About This Project
This study examines the effects of consuming only algae as a dietary source for a month. The subject, a healthy individual will be monitored with blood tests conducted regularly to assess any changes in nutrient levels and overall health. The results may show that consuming only algae may provide sufficient nutrients for the body with potential positive or negative health effects. This study may find that an all algae diet can be a sustainable option for a world with climate change.
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
One of the main questions people ask in regards to climate change is: what can I do about it? One of the main contributors to global warming is agriculture. By shifting our diets to the most sustainable food source, algae, we can begin to replace unsustainable food sources with carbon negative or neutral alternatives. This is an extreme diet - I do not expect people to shift their entire intake to algae, but by showing that it is possible to live on an all algae diet, I hope to demonstrate that algae can become a nutritional staple for the world.
What is the significance of this project?
I hope that this project will shift the collective consciousness into the recognition of algae as a potential food source for both improvements in personal and planetary health. This has ramifications beyond just individual consumption to touch on responsible agricultural practices, feeding growing populations, enabling resiliency in the face of climate change, and fostering sustainable closed ecosystems to push humanity towards a multiplanetary future in space.
I aim to show the challenges of this kind of diet as well as the outcomes from a financial, carbon-impact and nutritional intake perspective.
As this is a sample size of one, I will be transparent, control as many variables as possible and track as much as possible to share with the broader community.
What are the goals of the project?
This experiment will begin in April and end in May. The subject, a healthy 29-year old male, will consume only algae, water and coffee for the duration of the experiment. The effects of the diet will be measured via audio logs, journaling, video interviews, metabolic and microbiome testing. At any point if the health of the subject is potentially in danger, the experiment will end and the results will be analyzed.
The end goals of the project will be:
Creating well-documented shared spreadsheets with meal planning, dietary intake, cost, and CO2 impact, a recipe booklet with examples of algae-based meals that I cooked, an audio log of the experience, well-documented health information with metabolic, microbiome tests for an N = 1 and a video documentary of the experience.
I'll be getting a doctor's appointment for a physical as well as gut microbiome, saliva, and blood testing before and after the diet change. In addition, I'm going to conduct weekly metabolic panels during the experiment. As a stretch goal I would love to have a continuous glucose monitor. I'll be tracking my mental state psychologically and recording as much as possible via video and audio. Then I'll be passing along that content to editors to help turn it into a final published story. During the month, I'll be conducting interviews with experts, attending Yuri's Night, San Francisco Climate Week, Biohack the Planet and finally presenting at Biosphere 2 at the analog astronaut conference.
The diet will constitute 3 meals a day, with one meal being a breakfast algae shake, and the others being a variation of seaweed salad, fried seaweed, algae burger patties, algae breads and other experiments in algae-based cheese, sauces, and more.
The project will start with a physical + metabolic panel to assess the starting condition and end with another similar test. In between I will be making a community dinner in Ojai, networking at Yuri's Night, gathering seaweed in Sonoma, pitching at SF Climate Week, presenting at Biohack the Planet and lastly presenting at the Analog Astronaut conference. After gathering all this data over the course of a month, I will publish my findings in June via video, audio and a publication.
Mar 27, 2023
Baseline Physical/Metabolic Panel
Apr 01, 2023
Kickoff Filming (shared dinner with friends, experimenting with algae dishes)
Apr 08, 2023
Yuri's Night (interviewing folks in the space industry)
Apr 09, 2023
Algae Diet Start
Apr 13, 2023
Meet the Team
Elliot is the founder of Spira, a company that creates carbon-negative materials from engineered algae grown by a global network of farms.
Previously Elliot helped establish IndieLab RVA, a community lab in Richmond, Virginia, and led a coalition of 5 community labs sharing knowledge and expertise in Virginia. He worked as a consultant with Betabox Labs establishing educational programming in a mobile makerspace, and built out the CrabLab in Los Angeles, a community laboratory in a shipping container.
He is a Future Founders and Halcyon Fellow, holds a degree in biomedical engineering; previously started 7 companies, 2 nonprofits, studied synthetic biology for 12 years and worked for 5 years as a product consultant. He is incredibly motivated to solve physiological needs using simple biological design and enabling access to the tools of biotechnology. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco.
Trevino holds a Master of Science in Space Studies with a concentration in Aerospace Science and an emphasis on Space Operations. He is a member of the American Physics Society and in 2021 inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, The Physics and Astronomy Society. He is the assistant manager of the University Observatory and successfully defended his thesis on exoplanets and eclipsing binary star’s properties, using ground-based telescopes, searching for the proto-planetary neighborhoods where they live, leading several studies, including a Supernovae research group, studying type SN1a, Supernovae, he is on a team developing a satellite tracking software using MATLAB, working on and seeking several grants for a peer group of Masters and Undergraduate students and the propagation of algae for an ISS study. He received AIAA certifications in Propulsion Engineering, Launch Vehicle Design, Habitat Architecture, and Astrodynamics. His deep knowledge of the theory of how life forms and his understanding of the chemical environments that provide life's seeds make him a keen Astrobiologist.
I want to clearly state that I understand the potential risks of this experiment and any potential elimination diet. There is the potential for physical harm due to dietary change and I am fully aware of the potential negative ramifications of this on my personal health. That being said, I've done my best to prepare for this challenge by talking to a full array of experts and believe that a full algae diet is not only possible, but in fact enjoyable if planned appropriately.
I truly believe that human advancement requires bravery, preparation and perhaps a bit of naivety. I would not undertake this experiment if I did not believe in the potential for algae to create a more beautiful future world. I'm optimistic that this experiment might inspire creativity and a shift in conscious consumption to help create that future that I'd like to live in.
If you're interested in supporting this experiment, please consider donating - there are many stretch goals and I am putting everything on credit cards right now. Beyond donating, I'd love it if you shared the Super Slime Me diet with friends, media outlets, finding algae companies to donate materials, health companies, nutritionists, dieticians, researchers and more. I don't mind being poked, prodded and studied if need be. This experiment is meant to start an overall discussion on how to change our collective future towards better outcomes based on our individual dietary choices. I'll see you on the other side.
- $9,822Total Donations
- $228.42Average Donation