Carb your en­thu­si­asm

was Jacqueline’s stodgy diet the yeast of her prob­lems…

Real People - - HEALTH & HAPPINESS - Jacqueline Baker, 59, Law­ford, Es­sex

The smell of warm, but­tery toast wafted from my plate. But will a cou­ple of slices be enough?

Glanc­ing round the kitchen, I spot­ted the per­fect ad­di­tion to my break­fast. Crois­sants!

Some peo­ple are veg­gies, some are car­ni­vores…

Me? I was a car­bi­vore. While slim­ming clubs, celebri­ties and mag­a­zines de­monised bread and other carbs, my daily in­take con­sisted of noth­ing but.

My dicky tummy couldn’t han­dle any­thing else.

It started in 2008, with a bout of the runs. I went to my GP, who stuck cam­eras up my bum and made me drink a foul-tast­ing bar­ium liq­uid.

Af­ter­wards, I was di­ag­nosed with di­ver­ti­c­uli­tis – in­flam­ma­tion of pock­ets in the bowel – and ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome.

‘That means you are prone to in­flam­ma­tory bowel disease,’ my doc­tor added.

Back home, I read up about IBS and di­ver­ti­c­uli­tis, and how diet and stress can affect them.

I downed pep­per­mint tea and ex­per­i­mented with var­i­ous foods to see which ones agreed with me.

But it was like hav­ing a con­stant tummy bug. I had ex­plo­sive episodes on the loo, too, and some­times I just couldn’t hold on.

I could only go out if I knew I’d have easy ac­cess to a toi­let.

On a rare hol­i­day from my nurs­ery teach­ing as­sis­tant job, that year in Au­gust, I went for a stroll from our ho­tel in Turkey.

Sud­denly feel­ing the need to go, panic set in. Rush­ing into a lit­tle clothes shop, an as­sis­tant of­fered a tiny toi­let at the back.

But it was al­ready too late... The shame.

Ty­ing a sarong over my ru­ined shorts, I sobbed to the shop­keeper, ‘Thank you,’ as I shuf­fled out.

I re­fused to leave the ho­tel for the rest of the hol­i­day.

Back home, doc­tors sug­gested I try to lose weight. With my carb diet? Fat chance.

Be­fore, I adored cook­ing for my hubby, Andy, and our daugh­ters Lucy and Jes­sica when they were younger.

Chicken casse­role, pasta bakes, cur­ries… we loved ev­ery­thing.

But now the only foods that didn’t send my tummy into a spin cy­cle were starchy carbs. In other words, stodge!

So I lived on baguettes, jacket pota­toes and crisps. And all that stodge meant my weight crept up from 12st to nearly 18st – far too heavy for my 5ft 1in frame.

Fast for­ward to Septem­ber 2016 and I was still no smaller. And to make things worse a low, deep pain rum­bled in my ab­domen. Think­ing it was a urine in­fec­tion, my GP pre­scribed an­tibi­otics. When they didn’t have any ef­fect, I was sent for fur­ther tests at Colch­ester Hospi­tal.

I’d just got home when my phone went. ‘Can you get to A&E?’ a spe­cial­ist asked. ‘Is it some­thing bad?’ I gulped. ‘They’ll take good care of you,’ the doc­tor re­as­sured me. There, I was put on an an­tibi­otic drip for 24 hours.

I’d de­vel­oped a di­ver­ti­c­uli­tis colon ab­scess, which had grown dan­ger­ously big and put me at risk of sep­ti­caemia. ‘If it hap­pens again, we will have to fit you with a stoma bag,’ the spe­cial­ist warned. Ter­ri­fied, I scoured the in­ter­net for help. I read about a pro­bi­otic sup­ple­ment called Alflo­rex, from Boots, which claimed to re­lieve IBS symp­toms.

At £25 for a month’s sup­ply, it wasn’t cheap, but af­ter tak­ing it for three days, I could al­ready feel a dif­fer­ence.

And when I did a solid poo for the first time in a decade, I cried with hap­pi­ness.

Feel­ing brave, I started eat­ing high-fi­bre foods, like fruit and veg. I was free from my stodgy carb-cage!

‘I can’t be­lieve the dif­fer­ence in you,’ Andy grinned, as I served pork steaks, sprouts and swede. Now, the only thing that sets my tummy off is too much wine. Even bet­ter, I’m no longer bloated and my weight has gone down to 14½st.

I’ve been given a new lease of life now my big beige diet is toast!

Now I can eat a healthy diet At just 5ft 1in, I was se­ri­ously over­weight

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