If you are a Renoite (meaning you are born and raised Reno, NV), you have probably had the Awful Awful burger from the Nugget. It is touted as the “Best burger in Reno!” If you are not a Renoite, I hear it is something to experience. In fact, it is a Reno Legend and is available 24 hours/day.
No. I have not had one in the 5 plus years I have lived here in Reno….even before “The Change” (when my family transitioned to whole-foods/paleo inspired eating almost 3 years ago). I am not here to bash it or tell anyone that it isn’t healthy for you. In fact, I would try one if I didn’t think it would make it impossible for me to care for my three children or maybe if they offered grass-fed grass-finished beef with lettuce wrap and organic potato fries fried in lard. I am all about celebrating things, even if unhealthy once in a while. But I need to function afterwards.
But it was funny as I started to write about my experience with my father, how the Awful Awful sounds a lot like “Offal Offal.” I am sure that if you have eaten many Awful Awfuls in your life, you may not know what Offal even is. I didn’t until a few years ago.
Offal is another word that refers to a list of edible organ meats. I hear you already with the “Yuck!” Or maybe you would say “awful awful!” A play on words and funny that there is a thing called the “Awful Awful.”
Organ meat is a POWER HOUSE for nutrition. Here is a list of the wonderful nutrients it has:
B complex vitamins including B12 and folate
Healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fats
Choline (another B vitamin important for cell membranes, brain and nerve function)
Trace minerals copper, zinc, and chromium
Coenzyme Q 10 (important for cardiac function)
Vitamin E (circulation)
Purines (precursors to DNA and RNA)
Amino Acids 1
In Deep Nutriton, by Dr Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan, they describe how from an evolutionary standpoint, our diets changed us. Eating cholesterol, lecithin, choline, saturated fat and long-chain polyunsaturated fats resulted in a BIG BRAIN. The foods with the highest concentration of BRAIN BUILDING nutrients, is in organ meats, cold-water fish, and fish eggs. 2 Maybe it is worth eating…sometimes….
Ok. So now you know what Offal is….let’s get back to my father.
We were in Healdsburg, CA shopping and having lunch prior to my cousin’s wedding. Just to be clear, I didn’t have my children with me. I don’t know how having my kids present would have changed the experience, but I might have resisted taking 3 young kids into a fancy restaurant.
My parent’s wanted to take me to a fancy restaurant that has these potato fries that come piled high. The sizes are 500 or 1000 fries high or something. Anyways, it’s one of my dad’s favorite restaurants. He says to me, “I love it, but I am not sure it’s Paleo. So you probably won’t like it.” There may have been eye rolling on his part, but doesn’t matter, I am getting used to it over the years. I respond with, “If they make real food, I shouldn’t have a problem. I can eat almost anywhere.”
When we arrived, I looked at the menu. This is what I saw.
I looked at my dad and laughed, “And you thought there wouldn’t be anything Paleo here!!!” And guess what my MOM said, “Oh good! Someone that will eat liver with him! I hate it!”
And we got a large order of Organic Free Range Chicken Livers.
I could only stomach 3. I wish I loved it. It wasn’t my first Rodeo with organ meats, but I usually have to hide it in something else. But I loved the idea of giving my body traditional nutrition that it has only seen a few times over the past few years. We even had a great discussion with the waitress about how to get her husband to eat Offal. I shared how I incorporate it into hamburgers for the family sometimes…with Bacon. Everything is better with bacon.
What I loved more was the conversation. I learned that my father used to have beef liver all the time growing up that his mother prepared for him. He never saw her eat it. I can relate. Preparing organ meats is rough for me. But, I prepare it occasionally in a way that I can eat it too. I don’t love it. But I know how invaluable it potentially is to my health, which is why I prepare it for the family.
My dad used to love liver, until one day he didn’t.
He was at our family cabin and a family member got a buck on the property. They went right out and took the liver out to cook and eat that night. Fresh, wild game liver. I don’t think there is anything else in this world more valuable as far as nutrients. At first he didn’t want it because he had grown tired of it, but then as it was being prepared, he changed his mind. He said it was wonderful. I bet it was almost primal instinct.
He continued to share with me all the things he used to see at the butcher market. Beef marrow bones, liver, heart…..This may sound crazy in today’s world, but I wish it was more like that again. I have found wonderful sources for my marrow-bones and Offal, but it has been an effort.
In the end, my father and I connected over organic free-range chicken livers….who could have imagined that?
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove refined grains, refined vegetable oils, refined foods.
Replace with an open mind. Replace processed foods with whole , nutrient dense foods. Offal may be the best as far as nutrition. If you can’t stomach it, then eat real food. Include fresh vegetables, fruit and protein from good sources (organic, free range, wild, grass fed).
Restore your brain power. That may include improving depressive symptoms, brain fog, memory, or fatigue. If nothing else, maybe it will restore a connection with a loved one or your connection to your environment and your food.
Eat Well. Move Well. Thrive On.
1. Razaitas L. The liver files. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-liver-files/.
2. Shanahan MD , Catherine and Shanahan, Luke. Deep nutrition; why your genes need traditional food. Lawai, HI: Big Box Books; 2009.
Holistic Health Coach