THE GARLIC ISSUE
“I get your newsletter regularly, but have tried to research further regarding the toxicity of garlic. The only article I can find is the same one you mentioned. Frankly, I don't know if I believe it. There doesn't seem to be any comment or further research on this 10-year-old article. Have you done any personal study on this? Don't know if I'm ready to give up my garlic just yet.” - Chris Shenk
ANSWER: Toxicity is a big word. Garlic contains some compounds which are extremely strong. However, most garlic in the world is consumed cooked, so these compounds are destroyed in the cooking process. In addition to that, people do not generally consume large amounts of raw garlic due to the related problems of breath and digestion.
I cannot point you to specific studies that have been done on the “toxicity” of garlic because they do not exist. There is no point for researchers to spend time researching garlic while there are bigger issues out to research!
My point of view on garlic is based on basic logic that any 5-year old can understand. Garlic is so strong that you would never want to eat it in its natural state. It is used as a flavoring agent to stimulate the taste buds. After its consumption, every pore of the body smells like garlic. The breath is terrible to those who *don't* eat garlic.
Garlic is a “food” that has been avoided by natural hygienists for more than 100 years and for good reasons. We do not need any “study” to prove this.
However, if you want the specific names of the compounds in garlic that are considered to be irritants, the scientific names are: diallyl disulfide, allylpropyl disulfide, and allicin.
In conclusion, the garlic issue isn't a big one. I do not want to make a big fuss about it. It seems to me obvious that we shouldn't eat foods that have a really strong taste - foods that we could never enjoy in their natural taste if we didn't mix them with something else.
Personally, I absolutely hate the garlic breaths and that's the main reason I avoid it: to spare my loved ones of it!
On a more serious note, I also find that when I eat garlic I can tell the fact that it's an irritant by the way my body reacts to eat, but that's because I rarely eat some so I'm not accustomed to it as some garlic eaters are!
GARLIC AND SPICES
“I have some comments on the garlic question. When I started researching raw foods, I was not surprised to find that many experienced raw-fooders recommend no garlic, green onions and stimulating spices. If you look at Aryurvedic dietary guidelines, they restrict those substances for various conditions (I forget which, see any book on Aryurveda).
“Also, the Bikkhu precepts established by Buddha prohibit consumption of garlic and green onions (as well as consuming anything after mid-day).
“Also, I'm reading the autobiography of Gandhi at the moment. Although I'm not surprised now, I never knew this -he began eating a raw vegan diet, I believe, in his thirties. He also cut out garlic, onions, and spices - in order to support his practice of celibacy. (I'm not sure where Gandhi made this specific connection, he was sharing a lot of information with European vegetarians and also exploring the Indian religious traditions). He cut out salt after awhile, too.
“So back to my point about garlic, onions, and spices. To wonder about their nutrition or toxicity is still a little narrow. Our diet also creates our consciousness. People and traditions who spend a lot of time focused on that know that stimulants will not aid you in elevating your consciousness. It's not necessarily a question of 'health'” - Lesley Eisele
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