Nose to Tail Eating: A Nutrition Gold Mine
I grew up in a home where we had liver and onions every Friday. Yep. My Mom, greeted with the joy you can imagine from a child faced with liver as their ONLY dinner choice, would exclaim, “Its good for your blood!” That was my cue. Sit quietly, cut it up into small pieces, bury some of it in my potatoes, stash some in my napkin and move the rest around on my plate so it looked like I ate enough liver to be excused. My Mom was always baffled by my dislike. She loved liver?!?
For the record, I am not a liver hater.
Nope. You offer me pate, foie gras or chopped liver….you better move your hand quick because you might be left with a nub. However, I know that most of my friends and family just squirm at the idea of liver or organ meat of any kind. I squirm, as well, at the idea of eating offal (heart, tongue, kidney, brain, sweetbreads, etc.) But, you know what I am going to say next: My Mom is right! Although I hate the term “superfood,” if there was one food worthy of the name it is liver (and organ meat in general). Liver, gram for gram, is the most nutrient dense food on planet earth (I know Mom, you were right!) So, I will say it again: Organ meat (bones and marrow as well) is SUPER GOOD FOR YOU!
HOLD ON! Don’t give up on this post yet...
I know most of you will never eat nose to tail (although the popularity of Bone Broth might suggest things are shifting), but let me go over the health benefits and trust this post is going somewhere both beneficial and realistic (and maybe a tiny bit hopeful).
Nose to tail eating is definitely not new. It is an ancient and traditional way of eating. In fact, only consuming muscle meat and discarding the rest of the animal is the new kid on the block (I’m not that old—even though my kids would tell you otherwise—and I grew up in a house that served organ meat). Ancient cultures believed consuming every bit of the animal was the respectful way to pay tribute to the animal for its sacrifice. Zero waste. As well, when food is scarce or financial resources slim, consuming the whole animal is both practical and economical. However, I want to skip the respect, sustainability and financial reasons for nose to tail eating and go right to the heart of this post (pun intended): The multitude of HEALTH BENEFITS.
Eating the whole animal provides the most balanced intake of essential amino acids, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins.
So let’s go through the benefits of offal (liver, kidney, brain, heart, tongue, and sweetbreads).
- Heme Iron: the iron most easily absorbed by your body and essential to support your body’s ability to carry oxygen in your blood supply. Prevents anemia, aides metabolic processes, supports growth, brain function and energy balance.
- Choline: brain development and liver function; the synthesis of acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter) and lecithin (cell membrane signaling, processes fat and cholesterol).
- Vitamin B-complex: heart health, maintain healthy blood pressure, aides in the production of blood vessels, lowers triglycerides and high cholesterol, improves brain health (boosting memory, mood and reduces depression and anxiety).
- Vitamin A: organ meat is a source of retinol, a pre-formed vitamin A that is readily available for absorption. Aides immune health, reproduction, vision, skin health, fights free radical damage, and reduces chronic inflammation.
- Folate: cell growth and division, anti-aging, natural antidepressant, bolsters the immune system, fertility, converts carbohydrates into energy, liver, bone and pregnancy health.
- Copper: regulates energy production, metabolism, growth, helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and bone health.
- Protein: builds muscle, protects lean muscle mass as you age, boosts your metabolic rate, is the building block of bones, cartilage, skin, and blood.
- Zinc: an essential trace element that boosts the immune system, improves wound healing, hormonal balance, concentration, needed for our sense of smell and taste and decreases the risk of age-related chronic disease.
- CoQ10: the heart is the best food source for this enzyme, it reduces oxidative stress and is important for energy balance, it slows down the aging process and improves brain health.
- Selenium: a powerful antioxidant that boosts adrenal and thyroid health, lowers cancer risk, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent mental decline.
In addition to organ meats, nose to tail nutrition includes bone marrow. Bone marrow has gained attention because it provides numerous health benefits like organ meats. Unlike organ meats, consuming bone marrow is now quite trendy (due to its ability to alleviate keto flu...bone broth to the rescue!) Bone marrow is mostly fat and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and manganese. Sipping bone broth (or consuming cooked bone marrow) aides in joint health, brain function, digestion, sleep, inflammation and is believed to naturally suppress appetite.
Ok, here is the tiny bit of hope!
Hopefully, some of you (one? two?), are considering adding organ meats and bone marrow/broth to their diet. With some courage and Google, it is possible to learn how to prepare and incorporate these economical and nutrient dense foods (dare I say, come to enjoy). As well, many chefs are adding organ meats to their menus (and if you are afraid to try on your own, try their imaginative and delicious creations...they are professional chefs!).
But for most, offal just sounds, well, awful.
And, even if willing to try, perhaps not willing to eat often enough to reap the full health rewards. So what to do? Because I know you want the benefits, but still squirm at the idea of purchasing, cooking and eating organ meats.
Here is a wonderful (and realistic!) option to get the full spectrum of organ meat and bone marrow health benefits: supplementation. The good folks at Ancestral Supplements recognized our need for nose to tail nutrition and their mission is to “put back in, what the modern world has left out.” They small batch produce (to ensure the highest quality) nose to tail products “to return people back to strength, health and happiness.”
You can learn everything you want to know about their story, incredible personal health journey and 3rd party tested products (to ensure purity) at www.ancestralsupplements.com.
I use the Grass-fed Beef Organs, Liver (see Mom!) and Bone Marrow. My husband needs targeted support for his adrenal function so uses their Grass-fed Adrenal in conjunction with the Bone Marrow. Alex supplements with the Bone Marrow. We believe in these products. We love this company’s production standards and their care for their customers. We are so pleased to be an affiliate and offer our clients a discount through their Shopify store.
You can access their products through our affiliate link by clicking here.
At check out, enter our exclusive 10% discount code: FEEDSOUL
Our ancestors understood that the consumption of an animal’s organs supported our organs. These nutrient-dense foods are of great value to our health and well-being. Hope is how all things should begin and end, so: my mother’s fabulous Chopped Liver recipe can be found on our blog. Click here for the link.
Many of our other recipes incorporate bone broth (and feel free to sub bone broth for any broth a recipe calls for or just warm and sip). I will continue to explore in my own kitchen and find ways to prepare organ meats. I will post family approved recipes as I go to help us all work these “superfoods” into our meal plans!
Yes, Mom, I know you were right.
“It would be disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast; there is a set of delights… that lie beyond the filet. Nose to tail eating… it's common sense, and it's all good stuff.”
To start supplementing with grass-fed ancestral supplements, you can view all products through our affiliate link by clicking here. To receive 10% off your order, use our code FEEDSOUL when checking out (available only when purchasing through their Shopify online store, not through Amazon.)