Thursday, August 4, 2011

Liver or Peanuts? Aka...Mom Was Always Right

There is a reason American housewives in the post-depression era made liver and onions for their families. Or, perhaps we should thank the Irish for that practical tradition. In any case, my nutrition charla’s have morphed into what I’ve started calling The Big Liver campaign. It’s simple: eat more liver. Or peanuts.

In an attempt to get more folic acid into the diets of pre-natal women without reliance on vitamins and supplements from the health center (rant to come on this later), I’ve resorted to the most cost-effective, nutrient rich food available to struggling families in Guatemala. You guessed it: everyone’s favorite organ. I’ve come to discover, actually, that a chicken liver, usually weighing in at about 3-5 ounces, (think the size of an egg, how ironic…) contains the exact amount of folic acid that a pregnant or lactating mother needs daily. No vitamins or supplements. One chicken liver. Daily.

The other option is a cup of peanuts daily. These, while abundant in larger towns, are scant in smaller aldeas and communities, thus not a reliable option.

If you think that the distaste for liver is a distinctly American adolescent preoccupation, you are wrong. No one, really, likes liver. Not even Guatemalans. So, when I suggest to my ladies groups that a chicken liver daily will help to prevent birth defects like cleft lip or spina bifoda, I receive just as many winces as I imagine I would standing in any American 3rd grade classroom.

Yet, for the same reasons Americans consumed liver decades ago, my ladies groups have picked up the tradition. They are eating more liver, and enjoying it just as much as I did as a kid. Thanks, Mom; you were always right.

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