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Garlic Woes

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

While reading the article “Meatless Makeover,” on page 32, I started thinking about some of the food sensitivities I have. When it comes to food, I have always tried listening to what my body wants, or needs, as the case may be. I’ve found that even when something is deemed to be good for me, it doesn’t necessarily mean a green light to load up.

My favorite example is garlic. I knew many years ago that garlic was “good for me,” so I started adding raw garlic to my daily salad. This went on for a little while, and I suddenly started getting blisters on the roof of my mouth. It took a bit of experimenting, but I eventually discovered that it was the raw garlic causing this painful condition! I stopped eating it, and my blisters disappeared. At that point, I wasn’t too distraught because I was still able to eat cooked garlic; so it was full steam ahead, using garlic in any dish that warranted this tasty Allium.

Fast track a number of years, and low and behold I started developing blisters again after eating some cooked dishes. I also felt off, had a bad stomach, and generally felt yucky. Of course, the first thing that popped into my mind was the garlic. However, I didn’t want to stop using it completely, so I tried a number of options that people offered as a solution to my problem—buy local and/or organic, remove the root, grow your own. Unfortunately, the blisters and gastrointestinal issues continued, so I had to ease off on the garlic. I found that if I had it once in a while, I could endure, but too many days in a row and the flare-ups began.

It has now reached a point where I can’t handle garlic at all, except once in a long while. I don’t use it in cooking, except a little organic garlic powder, which hasn’t bothered me, but apparently has zero health benefits and, of course, doesn’t have the wonderful flavor of fresh garlic. It’s particularly problematic at restaurants; try ordering an entrée that doesn’t have garlic—even salad dressing has it!

Some people actually don’t believe me when I explain my situation. “How can you possibly be sensitive to garlic; it’s so good for you?!” My answer? “I’ve learned just because things are deemed good for people in general, doesn’t mean they’re good for me as an individual.” Others feel sorry for me when I tell them I can’t have garlic. However, I’ve found that there are so many other wonderful spices and herbs that I don’t even miss garlic anymore, and I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to expand my horizons.


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