Organ meats, also known as “offal,” used to be a standard part of our diet. While that’s no longer the case, there are many benefits to eating them, especially if you follow the ketogenic diet.
Most of us get our protein from a few common sources―for example, chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and eggs. While not the protein options we’re used to seeing the line the shelves at grocery stores and as menu options at restaurants, organ meats like liver, kidney, tongue, and heart are nutritious, packed with micronutrients, cheap, and easier to prepare than you might think.
And besides their ability to impact your health positively, organ meats come with other benefits, too.
In this article, we’ll make a compelling case for adding organ meats to your diet. We’re not saying you have to eat them every night, but we’re also not saying that’d be the worst thing in the world, either.
<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">What are Organ Meats?</p></h4>
Organ meats also referred to as “offal” by some butchers, are cuts of meat that fall outside of the category of “muscle meats.” While that second term might sound odd, it’s the term used to describe the common cuts most of us are used to eating: tenderloin, thigh, brisket, filet, etc.
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<p>Some of the most popular organ meats are liver, kidney, heart, sweetbreads (made from the pancreas and thymus of an animal), brain, tongue, and tripe (intestines).</p>
<p>While muscle meats are more popular in America, organ meats are cheap and incredibly nutritious. In both the medical and health community, some experts tout these cuts as <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/what-are-superfoods-top-7-for-your-keto-diet/"><b>superfoods</b></a> because they are dense sources of vitamins and minerals.</p>
<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Benefits of Organ Meats</p></h4>
The truth is that our ancestors didn’t waste food. Though offal is not the most popular thing available at the supermarket today, it’s very possible that we are missing out by not consuming organ meats on a regular basis.
We’ll dive into the specifics on different organ meats in the next section. For now, check out some of the benefits of adding offal to your diet.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Vitamins and Minerals</p></h5>
Organ meats offer many nutritional benefits that traditional muscle meats may not. B-complex vitamins, folate, zinc, and iron are plentiful in the majority of organ meats.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Lots of Protein and Quality Fats</p></h5>
The most popular offal is packed with protein, good fats, and even omega-3 fatty acids in some cases. Whether your goal is to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/">**gain muscle**</a> or simply stay in ketosis, organ meats can help you get there.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Easier to Cook Than You Think</p></h5>
If you’ve never tried or cooked organ meats before, you may not know where to start in terms of preparation.
The good news is that organ meats are a lot easier to cook than you may think. In fact, if you know how to cook muscle meats, you probably don’t need to know much else.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Low Cost</p></h5>
Here’s your chance to capitalize on something other people are missing out on. Because foods like liver, kidney, and heart are not as popular to the general public, they are generally sold for pennies on the dollar compared to more expensive cuts of meat.
For example, a pound of beef liver will cost around $2.50 at your typical grocery store<sup>1</sup>. Compare that to a pound of ribeye steak, which will cost anywhere from 9 to 11 dollars per pound.
If you’re doing the keto diet on a budget, organ meats may be one of the keys to helping you reach your goals. You can eat them liberally without breaking your budget.
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<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Types of Organ Meats</p></h4>
<p>Organ meats describe several different cuts that you can find at many grocery stores. Here are some of the most popular options as well as the nutritional and health benefits associated with each cut.</p>
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Liver</p></h5>
Not too long ago, liver was as likely to be the main feature of a dish as a cut of beef or chicken. A simple dish like liver and onions was a staple menu item at many restaurants. This is no longer the case, but liver is perhaps the most micronutrient-dense animal cut you can get your hands on. Of all the organ meats available, it is the most likely to be considered a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/what-are-superfoods-top-7-for-your-keto-diet/">**superfood**</a>.
Liver is packed with micronutrients like vitamin B, vitamin A, riboflavin, and iron<sup>2</sup>. It is also full of protein, which is necessary for any healthy, active lifestyle.
Liver does have a relatively lower fat content (25 percent), but that shouldn’t stop you from combining it with some green veggies cooked with olive oil or coconut oil. You can easily plug liver into a keto-approved meal.
Because liver has a stronger flavor, it pairs well with simpler recipes. Salt, pepper, a little oil, and some vegetables make up a simple and healthy meal.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Tongue</p></h5>
If you are following the ketogenic diet, tongue meat shouldn’t be something you scoff at. In fact, it’s something you should consider eating on a regular basis. That’s because it’s full of fatty acids and minerals like zinc, iron, choline, folate, and vitamin B12<sup>3</sup>.
Known for its folate content, in particular, tongue is suggested for women who are pregnant due to its fertility benefits.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Heart</p></h5>
Heart meat is full of folate, zinc, iron, and selenium as well as several of the B vitamins. As you’re seeing, there is a connection between organ meats and many of the key vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies healthy.
Heart meat, interestingly enough, has been linked to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease due to its rich vitamin content. Ironic, right?
It has also been linked to warding off diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as depression and anxiety<sup>3</sup>.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Kidney</p></h5>
When you make a list in your head of the proteins that are full of omega-3 fatty acids, kidney is probably not the first one to come to mind. You may think of eggs or salmon. But believe it or not, kidney meat is packed with omega-3s, which help keep our brains healthy and functioning properly<sup>3</sup>.
Just as the ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in joints, so has kidney meat, which makes it an awesome pairing for anyone following the keto diet.
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<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Should You Eat Organ Meats on the Keto Diet?</p></h4>
The ketogenic diet helps people lose weight, reduce inflammation, and improve health. That’s why it’s the diet we recommend our Warrior Made community uses to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com">**transform their bodies**</a>.
So, is offal a good candidate for your weekly meals? Should you consider at least trying one or more of the organ meats in this article?
Our answer is <i>absolutely</i>! As you’ve already read, nearly all organ meats are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that make your body healthy. Most of them are packed with protein, and many of them even contain the good fats or fatty acids we encourage you to consume liberally while on the ketogenic diet.
The key to adding organ meats to your diet is just like any other health-related advice: figure out what works for you. If you’ve never tried organ meats before, you may be hesitant. Don’t feel like you have to start cooking liver once a week to be healthy. Simply find it at the store, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/">**pick a recipe**</a> you think you’ll like, and give it a go.
The worst thing that can happen if you decide you don’t like it―then your diet stays like it is. On the other hand, you might find a cheap, nutritious, tasty hunk of protein you can add into your rotation of keto-approved recipes.
<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Are There Downsides to Eating Organ Meats?</p></h4>
While there are no negatives to including these new cuts into your diet, there are a few things to consider.
For one, keep in mind that eating offal may take some getting used to. The flavor and texture are different from that of the muscle meats you’re likely consuming now. Perhaps add small amounts to dishes or combine them with your favorite protein options as a way of ‘sneaking them in’ as your taste buds adjust.
And as with any type of meat you buy, it’s always better to buy local, grass-fed, or organic when possible. Not only is grass-fed healthier for you, but it also helps support local farms in your community<sup>3</sup>.
<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Keto-Approved Organ Meat Recipes</p></h4>
<a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/bison-organ-meat-chili/">**Bison Organ Meat Chili**</a>
<h5>Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook: Time: 30 mins | Serves: 4</h5>
<h5><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Ingredients:</p></h5>
* 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
* ½ yellow onion
* 1 large heirloom tomato
* 1 tablespoon finely ground organic espresso
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 lb ground bison blend (heart, liver, meat) <a target="_blank" href="https://thehonestbison.com/shop-meats/heart-liver-ground-blend/">**Found Here**</a>
* 2 tablespoon chilli powder
*1 tablespoon cumin
* ½ tablespoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon onion powder
* ¼ teaspoon cayenne
* ½ teaspoon oregano
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 can of tomato concentrate
* 1 tablespoon coconut teriyaki sauce
*2 tablespoons avocado oil
* ½ cup cheese
* water, as needed, to desired consistency
<h5><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Instructions:</p></h5>
1. Chop tomato, onion and garlic.
2. In your large stock pot, melt some of your butter then start browning your onions with the diced tomato, adding the espresso grounds towards the end, followed by the garlic.
3. Brown the onion to almost black on some pieces, then add the bison blend, mashing it into the pan with a large fork or potato masher.
4. Then, in no particular order, add all your spices, adding more butter, and continue mashing the meat blend, separating it into a fine texture.
5. While the meat is slightly undercooked, add the tomato concentrate, avocado oil, oregano, and coconut teriyaki sauce, continue mashing together.
6. Add half a cup of water at a time, until you get the chunky or saucy consistency you desire, continue mashing and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes over a medium heat.
7. Taste it, add any and all spices you think it needs.
8. Turn down the heat, let it thicken.
9. Garnish with cheese
<h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Organ Meats: Wrapping Up</p></h4>
As you know, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com">**body transformations**</a> and improvements to your health can be directly influenced by the foods you put in your mouth. Organ meats, also known as offal, are low-cost, protein-packed nutritional powerhouses that can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. You can’t really ask for much more, especially from something many doctors and health experts call a superfood.
Whether you’re on a budget, looking to add new meals to your repertoire, or just up for trying something new, organ meats might be the answer for you.
<h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5>
1. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tender-Year-Brand-Sliced-Beef-Liver-1-lb/10534061/">Tender Year Brand Sliced Beef Liver</a>
2. <a target="_blank" href="https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3470/2">Beef, variety meats and by-products</a>
3. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319229.php">Are organ meats good for you?</a>