Unfortunately, when the majority of people switch to a paleo type of diet one of the biggest mistake they make is they start eating larger amounts of meats and eggs and not eating the other parts of the animals, organ meats and cartilage. This is not just limited to paleo peeps. It is actually the vast majority of people. Your grandparents have eaten these foods but most likely you and your children do not.
The problems with this includes:
- You and your family miss out on the most nutrient dense parts of the animal !!! Yep we through out, the best bits. From a value perspective it would kind of be like diving for a pearl oyster, finding it, tossing away the pearl and keeping the shells of the pearl oyster. Crazy right? Yes that’s we do. We discard the most valuable parts.
- These now unpopular parts (the ones we all screw our noses up at the near mention of them) actually work together with the more commonly eaten parts. For example, muscle meats (eg. chicken breast, rump steak) and eggs are high in methionine an amino acid that can be problematic in excess. However, glycine found in bone broth and B vitamins, choline, and betaine found in organ meats balances the potentially harmful effects of excess methionine. Cool right! Nature had it sorted for us all along.
**** Fun historical fact. “Observations of modern hunter-gatherers have shown that muscle meats (the leanest part of the animal) are least preferred, sometimes even being thrown away in times of plenty, in preference to the fattier portions. Eaten first are the organs such as brains, eyeballs, liver, tongue, kidneys, bone marrow (high in monounsaturated fat), and storage fat areas such as mesenteric (gut) fat.”
- It’s extremely wasteful. It seems ludicrous to consume only 1/8th of that animal and discard the rest as waste. That is just not sustainable which is a real problem for our future.
THE SOLUTION ……..
To embrace the concept of nose to tail eating. **** Did you think I was going to say veganism?
It is a tried and tested tradition our ancestors learnt through experimentation over thousands of generations to maintain good health and fertility.
Sounds hard and maybe a little scary but it really doesn’t have to be. It is more to do with breaking down the mental barrier we have built up around these foods due to them falling out of favour in our generation. But when you say, “Do you want some liver and bacon for breakfast?”, to your grandma, she will know exactly what you’re talking about and she will be totally up for it. On the contrary, try getting it into a child these days, not going to happen! Especially with fruit loops and coco pops as hot contenders.
Getting these all important bits and bods into us these days may look a little something like this:
- Consume 1/2 cup of bone broth (call it stock if that sounds more “normal” for you) daily. You can add it to soups, stews, or drink like a cuppa. Recipe for homemade broth here.
- Eat tougher cuts of meat like brisket, chuck roast, oxtail, and shanks (who doesn’t love a good lamb shank). These cuts are cheaper too!!!
- Instead of peeling back and creating a pile of waste for all that delicious skin and cartilage, crisp it up and gobble it up. It really is the tastiest part once you get over the years of “no skin business”.
- Cook up a whole chicken or whole fish once a week. Eat all the parts leaving the carcass and bones. Boil up the bones with some veg to make chicken stock or fish stock like your grandma did.
- Use a high quality gelatin powder (Great Lakes Gelatin) to make gelatin based desserts – I’m talking smooth, creamy chocolate panacotta.
- Or add hydrolysed collagen (Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate) to hot or cold liquids – super smoothy anyone?
- Eat one to two, 85g servings of liver per week. Now what if I replaced the words “liver” with “pate’”, does it change things? As soon as you mention liver – faces instantly change. But when you say pate’ – it’s like, yeh ok I can maybe do that. Liver is really hands down the super house of nutrients namely B vitamins, vitamin A, iron (hence if you have iron overload or haemochromotosis not for you)
- Eat your yolks. Please please don’t toss them out. That little golden goodness is, well, a multivitamin. Eat at least four to five egg yolks per week, preferably from eggs that come from pasture raised chickens. They are the highest source of choline in the diet.
- Take a half to a teaspoon of extra virgin cod liver oil per day (I like the Rosita brand). Cod liver oil is on the of richest sources of vitamin A, it also contains vitamin D and other omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
- If you eat canned salmon or sardines, find a brand that has the bones in it. They are soft, and safe to eat and a great source of calcium and omega 3 fats.
- Beef cheeks anyone ? Who doesn’t love a good beef cheek?
- Other nutrient dense organ meats to try include heart, kidney, tongue & brain. There is a whole host of recipes online disguising organ meats into nutritious meals. Once you brave the purchase, throw it into in a pot and add the rest of the goodies and the end result is usually way less scary than the raw version.
Photo 1: Is me chewing on a chicken drumstick 🍗 bone. I LOVE the crispy skin and chewing the crunchy top bits and sucking out the marrow. Disclaimer: I didn’t always, I was a product of the low fat era so it was chicken breast all the way.
Picture 2 : The most delicious entree I’ve ever had. Roasted bone marrow from @milkandhoneymullumbimby. Disclaimer: My Mum wouldn’t believe me if she saw me eating this (nor the top picture). I used to screw my nose up at my mum when she cooked and ate bone marrow. That was just me following social norm and conditioning, not my actual opinion or educated decision.
Well, hopefully that gives you a basic, less scary run down on how to incorporate some nutrient-dense parts of animals that have disappeared from the modern diet into your week.
Remember, food, provides the building blocks for all the various functions whizzing on inside us. Nutrient deficiencies are a major underlying cause of so many common health complaints, like skin complaints, fertility issues, fatigue, mental health conditions etc yet it is so often overlooked (& even scoffed at from the medical community). It actually sounds kind of silly talking about not getting enough nutrients in todays world considering the amount of food available at our finger tips.
But we may be well fed, but we’re undernourished.
Thankfully, the power to change that lies within our very own finger tips.