Chicken liver might not be on your weekly grocery list, but according to Vora, it may very well deserve a spot: “I eat a lot of chicken liver pâté. I try to stock it in my fridge at all times–I take about a spoonful a day,” she notes. Organ meats–including the aforementioned chicken liver, heart, kidney, brain (a source of omega-3s), tripe, thymus, and pancreas–are especially nutrient dense and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals; Vora goes so far as to consider them “Mother Nature’s multivitamin.”
These nutrients include zinc, copper, manganese, vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, B vitamins (which support methylation, the process responsible for synthesizing mood-regulating neurotransmitters, among other essential processes in the body), iron, phosphorus, choline, and selenium. “If you can throw back a spoonful of pâté every few days, it’ll go a long way toward meeting your nutritional needs,” Vora writes for mbg. Additionally, the protein content of organ meats provides the building blocks for peptide neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is famously known as one of the “happy hormones.”
Another bonus of organ meats? They’re rather rare (as in unique, not raw), so they’re more likely to be higher quality than mass-produced meats: “I think that the sort-of weirder the animal, the smaller the animal husbandry business,” says Vora. “So the more likely it’s going to be a love-filled passion project, as opposed to large agribusiness.” Still, it’s important to be mindful of your sources: Vora personally grabs pastured chicken liver pâté from her butcher.