Organ meats are the ultimate food as medicine. They may not be popular foods in the modern world, but they are actually one of the most universal parts of an ancestral human diet. Any traditional culture around the world is going to use organ meats regularly when you examine their cuisine. Part of it is just simple utility- in a time when we didn’t have the convenience of grocery stores, it was important to not waste any part of the animal. But there is also a therapeutic aspect that is known in traditional wisdom as well. One common idea in traditional cultures is that eating the organ of an animal will help promote healing in that organ in the person. And this makes sense in terms of biochemistry- an organ is going to contain the exact profile of nutrients that organ needs!

Some people initially have a hard time incorportating organ meats into their diet because they do have very rich, strong flavors. This is actually because of how dense in nutrients these foods are, but they can take some getting used to. Luckily, because of the nutrient density, a little goes a long way! You don’t have to eat very much organ meat to still get therapeutic potential. If you really cannot get yourself to eat them because of taste sensitivities, you can buy freeze dried organ supplements. I don’t find them quite as potent for people’s health as eating them cooked from fresh, but it is a better alternative than not having them at all.

Now let’s talk about some of the main organs I recommend eating and why!

Collagenous Parts

The collagenous parts of the animal are going to be things like the ears, feet, skin, joints, tail, and tongue that are cooked several hours as a stew or stock in order to extract the connective tissue. I always encourage people to nipple around as close to the bones as they can to get all the nutrients possible. These parts of the animal are going to be most beneficial to consume if you have any type of collagen disorder or hypermobility which includes leaky gut, EDS, skin issues, joint issues, and more. Collagen is what provides the body raw material to heal damaged tissues, so is very important for healing and maintaining the integry of the gut lining.

Bone Marrow

When you split a big animal bone in half (like from a cow or bison specifically) they are going to contain bone marrow, which is a thick, white, fatty substance that contains all the essential nutrients for the immune system and the essential fat soluble vitamins such as A, D and K. This is particularly helpful if you have any kind of immune system deficiency, including a generally weak immune system, autoimmune disease or cancer. You can eat it raw, just spooning it on out of the bone, or you can roast it in the oven until it is soft and eat it that way.


Liver is the most common organ that people talk about eating. The reason is that it is a nutrient powerhouse- it is truly nature’s multivitamin. Liver is particularly high in Vitamin A, a nutrient that a lot of people in the modern world are deficient in. Deficiencies in vitamin A can cause vision issues, a weak immune system, dental and bone problems, and even infertility. Yes, you can technically overdose in Vitamin A, but you must eat an excessive amount of liver for months at a time! To be safe, don’t eat over 8 oz a week, and don’t combine a high amount of liver and cod liver oil intake.

Liver is also very high in B vitamins, including B vitamins that are lower in other types of meat such as B1 and B9. The amounts are very concentrated, so liver is a good alternative if people don’t do well with synthetic vitamin supplements. Because of this, liver seems to particularly benefit people who have chronic fatigue or thyroid disorders.


Heart is probably the most palatable organ meat, in that it tastes the most like a regular steak or other muscle meat. Heart is a very good source of nutrients such as taurine and COQ10. These are often supplements recommended for things like anxiety and chronic fatigue, so is good choice if you have ever been suggested these or have these conditions. It is also a great organ to start with if you want to ease in with an easier to manage flavor.

Thymus and Adrenal Glands

These are generally called “sweet breads” by butchers. They are the endocrine glands of the animal. They can support people with endocrine and hormonal disorders, such as hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, and immune system issues. They are a bit of an odd, squishy texture, and I prefer to fry them on high in beef tallow or ghee to improve the texture.

Fish Eggs

Fish eggs are the organ most naturally high in iodine. While I often use iodine supplementation with my clients, some people are nervous about bringing in high doses. Fish eggs would be a good alternative that has a lower but still therapeutic dose for many people who are deficient. In fact, because of the high levels of iodine in fish eggs, it has been traditionally considered a fertility food. They can be used as a garnish on top of a seafood based meal like scallops or salmon. Make sure you find a brand with no preservatives or colorings.


Kidney is another organ that is very high in B vitamins. This would be an alternative to liver if you want a food high in B vitamins but lower in Vitamin A. Kidney also naturally contains the enzyme DAO, and some people find that eating an ounce of kidney with their meals helps them lower histamine reactions. It is not necessary a long term solution to histamine intolerance (we have to address the issues in the gut and nervous system and get to the root causes), but it can help in the short term while you are still healing.

Some people struggle with the “urine” smell that can come from kidneys. If you soak the raw kidneys in raw milk, or water with vinegar or lemon juice for about 8-12 hours in the fridge before cooking, this can help.


Many people are afraid to consume brain because of fears of made cow disease or similar infections, but if a farm uses good practices and keeps the animals healthy, this is very unlikely. Brain is very high in cholesterol and saturated fat, and so brain is excellent for people with cognitive or memory issues. It is also naturally high in the amino acid serine, which is a very calming nutrient to the brain, so it is great for people with psychiatric issues that include high anxiety, compulsive thinking, or dark/paranoid thoughts.

If you are struggling trying to figure out how to eat brain, blend it up with eggs, melted butter and some herbs, and make a brain omelette!

About the Author
Jen Donovan completely rebuilt her life and career as a result of her experience with severe chronic illness. After finding no answers from conventional medical approaches, she took matters into her own hands and with the help of key mentors, found a path to healing.
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