Ferbie: The infection that changed my life
Dawn Carpenter suffered for years with a sugar and yeast intollerence. It was only a year ago that she found out she had ‘Ferbie’ living inside her stomach. No more sugar or yeast. She spoke to Sara-Beth Rowland about her story.
When you start to live a diet without refined sugar your life changes dramatically how much of course depends on the amount of sugar you consume & how often you knowingly consume it. Many people go on fad diets & get sucked in by certain cookery books in the hope that they can shed unwanted pounds especially with all the media attention about diabetes.
I’m not a diabetic & I’m not overweight. I live a life without any refined sugars in my diet purely for health reasons. As a real person I’m going to share my experience with you no pros, cons or gimmicks.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had problems digesting food. My problems were mostly at night after I’d eaten dinner, sometimes I’d be fine other times after about an hour or so I’d be violently sick. I saw no pattern so felt no need to seek help. I was never sick in the day but suffered severe headaches pretty much everyday and never knew what it was like to experience a hard poo!
I would always eat a healthy dinner something homemade with lots of fresh vegetables as that’s something I love and I always had breakfast mostly granola fresh fruit & yogurt always greek as I can’t stand fat free, doesn’t taste of anything.
My diet during the day was a different story. I didn’t eat much but when I did it was fully loaded sugar & carbs. It was about a year ago that things really came to a head the headaches were getting worse even tablets weren’t shifting them I was being sick a lot more often and I seemed to be consuming an obscene amount of sugary foods.
It was the day that I polished off a 400g packet of Chocolate Biscuits followed by 2 large flakes & an iced lemon yum yum pastry one after the other that I knew there must be something wrong with me. I still now feel disgusting & embarrassed putting this on paper.
I didn’t go to the doctors because I just felt like a glutinous pig! I’d started putting on a little weight around my middle but put it down to my age. It was only after talking to a very close friend about how I felt that she suggested I visit the Devon Allergy Clinic. They only dealt with digestive problems and if it was food related I should feel comfortable discussing it.
I gave them a call & spoke to a consultant called Marlene she was brilliant she asked me lots of questions about my Diet, general health and why I felt I may need dietary help rather than visiting the Doctor. I explained that I didn’t want to go to the doctor as I personally felt that it was more diet related rather than an illness. Marlene did advise that I visit the doctor before making a decision to seek help form the allergy clinic but I’m very strong willed & had already made up my mind that I wanted to meet with her.
The appointment was mind blowing I was allergy tested for what seemed like absolutely everything imaginable on the planet.
She used a little machine, which connected to a metal probe, which she placed pretty much under my cuticle. That gave a reading on the machine which determined my body’s reaction to each specimen she tested for.
The results were unbelievable and although I had no immediate allergies I did have a lot of intolerances. The biggest surprise of all was that I was intolerant to milk chocolate, which I had been consuming in hideous amounts! Also artificial sweeteners that are hugely present in diet drinks and at that time I was addicted to Diet Coke drinking 6 tins a day.
She really hit the nail on the head my gut had minimal friendly bacteria in it so it was very hard for me to digest food I also had a lot of yeast present in there too which meant one unhealthy gut! She explained that I had candida, which had something to do with vast amounts of yeast in my gut. To be honest I can’t remember all the technical jargon I was more interested in how I could control it.
She happily told me that I wasn’t the gluttonous pig that I had thought I was because the yeast infection (herein named Ferbie) lived on sugar and he would have been sending signals to my brain to open up a bar of chocolate and demolish it. Which of course I would do he didn’t need to send the signal twice!
The idea now was to squish him back to a manageable size that my gut could cope with, so he just lay dormant and stopped taking over my life.
So Marlene what could I do about it?
Well obviously I was going to have to control the intake of sugar that I was consuming and stop eating foods with added yeast.
Woooh where to Start, at the beginning I was going to have to retrain my brain.
I was given a lot of paperwork, which I would have to get my head around. Most important were the diet sheets – these told me everything to cut out from my current diet and the things to replace them with. I was also given a list of hidden names for sugar there must be at least 20 different names for it but the bottom line is it’s still sugar!
I also had to introduce probiotics in tablet form as those didn’t contain sugar, digestive aid, sporgone and this vile powder which, I have to admit ended up in the bin because it made me wretch. Marlene said it would take time to adjust so she suggested I take a few days to study things before I make the drastic change I needed.
No more sugar and yeast for me the next day I went for it and what a mistake that was always listen to the experts I had major side effects I suppose it’s like giving up any addiction I was violently sick and shaking for 2 days solid.
It certainly wasn’t plain sailing Ferbie became a huge part of my life. I found it really hard eating out as I didn’t know what ingredients were in dishes. Food shopping was a nightmare it took me hours as I had to read all the ingredients in everything. Basically I came to the assumption that pretty much everything contained sugar unless it was an untouched ingredient, I refer to these as naked foods. I started to make everything from scratch and surprisingly looking back it didn’t take that long to get into the swing of things I started experimenting with recipes switching this for that. I even managed flapjack made with agave syrup which is a natural plant sweetener.
I’d started making my own Sourdough bread as this contained no bakers yeast just 3 ingredients flour salt & water. I spent a lot of time in the health food shop they are amazing – like Aladdin’s Cave Full of natural sugar free alternatives.
After about 2 weeks I started to notice an improvement in myself. Ferbie seemed to be a little less active and he hadn’t been making me sick. Even my family had finally embraced Ferbie and whenever I visited them they had always made an effort to cook for me.
My nieces would say auntie Dawn you can’t eat that Ferbie wouldn’t like it.
I felt incredible, like a different person no more headaches, loads of energy, no more vomiting and I had finally experienced a solid poo!
Ferbie is finally under control.