A chicken liver a day keeps the dentist away?

I recently went to the dentist. It’s not something I do very often. In fact, there was a time when I would only go every presidential election year. After my first 4-year dentist hiatus, I was nervous that I would have a mouthful of cavities. Luckily, I didn’t. On the contrary my bad attendance was positively reinforced. It probably wasn’t the dentist’s intention, but when he said, “No cavities, your teeth are in great shape” I heard, “Don’t come back for four years.” Each election year, same story: no cavities.

With newly instated dental insurance, I cut my dentist intervals in half. My X-rays looked good, but when the dentist poked around he said something I had not heard since I was a 10-year-old, “Looks like a cavity.” Then he said it again and maybe again, but I blocked out most of what he was saying after I heard the first “cavity.” I did catch the word “tiny” but still. I was indignant about the whole thing.

I follow many traditional diet blogs. In that circle, there is a book that is popular: Heal And Prevent Cavities With Nutrition by Ramiel Nagel. Of course it was the first thing I downloaded on my Kindle when I got home. I really want to eat my way out of this predicament.

The idea behind the book is based largely on the findings on a dentist in the 30s. Dr. Weston A. Price traveled the world studying people’s teeth. He found a strong correlation between diet, cavities and general health. He documented this is his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Neither of these books will make a vegetarian or fat-free fanatic happy. Nagel extols the virtues of eating liver, kidney and brain, none of which are for the squeamish. I haven’t had either kidney or brain and might need to be tricked into tasting them, but liver, I can handle.

I’ve been trying to eat more liver because it is as about as nutritionally dense as a food can get. It’s loaded with iron, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin B12 along with important minerals and fatty acids.

I will  enjoy a liverwurst sandwich now and then. I’ve tried to add beef liver into hamburger, but found myself trying to pick out the liver bits. I’m sure I will love fried chicken livers; I just need a good southern friend to come over and show me how to make them. The only liver dish I eat with gusto is liver päté.

Liver and butter are the perfect combination. Liver is rich with vitamin A, but there is a catch. To make vitamin A available for your body to use, you need fat (it’s a fat soluble vitamin) and we all know butter’s got the fat. Dr. Price called butter Activator X, which is not a bad band name either.

Not all butter is created equal. You want butter made from the milk of pasture-raised cows. And you want to get it in the spring. Oh, yes, spring butter, how quaint. You can see the difference. The more yellow the butter the more better! Butter from cows eating fresh green grass is yellow because it contains the phytonutrient beta-carotene, the same stuff that makes carrots orange.

If you can’t get butter from your farmer and you are too lazy to make it yourself there are a few good butters at the regular grocery or health food store. Organic Valley has a product called “Pasture Butter.” Kerrygold Irish Butter is another brand.

As with many theories, I like to pick out parts that I like and forget the rest. What I got from reading Dr. Price’s book and part of Nagel’s book is that eating liver and butter will cure my cavities. Hooray! I haven’t decided whether or not to tell my dentist my plan. “Don’t worry about those little cavities. I have it all under control.” I hope my liver breath doesn’t give me away.

I picked up a pound and a half of chicken liver from Pigasso Farm at the Hudson, NY Farmer’s market (they also have awesome liverwurst.) I only buy our meat from local farmers who raise their animals in pastures, without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed. While that can be a little straining on a food budget, chicken livers are cheap, so no need to scrimp here.

I’m sure when my mother hears that I’m going to eat butter and liver instead of having a cavity filled, she’ll call in the cavalry to drag me to the dentist. Then again, maybe by this point, she expects such antics from me. I’ll let you know if it works or if I cave and have them filled!

Click here for cavity curing liver päté recipe!



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