Monday, January 9, 2012

OMG I want to eat LIVER!

Well, I've gone and done it again. Just when I think I know enough to make informed decisions about what I am eating I learn something new that totally blows my mind and makes me rethink what I have been doing.

New year's night I ate dinner at my Aunt's house and liver and onions came up in conversation. We aren't grandmother used to eat it all the time. As soon as I heard that my face scrunched up and I got that feeling like "I could never eat organs!" Hahaha like it's any different than eating muscle (which is what meat is).

Anywho, I was just listening to a lecture by Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation on "what a healthy diet is". In a nutshell, Weston Price (who was a dentist) saw his patients coming in with awful teeth. He knew that diet had something to do with it so he set out to study a bunch of isolated "primitive" cultures around the world. They are referred to as primitive because they have no interaction with the "civilized world". His goal was to examine their teeth, their overall health, and the foods that they ate.

He went to each culture and did just that. He examined everyone from the elders down to the infants and found, to his astonishment, that the majority (99%) had perfect teeth and were generally of good health. Their babies were healthy, the old people were healthy. Then he recorded their diets. He set out thinking that their diets would be vegetarian. On the contrary they ate everything from raw milk to organ meats to fish heads (yum!).

What these "primitive" cultures ate depended on what they had available. There was a group of people in Switzerland that ate mainly raw milk products and a dense sour dough bread.

You is that possible? I thought carbs and dairy were bad?

Well the bread and cheese those people ate were completely different than the bread and cheese that we eat today. They did not pasteurize their milk which kills everything beneficial that raw milk has to offer, and the bread that they made was made in such a way that is easily digestible.

 There were a lot of similarities between how these "primitive" people ate but here are the few that intrigued me the most:
  • they ate what was available to them (whether it was dairy, or bugs, or fish, or grains) 
  • they ate entire animals/fish
  • they ate the fattiest parts of the animals
How does this relate to liver and onions? Well until just recently it was common to use most parts of an animal. Two generations ago, people ate liver. And this is in New Jersey, not some isolated valley in Switzerland.
liver & onions courtesy of The Food Network
Since then, the no-fat/low-fat health claims have twisted us into thinking that we are healthier without all the fat. But these isolated "primitive" cultures around the world have proven otherwise. These cultures have been eating traditionally for hundreds if not thousands of years (depending) because it has allowed them to thrive and survive in their particular surroundings. They do not need doctors and scientists to tell them what nutrients are in what. They ate liver not knowing it is very high in Vitamin A & D. They did not explicitly know that Vitamins A & D are fat soluable (which means they need fat present to be absorbed). The liver is a fatty organ. They did not explicitly know that Vitamins A & D are important in that they allow all of the rest of the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed and utilized properly, as well as play a huge role in the proper functioning of hormones. Their animals were raised on a pasture, which in turn produces meat that is high in Vitamin D.

They weren't screwed up about what they should eat. 

Why do we (Americans) think we know it all? Why in a relatively short period of time have we screwed it all up? Who do we think we are?

After listening to this lecture, I got the uncontrollable urge to try liver. I heard horror stories from my mom and aunt about liver and onions, but I have a feeling that if I use enough butter and make a pate it will be delicious. I mean if the French can eat it (and a lot of it) why can't I?

Coming Soon...liver pate... are you yay or nay?

*By the way... if you were like me and against liver (or other meat) you can take a cod liver oil supplement, but not without butter!!! Butter makes everything better.

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