Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week One

Tomorrow will make exactly one week into our 6 week resistant starch experiment.

I've altered the doses for the experimental phase ever so slightly compared to what was originally planned during the Indiegogo campaign. During the course of the campaign I learned that RS is very preferentially favored by bifido bacteria. As Tim Steele's bifido count was about 10-12 times the typical individual's the question obviously arose, was that directly a result of RS, or something else? Also, as bifido latches onto RS and can use that as a transport shuttle through the stomach and small intestine would taking RS with kefir enhance the effect of RS? Finally, I received an email suggestion that a little psyllium husk goes a long way, and that I probably wanted to go a little lighter on its dose for my 10 y.o. An upset stomach obviously is no fun, and I want this to be a way to make science real, personal, and fun for the kids. So, 1 TSP/day it is. I'll say he's a heck of a trooper taking it. The stuff once mixed with a liquid is gloppy and tastes like soggy cardboard. He swallows the mess without much of a complaint. I would have never been able to do it at his age. I had huge taste and texture issues as a kid. Fortunately I'm long over them now. But I digress. :)

So, here's the experiment:

Adult 1 (me): 4 TBSP Bob's Red Mill unmodified potato starch taken as 2 doses with ~4oz water, once in the morning, once in the evening.

Adult 2 (my wife): 2 TBSP potato starch taken as one dose with ~4oz kefir, mixed and allowed to rest for a few minutes before ingesting.

Child 1 (10 y.o.): 1 TBSP potato starch mixed with water, 1 TSP psyllium husk mixed with a non-bifido yogurt.

Child 2 (6 y.o.): 1 TBSP potato starch mixed with water.

Tim has indicated that based on his research and his own personal experience that the 4 TBSP dose is the amount necessary for the full therapeutic effect. Then again, to my way of thinking we're not sick so as a prophylactic measure, how little is necessary to positively impact one's gut flora? So that's my thinking in dialing it down for the kids. Additionally, will kefir & RS act as force multipliers for each other, where one can reduce the dosage to get the same or even better results? Finally, how does mixing in another soluble fiber, psyllium husk in this instance, impact the gut biome?

To me these are all interesting questions and my only wish would be that we could have 40 people doing the science project with us. Of course, if I had 40 people I'd then start wondering about mixing it up with some other soluble fiber supplements and other commercial probiotics. :)

As far as any immediate effects we've experience one week in, I can't say that I've noticed any. Fortunately there's been no upset stomachs, extreme flatulence, or diarrhea. I suppose there's a little more tooting going on, but it seems to be more a matter amplifying whatever we might be eating, than spontaneously creating it on its own. And, if we aren't eating a gassy meal, we aren't experiencing any unusual or unexpected gas. As far as mood, I haven't tried to inquire (I will eventually, but I don't want to color anyone else's perception this early into the experiment), but my personal perception is that everyone seems to be about the same. Sleep, likewise, feels the same. The kids are going to bed and waking up in the morning same as usual. I had a dream or two last week, where normally I don't have any that I would recall, but even then they weren't particularly vivid.

All in all, no significant changes. Is that indicative of us already having a healthy gut biome? Well, that's the beauty of this science project. We don't have to speculate. In 8 weeks or so we'll have the "before" results and hopefully have a pretty good idea.

Cheers. -Allan

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kits have arrived

Woo-hoo. The kits arrived here over the weekend. I've created a profile for each of us, completed the questionnaires, taken the samples, and posted them back to Boulder as of yesterday.

For those curious, our macronutrient composition was 45-35-20% fat-carb-protein respectively. Our plant/animal protein split was approximately 35/65%. Our fiber intake over the 7 days prior to sampling was 105 g for the adults and 80-85 g for the children.

For those really curious, below is the summary of our meals over the last week and a half. It covers more than the seven days that the Am Gut project is interested in because I started keeping track a little ahead of time in anticipation of the kits' arrival. You may notice a lot of repeats. Those are not copy and paste errors on my part. :) Rather, we have a tendency to eat the same things over and over and to have left-overs the next day. I like to think it uncomplicates life by not having to worry about what to eat today, akin to Steve Jobs wearing his uniform of turtle neck shirt and blue denim pants. It's the engineer in me. I'm sharing this amount of detail so that when our "before" results arrive people will have an idea of what kind of diet created them.

Also, as a reminder the yogurt is cultured by me using the viili starter from Cultures for Health. It does NOT contain bifido bacteria. As that is the strain that most favors resistant starch, it will be interesting to see if bifido "spontaneously" populates our gut just from consuming it's preferred food source.

Monday - Baked chicken drumsticks, Sauteed cabbage & beet greens, Au gratin potatoes (yep, exact same two days in a row)
Sunday - Baked chicken drumsticks, Sauteed cabbage & beet greens, Au gratin potatoes
Saturday - Steak, side salad, & ciabata bread from bakery
Friday - Black-eyed peas w/ bacon "ends" and rice, Sauteed cabbage, rainbow chard, and onion on the side
Thursday - Fish tacos w/ rice & sauteed onions, red cabbage, carrots, & kale
Wed - Chicken & dumplings
Tuesday - Chicken & dumplings
Monday - Beef teriyaki kabobs w/ polenta and kale & red cabbage
Sunday - Chicken meatballs in spaghetti sauce over polenta w/ moz cheese
Sat - Pizza (homemade, sausage & cheese)

Monday - Tomato Soup w/ Cheese, Peanut Butter, and Crackers
Sunday - skipped, snacked on peanut butter & apple slices
Saturday - Yogurt & granola
Friday - Eggs over black-eye peas w/ bacon & yogurt w/ granola (adults)
Thursday - Eggs over black-eye peas w/ bacon & yogurt w/ granola (adults)
Wed - Chicken meatballs, spaghetti sauce & polenta left-overs (adults)
Tuesday - Eggs over black beans & yogurt w/ granola (adults)
Monday - Eggs w/ rice & crab meat & yogurt w/ granola (adults)
Sunday - Leftover pizza
Sat - skipped, had only a small snack

Monday - Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Sunday - Eggs over pancakes w/ sausage
Saturday - Eggs over pancakes w/ sausage
Friday -  Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Thursday - Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Wed - Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Tuesday - Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Monday - Eggs & yogurt w/ granola & flax meal (kids only, adults had coffee w/ half-n-half)
Sunday - Oatmeal & yogurt w/ honey & pecans
Sat - Eggs over black beans, bacon on the side