Ever heard of the word offal (pronounced “off-fall”)? Before AIP, I hadn’t. In fact, I had to Google it! And according to Google, offal is the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food. Or it can also be broadly defined as “variety meats”, which is essentially any non-traditional meat source. Now, before your imagination goes all crazy with what that could possibly include, here is an extensive list (which actually… might not help your imagination calm down any). 😉
According to The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, offal includes…
- Bones (marrow bones, ground bones, and bones used to make broth)
- Chitterlings and Intestines (used to make natural casings)
- Fata and other trimmings (tallow and lard)
- Fries (Testicles)
- Head Meat (used to make head cheese or cuts like cheek)
- Melt (Spleen)
- Rinds (Skin)
- Sweetbreads (Thymus and Pancreas)
- Tripe (Stomach)
Let’s go into some details about why in the world one would even want to consume things like this – especially since it can be such a tricky, icky subject with most people.
Is There Risk?
It is a common misconception that organs, such as liver, store toxins and that simply is not true. According to Dr. Axe, “Misinformation has led people to believe toxins from foods and other substances absorbed into our bodies simply sit in the liver and are never expelled.” The liver, and other organs, don’t function as a filter that simply traps toxins. Instead, the liver “functions by metabolizing, altering and directing substances that pass through it.” (1) So in short, no there is no toxic risk in consuming organ meat.
So why eat organ meat?
In a nut shell (don’t eat nuts on AIP)(that was an AIP joke), offal, particularly liver, is an extremely nutrient dense food, containing vitamins A, D. E, K2, folate and, of course, B12. (2) And since nutrient density is what AIP is all about, you should definitely consider giving it a try. Bonus: It’s notably beneficial for those with Hypothyroidism (like me!) or any other thyroid disease because most organs, beef kidneys for example, are rich in selenium, a crucial mineral and antioxidant that is vital for thyroid health. (3)(4)
I do want to take a moment and express to you how important it is to purchase grass-fed, grass-finished and pasture-raised or free-range (for poultry) organic meat products. Why? Not only are animals raised this way treated better and given a significantly better quality of life, but it shows in the quality of their meat. There is a higher vitamin and mineral content, less water retention, the E. coli contamination is very low and the meat actually contains approximately four times the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids than “conventional” meat. You can read more about the significance in grass-fed, grass-finished beef here.
So, with all of that being said, let’s move onto some recipes that make eating foods like this a bit more appetizing!
1) Bacon, Mushroom and Liver Pâté
Bacon is a buzzword that perks up just about anyone looking for a tasty recipe! And this one in particular is perfect for an offal beginner since the savory taste of the bacon overpowers the flavor of the liver. It’s a win win! Gutsy By Nature keeps the ingredients simple yet full of essential vitamins and minerals that promote autoimmune healing and remission.
2) Grilled Sweetbreads with Balsamic Glaze
No, these sweetbreads are not raisin and cinnamon swirl pastries. Instead, they’re thymus and pancreas – Surprise! Fire up your grill and get ready to enjoy some kebabs like none other. Phoenix Helix offers an amazing recipe covered in balsamic glaze that is just as nutritious as it is delicious!
3) Cinnamon-Braised Beef Cheek
This recipe is so tender, The Paleo Mom says you can literally cut it with a spoon! With this being such a flavorful dish, it’s perfect for those times you need to get out of your food rut and into something new.
4) Paleo Steak and Kidney Pie
Pay careful attention to the AIP notes in this ingredients list. Even with a substitution, you’re looking at a very unique and yummy way to eat kidney! “This is gluten, egg and dairy free, and could be adapted to being 100% AIP friendly by replacing the ground flax meal with more coconut flour.” Salix Is Me even added a compliant pastry on top. You can’t beat that!
5) Slow Cooker Beef Heart
For those of you who haven’t reintroduced pepper into your diet, please omit for this recipe. Otherwise, this is an excellent recipe that you can use your slow cooker for! Just set it and leave it. 4-6 hours later, you’ll have yourself an effortless offal dinner. The Frugal Farm Wife discusses how affordable meats like this are, which is certainly an added bonus. 😉
Want to give the healing and nutritious properties of organic meet a try? I highly recommend the US Wellness Meats website since they sell quality meat products at an affordable price. You’ll find things like tongue, kidney, chicken heart and much more – all delivered to your front door! Easy!
Comment if you decide to try any other these recipes. I’d love to know what you think. ♥
Have a wonderful Monday, AIP-ers!
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