Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another Perfect WLS Food----Anyone Else Too

Most all WLS people find eggs to be the perfect WLS food. I want to add another great food to your list, LIVER. Many of you out there are going, yuck, right about now. That's the thing about liver, either you love it or you hate it. I personally love it and make it a weekly addition to my menu.

I don't know how or why our modern society developed and aversion to liver. Our ancestors revered it. It was the most sought after part of a kill for the hunters.

Since history began, "liver has ranked above all other offal as one of the most prized culinary delights. Its heritage is illustrious--whether savored by young warriors after a kill or mixed with truffles and cognac for fine pat├ęs de foie gras." So write Margaret Gin and Jana Allen, authors of Innards and Other Variety Meats (San Francisco, 1974).

Practically every cuisine has liver specialties. Some cultures place such a high value on liver that human hands can’t touch it. Special sticks must move it. The Li-Chi, a handbook of rituals published during China’s Han era (202B.C. to 220A.D.), lists liver as one of the Eight Delicacies. Throughout most of recorded time humans have preferred liver over steak by a large margin, regarding it as a source of great strength and as providing almost magical curative powers.

Liver provides and abundance of nutrition in a small package. Many of the nutrients provided are exactly the things WLSers are most deficient in. Check out this list:
  • An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • One of our best sources of folic acid
  • A highly usable form of iron
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
  • An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
Liver contains heme iron, a form that is easier for the body to use than the type found in plant foods. A 1-ounce serving of beef liver contains 10 percent of the daily value for iron. This is about three times the amount found in other cuts of meats.

Beef liver is very high in vitamin A, and a rich source of vitamin B12 and copper as well. It is also a good source of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorous and selenium. One ounce of beef liver contains 111 milligrams of cholesterol.

The anti fatigue factor of liver is still unknown, but the research into it was very interesting. I couldn't believe myself when I read it. It is amazing how it turned out.

Liver’s as-yet-unidentified anti-fatigue factor makes it a favorite with athletes and bodybuilders. The factor was described by Benjamin K. Ershoff, PhD, in a July 1951 article published in the Proceedings for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Ershoff divided laboratory rats into three groups. The first ate a basic diet, fortified with 11 vitamins. The second ate the same diet, along with an additional supply of vitamin B complex. The third ate the original diet, but instead of vitamin B complex received 10 percent of rations as powdered liver.

A 1975 article published in Prevention magazine described the experiment as follows: "After several weeks, the animals were placed one by one into a drum of cold water from which they could not climb out. They literally were forced to sink or swim. Rats in the first group swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up. The second group, which had the added fortifications of B vitamins, swam for an average of 13.4 minutes. Of the last group of rats, the ones receiving liver, three swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours when the test was terminated. Something in the liver had prevented them from becoming exhausted. To this day scientists have not been able to pin a label on this anti-fatigue factor."

Is Eating Liver Dangerous?

The cholesterol factor is usually a turn off for todays society. But cholesterol is good for you. Check out these links: The Cholesterol Myths, The Cholesterol Myth: Dangers of Low Blood Cholesterol, The Soft Science of Dietary Fat.

Also many people worry because the liver is used to remove toxins from the body. They feel that these toxins remain in the liver. Nothing could be further from the truth. The liver is very efficient in cleaning up the toxins in the body and then getting rid of them. They are not stored in the liver itself.

In spite of widespread tradition and abundant scientific evidence on the health benefits of liver, conventional nutritionists and government agencies now warn against its consumption. The putative dangers of eating liver stem from two concerns--the assumption that liver contains many toxins and the high level of vitamin A that it provides.

One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

As for concerns about vitamin A, these stem from studies in which moderate doses of synthetic vitamin A were found to cause problems and even contribute to birth defects. But natural vitamin A found in liver is an extremely important nutrient for human health and does not cause problems except in extremely large amounts.
So how do you go about preparing liver to eat? You would be surprised at all the recipes to be found on the net. The secret to my preparation is marinating it overnight. I use many different forms of marinade. You will just have to check out these sites for yourself.
Anemia was my main reason for starting to eat liver once a week. My research into the vitamin deficiencies associated with WLS only reinforced my need for this perfect food. So look over the recipes and give some of them a try. Your body will love it. As well as your health.


Lisa Sargese said...

Liver is an incredibly rich source of iron. No doubt about it!

Former Donut Junkie said...


I've not had WLS, but you present an interesting topic...liver. However, liver has always been the point I draw the line. I am a big meat lover and eat just about every kind of meat but liver. It's one of those things I was forced to eat when I was a kid and it turned me against it. The taste was just plain yuck, at least the way I remember it.

On the other hand, I perused the Weston Price recipes, tips and suggestions and am thinking this whole thing through again. It appears the key may be to slice it thin, marinate it well, use lots of garlic, onions and other spices, then bread it with something like almond flour or crushed nuts and fry it. This seems like it might make it tolerable. What d'ya think?

And, my next question. What kind of liver has the least offensive 'livery' taste? Calves liver, chicken liver, or what?

Do you have any suggestions for fixing it so it doesn't have a 'livery' taste to it? If I could fix it so it tasted like country fried steak, I'd join in with ya' on eatin' a plate or two.

I know there are lots of recipes out there, but I'm looking for some feedback from some other 'not-so-fond-of-liver' folks.

I'm anxious to hear your wisdom on this 'livery' subject. I've come a long ways by giving up donuts, but I'm not quite sure about replacing them with liver???

Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie