allergic to garlic and onionsBeing allergic to garlic and onions in a garlic and onion filled world:

Imagine walking into a restaurant and not being able to order a single thing on the menu.  It happens to me all the time.  I also can’t buy frozen dinners even organic ones, I can’t buy the seasoned version of any chip, popcorn, or cracker, no premade pizza dough, no premade sauces and marinades and condiments or pre-blended spice mixes.  I, relentlessly, have to read food labels on the hunt for garlic and onions.  You would be surprised if you had to do the same thing in a world where these foods are in EVERYTHING.  When you are allergic to garlic and onions it becomes imperative to read those labels and ask the waiters, “NO garlic and onions, Please?”  Most of the time, I can order a salad or an unseasoned piece of chicken or fish (how boring).  It is better than the alternative, which is a stomachache, and gas that will keep me up until the wee hours of the morning in severe pain. Then the smell starts to eke out of my pores as it always does I cannot even stand to be in the same room with myself.  Usually, I cannot even stand to be in the same air space with an individual who has just consumed or who eats an abundance of garlic and/or onions.  If you are a garlic eater I can hear you now, “Garlic is so good for you.  I eat it on everything.”  “Yes, I know.  I smell you.”

The sad part is that if you are allergic to peanuts every label in America will tell you whether or not something contains peanuts or has even been in the same facility as a peanut, but if you are allergic to garlic and onions you can forget it with some labels because it only says ‘natural flavoring’ or ‘spices’.  The label does not have to list out their primary seasonings.  Garlic and onions come from the same family of plants and are loaded with sulfur containing compounds…ever get red and flushed with a glass of wine…that would be because of sulfites.  One of the top ten food allergens is sulfites.  Yet manufacturers do not have to include those sneaky sulfur laden foods on the allergy warning of a food label.

There was a tiny little bit of research done by Robert C. Beck in the 1990’s where he found that garlic caused people to have abnormal brain EEG’s up to 72 hours after consuming garlic.  Even if this is not remotely true, I will present to you my latest experience.  I was in a very prominent clothing store recently looking for a specific size, fabric, and style of garment.  The sales clerk who came to my aid could have knocked me over with her garlicky fresh breath.  This aside, I told her my needs and then she took me to a section of clothing.  Now, in the timeframe of about two minutes she asked me every time she touched a garment what my size was.  I had to tell her at least five times that I was looking for a specific style, which was not what she was showing me.  In the fifteen or so minutes of her assistance, I spent the entire time repeating my size…and wanting to pass out because of her breath.  I eventually left empty handed because I just could not take her smell or inability to remember what I had asked for anymore.  My guess is that her garlic-laden lunch had put her in a brain fog.

Even veterinarians know: in dogs and cats there is a disease called Heinz body anemia, it is caused by the consumption of garlic and onions.

There are entire religions that forbid the use of garlic.

I am not alone in this plight of hating garlic purportedly Shakespeare, Horace, Thomas Nash, my mom, and few other lonesome people I have met along the way.  Just remember the next time someone tells you, they do not like garlic, or garlic does not like them, they are buried in a global haystack looking for a needle.  That needle is a bite or morsel of food that does not contain garlic or onions.  Imagine their fear of having to suffer the consequences of unknown garlic being in the food they just ate at your favorite restaurant. One quote by Carlo Rossella I read while doing my research for this article stated, “It’s not politically correct to impose garlic on everyone.”  I agree Carlo!

Joli A. Campbell

Read my Guidebook to Garlic Allergy here. 

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