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3/16/2018 - Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe

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Blackstrap Molasses, Iron and Ferritin Deficiency, Menstrual Health, and a Yummy Dessert Recipe
Friday, March 16th, 2018
16:53:10 GMT


Last modified March 19, 2018 at 6:12 AM EDT.

Blog Post by Apollia, owner and administrator of Non24.Com and Non24.Org


Disclaimer: I'm not a health care professional or nutrtionist, just a layperson with some interest in health issues, and none of this blog post is intended as health advice. I'm just sharing some of my personal thoughts and experiences with things which I believe helped me, and some links to (and quotes of) informative articles, etc. I found, in case anyone might find this stuff helpful and/or interesting.

Here's this website's disclaimer page.




Here's a quote from an article titled 9 Signs Of An Iron Deficiency Doctors Say You Should Never Ignore:

"In fact, iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, according to the WHO, which estimates that some 2 billion people - or 30% of the world's entire population - have anemia, which is caused by lack of iron."

End of quote.


As a 36-year-old woman with a perhaps above average amount of menstrual flow, I believe I lose a significant amount of iron every month. And since I have often had the terrible habit of neglecting to eat, or of not eating well, I suspect I often haven't sufficiently replenished my lost iron.

And I suspect iron deficiency might actually be the top reason why I've struggled so much with fatigue these past several years, until recently. (A lot more details are in my health diary blog posts part 1 and part 2 on my personal website.)

So, I believe blackstrap molasses might possibly be one of the best things I ever found for my health, since it contains a lot of iron, which I suspect I need.


My energy seemed to improve a lot after I started trying to consume about a spoonful of blackstrap molasses at least every few days. (At first, for a while, I tried to have it daily, but I guess I'm just not that fond of vegetable juice and soup. Also, I don't want to possibly get too much iron, since too much iron is quite dangerous.)

And, recently, after a while of mostly neglecting to consume blackstrap molasses because I felt so fine, energetic, and well-rested, and following my most recent time of the month - I relapsed a bit into often feeling fatigued and strangely not very refreshed by sleep.


Here's the article where I first learned about how important proper levels of iron and ferritin are for refreshing sleep. It's sad at first, but it has a mostly happy ending:

The Iron-Sleep Connection
From AdoptionNutrition.org


I haven't asked a doctor about my iron or ferritin levels (or anything else, maybe since 2005!), so I'm not 100% certain my problem is low iron or low ferritin, but, given how my fatigue seems to correlate a lot with my time of the month, and given how much better I felt back when I was making more of an effort to consume blackstrap molasses and other sources of iron, such as beans - I strongly suspect my fatigue is quite possibly primarily from low iron or low ferritin.

Though, among other things, I also think Vitamin D and magnesium help me quite a lot. (Though I now try to avoid overdoing Vitamin D, and haven't taken Vitamin D in supplement form since sometime last year, since I suspect I might have taken too much for a while.) Also, this page says:

"When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another."

Plenty more details about what I think helps me are in my health diary blog posts part 1 and part 2 on my personal website.


Here's a great video I found about blackstrap molasses and how it might help with menstrual issues:

How I ended my terrible period (menstruation): My Secret


And here's a great article I found about iron deficiency in women:

Iron Loss Explains Why You're Tired All the Time
July 10, 2012 from TheAtlantic.com


And here's an important quote from that, warning about the dangers of excess iron:

"A person who feels fatigued should not self-diagnose and take an iron supplement. A supplement could obscure a serious medical condition such as a bleeding ulcer. Taking too much iron can also be problematic and dangerous as iron levels may build up in the body and cause major organ failure.

Chronic fatigue should be evaluated by a physician and iron supplements taken only after laboratory tests confirm the need for one."

End of quote.

Iron pills scare me, so I much prefer to get iron exclusively from food. This other page says:

"Most people don't need to worry about getting too much iron from food alone. Even the best food sources contain only about 5 milligrams per serving, and most foods contain less than 3 milligrams per serving. Iron deficiency is much more likely than iron toxicity from foods."

End of quote.

Still, I'm guessing it's quite possible to get too much iron even via diet, such as if you eat a ridiculous amount of blackstrap molasses and/or liver and/or beans.

So, I hope everyone will please be careful.


The brand of blackstrap molasses I use is the Plantation brand, since it has 20% of the "Daily Value" of iron per tablespoon. Also, it's organic, and made in the USA.

Surprisingly (to me), there can be quite large differences between brands. A while back, I tried the Brer Rabbit brand, and that was actually more palatable to me, but it only had 4% of the "Daily Value" of iron per tablespoon.


One major problem with blackstrap molasses is, if it's not mixed with the right other ingredients, it tastes quite vile - at least to me, and plenty of other people.

Until today, I only had basically two acceptable ways to consume blackstrap molasses:

  1. 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses stirred into about half a glass of vegetable juice.

  2. Making that vegetable juice + blackstrap molasses into a soup by adding other ingredients like usually black beans or sometimes other beans (which have plenty of iron), butter, garlic, chicken, spices, etc., and microwaving it.

Both of those are quite surprisingly good, especially the soup (which I sometimes vary with slightly different ingredients and spices). Not just tolerable, but actually good!

But, due to having them so often, I've been getting a bit tired of them, even despite my slight variations of the recipes. So, it has been getting more difficult for me to consume blackstrap molasses as frequently as I'd like, to help ward off the debilitating fatigue I had been dealing with most of the time for the past several years until recently.


So, today, I tried out a slightly modified version of this surprisingly good recipe:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Blackstrap Molasses Breakfast Cookies
From ConnoisseurusVeg.com

Thanks and much praise to its creator!


I was quite skeptical that I was going to like that recipe, since for me, blackstrap molasses (eaten by itself, or mixed with the wrong things) is horrendously bad. And instead of typical sugar, that recipe has only a banana for additional sweetness, beyond the significant amount of sweetness blackstrap molasses surprisingly provides despite its vileness. And bananas are usually just something I tolerate rather than something I particularly enjoy.

But, I definitely like peanuts and peanut butter. (And, happily, they seem to help my energy levels.) And this recipe sounded so overall healthy, easy, fairly quick, and possibly good despite my doubts, that I decided to try it.

And I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it actually is quite good. Even the uncooked mix was a lot better than I expected, though I definitely prefer the cooked version.


However, I did modify the recipe a bit. I didn't use vanilla extract because vanilla extract often has alcohol in it, and cooking might not remove all alcohol.

Also, I was a bit dismayed at how much dry oatmeal there was even after I tried to thoroughly mix the ingredients together (but maybe that's because I used a spoon, not an electric mixer). Anyway, to moisten it and make it blend together better, and also since I guessed it would probably help the taste, I added almost an entire stick of butter (partway melted in the microwave), and even an unmeasured but small amount of whole milk.

I didn't have chopped roasted peanuts, so, I just threw in some Great Value roasted peanuts, a brand available at Walmart.


I didn't have a baking sheet, so, I used this ceramic casserole dish, which I greased up with organic raw coconut oil to hopefully keep the cookies from getting stuck to the dish. It (and/or the butter) seemed to work! (It also was probably subtly good for the flavor, without making it taste obviously coconutty to me.)

My ceramic casserole dish wasn't big enough to hold all of the mix (which fit quite well in this nice big ceramic pasta bowl). So, since I only had one ceramic casserole dish, I cooked two consecutive batches using about half of the mix each time. And I globbed most everything together without trying hard at all to make separate cookies.

I also decided to cook it longer, since after 8 minutes, my version was still so moist and soft that I wanted to see if I could make it harder and more cookie-like. But, I didn't keep careful track of how long I was cooking it (and sometimes I forgot to turn the oven back on after checking on it), so I'm not sure how long I cooked my version. Maybe 20 minutes? I was tempted to cook it even longer to try to make it crispy instead of so soft, but I ran out of patience.


In any case, the result was astonishingly pleasing - a rich, but not overwhelmingly sweet flavor, good both with or without a little additional sweetening in the form of a little organic maple syrup, which only subtly changed the flavor. (Perhaps because I was using the mild-flavored Extra Rare early-harvested syrup, and only a quite small amount of it.)

My version of this recipe never did end up being cookie-like - it's more like pie filling. Next time I make it, I might cook it in some pie crusts instead of my ceramic casserole dish.

It also reminded me a little of baklava filling, but less gooey and less sweet - which I think is a good thing, even though I do like baklava in small amounts.

I'm guessing spices like cinnamon or ginger might go well with it, and/or probably other spices too.

I had to save most of it for later, since it was so rich I felt satisfied with just a small amount of it. I stored the leftovers in two of these great smoothie glasses with lids.


Since this is the kind of thing I only really enjoy in rather small amounts (like baklava, fudge, certain pies, and walnuts), I'm going to keep trying to find (or maybe create, or remix) some blackstrap molasses-containing recipes which I'll be more likely to want to eat frequently and in larger amounts.

Blackstrap molasses is far from the only way to get more iron in my diet, but, I feel like it somehow works better for me than other things I eat more often, like breakfast cereal with lots of iron. (I've read that milk might interfere with iron absorption, though I've also read that it doesn't particularly interfere, so, I don't know who's right about this.)

And I have misgivings about eating a lot of meat, both for moral reasons, and because I suspect meat from mistreated animals raised in horrific and unhealthy conditions might also be bad for human health in various ways.


Another thing I like about blackstrap molasses is its other nutrients besides iron, like magnesium and some of the B vitamins, among various other things.

After consuming even just 1 spoonful of blackstrap molasses (usually in vegetable juice or sometimes in soup), I tend to feel better and more relaxed, similar to how I feel after taking a magnesium supplement, and I feel like it somehow helps me sleep better.


My current top priority (other than overcoming my fatigue, again) is various computer programming projects.

And fortunately, the more my fatigue recedes, the easier it gets for me to make significant progress.

So, hopefully at some point I'll eventually get around to doing more with Non24.com.

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