Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If you're Poor, Eat Molasses

Seems everybody and his dog on the Downtown Eastside has a diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder. I don't. But because I've known so many people with this diagnosis, I was fascinated by an interview with Dr. John Gray on Coast to Coast a few days ago. Gray believes he has a cure for Bi-Polar; then he caught himself and said he's not allowed to actually call it a "cure".

Gray believes bi-polar is caused by our high carbohydrate diets which require a lot of lithium to process, leaving us lithium depleted. Lithium is, of course, prescribed for people with bi-polar but in doses which Gray says are toxic. Gray has had good results giving lithium supplements to both adults and children with bi-polar symptoms. He says the best supplement to take is Lithium Oratol, but it is only available in the U.S.; it's not approved in Canada. Lithium is available in common foods though: eggs, potatoes, lemons, seaweed. Drinking a lot of coffee can drain lithium from the body too.

Carbs. Coffee. That sounds like the diet of many Downtown Eastsiders, especially people who eat at the free joints. In fact, povertarians such as UBC Learning Exchange management use the bottomless cup of free coffee as bait to get people into their facility, and get their sign-in numbers up to maximize funding. Learning Exchange Director Margo Fryer, health-conscious vegan that she is, gives the lumpen proletarians a bucket of powdered coffee creamer loaded with refined sugars and worse, that you can bet she would never allow to cross her own lips.
Last night, I ran into a friend coming from the Salvation Army soup truck and he had a load of carbs in his hands: buns and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At the Carnegie cafeteria, the co-ordinator Catriona does a good job of keeping refined sugar to a minimum, but the food there isn't free.

Dr. Gray was also talking during the radio interview about super foods like Goji berries and Maca. I like Maca, which is a root eaten by the Inca in Peru for centuries; I put it in shakes. Gray was saying that he takes a Korean herb which has kept his testosterone levels the same at age 58 as they were at 30, when he first had them tested.

If you're "very poor", said Gray, and can't afford super foods, just take a teaspoon of Blackstrap molasses after every meal, even two teaspoons. He said molasses will give you many of the minerals you need. (I would check with a doctor first, if you're diabetic, because molasses could spike your blood sugar.)


Rachel Davis said...

Yes, there is an amazing amount of free coffee in the DTES. Especially considering it's over-consumption has been linked to schizophrenia, and now you mention it's link to Bi-polar disorder, you gotta wonder, which came first, the chicken or the egg? It also depletes Vit. C, I've read as much as 10 mg. for every cup, and other vitamins too.
Are people having their previously latent (or temporarily subsided) tendency towards these disorders encouraged by so much bloody coffee?
It is a drug. Complete with withdrawal symptoms, after all.
Most often there is not even a choice, if you want something hot to warm up with, coffee is all that is offered, even if you know it's bad for you.

Anonymous said...

Do you know where Dr. Grey is based? Where does he work?

Anonymous said...

Great discussion !

Could I add that ‘carbs’ per se are not the enemy - it is refined carbohydrates that are - white flour, rice, and sugar. Whole fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, lentils, peas) are the healthiest of foods. Places like Sunrise Market are a good place to load up on healthy carbs like bananas and sweet potatoes. Brown and/or basmati rice is slower burning than other rices. If one can cook beans from scratch you can pretty much feed yourself for the day with a few dollars. Stir in some molasses for a tasty baked bean dish.

Check out this 72 year old man whose diet is fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts:

Cheers !

Anonymous said...

Years ago I used to visit a friend who lived in back of Mark Townsend’s ‘commune’. I was always struck how skinny, pale, and sickly they all looked. Apparently their ‘vegan’ diet was very low calorie, low fat, low protein, mainly just cheap starches and vegetables, and just barely allowed them to function. I thought to myself that it was just like the cults do - the hari krishnas or whoever - semi starvation and brainwashing.

Anonymous said...

X-lax is cheaper.

reliable sources said...

Rachel Davis,

I was at a meeting in the Carnegie theatre a couple of years ago, a Board meeting or an AGM, and a member named May stood up and said coffee was a drug and we should be more critical of its heavy consumption on the Downtown Eastside. Nobody paid any attention to her. I remember there was free coffee at that meeting.

I drink coffee in moderation.
I have had coffee at Carnegie and find it excellent at the Seniors Lounge, fresher than the coffee in the second floor cafeteria. I was told that the coffee is watered down in the cafeteria, but I don't know if that's true.

reliable sources said...

"Do you know where Dr. Grey is based? Where does he work?"

Gray is based in the U.S. He's not a medical doctor; he's a relationship counselor. But some of the advice he gives about nutrition for balancing hormones etc. is also being given by medical doctors in the media like Dr. Mehmet Oz and his writing partner Dr. Michael Roizon.

Gray writes the Venus and Mars relationship books, which have never interested me. But he tracks the latest brain research which is why his interviews can be captivating.

Gray said on Coast to Coast that his brother was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and prescribed medication. But the medication damaged his brother's quality of life so severely that he committed suicide. That's what has motivated John Gray to investigate alternative remedies for bi-polar.

reliable sources said...

"Could I add that ‘carbs’ per se are not the enemy - it is refined carbohydrates that are - white flour, rice, and sugar."


Thanks for pointing that out. It actually dawned on me a few hours after I wrote the post that I should have distinguished between refined carbohydrates and healthy complex carbohydrates.

Anonymous said...

I love this site, learn something new everyday.

Up until now I though 'bipolar' was a gay white bear, whodathunkit?

Kerry said...

Love this Post and the Comments ~ Thanks