It suddenly occurred to me – why do people love garlic so much?

In the way that certain smells can trigger memories, the aroma of garlic and onion frying in oil brings a smile to my face. It’s not a complicated food prep thing to do, yet it was these two fundamental ingredients which were at the beginning of my culinary journey.

Mum had always cooked for us.  She cleaned, she washed, she drove us to school and back. She fought many of our battles for us and she always put us first. She did teach us to iron at the earliest age possible – I’m guessing she didn’t like ironing. She was from the generation where the ‘lady of the house’ did those chores.  I never quite realised or appreciated everything she did for us, now that I am thinking about it. As entitled teenagers, our focus is usually on what we didn’t get! Anyway, whether it was a case of her never teaching me or me refusing to be taught…I can’t remember …but it was my ex-husband who taught me to cook. He was a firm believer that fried onion and garlic were a staple start to any meal preparation. So now when I smell frying garlic…that’s my memory…and I always smile.

A friend of mine from Manjimup made a deal with her family to grow garlic on their wee property and then to sell it. Firstly to teach their kids the value of working the land – important in a rural crop producing region, but also to realise their reward as a family. With the money they earned from their efforts, in 2010 they went to Queensland, and they have also been to Phuket, Thailand and Bali. Two things she was very clear on were that 1) the time to plant is crucial…And 2) If you want to harvest the best bulbs, you have to plant the best cloves.  Sounds like a lot of things in life, hey?

But what if garlic is not your friend? On a recent trip to Bali (to a retreat, actually, haha) one of the ladies had to request dishes without garlic as it played havoc on her digestion.  Now that is no easy feat in Bali as everything has garlic in it!  I think she still got a dose by osmosis, though, as I am sure the garlic we all ate was constantly seeping out of our pores!

There is even a religion beyond veganism which abstains from spuds, garlic and onion.  It’s called Jain and they exclude underground vegetables to prevent injuring small insects and microorganisms.

While we are on the abstinence of garlic, the holistic therapy movement called Ayurveda believes that onion and garlic produce excessive heat in the body, which could increase the risk of other health problems, so they recommend having them in low quantities.

Now I believe in each to their own just as much as the next person – but kill me now if any of that becomes the next ‘big thing’!!!

I also believe that denying yourself something is a sure-fire way to want it even more.  Every second. Of every day. It is most certainly a way to drive myself batty!  I end up having quite stern conversations with myself about why I should have it and why I shouldn’t have it. These conversations are usually between the little ‘itty bitty shitty committee’ on my shoulders.  You know the ones – the ones who think they know what is best for you. Ugh.

I totally get the whole ‘live for the moment’ and ‘you never know what’s around the corner’, but what if the path of abstinence led to something even better in your life? Do the ends justify the means then? That’s going to be my challenge soon.  I have just spent three and a half months eating and drinking what I wanted to and as a consequence, more kilos have piled on where I didn’t think there was even room! Now I’m not ashamed of my body, it has served me very well so far, and it is what it is. However, I really could do with getting a bit fitter, stronger and healthier. This is for my long-term health. So while I am not a huge fan of depriving yourself, or denying yourself or making yourself miserable because of a self-imposed restriction on something that brings you joy…the long-term health goals certainly means it would be worth it in my case.  So, I’m going to give a shot at getting fitter and healthier!

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