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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Microbiotic Bowl - Research Participants Needed

Uploaded: Aug 7, 2018

Did you know your body is made up of 70-90% the genes of another species? Those genes are the bacteria/microbiome that live on and in us. We are more them than us!

I looked to the web for a description of what genes do:

Each gene has a special job. Some genes are inherited from our parents and determine things like our eye color and how tall we are. The DNA in a gene also spells out specific instructions—much like in a cookbook recipe — for making proteins in the cells. Proteins are the building blocks for everything in your body. Bones and teeth, hair and earlobes, muscles and blood, are all made up of proteins. Those proteins help our bodies grow, work properly, and stay healthy.

- KidsHealth

Maybe a reader can add to this description?

Emerging thought is our microbiome may also play a big role in signaling instructions that affect bodily functions like digestion, respiration, emotions, and who knows what else?

So Stanford research is set to find out more.

A fascinating, never-been-done before research project is underway at Stanford called Microbiome Individuality and Stability Over Time. Science is starting to think that not only what we eat, but the order in which we eat it, might affect the microbiome in our gut.

To test this theory, the study is looking for participants who will consume the same meal for one week. All of the day’s meals will be the same (breakfast, lunch and dinner). I’m the R & D chef and we created a vegetable, meat and rice bowl with a savory gravy that will come frozen for reheating. It's good - honestly I think it's the best bowl on the market. We call it a Microbiotic Bowl. (microbe-biotic, get it? :) There is meat in the bowl because it's true, the average American eats meat.





You pick the week to do the study.
So join us as a study participant and let's really Food Party!


Recruiting healthy adults to participate in an exciting new study

Microbiome Individuality and Stability Over time

We want to know…
How diet affects the composition of the microbial species living in the large intestine. What effect would an identical diet have on different individuals?

You may qualify if you are:

• 18 years of age or older and in general good health
• Do not currently have any chronic diseases
• Do not currently suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or irritable bowel syndrome

Participants will be asked to:

1. Consume only the food provided by study personnel for one week. The same meal will be given for all of the day’s meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner will be the same)
2. Not consume during this week any coffee, tea, other drinks, or snacks
3. Provide blood, stool, and urine samples, and complete questionnaires asking about gastrointestinal symptoms
4. Keep food logs for a few days before study week

Study participants will receive:

• All meals for one week
• Analysis of microbiome composition through the study


If you are interested, please contact Dalia Perelman
Email: daliap@stanford.edu Phone: 650-569-0462

Protocol Director: Timothy W. Meyer, twmeyer@stanford.edu

For general information regarding questions, concerns, or complaints about research, research related injury, or the rights of research participants, please call (650) 723-5244 or toll-free 1-866-680-2906, You can also write to the Stanford IRB, Stanford University, 3000 El Camino Real, Five Palo Alto Square, 4th Floor, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by How about water, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Aug 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

I assume participants are drinking water?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.


Water is the drink during the study, plus 8 oz of orange juice. No coffee or alcohol.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Prospective Participant, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 7:58 am

Hi Laura,
This sounds like a great study! I hope the next step will be vegetarians because clearly the gut microbiota could be different (just based on smells, etc). Or meat eaters switching to a week of veggie only. Or how do spices affect our microbiome? So many questions! To me, the big one is how does the rest of a person's environment interact with the diet and microbiome. (There was an interesting study in which a grad student looked at his gut microbiome for an entire year while cataloging what he ate and did. What was interesting is how traveling caused changes that were all temporary when he returned home.)

I was about to send this to a list of people who would almost certainly be interested in participating, and have a few questions. I realize you have posted contact information, but these are of the FAQ variety that will save others from having to email individually, and one serious question that everyone should know the answer to up front. (And you might see why I would prefer to ask the question anonymously here. Read on.)

1) Are there any age limits on participants?
2) When is the deadline for signing up?

3) Lastly, when I was considering participating in a breast cancer study - a worthy endeavor looking at genes and early blood markers of breast cancer and trying to correlate with later results - the disclosure seemed very straightforward until I got into some fine print later on that said that I was ceding the right for my DNA to be sold to commercial interests in perpetuity without notice and that they couldn't protect my personal information as anonymous then either. Wow.

Some people might still be okay with a study giving away such broad rights, but many aren't - and the disclosure should have been up front with the other disclosures, and potential consequences outlined for ethical patient informed consent. I honestly don't know how that study consent form passed the institutional review board at Stanford. But it was Stanford, which is why I am asking now. That point was so buried in the fine print, it made not trust the study organizers (made me feel like selling participants' DNA and health histories was the point of the study) and I regretfully had to decline to participate.

Since you mentioned that this diet study is going to be concerned with genes and will be taking blood, I would like to know if this study has better protections of participants' genetic information than in the study I mentioned above, or whether it, too, contains a poorly disclosed wholesale ability to sell people's genetic information in perpetuity to commercial interests?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Prospective Participant, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 7:59 am

Oops, just saw the 18 years and older, don't know why I missed that.

So I just have the two questions:
Deadline on enrolling
Does enrolling mean wholesale giving away the right for them to sell my DNA and health information to other interests later/unrelated to this study?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by In & Out Man, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 9:18 am

looks healthy but kind of boring to eat 3X a day.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 10:10 am

Ahh, the inevitable negative comment - I was waiting for you! A comment that deserves a detailed answer. That IS one of the main concerns In & Out Man, when building this bowl. It had to be a bowl because of the need to eat the same foods at the same time. The ingredients, except the seasoning, were predetermined from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). As bowl designer I had to seriously think - what seasoning is best for someone to eat the whole week? I started thinking tomato-based, but then realized yuck to tomato essence for breakfast,and actually any standout flavor because of the repetition of the meal. After much thought and testing - I landed on a savory gravy, which I think answers all the needs. What might you have suggested instead? I'm open to ideas.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

Prospective Participant - I am getting your answers


 +   4 people like this
Posted by so close, yet SO far, a resident of Ohlone School,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 10:35 am

I'm so interested in this, right up to the...

No coffee.

Hah!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Study coordinator, a resident of another community,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

To answer Prospective Participant, you have valid points!
We are hoping to finish enrollment by the end of November.
As for your data, we will measure metabolites in urine and blood, and see who is growing in the stool samples. We will look at the microbial genes, but not yours. We are not ever selling any of the data.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by In & Out Man, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm

>What might you have suggested instead? I'm open to ideas.

Possibly some menu variety but with the same detailed attention to nutritional/ health concerns & necessities.

I have gone the macrobiotic route in the past. It was OK for a week or two & I did notice some personal improvements...clearer head, less sluggishness and perhaps most importantly, regular-firm bowel movements.

Natural fiber though often low in nutritional value has a way of cleaning out the lower intestines like a broom & that is important in addition to adding stool bulk.

BTW, I still have an occasional dinner consisting of tofu, brown rice and steamed vegetables (or a salad).

On the other hand, i wouldn't want to eat this every day or go full vegan...life is too short not to enjoy stuff like burgers, ribs & pizza.

Lastly, my 'In & Out' refers not to the burger chain but rather what food goes in...usually comes out.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Prospective Participant, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm

@Study Coordinator,
Thanks! I feel comfortable sharing the study now. Good luck with it!

@Laura,
I can't imagine anyone would have trouble trying something just for a week, especially something you put so much thought into.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Healthy but Bland?, a resident of Professorville,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

It looks like the hippie food we used to eat back in the day.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Your Lab Results Are In..., a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Aug 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

"...see who is growing in the stool samples."

When I was a kid, I had to submit one of these.

Being a natural-born practical joker, I scooped up a piece of my dog's poop & submitted it just to see what would happen.

The lab results were off the charts.



 +  Like this comment
Posted by R. Davis, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 8:58 am

QUOTE: The lab results were off the charts.

I would imagine so. *L*


 +   3 people like this
Posted by VeriVeggi, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Hmm.
You included meat in the bowl because "the average American eats meat".
But you exclude coffee (and alcohol) despite the fact that the average American adult drinks coffee (and probably alcohol...we do live in California).

I would do this, but for the meat problem.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bet, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:12 pm

You had me until the no coffee.

But was concerned about cholesterol content,

Please respond.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Rabbi Feldman, a resident of another community,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

>>But was concerned about cholesterol content,

And sodium content of 'gravy'.

Also, is the meat pictured chicken and ham? If pork is being included, Orthodox Jews and devout Muslims will not be able to participate in this food study.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Study Coordinator, a resident of another community,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 8:08 pm


To answer VeriVeggie: the reason to exclude alcohol and coffee is that we are looking at a myriad of metabolites in the urine which would be masked by these drinks.

To answer Bet: the old Dietary Guidelines included a recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg per day. The new Guidelines removed that recommendation as evidence has shown that dietary cholesterol does not have such a large impact on blood cholesterol levels as we thought. Still, the cholesterol levels of the test meal do not exceed 300 mg per day.

To answer the Rabbi: there is no pork in the meal, but there is meat and cheese, which would still exclude Orthodox Jews. We are planning on doing another cycle with a vegan meal and Muslims and Orthodox Jews will be able to join.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 11:50 pm

microbe-biotic ... oh, groan! ;-)

Anyone serious about this and interested in it would be happy to eat the same thing for a measly week. The sticking point for me anyway, I would think would more likely be the blood, urine and stool samples.

The food looks really good anyway, I like healthy food and probably already eat much like what is posted. Healthy food and understanding what is healthy food is always good. it does appear from the picture that you have shorted the "greens" part of the diet?

Good luck on your study.

What do you do if someone gets seriously addicted to your bowls? Do you sell them?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 9, 2018 at 11:54 pm

> We are not ever selling any of the data.

Famous last words. My God, what we have to be cognizant about these days, now we have to mind where our DNA ends up? Sheesh!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Curious About Metabolites, a resident of College Terrace,
on Aug 10, 2018 at 3:49 pm

>>>the reason to exclude alcohol and coffee is that we are looking at a myriad of metabolites in the urine which would be masked by these drinks.

So smoking a little pot before dinner is OK?

You know...to stimulate one's appetite.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Prospective Participant, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 11, 2018 at 7:51 am

@CrescentPark,
“Famous last words. My God, what we have to be cognizant about these days, now we have to mind where our DNA ends up? Sheesh!"

There are specific ethical legal guidelines that all studies have to follow including disclosure to patients before they consent. If a study properly discloses that patients are signing away the right for a third party to sell their DNA and medical information in perpetuity and that once the data is sold, their name and private medical indormation will no longer be protected, and there is some discussion if the potential impact to the patient, that is one thing. But to bury that disclosure in mouse print long after the other patient disclosures is another. I was really upset because they get you to start signing with an ipad long before you even see that disclosure. The whole thing seemed so unethical. That, by the way, has nothing to do with this study which soinds above boatd.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by MacroNetics, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Aug 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

>>>What do you do if someone gets seriously addicted to your bowls?

(1) Assume that they've never eaten a really good meal before OR (2) that they are suffering from some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Count Your Blessings, a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

> ....kind of boring to eat 3X a day.

Listen...if you were starving to death (or from some 3rd world country), you'd be eternally grateful for a macrobiotic bowl.

Fortunately you probably don't have to resort to such extreme measures.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Aug 12, 2018 at 6:55 pm

The purpose of the bowl is not to entertain your dinner guests or to be exciting, it's to test a scientific theory. No matter - my attempt was still to make science tasty, and I think we have achieved that goal.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Attorney , a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Aug 12, 2018 at 8:54 pm

(1) Rather than using zip-lock bags (as per the pics), consider 'seal-a-meal packaging' to ensure food safety measures.

(2) Calories per meal & nutritional %s should be listed.

(3) MD's approval prior to participation in this study should be mandatory.

(4) Cooking instructions must be explicit to ensure proper consumption temperature.

(5) Refrigeration instructions/warnings must be explicit (if required).

(6) A full listing of actual ingredients(including gravy) should be included.

(7) Waivers covering mishaps due to examinations/lab tests.

Just saying in order to avoid any possible litigation...my specialty.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Aug 12, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Thanks Attorney - we're planning for much of what you list and appreciate the list and professional advice.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Attorney, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 7:32 am

An addendum:
(8) A warning pertaining to any potential food-related allergens.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 7:49 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Thanks Attonrey, I am still hoping one of our readers adds more about the role of genes in our bodies.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by A Correlation of Sorts, a resident of College Terrace,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 9:39 am

Another area worth exploring...

> Macrobiotics/Gene Therapy/Cancer Recovery

Web Link

Sattilaro, A. J. & Monte, T. (1982) Recalled by Life: The Story of My Recovery from Cancer Houghton Mifflin Boston, MA.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 9:55 am

And clarification to everyone, this study has nothing to do with macrobiotics. We have Food Partied! about macrobiotics in the past, as I trained at Vega Macrobiotic Center in my younger years, but I called the bowl a Microbiotic Bowl just as a play on words.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Post Doc-Immunology, a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm

"> Macrobiotics/Gene Therapy/Cancer Recovery"

If your Macrobiotic Bowl can cure cancer or alter the gene structure of the disease, you & your colleagues are the next global pharmaceutical billionaires as well as Nobel Prize winners in Science & Medicine.

Good luck. Others will be taking note of the lab results.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Post Doc-Immunology, a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Just an afterthought. You wouldn't have to go 'big pharma'. Just sell the recipe to the highest bidders in the food manufacturing industries.

Or if less avaricious, create a DIY cook book.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Smarmy Do Nothing Know it all, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Hurumph...yah, good luck...pshh.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Survivialist, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 13, 2018 at 3:04 pm

A freeze-dried version would be a worthwhile offering...for campers and survivalists alike.

When/if the apocalypse (or second coming) finally arrives, a reliable inventory of military MREs or dehydrated Macro Bowls could mean the difference between preserving your family's legacy or the total extinction of its family tree.

Food will be scarce and stores will be closed. Better to let the others perish.










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