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I love alliums ...


ninetofive
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No matter what I do to onions or garlic -- slow roast, saute, etc. -- the smell of them sticks with me for days. The smell not only permeates my breath, but it comes out of my skin, especially on the palms of my hands. Seriously. I was horrified last night taking a shower and the whole stall reeked of onions from a curry I'd eaten at lunch. I taught a class last night, and now I'm thinking I must have killed my students. I remember a garlic and clam pizza from Wooster St. in New Haven lingering with me for almost a week. Thank God most days I work at home.

I've eaten these foods with other people, yet they don't suffer the same symptoms I do -- maybe a little onion breath for a couple hours, then it's gone. Two of my ex-boyfriends could eat raw garlic. Their breath didn't smell great for awhile, but the smell was gone by the next day. My husband, who isn't as fond as garlic and onions as I am, also has a similar problem to mine, but he's happy staying away from alliums in general.

There must be some body chemistry stuff at play here. I'm wondering if ethnicity has anything to do with it -- my husband and I are both from English/Scottish/Irish stock. Maybe we're just not genetically engineered to cope with alliums. (The two ex's I mentioned were of Italian ancestry.)

At any rate, I'm curious if anyone here can get to the bottom of this stinky business and tell me if there's anything i can do to cut the stench. Besides stop eating them, that is, because I can't imagine a life with alliums. I brush my teeth, eat tons of parsley -- nothing really helps.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

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Oh man, I sweat garlic too! And I love garlic!

I am waiting and watching to see in anyone has an answer. Raw parsley helps the breath, but does nothing for the BO (and we are fragile flowers, you know, and don't care to be stinky).

I don't know about ethnicity. I am a mutt, but there is quite a lot of the British Isles in my ancestory. My German husband has no such problem, and eats roasted garlic an inch thick on bread.

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I know that lemon juice is effective in removing garlicky smells from your hands, so perhaps, if you can find some kind of lemon-based oil lotion or wash, maybe try that.

Or, if you can bare it, try massaging a few lemons and their juice into your skin whilst showering.

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For the allium breath issue, I too find that brushing one's teeth alone is not enough. You will need a multi-pronged approach -- flossing, mouthwash, gum, and a tongue scraper combined may be your best bet.

A quick search on Wikipedia also revealed that the culprit of garlic odor permeating the skin is allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). This is a metabolite of the garlic/onion's sulfur compounds, and it cannot be digested. Thus, it enters the circulation, where it is removed from the body via the skin and the lungs over the course of several hours and, in your case, even longer.

One way of accelerating the release of AMS from the body apparently is a sauna and I'd imagine a long hot shower would suffice as well. This may also explain why you noticed the smell more prominently in the shower stall after your curry.

The other alternative would be to start a grass-roots campaign to make allium the next big fragrance. As a fellow allium lover, I'm in favor of this approach. Any way we can get Coco Chanel on board with this one?

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