Valerie O’Connor discusses ways to use the health-giving and protective properties of garlic and onions for drinks and applications this winter.
You can argue about liver overload until you’re blue in the face, quite literally, but the positive effects of a few good blowouts over the holidays cannot be underestimated.
As most of our homes will now be without sparkly lights and twinkly decorations, call to mind those fun nights when you had one too many, laughing hysterically and dancing with strangers.
I found myself following my own advice over the party weeks and imbibed many an apple, carrot and beetroot juice the morning after, often followed by round two, the banana and peanut butter milkshake, and if it really wasn’t shifting; then it was the curry I had delivered to me in my pyjamas. Inevitably the hangover ends with floating Lind’or chocolates on top of a glass of bubbly and trying to suck them up with a straw!
Now that the school uniforms are hanging on the radiators and steam rises from them in a miserable, taunting manner, it seems it’s time to get back to regimes.
Photos of skimpily clad, hot 20-somethings are everywhere, telling us we should be in the gym 24/7 and employing some kind of clean-eating regime.
As a woman who is equally at home lifting a sausage roll as a kettle bell, this is also the season to take up a gym membership, purchase a nutribullet and, two weeks later, ditch the gym and lose the kitchen gadget under a pile of dust and bills.
Every new year my resolution is to not make any resolutions, except for one, the planting of my garlic crop. Traditionally, this is done on the shortest day of the year so it’s in the ground before the frost hits.
This is also the time of year when we need this magical allium more than ever. An excess of fun, if there is such a thing, will inevitably take its toll on your immune system, ditto for the fear of going back to work.
The first week back at work of the new year is said to bring about all manner of crappy feelings and the first sniffles of impending springtime.
Fear not, as garlic is your friend. As a child I remember the grown-ups all taking garlic capsules to ward off colds and flus, then things got more interesting when we discovered the amazing buttery deliciousness of garlic bread.
Garlic and onions are credited with so many cures that we have no excuse not to eat them, they also grow prolifically in our climate so they are cheap and plentiful too.
Garlic can thin the blood, reduce bad cholesterol, and help reduce water retention. As garlic boosts circulation it has long been used as an aphrodisiac or a natural viagra, just maybe make sure your partner has some too, or the garlic breath might have the opposite effect.
Garlic tea is great to nuke a flu from orbit and garlic lovers will be familiar with the ‘garlic feet’ approach to curing a cold. The bulb is best eaten raw, of course, and if you’re tough enough, a peppery clove, bitten and swallowed almost whole, once a day will give you the best protection against colds and flu that you can get.
If you want to walk on the wild side, try making up this delicious concoction as a morning-after cure, or just a punchy drink to set you up for a good night out, otherwise omit the vodka and you have a super-healthy and retro drink. Use locally grown, plump garlic.
Garlic Virgin Mary/Bloody Mary
500ml good quality tomato juice
1 lemon — juiced
1 lime — juiced
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves — crushed
1 teaspoon tabasco
Sea salt and black pepper
1. Place all the ingredients, except for the seasoning and vodka, in a blender and whizz everything up.
2. Season to taste and pop this in the fridge and leave it for at least an hour for the flavours to infuse. This mixture will keep for a week in the fridge.
3. Mix 200ml or so of the Virgin Mary mix with vodka, if having vodka, and mix with a celery stick, leaving the stick in the glass.
Pour 250ml boiling water over four roughly chopped cloves of garlic and leave to infuse for five minutes or so. Juice a lemon and add this along with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and some honey to taste.
Drink this as often as you can when you’re hit by a cold or flu virus, eating all the chopped up garlic at the bottom of the cup.
Garlic or onion feet
Yes it’s bizarre but I’ve done it and it speeds up recovery from colds and flu. As the feet are the exit route for many toxins in the body, using garlic or onions on the feet helps to draw them out while also injecting a healthy dose of ancillin to boost recovery.
Although garlic is effective, onions have many similar properties and I use them as they are easier to cut to size.
Place two strips of cling film on the floor, about 50cm in length each. In the centre of each place a layer of sliced onions, long enough to go from the top of your foot to the bottom.
Place one foot on top of the onions and now wrap your foot up like a breakfast roll and carefully put on a thick sock, repeat the process with the other foot. Hobble off to bed and have a great sleep — your bed will smell like a packet of crisps, however.
Remove your onion feet wrappings in the morning and wash those hooves well, and hopefully, you will be feeling much better.
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