Mention that you eat offal to most people and you can be sure of two things:

1) It will illicit some sort of face pulling with the person you are speaking to, usually it involves nose scrunching or tongue poking
2) You will be told in one way or another how unappetising it is

For all those that haven’t heard of offal, offal refers to the organ meats of animals. This includes (but is not limited to) liver, brain, kidney and heart.

Offal has a bad wrap in today’s society. Many people associate offal with negative childhood memories such as grandma’s horrible liver and onion recipe or that one time they were ‘forced’ to eat tripe and how disgusting it tasted. Unfortunately these stories have spread throughout society and even those who haven’t tried offal are reluctant to do so.

So given offal’s reputation, why would anyone eat it?

Meat is a very nutrient dense food which is readily bio-available (meaning that’s its nutrients can be easily assimilated by the digestive system) and offal is the most nutrient dense meat, making offal a true super-food. Offal contains an abundance of B vitamins, including vitamin B12, in fact beef liver contains a whopping 17 times more vitamin B12 than beef mince (ground beef)! B12 is the only vitamin humans cannot obtain from plants or sunlight. According to Chris Kresser vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to:

  • Premature aging
  • Brain fog, cognitive problems and mental decline
  • Impaired immune function, autoimmune disease and cancer
  • Infertility

Offal is also abundant in iron, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E. The list goes on and on.

Chicken hearts – one of the most tasty types of offal

Still need more reasons to eat offal?

  • Hunter gather cultures prized offal. Offal was often saved exclusively for the upper echelons of society including hunters, pregnant women and elders.
  • Offal is cheap! Going Paleo can be expensive, especially when sourcing grass-fed meat. Incorporating more offal into your diet is not only a good way to increase your nutrient in take, it also a good way to save money.

Where to start?

Some types of offal can have a very strong taste (hence its bad reputation). I recommend starting with the cuts that are easiest on the palate. Below I have categorised offal according to the strength of its flavour. If you’re new to offal start with Walk in the park. If you’ve sampled offal before try Getting stronger. And if you are looking to be adventurous go straight to Strongest.

1. Walk in the park
Tongue, heart

2. Getting stronger
Kidney, brain (a similar taste to scrambled eggs), liver

3. Strongest
Tripe, sweetbreads

More information

Check out these great sources for more on the benefits of offal, how to prepare it and how to add more offal to your diet

  1. The Paleo Mom – Why Everyone Should Be Eating Organ Meat
  2. Chris Kresser – How to Eat More Organ Meats 
  3. Mercola – The Health Benefits of Consuming Organ Meats
  4. The Curious Coconut – 100+ Ways to Eat More Organ Meats