The first references to garlic found in diets go back to ancient Egypt, where the working class was known to eat garlic in order to maintain and increase their strength. In ancient Greece, soldiers were fed garlic for courage and strength, and it was associated with war. Most notably, during the first Olympic Games, garlic was consumed by the athletes before they competed!
Doctor Alejandro Junger, author of Clean, suggested eating a clove of garlic a day due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits — specifically to improve your gut health. Potentially better skin and health? I was sold. I figured this would be an easy habit to take on, since I always have a head of garlic lying around the kitchen. After some research, I found that garlic has the most benefits when eaten raw because when heated, the allicin concentration decreases, negatively affecting the anti-inflammatory properties of garlic. Here's what happened when I consumed raw garlic every day for one whole week.
I Almost Puked Once
Day one went by without any problems. My dinner consisted of roasted lamb, wild rice, sauteed asparagus, and a few cloves of roasted garlic to complement all the flavors. I felt like I was cheating, since the garlic wasn't raw, but I figured it was a good way to ease myself into this routine. I had zero side effects and was feeling pretty confident about this experiment. Day two was a completely different story, though. I was about to go to bed when I realized that I had almost forgotten to eat my garlic. I ran to my kitchen (all 15 steps in my studio apartment) and peeled a clove. Since I was exhausted, I decided to just chew the entire clove as if I was eating an apple. Initially I was fine, but then spice took over my taste buds. It was similar to eating ginger. The spice doesn't kick in right away, but when it does, dear God! Shortly after, my stomach started to hurt. I was positive I was going to puke and decided to just sleep it off.
My Breath Smelled Terrible
The most noticeable thing about this entire experience was my garlic breath. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed (they were probably too nice to tell me), but my breath was kicking! I was extremely self-conscious, especially when training clients, because burpees and garlic breath just don't mix. No amount of mouthwash could cover up the scent. My retainer permanently smells like garlic, but hey, it's all in the name of health and wellness.
I Got Intense Headaches
One thing that shocked me was that, after every clove I ate (minus the roasted one), I would get a headache about five minutes later. They reminded me of brain freeze, but were a lot stronger and lasted longer. I was curious about whether this was normal and found that garlic can trigger migraines in some people. If you are prone to getting migraines, I highly recommend either finely chopping up the clove and mixing it into a salad dressing or blending it in a smoothie or juice.
My Poop Was Foul
As if the headaches, near-puking experience, and bad breath weren't enough, my poop was terrible. In retrospect, that actually may have been a good thing, with my body eliminating toxins and my gut flora becoming more balanced, but it certainly wasn't pretty.
I was really hoping that eating garlic daily would make my abs pop a little more, make me a little stronger, and give me the skin of my dreams, but it didn't. While I didn't see too many changes externally, it's hard to overlook the many long-term health benefits that come with eating a single clove of garlic!