Eat Your Liver!

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

If you have read any of my blogs over the past months, you know I have been dispensing wise words on how to attain or maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle I personally follow and love. It’s literally my job! Last month I left you with some news about my newly found high blood pressure and I was awaiting lab results. I have been as excited as you to hear the results! Good news, yay…no kidney issues causing the high blood pressure so it’s just due to genetics and old age, as expected. Labs also say I am deficient in Vitamin B and Vitamin D. Oh, Ok…..Wait……WHAT?  I am 100% positive I eat foods with Vitamin B and Vitamin D daily so once again, I am baffled and when I am baffled, I research. I decided to look up foods I should be eating.

Vitamin B rich foods: Beef, Liver, Chicken, Fatty fish, Yogurt, Eggs, Leafy greens, Legumes.
Vitamin D rich foods: Salmon, Tuna, Eggs, Yogurt, Milk products, Fortified cereals, Liver.

Check, check, check, I eat it all… except…..liver! That must be it! I need to eat more liver. Ugh. As a kid, we had liver quite often at my house. It was not a choice. It was “eat your liver” or no dessert and, as if to take out the sting, the dessert was usually especially good on liver night. We had chicken livers with bacon and some weird sauce over rice that I am cringing about as I write the words—but it was far better than good old calf liver that was the size of my hand and served with baked potato. Both came with broccoli. A kid’s nightmare, but my parents loved it. My Dad still orders liver when we go out to restaurants that dare to have it on the menu.

As much as I joke/complain about my childhood and the dinnertime struggles, I am actually grateful that my parents did enforce healthy eating. I admit that as a kid I was very envious of my neighbors who had “oni’s and butter”” (Macaroni) for dinner every night and endless supplies of soda and chips. There were no soda or chips in my house. I thought chocolate milk was a treat and popcorn night was the biggest night of the month in my childhood. Jiffy pop! In a tin pie pan that you cooked forever on the stovetop hoping it wouldn’t burn before most of the kernels popped. That tin pan served 7 of us. Guess that’s where I learned portion control.

So what is the takeaway here? The takeaway is that we are all human and we need to do what we can to stay on track towards our health goals. We need to research what we need to do to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. We need to “eat liver” so to speak, not just the dessert. We cannot survive on “oni’s and butter” alone. Supplements are important when the doctor tells you that you need them. However, I remind you that supplements are just that… a means to supplement a healthy diet. Eating poorly and taking supplements just will not cut it in the long run. Real food is key! A healthy diet is full of variety and color; fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and limited boxed goods or snack foods. We are right now heading into the growing season and it is the best time to try new things. Try citrus fruits like apples, oranges, and grapefruits or vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts for Vitamin C; bananas, avocado, spinach and dried apricots for potassium; almonds, sunflower seeds, kiwi and mango for Vitamin E; sweet potato and carrots for Beta Carotene; salmon, lean meats, yogurt, eggs, leafy greens for Vitamin B and low fat dairy products, fortified non-sugary cereals, eggs and sunshine for Vitamin D. Yes- best advice ever… get some natural sunshine now that Spring is here! It’s the free Vitamin D supplement that we’ve been missing all winter. And far better than liver! 🙂

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