60-Day Human Food Challenge
Short Summary: We are looking for 25-30 super motivated people who have joined – or will be joining the American Gut project – that are willing to shift their diet for 60-days, record everything they eat and share the information with the larger group during and after the 60-day challenge. Based on your first American Gut sample (you pay for), we will compare your gut microbiota after 60-days (cost on us) to see if you experience any significant/interesting changes.
Nobody tells a giraffe what to eat, but humans seem to have a hard time figuring it out these days. During the 60-Day Human Food Challenge we are interested in seeing how your gut microbial composition shifts (if at all) when you eat more human food, and less processed food. We also want you to do more human-like things during this 60-Day challenge as well. We don’t need you to become a hunter-gatherer and stop bathing, but we do want you to spend a lot more time outside, keep your home (and office if possible) windows open, spend more time in the dirt (and stay dirty when you can), spend a lot more time with pets (if you don’t have one – go hug the neighbors dog), we want you to visit chickens, horses, cows, hogs and any other species that isn’t human as much as you can, swim in ponds, streams, lakes, and ocean when you can (avoid public pool – kids pee in them anyway), and the list goes on. In short, we want you to “re-wild” your life and body as much as possible, and have you reconnect with the larger microbial metacommunity we have all disconnected with in our modern lives. None of this is hard, but will require some effort on your end.
As for diet, we are very interested in seeing you eat 30+ species of plants a week (the more the better). We will ask that you eat the “whole” whole plant. For example, no more cutting of the fibrous bottom of the asparagus shoots or broccoli. Eat the whole thing! Same goes for every other plant. We will also ask that you lots of onions, leeks, garlic and explore cooking/eating lots of new plants (there is more out there than just leafy greens). We also want you to drop 100% of anything made with a grain of any kind – that includes rice. Beans and lentils OK (sorry Paleo friendos). We will also ask that you not steam, boil, or otherwise cook your vegetables for too long. Cook a little less, so your body works a little harder. Eat all the meat you like – but we ask that you avoid any meat, poultry, fish etc that has been raised on growth hormones or antibiotics as this “may” impact your gut microbiota. We will also ask that you not drink your tap water, as the chlorine (and fluoride where added) “may” be having an impact on your gut microbiota. Rule of Thumb: If you have to ask if it’s human food, then it’s probably not.
NOTE: we are not looking for participants who ALREADY live and eat this way. We are looking for people who are living and eating a totally different way so that when you switch to some of the things discussed above, we can monitor any shifts in the composition of your microbiota after 60 days.
(Please note there is no meal plan to follow, or very rigid rules for that matter. But we do want you to focus on the thrust of what we are trying to do and please minimize the cheating! No worries, booze still allowed but plan your booze cruise to the Bahamas after the 60-day challenge if possible).
At the end of the day, people will respond differently based on their baseline sample (sample #1). But we are very interested in 1) if we can increase the abundance of Actinobacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium, reduce Prevotella, and possible increase bacteria associated with fermentation of cellulose and other fibers. Will also be looking to see if we can drop your levels of Proteobacteria, which include many opportunistic pathogens that haunt us. We would also like to see the diversity of your gut bugs increase as well. As with all things ecological, a more diverse ecosystem within is a good thing. Oh yeah, did I mention you will likely be eating between 30-80g of fiber a day from a myriad of sources.
**Note we are very interested in anyone that is currently eating lots of “whole” grains that would like to take the plunge and give them up for 60-days.
There is a lot more information to follow. Please note this is NOT a clinical trial or organized study of ANY kind. Just a group of people sharing information about what they are eating and doing for 60-Days and how that might change/shift their gut microbiota. Your data associated with the sample you will take at 60-Days is private information, that only you – not the group – will see. You will need to share with the group in order for all of us to compare our before and after results.
If you think this is something you might be interested in doing – CLICK HERE and provide your email and we will get back to you in a week or so. If you have any questions, jeff AT humanfoodproject DOT com. We want this to be fun, interesting, and useful to everyone that participates. So please, no whiners, wimps, or crazy people (you know who you are).