Toronto Garlic Festival and Garlicy Kale Pesto

This past Sunday (September 16th) my mom, Jade and I went to the 8th annual Garlic Festival here in Toronto. We are all garlic lovers so were excited to purchase some different garlic varieties, including my much sought after black garlic, as well as sample some of the many garlic infused foods. While there, my favorite things we tried were the garlic gelato's from Death by Venice. The flavors were Black Garlic Toasted Fennel Vanilla and Roasted Garlic Chocolate Rosemary, any they were surprisingly both so good! Jade (my 2 year old) loved the Black Garlic Vanilla flavor. One of our favorite local Kombucha makers, Alchemy Pickle Company, were also there so we tried the Apple Cider and Roasted Garlic Kombucha, also a hit with my 2 year old, who would have thought!

Healthy Benefits of Garlic

Garlic has been used for thousands of years, not just to make pasta sauces taste great but for its many medicinal properties. Garlic contains antioxidants that can support the body's protective mechanisms against oxidative damage which can contribute to all kinds of illness. Its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties are amazing at treating a variety of illnesses and infections. Garlic oil has been used as a treatment against ear infections, whole garlic cloves have been used to treat vaginal yeast infections and garlic is famous for its success in minimizing the effects of the common cold. Each time I feel a cold coming I chop up a clove of garlic, put it on a spoon with a bit of raw honey and eat it. The antibacterial affects of both the honey and garlic will cure whatever ails you!

Not only minor infections garlic has been shown in various studies beneficial in the prevention and treatment of Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Regulating Blood Pressure and Controlling Diabetes.

  1. The Anti-Cancer properties of garlic have been recognized by the National Cancer Institute - the Allium family of vegetables which include garlic and onions have bioactive sulfur compounds believed to lower Cancer risk (National Cancer Institute, 2008)

  2. Garlic has even been showed to help reverse early heart disease by removing plaque build up in arteries (Matsumoto et. al, 2016)

  3. Garlic has been shown to control blood pressure and in a 2014 study, garlic was shown to have the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals similarly to standard blood pressure medications (Reid, 2014)

  4. Eating garlic has been show to help regulate blood sugar levels and importantly can also help with common complications of diabetes including atherosclerosis and nephropathy

How to Add Garlic to Your Diet

To experience the most of the medicinal benefits garlic is best used raw which is very easy to do. Just chop it up, or grate it on a microplane as i do to save time (available on amazon) and let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes before using it. This activates the alliinase enzymes which can convert allin to allicin, in plain english this wakes up all the good stuff. I recommend making my Garlicy Kale Pesto. I am a huge pesto fan and healthified (actual word) the original recipe while still keeping that amazing flavor in tact. I replaced the cheese for nutritional yeast (this recipe is vegan), reduced some of the olive oil replacing it with water and added kale because well, why not. Throw this pesto on eggs, pasta, avocado toast (really anything) to add additional fresh garlic into your diet


1 cup fresh packed basil (stems removed)

2 cups fresh packed kale (stems removed)

1 cup toasted pine nuts

4 large cloves of garlic (can be reduced to 2 or 3 depending on garlic love)

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup water


add all ingredients except water and oil into food processor and begin to process until a lose paste forms

slowly begin to add water and olive oil a little at a time, scrape down the sides if needed. Note you may need to add additional water or olive oil until desired consistency is achieved

store covered in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for a month

©2018 Whole Health Kitchen by Jessica McQuoid RHN