So the title of this blog may surprise you, considering that onions are one of my top Beauty Foods in my second book, The Beauty Detox Foods, and are in so many Beauty Detox recipes, including from that book!
They definitely have some health benefits, including garlic’s known benefits for cardiovasular/heart health, and onions containing helpful compounds like the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin and vitamin E.
But…here I’m talking about the effect of onions and garlic on one’s consciousness. When I started taking the Lessons from The Self Realization Fellowship some years ago, Yogananda recommended reducing them to help keep the mind calmer for meditation. And when I was in India, I thought it was interesting that the Jain religion strictly forbid them.
In Yogic philosophy, onions and garlic are described as promoting a “rajasic” temperament, which means a hyper-active, restless state. This type of state can make it harder to meditate and stay calm- especially during periods of stress! This was re-brought to my attention when I recently did an incredible neurofeedback training at the Biocybernaut Institute in Arizona. In the materials sent to us, we were encouraged to avoid onions and garlic for a week before training and during the training.
Here is what was written, in Dr. James Hardt‘s words, who is founder of the Biocybernaut Institute:
Intriguingly, there is a structural similarity in the active molecules of both onions and garlic that matches a rare structural feature in the active molecules of marijuana (THC), LSD, DMT, mescaline, psilocybin, buffotenine (‘buffo’ is Latin for ‘toad’ and witches would put certain toads in their brews and then get high and have visions from the buffotenine).
In other words, all the major psychedelic agents have a rare structural similarity that is also found in onions and garlic. This rare structural similarity involves a nitrogen atom that is unstable in the molecule and bounces back and forth (very fast) between two positions in the molecule. This rapid bouncing back and forth is described as an oscillation or a resonance.
Thus these molecules “hum” with this energy. An organic chemist suggested that the frequency of this energy may be in the thermal range (infrared = heat), so when a molecule of LSD or a molecule of garlic oil, for example, reaches a synapse in the brain and breaks down, thermal energy (heat) may be released that might have some of the effects of a localized fever, producing various alterations of consciousness.
The specific brain and mind altering effects are different for LSD, mescaline, buffotenine, psilocybin, marijuana (THC), onions, and garlic, which may depend upon where the differently shaped molecules accumulate in the brain.
So I decided to give it a try and have been purposely leaving them out of my recipes. When I do eat out (which is pretty rare these days), I do ask for them to not be included in my food if at all possible. And I carefully avoid even healthier snack or packaged foods that contain them, such as kale chips (though the Alive & Radiant Superfoods variety contains neither!).
I have to say that I feel more and more deeply chill and peaceful these days. Of course, much of that has to do with the neurofeedback training itself, which was intensely powerful in rooting out old issues that create every day patterns in how we think and act, that we may not even be aware of.
But I also think that not having the onions and garlic do help. After all, I have some Pitta, or the fire element dosha in my constitution, and it’s best to minimize these particular foods anyways, according to Ayurvedic philosophy.
So I think long-term, I won’t be fanatical about avoiding them if I’m eating at someone’s house or whatever, but I won’t go out of my way to use them in my own cooking. I’ve been leaving the garlic out of my Pesto Portobello Mushroom Recipe, for instance, which I made twice last week, and it’s been great without them!
If you are feeling overly stressed, short-tempered, overly irritated and perhaps have a racing mind during your meditations…then I suggest you try taking the Yoga Masters’ advice and try giving up or at least greatly reducing your onion and garlic intake. And see how you feel!
Let me know if you see a difference, as I did! :)
In love and health,