Avoid Garlic and Onions On A Raw Food Diet - Really?!
by Dean Pomerleau
(Gibsonia, PA, USA)
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that raw onions and garlic (and other alliums) are extremely healthy, especially for preventing cancer. In fact, garlic is arguably the best anti-cancer vegetable.
I really don't see how you can justify putting them on your list of foods to avoid in light of the overwhelming scientific evidence. In light of more recent evidence presented by Dr. Michael Greger, do you still think alliums, especially onions and garlic, are bad foods for raw vegans?
I assume you've read my articles on garlic
Those pretty much cover my rationale, from a research perspective. I don't consider foods that can cause accidental abortions, slow blood clotting, and mess with you in a wide variety of other ways to be healthy, no.
And as to Dr. Greger's videos on the subject of alliums vs cancer, that information, while presented in new studies , has been kicking around for years. Yes, we know the allium family is great at killing cancer cells. No question.
But here's the thing - I never make my dietary decisions based entirely on science. While I certainly use it heavily to inform my decision-making process, blinding adopting the conclusions of science without experimenting with them extensively yourself is a recipe for trouble.
I certainly don't claim that onions and garlic will kill you in the small quantities most people consume them in, and if a raw foodist wants to eat them, it's not the end of the world. But that doesn't mean I think they're optimal for health and physical performance.
If I relied on Dr. Greger's interpretation of science alone, I might decide that stimulants that drain me in the long run, like coffee, for instance,
, would be great due to the many "benefits" he talks about which are associated with them.
I frequently like to use the example of poison hemlock. It's actually packed with nutrients - phytochemicals, and antioxidants that would do your body good. And if you put it on cancer cells in a
petri dish, it wouldn't surprise me if it did quite a number on them. BUT IT WILL KILL YOU IF YOU EAT IT
We can always easily find something great to say about unhealthy foods. Similarly, we can find bad things to say about great foods.
If you only look at the "benefits column," you might not get the full picture. An Experiment
Here's an experiment you can try to see things from my perspective. Spend two months eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables
without any spices or the foods I consider irritating
included in your diet.
Then, eat a meal with a good amount garlic and onions in it. Can you honestly tell me that you feel optimal afterwards?
In my case, I immediately have what could be described as cold symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, perhaps a mild headache), the onions don't digest properly in my stomach (they're still burning there the next morning), and, if the meal contained enough of them, I feel mildly dizzy if I try to move quickly, which I think, based on the research in the articles I mentioned above, may be anemia related.
Several of my coaching clients have had similar reactions.
Not everyone may have such a strong reaction, but I expect you'll notice some difference.
If you keep including them, your body's reaction to them will lessen in time, just like it lessens in the face of stimulants like coffee and other harmful foods that can wear you down.
So yes, when people ask me if onions and garlic are optimal, I tell them that I don't think they are.
If a friend makes me some otherwise-healthy raw dish with a weaker members of the allium family included, I would generally eat it, knowing that it wasn't an everyday sort of thing.
Life is about trade offs. You decide what's important to you, and you make the best decisions you can.
I think you should make those decisions with your eyes as wide open as possible.
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