Don’t scoff, you might actually learn something new + benefit from this stuff!
Offal was described to us recently as “the forgotten superfood” by 180nutrition and damn that’s accurate! It’s a staple food in our house, since starting to gradually add more in 6-7 yrs ago we’ve seen definite improvements to our health (in particular immunity, energy levels and mental health) and are very passionate about inspiring others to consume more good quality offal for not only their own health but for the positive impact on the environment.
Adopting even a semi nose-to-tail approach can have huge health benefits, and the 3 key areas to focus on are:
2. Quantity + consistency
This post we’ll look at WHY offal is so good for us, how to source it, of course how to cook with it and how to get it in if you just can’t stomach it (that’s a pun believe it or not, stomach can be great!!).
8 reasons to include offal in your diet
Organ meats are generally the organs of an animal and our ancestors fully utilised these for survival and general health. They didn’t have science to tell them why these parts of the animals were so beneficial, they just ate them because they knew they needed to. Today we do have science to tell us what’s so good about organ meat!
So why are organans so good for us?
𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘀:
1. Increased energy levels
2. Aids weight loss
3. Improved skin health
4. Supports cognitive function
5. Immune boosting
6. Reduces risk of disease
7. Promotes muscle growth
8. Reduces toxic load
“Animal organ meats and other components like bones and fat often provide nutrients that fuel the same organs in humans. That’s because the vitamins and minerals will be found where they are stored or used the most. For example, B vitamins that support detoxification are found in the liver – the body’s main detoxification organ. Calcium and phosphorus are found in the bones of animals and also support human bone health. ” – Carnivore Aurelius
Organ meats contain essential nutrients the human body needs for optimal health, in a bio-available form and many vitamins and minerals NOT FOUND IN PLANT FOODS.
Why we need organ meats with muscle meat dishes
One reason consuming offal is so important is that if we only eat muscle meat (think chicken breast and thighs, steaks, mince etc) we miss out on essential amino acids that GO WITH muscle meat to help them break down and be utilised in the body. Many yrs of mostly only muscle meat consumption can easily lead to high homocysteine levels in the blood which leads to a higher susceptibility of sickness and disease (the common things too like diabetes and heart problems).
Offal, gelatin and fat balance out what muscle meat brings to the table in terms of nutrition. We need a combo of all, at least most of the time.
If you can drink a cup of bone broth with a muscle meat dish then that’s brilliant, or make dishes calling for ‘stock’ with broth instead. Adding some liver or kidney to mince is great too. Spreading some healthy homemade pate on meat. Even drinking a glass of collagen water or having a healthy gelatin dish with meals will help.
𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻 𝙤𝙛𝙛𝙖𝙡 𝗹𝗼𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵: (𝗽𝘂𝗻, 𝘄𝗼𝗼!)
Fattier meat cuts
Animal fats, like lard and tallow
How to source good quality
Ideally the best kind of offal comes from farms using the cleanest, most ethical and sustainable practices. In Australia there are limits as to what offal cuts we can get our hands on, plus not all farmers use good clean methods and our labelling laws here don’t require the ingredients list to be made available to us for what animals were fed and how they were raised.
Main categories of animals for food + what to look for in order of best to least best (lol):
BEEF + LAMB
– Biodynamic organic (regenerative practices)
– Certified organic (no chemicals used on farm, on animals or in feed, no soy in feed)
– 100% grass-fed / pasture-raised (no highly processed grain feed, only pure clean grain supplement during dry times) + no chemicals said to be used (official certification not received but farmer uses best practices)
– Grass-fed majority of life until end if fed grain at the abattoir (not the end of the world but not ideal)
Not good: grain-fed, soy-fed, raised on farm using Round-Up (glyphosate) 𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘧 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸.
(chicken, duck, turkey)
– Certified organic without soy in feed + free-range
– Organic practices but not certified + free-range
As far as we know almost all chickens bred for meat are fed grain in Australia, it’s near impossible to avoid that but what we can do is seek out farms not using soy in the feed, not using chemicals or hormones. Free-range is the bare minimum for poultry meat.
(deer, kangaroo, goat etc)
– Certified organic (rare to find) without grain feed
– Wild (as long as no feed was given containing grain)
Most game meat is wild, but some is farmed. If farmed, look for grain-free feed as these animals should be fed what’s natural to them.
– Wild-caught. Farmed is no good, full of grain and soy and all sorts of other crap.
Ask butchers to find out and tell you the farming practices used on “grass-fed” products, ask them to try and source the good stuff, look online for home-delivery options and local markets providing the best quality possible.
MYTH: We shouldn't consume liver because it's a filter + stores toxins
Many people question, whether liver is safe to eat as it is a ‘filtering organ’ so therefore must contain toxins. Yes, liver’s function is to clear out toxins from the body, but this doesn’t’ mean that’s where they’re stored.
Dr. Chris Kresser says:
“A popular objection to eating liver is the belief that the liver is a storage organ for toxins in the body. While it is true that one of the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons), it does not store these toxins. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems.
On the other hand, the liver is a is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron).
These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.”
Wow! Did you learn something new there?
𝙇𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙚𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙛 (𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙨𝙨-𝙛𝙚𝙙/𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙘) 𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙢𝙖𝙯𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙡 𝙬𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙤𝙤𝙙 not to be avoided due to incorrect information but instead to be consumed and benefited from.
Tips for prepping + cooking offal to make it less awful
News flash: We don’t LOVE the taste and texture of most offal cuts we eat!
We eat it because we need to and we make it more palatable by being creative in the kitchen.
The easiest on the taste buds would be chicken offal so that’s a great one to start with and using the livers to make a paleo pate, frying or baking the hearts (they taste just like thigh anyway!), adding the feet and other bone and cartilage bits to bone broth.
Pork offal is really intense, we don’t like it much and good quality pork is hard to get in Australia so either don’t worry too much about it or, if you can access good quality, the tongue and heart might be easier to manage. Try trimmed and roasted and mixed with yummy roast veg like sweet potato and pumpkin.
Lamb is easier on the nose and taste buds than beef and if you still can’t deal with the liver, which is one of the most nutritious cuts, start with the hearts and kidney. Heart roasted is absolutely delicious, kidney (and liver) minced and added to mince as patties is great.
Beef offal is the most nutritious but stronger in flavour. Liver is the powerhouse but not enjoyable for most (including us) so what we used to do before we got more used to the taste, was to soak it overnight in lemon juice, rinse then prep/cook. Reduces the intensity of the flavour by a lot!
Beef liver + kidney minced and added to mince as patties is a regular brekkie for us. Paleo beef heart stew is a method we tried for heart initially and liked it so much we tried roasting it by itself and have loved that ever since. Beef tongue slow cooked to become really soft then added to sautéed carrot, onion and cabbage with coconut amino and bone broth is one of our faves.
Of course, there’s always bacon. Add that to the mix and it helps improve the flavour (like a version of old fashioned lambs fry). Creating healthy stews and mincing to add with muscle meat are always great options.
You can also try adding a paleo avocado sauce, just mashed avocado or paleo tomato sauce to have with offal, we find they really reduce the intensity of flavour.
Beginner organ meat recipe to try
Especially great for offal newbies and those just not that into the flavour of most but want to consume more organs.
"Help! I want to eat offal for the health benefits but I just can't do it! What's the alternative?"
A couple of years ago I would have said something like “well you just might need to suck it up and get used to it” and suggested starting with the mildest organ meats in the smallest amounts.
But now I’d say…
Why? Because I’ve been taking and loving them!
I was sourcing, buying, prepping and cooking offal regularly. Not nearly as often or in as large a quantities as I wanted because I couldn’t get to the butchers who stock the good stuff. I was seeing US (i.e. Ancestral Supplements) and NZ organ supps on our social feeds and wishing I could access some to try, for when I couldn’t buy and eat the fresh stuff, but of course getting from overseas isn’t ideal (for many reasons) but eventually I came across an Aussie company producing grass-fed beef offal supplements. So I got in touch with ’em and was able to get my hands on their two products to try.
I love them! I stopped eating fresh offal for a few weeks so I could monitor how I was going taking the capsules and I kid you not, I get far more benefit than I did eating offal every day!
I wasn’t sure why this was and found out during a video chat with Matt the director of Ancestral Nutrition that because the organ meats they use are freeze-dried and don’t contain the water that fresh meat does, it’s basically concentrated nutrients going into the body. And because organ meat is bio-available (easily digests) it’s working it’s magic quickly.
My skin is clearer, energy levels are up, and immune system is great.
I can’t tell you to take supplements but I can tell you my experience with organ supps has been hugely positive and I’m happy to recommend them as something for you to look into for yours and your family’s health.
We’re usually not fans of supplements but these are different.
No taste, no cooking, just easy essential nutrients
Get in touch with me if you have any questions about my experience taking these supps and if you’d like to find out when we’ll have them available for purchase.
Primal Health Coach
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