Eating beef liver to improve bone structure

I do a lot of reading about nutrition. A lot.  I find it fascinating to continually discover the unbelievable complexity of our bodies, and a core value in how well your body functions depends on the quality of your nutrition.  It’s simply mind-boggling, and I keep learning more and more that leaves me almost shocked at how critical good nutrition is to so many aspects of development.  And I’m a person who has already known for years that nutrition is really important!  (Sometimes I sit my older kids down and have them read some of what I read; other times I explain to them the science behind what I’m learning about – which leaves them wishing I knew more about nutrition when they were little so they could have all of the benefits!)

I have so many things I want to share with you here, but I often don’t because I don’t want to be seen as an expert who can answer detailed and specific questions – I can’t, and I don’t want to!  Despite reading many, many details in numerous books and articles, I’m not a person who enjoys writing about them; I prefer to share what I’m doing in response to what I learn.

I’ve been noticing that despite all of the good things we eat and the traditional ways that I prepare our foods (for about four years now), my ds2 and ds4 (almost) both have a couple of teeth that are a little close together, which I’m concerned may become crowded as they get older. It’s a little frustrating to me that it’s so darn hard in this day and age to help our kids reach their genetic potential, that we have to work so hard and so consciously to help our children develop in the way that generations pretty much naturally developed for centuries (specifically in this case I’m referring to the wide mouth palates of the past vs the narrow palates of the present).  But fortunately bone is elastic to a degree, particularly in very young children and good nutrition can actually help improve existing bone structure.  Though this is gets harder to do the older a child is, until the permanent teeth erupt there’s still a likelihood that it can be improved, and I’m hopeful that ramping up their nutrition can still benefit their jaw structure at this time.  Spending a bit more on high quality foods now could be a pretty big savings in orthodontia down the road!

I’ve repeatedly seen cod liver oil recommended as being valuable in contributing to good health (including tooth strength and jaw development), in part because it’s high in vitamins A and D, but I’ve been unable to find a single company in the world that sells kosher certified cod liver oil, so I needed to find another option.  Though I learned about the importance of cod liver oil at least two or three years ago, I’ve thought that it was enough to basically eat decent quality foods mostly prepared properly, and since I couldn’t find a source of cod liver oil I could use, I wasn’t concerned.  But now I believe that living in the toxic world we live in, we have so many strikes against us that it really takes more than ‘basically’ or ‘mostly’ to counter that.  When I once again came back to think about this issue in the last couple of months, I finally determined that we needed to add something more nutrient dense to our diets, and that beef liver is the best option for us, in terms of providing us with some similar benefits as cod liver oil (as well as benefits of its own).

Beef liver is high in iron and vitamin A (not so much D), lots of B vitamins (including the important B12), as well as Omega 3 fatty acids (most of us are deficient in Omega 3s and consume too many Omega 6s – the ration should be 1:1).  I like how Amanda says that eating liver is pretty close to taking a multi-purpose vitamin!   As such, it has many different benefits for people of all ages (I’m trying to convince a friend suffering extreme nausea during pregnancy – in her third trimester now! – with a history of severe postnatal depression to eat some liver to help address some underlying deficiencies, but she said it would make her too nauseous to eat it).

It’s taken a few weeks to actually be able to get the liver, but we finally have it!  Last night we prepared liver for the first time.  For my kosher readers, some of you are probably already wondering about this since you know it isn’t so simple!  I’ll prepare a more detailed post about the concerns for kosher consumers in the next week or so, and how to properly prepare it (including an important fact that most people are unaware of).

All of my kids but one liked it, but I told her she would only need to eat a small amount, and I’ll probably mix it into different foods, like with ground meat – so that was fine with her.  I’m planning to regularly include it in our meals, which is why I bought over 20 lb yesterday (as you know by now, I don’t know how to buy small quantities! :lol:).  We’ll see how long it lasts!

(This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays.)


13 thoughts on “Eating beef liver to improve bone structure

  1. Liver is what I call a real treat by us! My mum used to do it every so often (but then she also had to kosher her meat till butchers started selling it ready koshered and I can still remember meat draining in the bath tub – so preparing liver is not such a big deal!), and dh and I did it a few times. I think the hardest is to really check you know the halacha of how to prepare it, and then believe in yourself! People have been doing it for centuries and it only looks so daunting to us because we got so used to be spoon-fed everything.

  2. I came to want to know more about nurtition after two difficult pregnancies of nausea and vomitting, as I do want more children. A friend mentioned WAPF foundation and I was hooked! Finding out about bone structure was also very important for us as I have a signifigant overbite and this runs in my family. I am trying to eat as nutrient-dense as we can manage due to these concerns.
    I have often questioned the benefits of liver from a kosher standpoint. Does being broiled eliminate any of the nutrients/minerals?
    Is beef liver more nutrient dense than chicken liver?
    I am uniformed about this next question so I hope it doesn’t sound dumb: In humans I believe our livers filter toxins and I assume it does the same in animals, so then is it necessary to only use organic or grass-fed livers as these animals diets would be less toxic? hope that makes sense
    Did you purchase your bulk liver order locally?

    1. Nathalie – it’s true that once you do something like kasher (make kosher) liver yourself, it demystifies the process. Until then, the unknown factor is intimidating.

      Dina, that’s really interesting that it was difficult pregnancies that brought you to traditional eating. I look forward in the future to hearing what your experience is in a future pregnancy! I’ll answer the questions about liver in my next post. :)

  3. Avivah, I always thought that the liver is where many toxins are concentrated in the body, so the benefits of the nutrients are outweighed by the risks of ingesting the toxins, as well. What have you found on the subject?

  4. Regarding cod liver oil; I do take it and give it to my kids occasionally. I always use a plastic spoon, never let it touch any utensils and thought that this was okay since it is a supplement. I know it’s not a matter of life and death, but for some reason I thought this was permissible. What’s your opinion on this?

    1. I really can’t answer this, since it’s a rabbinical question. I’ve discussed this with different representatives of two kashrus agencies and dh has discussed it with several area rabbis. I find the issue very frustrating, since cod liver oil itself is kosher and was eaten by generations of the most religious Jews (which I told those rabbis I spoke to, and one of the older rabbis dh spoke to said he and all his friends grew up taking it). The problem as I understand it is, with the industrial scale production that we have nowadays, you can’t guarantee that no other non-kosher fish were mixed in with the cod when they were processed.

      Talya – I’ll respond to your question when I write the post about liver. :)

  5. Hi Avivah,
    I have really enjoyed reading all your postings. I wanted to throw out the idea about cranial sacral therapy…I dont know if it can be used to address the palate; however, I know my sister had great success with her daughters severe underbite. I actually just began bringing my baby for sessions to target her tongue thrust which was recommended to me by her holistic pediatrician. Also, I dont know if you are a costco shopper but they are now selling organic quinoa for 9.99 for a 4 lb bag and it is O U. Also about the liver I used to serve it regularly on shabbos and then my mother mentioned to me how liver is the organ that detoxifies the cow and I shouldnt eat it. Do you have any thoughts about that and have u ever heard that being an issue? Because my husband and I really enjoy liver and would love to bring it back into the home. Hope all is well and hope to see you again soon (hopefully Ill get to visit my parents sooner than later):)

    1. Hi, Rebecca, so nice to know you’re reading here! The idea of cranial sacral therapy to address palate issues is very interesting – it’s a great idea! I’ve taken a couple of my kids in the past to an osteopath who did cranial-sacral adjustments but it was unfortunately not covered by insurance and not in my budget for regular appointments.

      You’re the third person to ask about the toxicity of liver – this is something that bothered me for a long time which is why I didn’t use it until now. I’ll write more about liver and address it there.

      Thanks for the info about the quinoa; Sara, thanks for the info about the sucanat! I’m not a Costco shopper but I’m delighted to know that there are affordable options to keep Pesach costs down.

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