Food · Vegetarian Culture

Garlic, Onions, Leeks… Part 1

There seems to be a rumor going round. A rumor that has no place in vegetarian culture, a rumor so damaging it could change the face of meat free cuisine forever, a rumor that I desperately need to get to the bottom of.

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Okay, that was slightly dramatic of me, but I really want to understand why some vegetarians/vegans avoid eating garlic, onions, shallots, leeks and chives. As a devout veggie myself I understand the complexity of diets, beliefs and the synergy that people feel with the world, the environment and nature, what I am struggling to understand is the reluctance to incorporate these simple, but integral, ingredients in to a healthy, plant-based diet.

In the yellow box on the right, as well as the gluten free credentials, it also boasts its freedom from both onion & garlic
In the yellow box on the right, as well as the gluten free credentials, it also boasts its freedom from both onion & garlic

99.9% of the food I cook contains at least one, of the above ingredients and in my very humble, non-cheffy opinion, I would probably go as far to say that these few powerful, yet modest components provide dishes with an identity, a depth of substance, and ultimately, a stong, rigid, backbone. Each one has its own character, its own essence and they each deliver such unique, dynamic flavours and without them I really feel the quality of a dish, any dish, would suffer. Napoli sauce without garlic, a salad without onions, a soup without leeks.

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I’m beginning to worry as I read this back to myself that I’m starting to sound like every, small minded, ignorant, vegetarian bashing carnivore I’ve ever experienced (I’ve experienced a few!) That I’m not opening my mind to new ways of thinking or accepting the possibilities of a garlic free existence.

Over the next day or so I’m going to find out the source of these beliefs, traditions, cultures, dietary requirements, or whatever they may be, and fully understand the meaning behind it and discover whether by adopting this new way of eating and looking at food, it might enhance my lifestyle, my relationship with the world and overall, make me a happier girl ✌ ❀

If you have any information or insider knowlegde on this subject then please please comment below. I love to learn and to be enlightened. Keep it social, why not check out Without_Cruelty on Instagram 



7 thoughts on “Garlic, Onions, Leeks… Part 1

  1. Hi Maxine, it’s a religious thing – some Hindus (particularly Brahmin?) don’t eat those types of vegetables because they are believed to increase taamasic feelings. I’ll stop there ‘cos after that I really don’t know what I’m talking about! πŸ˜€ Hope that helps


    1. Hey, thank you so much for your comment. How interesting… this is definitely a topic I want to learn more about. From what I’ve read so far it’s mostly those that belong to the Hare Krishna branch of Hinduism that usually refrain from garlic and onions as they cannot be offered to the gods. I think I’ve gotta lotta reading up to do! πŸ™‚ M


  2. Hi! I love how you are interested in this topic as I’ve been asked that questions so many times. I’m a vegetarian that doesn’t eat garlic or onion. The reason why, I don’t really know myself because that how I’ve been brought up in a vegetarian family since I was born. So I never really questioned it until I got older. What I know is that it’s a Buddhist belief. If you went to Taiwan (a country where the majority believes in Buddhism) and ate at any vegetarian restaurant, you’ll realise they don’t use onion or garlic either. Or if you see the term ‘vegetarian’ on a package at a supermarket, it automatically means its free from garlic and onion. I’ve done some research and there are many explanations such as onion and garlic were primarily used to take away the smell of meat when cooking so it’s thought of as ‘unclean’ ingredients for vegetarians, it causes passion and prevents one from attaining enlightenment or causes the body to smell bad (garlic) and hence not being pure or something like that. So it’s pretty much a religious thing. I don’t really know but because I’ve grown up not eating it, I don’t eat it and don’t use it in my cooking. But I have to say, despite what a lot of people think, you can have a flavourful dish without onion and garlic. Most Asian owned vegetarian restaurant here in Sydney don’t use onion and garlic. I’ve never asked them why but like you, I am also interested in the real reason why onion and garlic is so forbidden. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! Thanks for your comment, I love how some questions really grab peoples attention. There seems to be a lot of different explanations as to why people avoid onion and garlic and it’s great to hear from someone who has first hand experience on the subject. I’m still researching, as soon as I find something really interesting and exciting I’ll add it to my page πŸ™‚


  3. Short answer – Irritable Bowel
    So I was feeling quite unwell every morning, and consequently cut a lot of food out of my diet, after some advice from a dietician. I slowly introduced again till I was able to pin point the problem and it happened to lie with the onion family. I was then tested for Irritable bowel syndrome, but I don’t have it. I do know however that when I don’t eat onion, garlic, leek etc. I don’t have a problem. I can get away with having it once a fortnight, but I couldn’t do it every meal.


    1. Hey, oh no, sorry to hear you were feeling sick. I’m glad you managed to pin point the issues, it must have been tricky! I guess onions are pretty strong and maybe that can have quite an abrasive effect on our insides. I know a couple of people who have aversions to mushrooms, so anything fungi based (including Quorn!) is off the cards. Thanks for your comment, it’s very much appreciated ☺


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