This blog post is the sixth in a series on my participation in the PREDICT 2 study. Click the links below to read earlier parts of the series:
- Forging the Future of Personalized Nutrition: My Experience, My Contribution
- PREDICT 2 Study Experience: Set-up Day + The Study Pack
- PREDICT 2 Study Experience: Day 1 Reflection
- PREDICT 2 Study Experience: Day 2 Reflection
- PREDICT: The Science – Part 1
I took Friday and Saturday off from blogging, so let’s rewind a bit to get caught up…
I had a hard time getting enough blood out of my fingers for the first blood spot test before eating breakfast. Definitely one of the not-so-fun parts of the study. I tried to use the opposite side of my ring finger on my left hand, which I had also used for blood spot tests on Day 1. However, for the second blood spot test on Day 3, I decided to go with fresh fingers on my right hand, even though I had originally wanted to sacrifice only my left hand fingers for the sake of the fingers on my dominant hand. A writer’s typing fingers are her livelihood! Alas, for the second blood spot test I did use my right-hand ring finger. The trick this time? Soaking my hand in warm water – middle school prank style – for several minutes before the test. I also stood up the whole time and used a tall cabinet to hold the materials. Taking these steps made Day 3 blood spot test 2 the easiest and most successful yet.
The third blood test of the day was okay after I failed to fill the first circle (there are four). The directions say that if the first drop doesn’t fill the circle up to 80% you can squeeze out more drops up to 30 seconds after placing the first drop. I was worried that I was going to have to prick my finger twice to get enough blood for the rest of the circles, but I squeezed my finger like you would to get the last goo out of the toothpaste (for you squeamish folks out there, sorry about that) and was able to fill the rest of the circles.
For breakfast on Day 3, I ate the bluest muffins I’ve ever seen in my life. Surprisingly, they didn’t turn my teeth or lips blue (I was imagining the effect of a blue popsicle or cupcake). Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the blue muffins are part one of determining gut transit time. Read that blog post again for a refresher.
My standardized lunch of three normal-colored muffins was fine. They don’t taste bad! It’s just hard to eat muffins when everyone else in the employee kitchen area is microwaving super tasty-smelling food…
With Day 3 being my second and last day with standardized lunch and blood spot test, I began Day 4 happy to spend the rest of my study days only eating standardized breakfast. Of course, I still need to fast for three hours after the standardized breakfast, and I have to record all of my other drinks and meals in the study app.
I took a break from muffins on Day 5. Instead for breakfast I had the dreaded “glucose drink,” which has to be consumed in less than five minutes and must be consumed without my regular morning coffee (interestingly, because I drank coffee on Day 1 with the standardized breakfast, the study app prompted me to remember to log my coffee with breakfast every other day of the study).
The Gastropod ladies from the podcast about PREDICT 1 described the glucose drink like “flat Sprite” that’s super sweet, and I completely agree with their description. There was probably six ounces of liquid and it was a struggle to swallow each sip. I had brunch with friends scheduled for 10:30am, and so to factor in the post-breakfast fasting time, I woke myself up at 7:30am on a Saturday to guzzle down this glucose drink, and it was no easy feat.
Because my glucose response would spike so quickly due to the high amounts of glucose in this study day’s standardized breakfast, the study team requested that I remain as inactive as possible for my fasting hours following the glucose drink. I obliged by simply going back to sleep!
It was back to the muffin life on the morning of Day 6. However, my standardized breakfast also included milk and chocolate/vanilla protein powder shaken up in a shaker bottle. The drink tasted very similar to the chocolate milk I had on Days 1 and 3.
Later in the morning on Day 6, I almost wrecked my post-muffin fast by eating a delicious looking glazed donut. I remembered my fast just in time; I took the donut home and ate it (also recording it in the study app) at the precise end of my morning fast.
For the first time in the study, I recorded physical activity in the study app. If you remember, this is activity that can’t be tracked by the device I wear on my wrist at all times. This can be activity like weight lifting, cycling, or in my case – swimming! I took the plunge (there’s a water pun for ya) and took my first out of four swimming lessons on Day 6, and since the wrist activity tracker isn’t waterproof, it stayed in my locker for the duration of the lesson.
And now we’re caught up! Tomorrow I’ll start Day 7 with a second glucose drink, and then I’ll only be a few days away from finishing the study. I’ll continue taking notes over the next few study days, but I also have some more blog posts in the works, including a “Part 2” to “PREDICT: The Science.” Stay tuned!