Tag Archives: parsley

80:20 – A Truly ORGAN-ic burger

And by ORGAN-ic, I mean full of organs!

8020 beeforgansTranscript from yesterday at The Healthy Butcher, a nice grocery in Toronto:

Hi there, have you heard of 
this new thing called 
"The 80:20"? Do you 
have it?
(wearily) Umm... what?
Yeah, it's great! You take 80% 
grass-fed beef and add 20% 
grass-fed organ meats and put 
it all through the grinder 
Okay, well we don't have that.
So if I give you some notice, 
do you think I could order 
it and pick it up in a week?
(seeing I'm not going anywhere) 
What kind of organs do you want?
You know, the usual. 
Liver, kidneys... Heart... Um, 
(boldly) brains?
Let me go in the back and talk 
to my production team.
Thank you!
(returning, kind of on board) 
Well we are not allowed to put 
organs through the grinder, but 
we can cut up some liver for 
you and hand mix it all together?

80:20 is the new ground beef. Instead of being 100% ground beef, it’s got 20% organs!

Remember that it is still important that your organ meat be not only organic, but also pastured. But beggars can’t be choosers, just do your best.

In the olden days (before today), 80:20 used to refer to 80% muscle meat and 20% fat. But this is a new paradigm, people. THIS 80:20 means 80% of the mixture is a fatty ground beef and 20% is a mixture of various organ meats. Got it?

HOW TO USE 80:20

You simply take a pound of 80:20, and make hamburger patties as you usually would. But if you’re smart (and have some time on your hands), you’ll mix in tons of sea salt and pepper, some garlic, onion, parsley etc. At 20%, you can’t overtly taste the organs, but you’ll get a whiff of them. So if you or your family aren’t exactly used to organs, then the more spices and flavorings you can add, the better.

Also great: use this as a base for meatloaf, tortières, bolognaise sauce, meatballs. I can see the advertisements now: Use it as you would meat! Only this is way, way better than plain ground beef because organs are over the top with nutritional density.

Let’s look at liver, for example. Here is a super amazing graphic reprinted with permission from Gregg’s Diet Shack:

Kale Vs Liver

Chart courtesy of Gregg’s Diet Shack

I don’t know why the whole world seems to go on and on about eating all your fruits and vegetables in order to get your vitamins. Because if it’s vitamins you are after, your best bet is always going to be liver and other organ meats.

Now I’m not knocking kale, I LOVE kale. My sister, actually both of my sisters, make the most delicious kale salads that you can eat and store for days. Kale, sliced very thinly in a frisée, is also excellent at soaking up olive oil.

However as this chart shows you, kale is better than regular beef in a couple ways (more calcium, vitamin C and folate), but it is really no competition for liver. Kale is still a great bet for vitamin C and folate, but I would probably bank on getting my calcium from an animal source (like whole dairy) rather than plant source because of bioavailability issues.

I’m not knocking blueberries either, of course. This is wild blueberry season in Ontario, also known as the best time of year. It is totally acceptable to gorge on wild blueberries right now. But even though blueberries are hailed as a superfood, they still pale in comparison to liver in every way.


I was recently reminded by some friends about the classic their mother called “Dinner-Dinner” which exists in many incarnations in Canadian homes in the 80s and 90s. In my family we called it “Goulash” even though it has almost no similarities to that dish.

My friend’s “Dinner-Dinner” was ground beef, onion soup and rice – all cooked down together. In my family, “Goulash” was ground beef, consommé, rice and peas – with a bit of worchester sauce thrown in to be fancy.

This is my new version of Goulash/Dinner-Dinner.



  • 2 TBS butter, ghee, lard, coconut oil etc, I used leftover bacon fat
  • 1 minced onion, I used an organic vidalia
  • 1 lb of 80:20, I used grass-fed Kobe beef for extra healthy fat, mixed with 20% liver
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped finely like rice
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of chopped green onion or scallions, whites and green tops
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin, and some salt and pepper
  • Soy sauce, coconut aminos or worchester sauce
  1. Sweat out that onion in the bacon fat or your choice of fat, about 10 minutes on low in a wide, heavy saucepan.
  2. Add the ground beef and simmer until mostly cooked. You might want to raise the heat a little.
  3. Add the cauliflower and the green onions.
  4. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the soy sauce or your choice of sauce – just about 2 TBS or so, more to taste.
  6. Add the peas and parsley near the end of cooking.

I actually made this 80:20 Goulash Dinner for lunch, and my six year old gobbled it up. She didn’t need to know there was liver or how highly I think of garlic, green onions and parsley. I also didn’t need to tell her that the original dish included rice, but that I had substituted for lower carbohydrate cauliflower. I also didn’t tell her that my mom used a ton of peas, but that I replaced most of the peas with green onions and parsley so that we could still get that great pop of color – but again reduce the carbohydrate load while increasing the punch of polyphenols. She didn’t care and ate it all up.

The neighbor’s kid? Not so much. You know your family and you know what flavors they will accommodate, so adjust the recipe accordingly. Once you get the hang of it, this is a fantastically simple and nutritiously dense weeknight meal.

80:20 Ghoulash

This one’s for you, mom! Thanks for all the great dinners!


November 2014 Update: ROAST on St. Clair West in Toronto will grind 80:20 if you call them ahead of time – they suggested a week.

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Reset Days

Sometimes a weekend gets away from you when there are birthdays and holiday parties to host and attend. I’m talking excessive wine and champagne, buttercream cakes, croissants, scalloped potatoes, chips and crackers, candy and chocolate. Well that was my weekend anyway. No big thing, let’s do a reset.

Today I’m going to eat a moderate amount of nutrient-dense food (let’s say 1400 calories for my body size and activity level), and I’m going to consume my proteins and carbohydrates exclusively during an 8-hour window, between noon and 8pm. But I can eat fats in the morning to give me energy and bowel motility for the day ahead. This plan is specifically tailored as an LCHF (Low Carbohydrate High Fat) day to reset my fat burning potential and redirect my body into an appropriate state of ketosis.


I’m going to start with a “Butter Coffee”. I brew a long espresso over a Tbsp of organic, pasture butter and a Tbsp of coconut oil. You could also add some boiling water if your espresso isn’t “long” enough. Then I shake in some organic cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla or a few shakes of vanilla bean powder. Then I dump this oily mess into my Vitamix or blender, and blend on high for about 10 seconds to really emulsify the fats. My long espresso turns from black to creamy caramel. I pour it into my favourite mug and enjoy.

This gives me a lot of energy for my morning, and also gets my bowel motility going pretty rapidly. I’m sharing that because I know you want to know. But I am adjusted to this amount of fat, which is an important detail. Sometimes I do 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Sometimes I’m just that kooky. If you are not used to eating this much fat, try starting with just 1/2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Maybe the next day add 1/2 Tbsp of butter, and then work up from there. Too much fat too soon can literally make you feel nauseous, especially coconut oil. But if you are adjusted to it, it makes you feel great: alert, energized and moisturized!

Butter Coffee 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp coconut oil: 25g of fat and about 220 calories


At noon, or closer to 1pm if convenient, I’m going to eat a pretty easy lunch of a can of sardines packed in olive oil or water (not soybean or canola oil), and a parsley salad.

The can of sardines I have handy (Open Seas Portugese sardines) has 11g of fat and 15g of protein.

parsley saladThe parsley salad is a revelation that I discovered in Istanbul. It’s basically tabouli without the couscous. I take 2 bunches of washed flat-leaf parsley and 1 bunch of washed mint and chop them in a food processor with some cucumber. You can also add some lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic and scallions. Then I add some grape tomatoes and a dressing of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, a touch of dijon mustard and fresh garlic.

Why this salad is a revelation is that parsley is off the charts with nutrient density. 1 serving of this salad is worth about 2 cups of parsley, which gives you 303% of your Vitamin A for the day, 213% of your Vitamin C, 41% of your iron and 17% of your Calcium – not to mention over 2000% of your Vitamin K1, 46% of your Folate, 19% of your Manganese and 10%o four Phosporous. There’s more to parsley, but the numbers are starting to get boring and smaller.

And as far as macronutrients go, 2 cups of parsley has 1g of fat, 8g of carbohydrates and 4g of protein. This is a salad winner. Add some olive oil and vinegar dressing as the fats and acids will help your body metabolize the nutrients in the salad.


First of all I’m going to drink a lot of tea today, specifically nettle tea. Nettles do a million great things, including stimulating the lymph system and boosting the immune system – great at this time of year.

If I feel like a snack today, I’m going to have some high quality olives. 10 large olives have about 5g of fat and 3g of carbohydrates. In addition to their blood pressure lowering properties (due to high monounsaturated oil content), olives are packed with phytonutrients like phenols and terpenes that specifically interrupt the life cycle of breast cancer and gastric cancer cells, and also protect DNA from oxidative damage.


As I’m calling this a “reset day”, these meals are going to be quick and easy.  I’m going to have a 3-egg omelette for dinner with 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese inside. The whole thing will be cooked in butter. I might add some scallions and hot sauce if I feel like it.

I might have a few radishes on the side as a garnish, or a little scoop of fermented carrots and beets as an additional condiment.


Okay it’s not fair to call this dessert. But it’s the most “carby” item of the day, so it sort of fits into this category. After I’ve digested dinner but before my “8 hour window” is done, I’m going to have 1 cup of home-made whole milk kefir. You could have a little bowl of yoghurt or some whole milk kefir (unflavored) from the store. I really like to finish my day with some heavy duty probiotics like this, so that they can get to work on my digestive system overnight. Also, the sugar and the fat in the milk will keep me from getting at all hungry over the night, and will help guide me to sleep.


I think I should just re-state that I don’t “count calories”, but that they are still a handy marker for how much food I have eaten. When I am adjusted to eating more fat, I tend to consume less calories overall and yet feel more satiated.

Today’s meals and condiments break down to a ratio of calories from 70% fat, 11% carbohydrates and 19% protein.

Stated another way: 117g fat (51g saturated), 45g carbs (15g sugar) and 70g protein.

I will also have eaten over 1000% of my daily Vitamin A, over 400% of my Vitamin C, 122% of my Calcium, 84% of my iron, 40% of my Vitamin D, over 3000% of my Vitamin K1, etc.

My Vitamin D from today’s foods is a little low, so I will take my cod liver oil supplements like I always do to compensate. My B vitamins are also a little low (only meeting about 60% of required B6, B12 and Folate), so I will supplement with a topical Vitamin B cream, which is designed to bypass digestion and get right into my cells. I’m also only hitting about 50% of my Magnesium requirements, so I’m going to use a topical Magnesium gel and an Epsom salts bath. And as Vitamin K2 is either not measured in our foods or not present, I am always going to take a K2 supplement (mine comes with Vitamin D as well).

This is a pretty good reset day. Probably a little higher in protein for me than necessary, but basically a good day.


This week I’m going to do the Butter Coffee regime every morning. For lunch I’ll switch it up with a kale salad and some boiled eggs. For dinner I’ll have lamb chops or wild salmon with some broccoli or leeks. I’ll try to finish off every day with some kefir.

I’ll let you know how long this lasts before I accidentally eat a bag of chips.


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