highest levels of bioavailable nutrients so that’s the type of liver I’ll be referring to in this post. However, liver from other animals is a great source of nutrition as well. Furthermore, liver that tends to be slightly less potent in nutrients (i.e. chicken liver) is also more mild in flavor. If you have a hard time with beef liver, chicken or duck liver is a great alternative.

Sourcing of liver is also important. Animals raised on pasture and fed an all-grass diet leads to meat with the most robust nutrition. This is a great item to purchase from a local farm. If you don’t know of any local farmers, check out localharvest.org for more information.

Nutrition From Liver

This chart from functional medicine practitioner, Chris Kresser in this article, summarizes just how dense beef liver is. The levels of vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin D, as well as many crucial minerals are more present in liver than any other food source in their natural forms that are very easy for the body to digest.

 APPLE (100 g)CARROTS (100 g)RED MEAT (100 g)BEEF LIVER (100 g)
Calcium3.0 mg3.3 mg11.0 mg11.0 mg
Phosphorus6.0 mg31.0 mg140.0 mg476.0 mg
Magnesium4.8 mg6.2 mg15.0 mg18.0 mg
Potassium139.0 mg222.0 mg370.0 mg380.0 mg
Iron.1 mg.6 mg3.3 mg8.8 mg
Zinc.05 mg.3 mg4.4 mg4.0 mg
Copper.04 mg.08 mg.18 mg12.0 mg
Vitamin ANoneNone40 IU53,400 IU
Vitamin DNoneNoneTrace19 IU
Vitamin E.37 mg.11 mg1.7 mg.63 mg
Vitamin C7.0 mg6.0 mgNone27.0 mg
Thiamin.03 mg.05 mg.05 mg.26 mg
Riboflavin.02 mg.05 mg.20 mg4.19 mg
Niacin.10 mg.60 mg4.0 mg16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid.11 mg.19 mg.42 mg8.8 mg
Vitamin B6.03 mg.10 mg.07 mg.73 mg
Folate8.0 mcg24.0 mcg4.0 mcg145.0 mcg
BiotinNone.42 mcg2.08 mcg96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12NoneNone1.84 mcg111.3 mcg

How to Eat Liver?

While a lot of people can’t stomach the liver and onions our parents and grandparents likely grew up with, there are a few options to get in liver and hide the strong smell and taste.

freezing liver pate for later use

1) Pate. This is my go-to method. In this video I show exactly how I blend up liver and then add a tbsp or two to my morning breakfast of vegetables and eggs. While I make an extremely basic pate, since my goal is to add it to my food without tasting it, there are lots of recipes out there for pate with more spices and delicious additions. This one is a recipe that we’ve tried and liked in the past.

2) Liver Pills. Another method is to make your own “pills” from liver. Marissa from Bumblebee Apothecary walks you through exactly how she does this in this video.

3) Hidden Liver. Another option is to grind your organ meats, like liver, into ground beef. Then use your ground beef as you normally would. As long as there’s at least a 3:1 ground beef to organ meat ratio, you shouldn’t even be able to taste it! This post explains how to do this as well as this video.

Can Liver Change Your Life?

I am a firm believer that anyone would benefit from including small amounts of liver into their daily (or at least weekly) routine and would strongly encourage you to give it a try. 

family with kids

Do you consume liver regularly? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. If you want to check out more ways to include organ meats into your family’s meals, check out this recipe for beef heart burgers.

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  1. Hidden liver: don’t do this. Eat it pure, with its distinctive taste in the open. Reason: when I was close friends with a colonics and homeopathics expert (she died at age 101), she informed me a distaste for liver and/or a distaste for garlic predict cancer. In other words, people who find liver “bitter, unpleasant, yucky”, etc., and hate the taste and especially the smell of garlic, are more prone to developing cancer in life than those who like the taste of liver and smell of garlic. I dismissed this as hogwash. Lo and behold, my father, who like my sister, was always outspoken about how he hated liver and despised the smell of garlic, developed pancreatic and brain cancer. My sister developed breast and uterine cancer. Both passed away.

    I grew up loving the taste of liver (I like “umami”, read “savory”, more than sweet and always have) and absolutely loving the smell and taste of garlic. I am now the only surviving member of my family. I’m also in my fifties and still get my period, in a bright red color. Not every month on time, mind you; but I seem to have escaped menopause.

    Keep giving us babies, Scratch Farmstead Sister! Stay on that liver, and don’t shy away from the taste of it! That savory “bitter” taste is nature’s, and God’s, signature letting you know, “Hey: this food is GOOD FOR YOU!”

    1. Hi there! Thanks for the comment, this is an interesting point! Our kids actually love eating the liver and will gobble up the fresh pate with a spoon. I’m probably the one who needs it snuck in things more than they do since I didn’t go grow up with it. Overtime, I’ve gotten used to the taste to and come to appreciate (or at least tolerate 🙂 ) it much more than I used to but this is a good reminder to keep it as a normal part of all of our diets and not necessarily worry about trying to hide it. All the best!

  2. Hi. Thanks for the article. I grew up having liver as part of my diet. However, I did not know I needed it to stay healthy until being told I was anemic.
    I have had problems digesting iron pills so my three pregnancies were difficult.
    My life as a young mother, wife and business woman was filled with health issues such as high lood pressure, sinus issues, anxiety.
    Prayer and liver intake are my go to.

  3. Hi first thank you for sharing your story. I have a question why in all articles i read they say should only eat once a week

    1. Around 4 oz a week is generally recommended. The articles suggesting to eat it once a week are likely referring to eating a 4 oz serving. Instead, what I’ve found works well for me is to add a little bit everyday (roughly .5 ounces) so it still adds up to roughly 4 oz per week. Hope that helps!

  4. I don’t know how much you eat daily, but lots of health websites warn against vitamin A overload, and suggest eating once a week.

    1. Around 4 oz a week is generally recommended. The articles suggesting to eat it once a week are likely referring to eating a 4 oz serving. Instead, what I’ve found works well for me is to add a little bit everyday (roughly .5 ounces) so it still adds up to roughly 4 oz per week. Hope that helps!

  5. i am a firm believer that if you consume beef or chicken liver even 3 times a month and dont shy away from cooked or even raw garlic your health over the long term will be drastically improved. Just my opinion as i knew a bunch of folks who averaged well into their 90s and 2 of them hitting over a hundred before they passed away who regularly consumed this. The thing that really stood out for me is that they all passed away quietly in their sleep and had no cancer or heart issues. Also a handful of them even smoked all their life. Maybe a coincidence or maybe not but the one thing they had in common was regular liver and garlic in their diet. Again only my opinion folks.

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