Eating Onion and Garlic Free
Health and Wellbeing
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Health and Wellbeing
Recently, here at Seasoned Pioneers, we’ve been receiving more and more enquiries regarding onion free and garlic free options. If this sounds like you, you’d be forgiven for tearing your hair out. These two bulbous members of the onion family seemingly crop up in just about every recipe there is.
One of the main reasons you may be looking to go onion and garlic free is that it’s a trigger for those with IBS. Whilst they’re both powerful, flavoursome agents that can bring a lot to your food, they’re also difficult for your intestines to break down, which causes gas. Painful gas and cramping can result from raw garlic and onions, but even the cooked versions of these foods can be triggers.
To go a bit deeper and get more scientific, garlic and onion are both rich in a carbohydrate molecule called fructan. Our bodies simply can’t break these molecules all the way down in the small intestine. Instead, we only absorb about 5 to 15% of the fructan molecules we eat. Therefore, our bacteria in the gut is left to feed on the remaining molecules. This produces gas which, for those with IBS, can prove painful. This is most likely caused by fewer of these beneficial bacteria in the gut or fewer enzymes present, meaning the molecules aren’t broken down. Undigested fructan molecules also pull water into the gut as they move through your digestive system, thus leading to bloating and diarrhea.
On the other hand, you may also be looking to avoid garlic and onion because of allergies or an intolerance to all allium plants. This family includes both onion and garlic. If you’re really allergic to onions or garlic, your body will take protective measures by releasing histamine, consequently causing symptoms such as a rash, itching or tingling of the mouth, lips, face or tongue and throat swelling, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, cramping, difficulty breathing, gas, dizziness and lightheadedness.
You’ll notice some of those sound a little similar to the impacts of IBS. Allergies to garlic and onion are rather rare, but you may indeed have an intolerance – much more common and all the same in its ability to frustrate.
Before you lose all hope, it’s important to know that you’re not alone in this. There are many, many people all over the world in the same predicament. In fact, there are plenty of people who actively choose to avoid eating onion and garlic.
For example, in India, large swathes of the Hindu population are onion and garlic free. According to Ayurveda (India’s classic medical science), foods are grouped into the three categories of rajasic, tamasic and sattvic. Passion, ignorance and goodness. All allium plants are classified as rajasic and tamasic. They increase both passion and ignorance.
So, if you’re a Hindu and subscribe to pure brahmana-style cooking (followers of Lord Vishnu, Rama and Krishna), you’ll only cook with foods from the Sattvic category. This category encompasses fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, dairy products and grains. It’s a specific religious diet.
Furthermore, Norwegians happen to steer clear too. The tale of Prince Lindworm is a common fairy tale that involves onions and seems to have put them off them for life. You can read more about the story here.
So, if the Hindus and Norwegians are happy enough to avoid onions and garlic, surely you can do it too? There are plenty of delicious recipes and ideas out there for you to enjoy. Below, we’ve hand-picked a few of our favourites from around the internet.
Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad – this deliciously simple and healthy recipe is loaded with black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocados, red onion and cilantro. If you want, you can replace the Quinoa with minced beef. Not a piece of onion or garlic in sight!
Salt and Pepper Shrimp – although garlic is often viewed as the perfect, most common addition to shrimp, why not let the briny sweetness of shrimp shine through with this very simple and easy-to-make recipe. Use our Wild Herb Cooking Seasalt and Exotic Mixed Peppercorns to really bring out the flavour.
Citru Shrimp & Avocado Salad – sticking with the shrimp theme, this salad is packed full of flavour and makes the perfect lunch or dinner. One thing to note – if you’re looking to avoid garlic and onion it probably makes sense to also ditch the shallots mentioned here too.
Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with Baby Spinach – simple, healthy and delicious. What’s not to love? Some of the best meals are the easiest to make. No onions or garlic in sight.
Aloo Palak – speaking of spinach, try this tasty spinach and potato curry. It’s been uniquely flavoured with yogurt and asafoetida (a common spice used in Indian cooking that’s often replaced onions and garlic).
French Oven Beef Stew – we’ve found this one to be perfect for the winter months. It’s comforting, warming and a great way to eat a large range of vegetables in one meal. Of course, usually stews are quite big on the onion and garlic but this has been specifically adapted to avoid all of that.
Here at Seasoned Pioneers, we also want to take care of you. Below, you can find the full, extensive list of every single spice and herb mix we offer that is completely free of onions and garlic. As you can see, there’s plenty of options! Search spice blends: