[Holistic Squid's note: I've written before about my family's favorite ways to eat liver (and why this often snubbed food can be so essential to health). Here Naomi shares her experiences – and eventual success – using liver as a natural energy booster. So cool!]
Being tired is an epidemic – I'll bet at some time you've fought fatigue. I have, and in the process of finding a solution I discovered a new and palatable way to take a tried and true superfood that almost everybody hates – liver.
I was tired. With four kids, my body still hadn't recovered from the toil of pregnancy and nursing twins. I wanted to exercise, but I couldn't get the energy to move my body. I dragged myself out of bed at the last possible minute in the morning. Ever felt like this?
I needed a natural energy booster. I wanted to try liver but hadn't found a way to get it down on a consistent basis. With a source of sustainable grass fed beef liver, I had the goods but couldn't get past the strong taste.
The adventure to make liver work
I have a great recipe for beef liver pâté that has hardly any liver taste, but it wasn't reasonable to make that to eat every day.
I tried dehydrating beef liver, grinding it, and encapsulating it. It absolutely stank when I was dehydrating it, and then was way too tedious to encapsulate it. Ain't nobody got time for that.
I tried making frozen liver pills. I wasn't sure how much would be absorbed, seeing as the liver is in chunks, but I was willing to give it a try. Frozen liver starts melting the moment it comes out of the freezer, and due to a gag reflex that is way more active after two very sick pregnancies, I didn't like starting my day fighting the heaves.
I had seen Holistic Squid's post on raw liver shooters and was inspired, but juicing one tomato a day just wasn't convenient enough. And fresh tomatoes in the winter are terrible here in Slovakia.
Why I wanted to try liver
Why was I going to all these lengths to get liver in?
As Emily has stated before, liver is a powerhouse of nutrition. It contains vitamins A, all the B's – especially B12 and folic acid, iron and trace minerals, CoQ10; it balances hormones and increases fertility; and it has an unidentified anti-fatigue factor, i.e. a natural energy booster.
I was complaining to my mom about wanting to get liver in but not being able to actually eat it everyday, when she suggested making liver drinks. She put liver, a clove of garlic, a vegetable, and a dash of salt into a blender and drank it. So I started doing the same.
Did my natural energy booster work?
I could see the results right away. After a few days of taking these liver shots, I actually wanted to exercise. I could get out of bed in the morning. In fact, I started getting up at 5:30 am to go for a run or bike ride (working down from 6 am), as that is the only time of day possible for me to get out alone.
Not only did it improve my energy, but also my mood. I noticed that I wasn't quite as cranky with the kids, and started humming throughout the day as I was cooking or cleaning. This could be attributed to the iron, as low iron is associated with depression. Whatever it was, I was thankful.
And I knew that these changes were attributed to the liver because when we went for a two week holiday (sans my liver drink), at the end of it I was back to not wanting to exercise or get out of bed.
Getting the taste just right
While I could see that the liver drinks were working, I still had some resistance because of the taste. I thought back to my beef liver pâté – what was it that canceled out the liver taste??
And there was the secret. In the pate, a large amount of fat, caramelized onions, and allspice contribute to a smooth delicious beef liver pate. I wasn't going to caramelize onions every morning, so I tried adding a teaspoon of melted coconut oil to the liver drink.
Bingo. Somehow, the coconut oil cancels the beef liver taste. I won't lie and say it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, but it's drinkable and doesn't taste (much) like liver.
Ready for more energy and better mood? Give these liver drinks a shot.
Secret liver drink ingredients
- Liver (I use beef) – buy grass fed beef online here
- Veggies (try 1/2 carrot; 1 Tablespoon frozen spinach; 1/2 cucumber)*
- 1/2 cup water
- Pinch salt
- Taste enhancer (e.g. allspice; garlic; ginger – optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted (goose fat also works well, butter doesn't really)
You can use any vegetable – in fact, I've even made it without vegetables before but having a carrot or cucumber in there does help with the taste. Having more vegetables means more vegetable taste but also makes the drink thicker, which can make it harder to drink, so you may need to experiment to find the amount you like.
I also find it helps to change the vegetables up – if I have one vegetable for too long I start to turn my nose up to my energy enhancing drink.
I recommend doing this in a high speed blender – you definitely don't want any chunks floating around.
Secret liver drink method
- Cut liver up into roughly tablespoon size pieces, discarding tough sinews and veins. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. When frozen, put the pieces of liver into a bag and keep frozen for daily use.
- Every day (first thing in the morning works well for me), add one piece of liver (approx a tablespoons worth), some vegetable/s, salt, optional taste enhancers, and water into a blender and blend.
- While blending, pour the melted coconut oil into the blender. It must be melted, otherwise you end up with little chunks of oil. (In order to melt a small amount, I put some hardened oil on a larger spoon and hold it over the flame on my gas stovetop. Do not touch the spoon, as it is very hot.)
- Pour smooth drink into a glass and drink immediately.
(Pictured is spinach/garlic, carrot/allspice, and cucumber/ginger.)
Are you struggling with fatigue and ready to try this natural energy booster?
The closest Naomi has gotten to her dream farm is growing live bacteria in jars and wrangling her four children, including twins. A Canadian who now lives in Slovakia, Naomi writes about traditions, food, and life in Slovakia (as well as some pretty strange food) at Almost Bananas.