I know what you’re thinking, because I had the same reaction. Even though I’m an omnivore (eating both plants and animals) I had a really hard time embracing the fact that liver was going to be a part of MY ideal preconception nutrition and fertility diet. Just to clarify… I don’t have to eat liver in order to conceive, I am choosing to eat liver because I believe that it is one of the most nutrient dense foods available and I want to use it to help build my nutrient stores prior to pregnancy. Not too long ago liver and cod liver oil made a regular appearance at meal times – if you don’t remember, just ask your parents. With childhood obesity, autism, asthma, allergies and diabetes being at an all time high, I feel a stronger pull now, more than ever to get back to the basics and take note of the strategies that healthy traditional cultures used for my pregnancy.
photo credit: TAYLOR149
The nutritional wisdom of our ancestors has been lost in our modern day society. Traditionally, every native culture has sacred foods that are fed to newly married couples, pregnant women and children. These foods contain a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that nourish growing babies and children. One of these foods is LIVER. Since this valuable information is missing from mainstream fertility and pregnancy literature, I’m going to highlight these sacred foods through Fertility Food Fridays!
Over the next 6-12 months I am making a conscious effort to create a nourishing home for our baby. In an effort to add more traditional, nutrient dense foods to our diet I ate liver for the first time this week… and it was good!
Quite simply because it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. Liver is nature’s most concentrated source of Vitamin A and contains all the B vitamins in abundance (including vitamin B12 and the coveted folate or folic acid). It is an excellent source of high quality protein and a highly usable form of iron which is especially important for women during their childbearing years. It’s also rich in trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium. I plan on writing a separate post about the benefits of cod liver oil so stay tuned!
Dr. Mary Enig wrote a great article on Vitamin A for Fetal Development which I highly recommend reading along with Vitamin A Saga, especially if you’ve been told to avoid liver during pregnancy. Since I want this blog to be about my personal journey through fertility and pregnancy, I’m going to forgo delving into this debate and recommend that you make an informed decision based on your own research.
I only recommend eating liver from organically raised, grass-fed animals. It’s best to pass on liver from animals grown conventionally which will have accumulated toxins from pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Luckily a pound of organic livers will often cost you less than $5 so it’s an affordable way to add more nutrients to your diet. Since this is such a powerful superfood a 4oz serving once or twice per week is all you need. We picked up our first pound of frozen liver from Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm at the Vancouver Farmers Market.
My husband (Vancouver Nutritionist) came up with a creative way to ease into our liver-eating adventures. He put the liver in our food processor and then fried it up with some onions and spices before adding it to our favourite Curried Chickpea Chili Recipe. It was delicious! My first time eating liver was a success – I couldn’t tell the difference between the liver and the ground bison that we normally would have used. I was pleasantly surprised!
Since we always make enough dinner for leftovers the next day we plan on incorporating half a pound of liver into our meals once a week so that we are both consuming approximately 2oz of liver twice a week. That should be easy to do!