Waking up with a hangover every day without having the party first was no fun. It always took me a couple of hours each morning to clear my foggy head despite having no alcohol the night before.
Growing up I was told I had allergies, hay fever, dust, cats, etc so thought I was just unlucky and it was something I had to live with.
I remember taking Paracetamol as if they were vitamins every morning at school and college so that I would be able to concentrate. This was my normal.
In my early twenties having thrush became my normal. I went to the doctor many times only to receive the same cream and tablets that didn't work. On one visit I was diagnosed with a fungal skin rash, a fungal nail infection and thrush again only to have my theory of a "fungal" common thread dismissed.
I decided to seek alternative help by going for a Vega test taking place in my local health food store. This involved me holding a probe in my hand while the practitioner touched an area on my big toe with another probe forming a circuit.
Different foods and substances were introduced into the circuit and a dial a bit like a speedometer indicated those that could be a problem. At the end I was told I was sensitive to yeast and sugar and that basically I was making my own alcohol and waking up with a hangover every day. Things began to make sense.
My foggy head in the mornings was exactly like a hangover. I had been a student for many years so I knew what they felt like.
I was told if I eliminated them from my diet I would feel remarkably better. That evening I remember spending a couple of hours walking around my supermarket examining the ingredients of my usual purchases and rejecting most of them for containing either yeast, yeast extract or sugar.
What was I going to eat? I think I went home with a salad (No dressing or mayonnaise) and some oat cakes, yum.
Giving up bread was the hardest (no more toast - my favourite) and eliminating all sugar was near impossible so I decided to eliminate yeast completely and reduce my sugar intake as much as possible.
Theory being if they couldn't mix together I wouldn't get the hangover. After a few yeast free weeks I noticed a marked improvement in my energy levels in the morning and after a couple of months I was even getting up to go swimming before I went to work.
I soon knew if I had eaten yeast by accident. One day, instantly upon waking, my foggy head told me I must have consumed some and after tracing back my previous day's consumption I found that I had bought new vitamin pills that contained yeast.
On another occasion I drank a glass of ginger beer one evening without checking the ingredients and after having the "hangover from hell" I don't think I would have been safe to drive the next day.
Now after much research I know that I suffer with Candida Albicans, an opportunistic fungus or form of yeast. The Candida Albicans usually exist as part of a group of microorganisms that live in your mouth and intestine and a healthy body can cope with them, but when they get out of control they can weaken the intestinal wall and get into your bloodstream, releasing toxic by-products in the body.
The major by-product is called Acetaldehyde which is converted by the liver into ethanol (drinking alcohol), hence the feeling of a hangover. The Candida Albicans feed on yeast and sugar so in my opinion a carefully controlled diet can help and has helped me, but I am no doctor so please be aware I am just speaking from my personal experience.
So why didn't my doctor recognise Candida Albicans as my problem and advise a diet change. Perhaps it is because they are more into curing illness after you get it rather than preventing it in the first place?
I know there has been much controversy about the Vega test machines and their accuracy, but in my case having this test helped me more than the doctor I visited five times with the same thrush complaint. I have not had thrush for years now.
Is it tiresome checking ingredients all of the time, yes, but is it worth it, definitely. I rarely drink anymore but now if I have a hangover I make sure I have enjoyed myself first from a night out on the town.