Liver & Collagen: Why Ancestral Eating Matters
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It might come as a surprise to most people that a daily part of my and my children’s diet consists of liver and collagen. But should it? Let’s chat a bit about ancestral eating and why it matters.
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Why Ancestral Eating Matters
Right now when we think about our average meal we think of one part of the animal. Muscle meats. This is steak, chicken thighs, bacon… fill in the blank. But our ancestors didn’t eat animals this way and we are missing out on some of the most nutritious part of animals and therefore tend to be unbalanced. Muscle meats are meant to be consumed with the whole body- the minerals from the organs and the collagen/gelatin from the joints and bones.
Liver is the detox organ but don’t be confused into think it stores toxins. Toxins are more likely to be stored in body fat then in organs. It’s also the nutritional powerhouse of organ meats and is often called “nature’s multivitamin.”
Liver is particularly rich in B-vitamins, vitamin B12 and folate and rich in hard to find minerals, including copper, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, and important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K.
It’s also a great source of choline which is an essential nutrient for brain, muscle and liver health that most people are super deficient in.
A 3.5-ounce portion of cooked beef liver provides:
• Protein: 27 grams
• Vitamin B12: 1,386% of the RDI
• Copper: 730% of the RDI
• Vitamin A: 522% of the RDI
• Riboflavin: 201% of the RDI
• Niacin: 87% of the RDI
• Vitamin B6: 51% of the RDI
• Selenium: 47% of the RDI
• Zinc: 35% of the RDI
• Iron: 34% of the RDI
Collagen is an important part of your diet especially if you are big meat eater. Collagen is high in protein, yes, but it also rounds out our high protein diet by providing calming anti-inflammatory antioxidants. So you can eat a high protein diet with out experiencing a majority of the inflammation.
Collagen has been scientifically shown to noticeably improve your immune system, heal the lining of the intestines, and improve sleep!
Here is what Dr. Ray Peat has to say about the important role collagen has in the body and how it can affect cancer and even tumor growth.
When cells are stressed, they form extra collagen, but they can also dissolve it, to allow for tissue remodeling and growth. Invasive cancers over-produce this kind of enzyme, destroying the extracellular matrix which is needed for normal cellular differentiation and function. When collagen is broken down, it releases factors that promote wound healing and suppress tumor invasiveness. (Pasco, et al., 2003) Glycine itself is one of the factors promoting wound healing and tumor inhibition. It has a wide range of antitumor actions, including the inhibition of new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis), and it has shown protective activity in liver cancer and melanoma. Since glycine is non-toxic (if the kidneys are working, since any amino acid will contribute to the production of ammonia), this kind of chemotherapy can be pleasant. https://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml
Where to Start
I’m not going to lie. I hate the taste of liver. Literally makes me gag. But I know too much at this point to not eat it so I’m going to give you my tips!
How I add Liver Into Your Diet
- Buy a good grass- fed liver (will share sources further down) and blend it in your blender until smooth- freeze them in use cube trays and cover-thaw and add a few cubes into your ground beef dishes. Ie. Taco meat, chili, burgers, meat loaf, meat balls, ziti, lasagna..
- Get a quality desiccated beef liver pill (will share source further down) and just take the supplement if you can swallow pills. For your kids- open a pill and mix it into a tablespoon of honey, a pouch, their meals… smoothie… whatever they will take
- Cut liver into ***small*** pill sized pieces. Freeze them on a cookie sheet and then add to a freeze safe dish. Take a few DIY frozen liver pills each day with a cup of OJ, water or anything that will distract from the taste if you are really sensitive.
Where To Buy Liver
- Farmer Markets: I like to go to the local farmers market and buy my organ meats and bones from farmers I know and trust. I usually, especially if consumed raw, will deep freeze my bought liver for 2 weeks before I use it.
- Whole Foods: Whole Foods does sell good grass-fed organ meats and even bones. I try to pick some up during the winter when the farmers market is closed
- Amazon: Liver Capsules– since I am not making ground beef dishes everyday I take these handy dandy pills! Even my five year old daughter takes them with me everyday we don’t eat liver!
How to Add Collagen Into Your Diet
This one is much easier than liver.
Like liver, you can choose where or not you want to take it in pill form or just add it into your diet.
Collagen has no smell or taste so it is almost impossible to detect in any food or drink.
Here are the ways you can add collagen into your diet. (Links to my favorite collagen further down)
- Add collagen to you coffee
- Add a scoop of collagen to your daily protein shake/ smoothie
- Add a few scoops of collagen into your soup, stew or bone broth
- Add 4 scoops of collagen into your homemade ice-cream (my favorite way to get collagen in)
- Buy collagen capsules (linked below) and just take it daily
Where to Buy Collagen
I buy my collagen from Thrive Market . My all time favorite brand is from Primal Kitchen.
You can also purchase Primal Kitchen’s collagen peptides from Amazon.
Other places you can find collagen surprisingly enough are stores like Marshall’s and Tj Max. I would just be carful to avoid buying low quality collagen powder. *** Personally I would avoid the brand “Vital Proteins”.
Another way to add collagen into your diet is through bone broth! Save your bones, cartilage and all and find an easy recipe to make bone broth for your soups!
I hope this answered some of your questions about “ancestral eating” and helps give you a jump start to include liver and collagen into your and your children’s diet!
As always, drop your questions in the comments!