I have been eating a mostly paleo diet for a year. I'm a 38 y.o. male, 5'10" and 175 pounds. I hovered between 200 and 215 prior to changing my diet/lifestyle. I know have a 32-inch waist and am happy with my weight. I eat some cheese from time to time, but maintain a pretty low-carb paleo diet other than that. A couple weeks ago, I started to feel run down and developed some cold/flu symptoms. I have two kids under 5 and they are always bringing sniffles, coughs, etc. home from pre-K and daycare, so I didn't think too much of it. My sore throat quickly developed into a nasty ear infection and within a day had developed into bacterial meningitis. I had major pain and pressure in my ear and became disoriented and confused. My wife got me to the ER and they admitted me with bacterial meningitis diagnosed via lumbar puncture (spinal tap). I received a massive amount of IV antibiotics along with some steroids to reduce the inflammation on my brain for 2.5 days in the isolation wing of the hospital and got much better. I went home and continued IV antibiotics at an infusion center for 5 more days and then was prescribed oral antibiotics for another 10 days. The doctor said he had never witnessed such a recovery.
I've managed to stick to my paleo ways through all of this, avoiding a large chunk of the junk they served in the hospital. I am noticing that my gut is not very happy. I'm getting some cramping and a burning sensation from time to time. I've also noticed that my joints and back are sore. Those are symptoms I felt all the time before going paleo.
Since I'm still on antibiotics for a few more days, I'm wondering if I should bother taking probiotics until I'm done. As of now, I'm taking them (VSL) a couple hours after taking my antibiotic (Augmentin).
To further complicate things, my blood glucose readings were high in the hospital and they had to administer insulin a couple of times. I was also pretty dehydrated, which I understand is a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes. I maintained a low-to-moderate carb diet while in the hospital. I have a follow-up visit with the infectious disease doctor tomorrow and he will review the results of the blood draw his office did last week. I'm hoping my blood sugar is back to normal and maybe it was only high due to the steroids they gave me in the hospital combined with my relatively low carb diet and a major infection.
How should I go about re-populating my gut with good bacteria? When should I start? Any suggestions on the blood sugar issues would be great, too. I've read that some insulin resistance can develop as a result of a low-carb diet. My Dad is diabetic and his developed after a round of steroids to clear up a rash caused from poison ivy, I believe. His mother was diabetic, too. So, I am probably more susceptible to it than most.
asked byTodd_7 (76)
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on December 26, 2012
at 04:11 AM
Eat lots of raw fermented foods like kimchi, kefir (milk, coconut or water), sourkraut and kombucha. Take high quality probiotics if you can afford them. Try different types. Try dairy based and soil based probiotic supplements. Primal defense is really good. Don't be afraid to get youre hands dirty and touch your mouth. It's good to introduce foreign bacteria to your body, it strenghtens your immune system. Don't sanitize everything all the time. Spend more time outside and touch things like dirt and pet dogs and cats. I feel you, man. I'm trying to reestablish my gut flora after a 2 week course of antibiotics for a Urinary Tract Infection. I'm getting there. It can take a few months before things get back to what they once were. Good luck.
on December 25, 2012
at 04:46 PM
Eat lacto-fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, etc. Your gut will thank you!
on December 26, 2012
at 12:01 AM
I can recommend water kefir. You can buy the grains online, and it's a very easy process. The kefir itself is also really darn pleasant to drink.
I know this is purely anecdotal, but I have managed to stay healthy while the rest of my family come down with shocking colds and stomach bugs on at least four occasions now, since I started drinking it daily.
on December 25, 2012
at 07:36 PM
Not sure I've heard the part about worsened insulin resistance and low carb. Everything I've read says that decreased the carb intake actually makes you more insulin sensitive.
Even in my own experiments where I test my blood sugars, the lower the carbs the eat the better my sugars.
A good way to replenish your gut flora is to take probiotic pills. Since I don't like sauerkraut and pickles, one thing I've discovered is Kombucha. Fermented tea. You can buy it at whole foods. They are a little pricey, but the majority of them are low carb (you should check their sugar contents though as the results vary based on brand and flavor), and they contain a lot of healthy flora.
The most important thing is to be happy you made it through about of meningitis. That is no joke. Keep doing what the doctors tell you and don't worry too much about maintaining Paleo during this time. It seems like you have the self discipline to get back on the horse without any problems.
I'm currently doing a self experiment now with a low carb high fat diet and tracking my blood ketones and sugars daily at http://bjjcaveman.com. My AM and PM sugars have been pretty stable in the low 80s which I'm very happy with.
Before trying this ketogenic diet, my fasting sugars ranged from 90-110, which kind of scared me.
on December 28, 2012
at 12:37 AM
Thanks for all the great feedback. As far as my blood glucose goes, it was tested again a week after I got out of the hospital and was at the low end of the range. Doc said it was likely high in the hospital since I was so sick. My body was in emergency mode, releasing stress hormones, which increases glyconeogenesis and suppresses insulin production.
on December 26, 2012
at 05:10 AM
I agree with Gio. He's right on track with his post. Lots of fermented foods and probitiocs and not being a clean freak about everything.