As the kind of person who prides herself on unfussy eating, and admittedly guilty of judging those who say 'they don't eat vegetables' as if it would be the beginning of a slow death if something green and natural was to pass their lips, I have to admit I don't eat enough offal.
Consumers tend to be scared of the more unusual parts of the animal if it has any relation to bodily functions - faeces, urine - I won't go on. Yet, I predict these same consumers would gobble down a processed pizza complete with question marks over the origin of the so-called 'meat feast' from our local take-aways, with no hesitation.
Offal and other parts of the carcass which tend to be kept back for the bin, are actually very nutritious (and cheap).
By simply eating the socially acceptable and more familiar cuts of meat, people limit themselves from a variety of new flavours and textures of meat which can provide a range of health benefits.
Everything but the squeal
Offal is a hugely underrated product, and with food waste on the rise, and protein sustainability and the environmental impact of farming under scrutiny, it seems it is time to once again push the idea of utilising those parts of the animal which tend to be disregarded.
So in honour of the phrase 'everything but the squeal' here are a few of the many reasons why we should all start utilising more of our meat.
Offal is rich in protein (for immune system, energy and healthy cell growth). Offal provides an abundance of B vitamins, which are needed for a healthy blood and nervous system.
Liver, heart and kidneys in particular are a good source of iron. They are also rich in vitamin A, important for growth, reproduction and healthy skin, hair and eyes.
What's the catch?
Liver and kidneys are high in cholesterol, but the body is good at breaking it down in this form, so it doesn't usually have a negative effect on the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol - so there is really no catch at all.
I once read that the French used offal quite frequently in their cooking as a sign of respect to the animal for sacrificing its life and took the attitude that wasting any part of the animal is just plain bad manners.
I won't be so predictable as to say when considering consuming offal, we should all grab the bull by the balls and go the whole hog, but...
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