Organ meats are the true superfoods based on the amount of nutrients they contain ounce per ounce. Many people see them as an optional food on the GAPS Protocol, but they are a key requirement in rebuilding a strong and vibrant body. They’re also economical, since they’re unpopular with the general public. Eating liver and onions on Sunday was a common practice that’s fallen out of fashion, but there are many other options, and today I’ll share six ways to eat organ meat on the GAPS Diet.
Those of us who didn’t grow up eating organ meat often struggle with the idea – and often with the actual taste and texture. Don’t let that get in the way of your nutrient density. There are many ways you can include organ meat. Start with the one that seems most accessible for you.
Organ Meat Tips:
- Don’t assume your kids won’t like organ meats – they often surprise us by enjoying them. Keep an open mind when you serve them, and see what they might like.
- When you’re cooking with larger livers, like beef, the flavor will be milder if you “wash” it, which means soaking the liver in raw milk, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice for 30 minutes to 2 hours. This brings down the mineral taste. Keep an eye on it as it soaks because too long will turn it into a mushy texture.
- Organ meat from different animals also taste different. If you’re new to organ meats, heart and tongue are both delicious and mild flavored, since they’re actually muscle meats. Beef liver is generally the strongest in flavor (and highest in nutrients), but you’ll find that chicken liver has a milder flavor.
Of course, variety in organs, and those from different animals, will help you naturally cover more nutritional needs, just like our ancestors did.
Six Ways to Eat Organ Meat on the GAPS Diet
- Chop or grind them and mix them with ground meat. A ratio of 10% organ meat will not be tasted and you can work this up to 30% in a heavily flavored recipe. You can mix this yourself, or ask your butcher to pre-mix it for you. If you don’t have a local butcher option, check out Nose to Tail or Force of Nature for an organ blend that can be shipped to you.
- Grate a small amount into your soup. Keep a chunk of a larger animal liver frozen. As your soup is warming you can finely grate a small amount into your soup and it will blend in and pretty much disappear. Start with about a teaspoon and work your way up, if you’re nervous about the flavor.
- Make liver or other organ meat ‘pills’. This is done by slightly-thawing an organ, so it’s firm to cut without being totally solid. Slice the organ into small pieces that you can swallow whole. Spread the pieces on a cookie sheet so that they aren’t touching, then freeze them. Once frozen you can package them up together and just take a portion out each day to take like a supplement. It can be easiest to package them in 4-ounce portions so you are sure to take at least that much each week. While you’re preparing your meal, pull out a few frozen pieces to thaw – they soften up quickly. Wash them down with warm meat stock so they don’t feel like ice cubes in your belly. Watch this quick Instagram video where I demonstrate the process.
- Be open to trying GAPS recipes that include organ meats, like pate, chili, and bacon wrapped chicken livers. The heavier the seasoning in a recipe, the less likely you are to taste them.
- Take organs as a dried supplement. Dried organ meats are more costly than fresh and have lower potency, but they are an easy option when you just can’t get past the flavor, travel often, or don’t have ongoing access to healthy animal organ meats. Ancestral Supplements is my favorite brand. They make an Organ Blend, in addition to Liver, Kidney, and many other organs, in capsule form, which are useful if you’re targeting particular nutrients, or the regeneration of a certain organ that you can’t find fresh.
- Use Pluck as a seasoning. Pluck is a fantastic all-purpose seasoning that uses a dried organ meat blend with a variety of herbs and spices to create a delicious flavor that you would never guess includes organs. It’s suitable for Stage 3 of GAPS and beyond, after you’re introduced and tolerated dried spices. Using Pluck isn’t enough to meet your weekly target for organ meats, but it’s a great addition to pack in more nutrient density, especially for finicking eaters.
These six ways to eat organ meat on the GAPS Diet offer many ways to reach 4-ounces of organ meat a week, as a maintenance amount. I often recommend more in the beginning for people who are malnourished, or experiencing fatigue. Kids and adults with neurological or mental health issues usually benefit most from a small amount of daily consumption. Track your intake with your overall mood, sleep, and behavior in your Daily Journal, to find the level that seems most beneficial. If you desire more, follow your body’s intuition.