3

votes

Hack my organ meat aversion

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I keep reading here how people eat organ meat on a regular basis. Is it really that essential? If so, can I get whatever it is they offer in some other way, like in a pill?

I know Europeans and Asians eat sheep testicles, Icelanders love putrid rotten shark, Australians dig their witchety grubs, and I say bully for them, aren???t we humans wonderful omnivores, but this puppy is just not going there. Is there anything really wrong with respecting deep, visceral food aversions?

Maybe if someone else did the cooking, I???d be fine with organ meat, even if I found out after the fact (say they slipped it into my chili), but I???m the cook around here and I can???t even think about this stuff, much less handle it raw, without getting the heebie jeebies. It's more a texture than a taste thing, because I also can't deal with oysters, mussels, clams - anything slimy. And yes, this is a serious question!

EDIT: have people been able to overcome food aversions by force of willpower? How long does it take?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:46 PM

Yeah, it's handling it raw, slimy and then the texture cooked, which is just weird.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:44 PM

note that "sage" means well-behaved in French... ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:20 PM

For all the paleo noise about eating offal/organs as often as possible, it doesn't make sense that organ meat would be a significant part of a hunter-gatherer diet on the basis of how much organ/offal there is on a single animal.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I grew up eating them and still do on occasion. My point was thought that a cow only has one heart. Therefore you end up with maybe one or two portions of heart. If an entire cow lasts a year, you're only eating cow heart for 1-2 meals. The same goes for all the offal you mentioned.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

It depends on what is meant by organ meats! As well as liver and kidney, in Europe we eat heart, tongue, oxtail, tripes (intestines), cow heels, sweetbreads (thymus glands), brains, cheeks and bone marrows (this might not be a complete list) from an entire beef animal. From a pig: ears, tail, trotters (feet), intestines, blood (in black pudding). More unmentionable parts find their way into mince (hamburger) and sausages, I'm not saying that highly urbanised people eat all of these, but in country areas people still eat these things today.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 26, 2011
at 06:05 PM

These sound like like excellent tips, I shall give the lemon juice and parsley a try

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 24, 2011
at 06:57 AM

but you cook it first? Are you talking about liver here?

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:34 PM

yes Shari, i was totally offensive....again. remember my Oprah comment some months ago. i take some getting used to it seems.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on November 23, 2011
at 09:51 PM

I just mince it - 1/2 cm cubes - and swallow like vitamins.

7c5b64bdf359e7cdcb0ee15629abdaa9

(50)

on November 23, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Yeah, I agree that lamb's liver or calf's liver are much better than the other much stronger tasting ones. If you pan fry with onion, salt, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, then add liberal fresh parsley and plenty of lemon juice it really tastes great. The lemon juice transforms the taste. I use refined coconut oil to fry it these days but bacon fat, duck fat or olive oil are good too.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 23, 2011
at 06:08 AM

he had a sentence in the original comment that was.. um...

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on November 23, 2011
at 04:22 AM

Why the down votes for this? Wow. Sage wasn't actually calling liver eaters heathens.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:53 PM

It's not so much sliminess that bothers me. The texture of cooked liver is just yack, yack, yack! If I could get over the texture, I'd be kinda (tentatively) ok with it, lol!

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:01 PM

that can't be good for your cortisol levels

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:18 PM

Careful with the "you" in that last sentence. Kind of gets my back up.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 22, 2011
at 01:46 PM

I suspect gydle was referring to the practice of force-feeding geese to produce the liver for foie gras. Makes me leery too!

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:24 PM

@raydawg. I wish my hubby was like you and cooked, period, not to mention organ meats. I know they are good, etc, but find it real hard to get over the texture on the tongue and the feel of the raw meat as I prepare it. Thus, I avoid it, even though we are lucky to have a local, organic source of meats. I really appreciate your thoughtful response above; what you say about honouring the life of the animal is beautifully put.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:19 PM

Your wife is lucky that she has someone to cook it for her and she can just try it adn maybe move into getting used to it that way. It's the handling of the raw thing, like you describe with the tongue, that is so hard for me to imagine. You're right, we are too removed from the "animality" of our meat sources. My frontal cortex gets this fine, but my gut... something to ponder.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:12 PM

While I'd be weary of CAFO liver anything, grassfed/pastured/organic isn't exposed to the same toxins and antibiotics, so nothing to worry about.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:34 AM

Oops, I can find the answers in the thread, thanks for linking...

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:31 AM

Thanks, Beth. I like the frozen liver bits idea. I assume you cook it first? What liver would be the best to use? Maybe cod liver oil isn't such a bad idea, either. Is there some way to mask the taste?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:27 AM

good point about paté. I don't like the taste of most liver, except foie gras, but I can't eat that because I've seen a documentary...

  • Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

    asked by

    (5043)
  • Views
    2.4K
  • Last Activity
    1404D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

12 Answers

7
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:07 PM

It does take some time to eat something that you don't have a taste for. The best you can do is to realize that hunting requires killing, and that wasting parts of the animal you have an aversion to is just that: a huge waste.

Also understanding that those animal parts are good for you is helpful at a high prefrontal cortex, in the same way that doing something you might not have initially liked, such as exercise, is also good for you, and then after having done it for a while, seen that you now enjoy it. But also understanding it at a visceral, emotional level is key, which is why you're here asking this question.

That said, finding a good way to cook organs in a way to make them more palatable for yourself is the key.

There are other parts to try such as tongue, and heart, which are less offensive than liver or kidneys. (I still don't think I could bring myself to eating kidneys due to the smell.)

Liver is very edible if you have it as either Braunschweiger or Liverwurst, or pate, or if you cook it in various ways to change the flavor, or just mixing it into burgers

Then again, I can't stand the smell of lamb either, but I forced myself to get past that, and noticed that I felt amazingly great (calm, happy) after eating lamb. Probably something in the specific fats, so now I look forward to eating it. I masked it by adding a bit of ghee in the pan before reheating it, and some A1 on top, would help to add some mint, but didn't have any fresh mint at the time.

A few days ago I hid liverwurst in an Omlette (along with broccolli, cauliflower, bacon) and my kids loved it and wanted seconds. My wife made some noises about it, but then she saw me put it in and she's squeamish about liver.

A few months back, I tried heart, but failed at it and overcooked it and it turned out too rubbery. I'll have to find a better recipe for it so as to not overcook it next time.

While it's not the same kind of aversion you referred to, there is another, one I didn't even think I'd ever experience, but it struck me more than just the flavor of liver:

I recently bought bison tongue and wanted to cook it, but once thawed, i looked at it and immediately realized that this was attached to a living creature and felt a bit weird about it - I saw a playful buffalo running around in the grass, and using that same tongue to taste the grass it ate... But I worked through that "vision" by realizing that this animal was already gone, and the best thing I could do is not be sad for it, but rather honor it by not letting its tongue go to waste.

I think we're too used to muscle meats and too removed from life itself to fully understand the cycle of life at every level. Sure, at the highly removed, frontal cortex, we understand what meat is, but maybe not at a visceral level.

So I worked through that, went ahead and cooked it anyway, and had it with mustard and appreciated all that the animal was.

While I didn't exactly intend on deceiving the wife into thinking this wasn't corned beef, she just assumed it was and I just nodded adding it's actually bison, not beef. I think I'll tell her today it was actually tongue than muscle, but I can already hear her reaction. :)

It didn't exactly taste like corned beef, but it was very close. It certainly was a lot tastier than liver, and far too tender. It needed to be drier, and I should have used a lot more salt than I used. Maybe I can rescue this by salting and pan frying the slices in ghee. I should have followed this recipe. instead of attempting it up on my own.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:19 PM

Your wife is lucky that she has someone to cook it for her and she can just try it adn maybe move into getting used to it that way. It's the handling of the raw thing, like you describe with the tongue, that is so hard for me to imagine. You're right, we are too removed from the "animality" of our meat sources. My frontal cortex gets this fine, but my gut... something to ponder.

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:24 PM

@raydawg. I wish my hubby was like you and cooked, period, not to mention organ meats. I know they are good, etc, but find it real hard to get over the texture on the tongue and the feel of the raw meat as I prepare it. Thus, I avoid it, even though we are lucky to have a local, organic source of meats. I really appreciate your thoughtful response above; what you say about honouring the life of the animal is beautifully put.

3
5c8139d7937126906bd9133bb6e10315

on November 22, 2011
at 01:46 PM

Put this book on your wish list: http://www.amazon.com/Home-Sausage-Making-How-Techniques/dp/158017471X

Nobody said you have to eat it whole. I agree that if you didn't grow up on it, it's hard to get down. Making it into sausage is how I get around it.

2
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 22, 2011
at 11:25 AM

Well, I feel your pain. I'm getting my liver via US Wellness' braunschweiger as I'm not exactly the offal queen myself. That said, the reason you cannot respect your deep, visceral food aversions is because it's not ideal to get the fat soluble vitamins and minerals these foods provide in a pill (see food synergy).

I was listening to Chris Masterjohn's interview with Cary Nosler yesterday, and he pointed out that Weston Price found that a healthy culture got these from one of four sources (or a combination of these):

  1. raw dairy
  2. pastured eggs & organs
  3. seafood/shellfish
  4. whole small animals/insects

So, do you have to eat these things? No, plenty of folk go thru their lives avoiding them either due to choice or lack of access. Many do fine with supplements, like cod liver oil. But if you really want to achieve your optimal health, you'll work at getting over your aversion.

I like Travis' idea of having your butcher make sausages with liver and this thread has some other ideas, including one where you simply cut the liver up into tiny pieces, freeze it, and then take the frozen bits like pills.

Good luck!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:31 AM

Thanks, Beth. I like the frozen liver bits idea. I assume you cook it first? What liver would be the best to use? Maybe cod liver oil isn't such a bad idea, either. Is there some way to mask the taste?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:34 AM

Oops, I can find the answers in the thread, thanks for linking...

2
C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:24 AM

I'm similar. I really have tried, but it's texture for me too. I'm going to start mincing offal & chucking it in with minced (ground) beef. I'm ok with kidney, but cannot do liver.

I am pretty sure that health food shops sell desiccated liver pills though. Perhaps I should invest too.

Heart is not at all like liver or kidney though fwiw. And, have you tried p??t??? P??t?? is just so yummy. Chicken liver p??t?? isn't as strong as pork liver p??t?? when homemade.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 22, 2011
at 01:46 PM

I suspect gydle was referring to the practice of force-feeding geese to produce the liver for foie gras. Makes me leery too!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:27 AM

good point about paté. I don't like the taste of most liver, except foie gras, but I can't eat that because I've seen a documentary...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on November 22, 2011
at 12:12 PM

While I'd be weary of CAFO liver anything, grassfed/pastured/organic isn't exposed to the same toxins and antibiotics, so nothing to worry about.

1
Medium avatar

on November 26, 2011
at 04:49 PM

Unless a particular nutrient is to die without, why spend energy and time trying to correct aversion? Eat good foods that you actually enjoy, would be my thought.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 26, 2011
at 04:40 PM

To answer your very first question: no, organ meat is not essential to one's diet. If it helps you meet your nutritional goals, great. But it's certainly possible to meet the same nutritional goals without it.

The paleo preoccupation about organ meats is odd though. Yes, they are highly nutritious, but they don't make up very much of the animals mass. Out of an entire cow, you might get 1-2 meals out of each organ, while the flesh makes up many dozens of meals.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:20 PM

For all the paleo noise about eating offal/organs as often as possible, it doesn't make sense that organ meat would be a significant part of a hunter-gatherer diet on the basis of how much organ/offal there is on a single animal.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 26, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I grew up eating them and still do on occasion. My point was thought that a cow only has one heart. Therefore you end up with maybe one or two portions of heart. If an entire cow lasts a year, you're only eating cow heart for 1-2 meals. The same goes for all the offal you mentioned.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

It depends on what is meant by organ meats! As well as liver and kidney, in Europe we eat heart, tongue, oxtail, tripes (intestines), cow heels, sweetbreads (thymus glands), brains, cheeks and bone marrows (this might not be a complete list) from an entire beef animal. From a pig: ears, tail, trotters (feet), intestines, blood (in black pudding). More unmentionable parts find their way into mince (hamburger) and sausages, I'm not saying that highly urbanised people eat all of these, but in country areas people still eat these things today.

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on November 26, 2011
at 04:02 PM

Post Thanksgiving experiment results: so I caught a Thanksgiving episode of Good Eats that had a recipe for making a gravy out of the giblets (complete with an annoying character screaming the word at every opportunity.)

But here's the rub, the stuff was so good, I could it eat it as if it were a "Cream of" style soup if it's not made too thick. I guess it could be called "Cream of Organs" soup.

I suspect you could use this recipe on beef/bison liver, heart, and something to make a stock out of, but you might have to be careful of the stronger flavor of beef/bison liver, so perhaps soak them in milk or something else to lessen the smell.

Alton Brown's recipe is here, and it's most certainly non paleo.

What I did instead: boiled the turkey neck (maybe replace with soup bones or bison oxtail) for a couple of hours with a carrot and half an onion (didn't have any celery handy), some bay leaves, salt, pepper, sage, peppercorns, etc. Added the giblets and let it simmer for another hour.

Then fished out the solids using a strainer, let the neck and gibblets and carrot cool. Discarded the rest. Stripped the meat off the neck and discarded the bones. Chopped the giblets, neck meat, and carrot finely, and added back to the liquid. Used an immersion blender to smooth it all out.

Then in a saute pan, melted some grassfed ghee and slowly whisked in some coconut flour to make a roux. Slowly added in a ladle or two of the liquid from the pot and kept on whisking it in. Once it it was smooth, poured the contents of the saute pan back into the stock pot, and buzzed it some more with the immersion blender until smooth.

Careful not to use too much coconut flour as it can easily turn into a thick gooey paste, plus it would add in too much carbs - I used about a quarter cup or less. Taste it and add some more salt/pepper as needed. Let it cool.

I was surprised that coconut flour could be used to thicken a gravy since there's no gluten, but there it was, worked wonderfully.

Word of warning, it looks an ugly gray, so maybe you might want to experiment and add something to turn it brown or red instead. Maybe some paprika if you don't mind nightshades. If you serve it as a soup, maybe top with some scallions or cilantro or parsley to take away the gray.

Obviously throw in some chunks of muscle meat in there too, or maybe some bacon bits.

1
F3583667d653163c121640a015ffa93a

(784)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:14 AM

I used to hate liver. I mean, REALLY hate it. It tasted like blood and was disgusting to me. This past year, realizing how good it was for you, I decided to try it one more time. The way I did it was to start out with about three pieces less than 1/2" square, of chicken liver, and frying it up with a whole lot of bacon. That and eggs was breakfast, and I gradually increased the amount of liver over a week or two. And I found out it wasn't that bad. So you can train yourself to eat things like that easier than you might think.

I will add that I think the kind of cooking makes a big difference: Liver that's overcooked is like leather and pretty bad. Good liver is a bit pinkish yet inside, and it melts like butter in your mouth.

I haven't ventured too much further inside of a carcass yet. Heart is good, but I haven't tried kidney, or tripe yet. I would have a difficult time with things like brain, I'm pretty sure, though.

Just keep trying things and you'll surprise yourself with what you might eat.

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:07 PM

blame society as a whole. popular media always depicts the sad little freckle faced boy being forced to eat his liver. organ meat is what dogs and heathens eat; not us civilized folks.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:18 PM

Careful with the "you" in that last sentence. Kind of gets my back up.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:01 PM

that can't be good for your cortisol levels

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 23, 2011
at 06:08 AM

he had a sentence in the original comment that was.. um...

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on November 23, 2011
at 04:22 AM

Why the down votes for this? Wow. Sage wasn't actually calling liver eaters heathens.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:34 PM

yes Shari, i was totally offensive....again. remember my Oprah comment some months ago. i take some getting used to it seems.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:44 PM

note that "sage" means well-behaved in French... ;)

1
028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

on November 22, 2011
at 11:52 AM

For me, pork liver is awesome but I can't stand cow liver. I don't really get the 'slimy' thing though, when it's fully cooked, it's not slimy at all. I sometimes toss pork liver with a side vegetable, stir fried together. Throw some green pepper, onions or scallion(very little) if it doesn't smell good.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:53 PM

It's not so much sliminess that bothers me. The texture of cooked liver is just yack, yack, yack! If I could get over the texture, I'd be kinda (tentatively) ok with it, lol!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:46 PM

Yeah, it's handling it raw, slimy and then the texture cooked, which is just weird.

0
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on November 22, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Not all liver is equal!

I grew up on eating liver and bacon or liver and onions (in a nice, brown gravy) but went off it during the veggie and veggie-ish years.

I recently got started on eating liver again with calve's liver, which has a delicious delicate flavour and texture (and costs nearly as much as fillet steak here, in the UK). The quality varies but lambs' liver can be almost as fine as calves'. Ox (beef) and (to a lesser extent) pigs' liver have much coarser textures and more robust flavours, so calves' and lambs' are probably the best starting point.

The same goes for kidneys: ox is coarse and strongly flavoured, lamb is fine and delicate, pig is somewhere in between.

7c5b64bdf359e7cdcb0ee15629abdaa9

(50)

on November 23, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Yeah, I agree that lamb's liver or calf's liver are much better than the other much stronger tasting ones. If you pan fry with onion, salt, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, then add liberal fresh parsley and plenty of lemon juice it really tastes great. The lemon juice transforms the taste. I use refined coconut oil to fry it these days but bacon fat, duck fat or olive oil are good too.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 26, 2011
at 06:05 PM

These sound like like excellent tips, I shall give the lemon juice and parsley a try

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:56 PM

The problem with tongue is the freakiness of having to peel the thick skin off after it is cooked. But when it is cooked in a slow cooker with a few tomatoes and a jalepeno or two it is very tasty.

I used it to make tacos for my grandkids (4 and 6 yr.) and they loved them. All the adults did too.

I used to eat the bacon part of my Mum's liver and bacon dinners and avoid liver like the plague, but over the years I guess my taste buds have changed because I like it once in awhile now. One of my favourite tries when i first started eating it was with a yummy wine sauce.

With liver it is important to just quickly saute it in butter/bacon grease and don't overcook it. Once it is cooked too much it is gross and dry and too chewy.

Heart is not at all slimy so maybe that would be a good one to start on- treat it like a pot roast and braise it.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!