Are you sure onions and garlic are good for you?

Isn’t it so annoying when you you have been eating something your whole life, you enjoy it and you truly believe it’s good for you and then you find out it’s not? Case example, milk!!!

I’m a foodie and I put onion’s and garlic in every dish, come’s the base of all the classic’s, spag bowl, curries, shepard’s pie…..I can’t even think of many dishes it’s not in and hummus don’t get me started on that I LOVE IT.

So when it was first presented to me that maybe I shouldn’t be eating it, I was damn right furious. I already eat healthily, don’t now take away the flavour sensations that lift every dish. What about eating out?, it would be impossible to avoid.

I am open minded though and willing to challenge my truths and I’m also inquisitive, so I’m open to trying things to see what the results are for me. So, I removed onions and garlic from my diet and I didn’t notice anything.

However, when I added them back in that’s when I noticed things happening!!!!

Ok, so before I tell you what I noticed let me explain the theory. There are many diets and healing cultures around the world that avoid onion’s, garlic and other members of the allium family (like leeks, spring onions, shallot’s and chives) for a variety of reason’s.

In yogic tradition and in meditation it’s believed it effects concentration and it’s odour can cause offence or discomfort to other’s.

My experience in the West, is similar to my initial feelings; outrage at such a suggestion. I mentioned it to a acupuncturist and a herbalist and they both quickly dismissed it and cited the known benefits of these foods. In the FODMAPS diet though it is avoided to help overcome IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

In naturopathic nutrition we believe it can be used medicinally for up to 3 days. However, if it’s used regularly it deplete’s the body of good and bad fats. It is heat producing and therefore can aggravate hormonal problems. It can also aggravate the nervous system.

Foods like these that produce heat in the body, especially when eaten raw, may cause anger, aggression, irritability or over excitement. When eaten cooked they arouse passion by stimulating sexual desire, which is why they are not eaten in many temples and places of worship across the world.

Now let’s look at nature, many organic gardeners love companion planting where you avoid using chemicals to deter insets and use known vegetables that insets dislike, onions and garlic being top of that list! So insets and other animals like deer and rabbit stay away from it. Also, when we simply cut an onion many of us have streaming eye’s, I certainly do, so is this nature’s way of telling us to say away?

Garlic has been used as a poison, and Italian soldiers during World War II were putting garlic on bullets that were then shot at the enemy. The enemy soldiers died by the garlic entering the blood stream and killing the person. So garlic is a very strong toxin and that’s why it can kill a lot germs, bacteria and fungi. If used medicinally this can be a great option, I removed a verruca from my Son’s foot in just three days using raw garlic. For some of us though, having this constantly in our bodies many now be the best thing for us.

For most of us the smell and taste of garlic repels us, maybe not whilst eating it, that can be a lovely experience but who wants to kiss someone else if they have been eating it (and you haven’t). I’ve been given my Husband strict instructions for years, that if he touches the raw onion with his poppadoms, when out for a curry, he won’t be coming near me for days 😉 I have never been able to enjoy raw onion, that awful lingering taste just won’t go for hours or longer.

So, moving back to my personal experience of consuming them again after a break. I’ve had a weird noise in my ears, like a stinging noise, on and off for years. In fact I’m so used to it, it’s my normal and I don’t even notice it anymore. Well, I hadn’t noticed that it had gone either until the moment I reintroduced cooked onion and bang, the noise was back. I have noticed since then that it’s not just onion that does it but that was enough to deter me from that long term. Garlic; every-time I have it I get the night sweats and disrupted sleep and that’s because I have suffered adrenal fatigue and it effects my hormones.

These are two reason’s for me to avoid it now, along with the fact that I am trying to increase my meditation skills and anything that can help me concentrate is a good thing. So, now I simply leave them out of dishes whilst cooking. Red onions are a lot more mild, so I will occasionally use these instead. When I’m eating out I will avoid any dishes that I know are heavy on the onions and garlic but if it has a little in and is unavoidable, I just go with it. I find that greatly reducing my intake, now I’m aware, work’s for me.

Shortly after I learned all of this a friend told me she was suffering really badly from hot flushes whilst going through the menopause. I casually asked her if she ate much onion and garlic. She stopped dead in her tracks, spun round to look at me and said not usually but at the moment I am, ‘it’s that isn’t it’. I said I couldn’t be sure but she should experiment and she said she already knew. She did try it and noticed a positive effect from reducing it.

Now, you may have another point of view, if you feel compelled or particularly if you have any hormonal problems, have a low grade headache or ADD (attention deficit disorder) or if you like a passionate love life (joke!!) take the allium family out of your diet for 2-3 weeks and see if you feel a difference. Maybe, like me, you just like to experiment and see the effects on your own body.

Wishing you health and happiness

Hannah x

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