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.)