If you’ve been living a Paleo lifestyle for a while, you’ve probably heard the recommendation to eat the whole animal. Still wondering why that is? Let’s talk about it.
Paleo and Micronutrients
Many of us living a Paleo lifestyle have gotten into eating some of the parts of the animal that the Standard American Diet (SAD) has gotten away from. This includes, not just bones and liver, but heart, stomach, kidney, tongue, gizzards, brains, even tendons. If it came from an animal, we’ll eat it. There are a number of reasons that we do this. First off, it’s just good for us. Offal has a ton of micronutrients that muscle meat just can’t match, including iron, selenium, copper, various B vitamins, and CoQ10.
The Problems With Muscle Meat
Muscle meat also contains certain amino acids (heterocyclic amines) and advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) that have been linked to cancer, particularly when the meat is overcooked. Not only does offal not contain any of these potentially dangerous toxins, but it has the ability to reverse some of the effects of consuming heterocyclic amines and AGEs.
Waste Not, Want Not
There’s also the ecological aspect to eating organ meats: by eating the whole animal, we are preventing it from going to waste. While vegans and vegetarians decry the amount of resources that go into a single burger, those numbers are usually built off the assumption that we are eating only the muscle meat and throwing away the rest. By consuming the entire animal, we significantly lessen that load, while at the same time doing our bodies a favor. So eat the whole animal. Your body will thank you and, due to Western culture’s current disgust with organ meats, so will your wallet.
For more reasons to eat offal and tips on how to do so, check out Mark Sisson’s excellent post on the topic.