Failsafe 66 January – March 2011
The Food Intolerance Network provides information and support for people worldwide using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems.
Special diet helps two-thirds of ADHD children stop medicine
Outcome from Australian Food Labelling Review
Research: Doctors call for mandatory warnings on teething gels, Gluten intolerance: It's official!
In brief: Medical mind-change on fever, Additive-free school trial goes French, Great game for your kids, Audio interview with Sue Dengate, Sensitivity to Quorn foods
Book reviews: How doctors think; How patients should think: 10 questions to ask your doctor about drugs, tests and treatment; Oscar's Lunchbox
Now targeting: Remove annatto 160b in yoghurts; Diet success? - tell your doctor
Success stories: -
Shopping list: new products, warnings, failsafe sausages
Questions: detailed help and information.
Cooks Corner: Maple slushie, Easy potato chips, Green chicken pie, Country pear cake
Welcome to our first newsletter for 2011. A recent Dutch diet study (see lead article) is the tenth to show that between 60-100% of children with ADHD or oppositional defiance symptoms will improve if you get their diet right. As one failsafe teacher wrote ’I have experienced diet changes first hand but it is good to see supportive research out there. With a change in diet one of my children no longer has the symptoms of ADHD and his new teacher this year has described him as a ‘smiley, happy, quiet worker!’
The father of a difficult five year old wrote: ‘I have barely been able to read the success stories without bawling like a baby!!’ See ‘denied enrolment at two schools’, ‘horrible monster with pants soaked in smelly wee’, reports of trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) due to food intolerance, salicylate sensitivity associated with under-active thyroid, what to do for an asthma attack in a remote area if there is no puffer (lots of coffee), and many more.
Veronica from South Australia wrote:’ Sue, I'm sure you have felt many times over the years that you are a quiet voice speaking against a loud majority, but I think we are slowly getting louder too!’. Thank you to all who are helping, including the mother who wrote to politicians ‘Food Standards Australia doesn't think food colourings have an impact on behaviour?? Maybe you need me to send my daughter over with a pack of red frogs!’ See our campaigns under Now Targeting, as well latest research, products and recipes below.
Our thoughts are with New Zealand failsafers and families who have been affected by the terrible Feb 22nd earthquake.
Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate
Special diet helps two-thirds of ADHD children stop medicine
A restrictive diet for children suffering from ADHD can be so beneficial that many of them can stop taking medicine altogether, according to a Dutch study published in The Lancet in February. The research involved 100 children aged four to eight. Fifty of them followed an elimination diet – removing all known problem foods until some of them consumed only rice, turkey, pear, vegetables and water. After five weeks, two-thirds of the children on the special diet no longer had any behavioural problems. There was no difference in the behaviour of the control group on a 'healthy' diet. The children were followed for a year, with foodstuffs being added back into their diet to determine what caused the hyperactive reaction. (IgG tests were found not to be helpful compared to food challenges, which is what we have been saying for years.)
The researchers found 'considerable effects of a restricted elimination diet ... with equal effects on ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder'. They concluded that 'dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a five-week period, and provided expert supervision is available.'
The Few Foods Diet used by the Dutch study is not new but it is the first time it has been trialled on so many children for such a long time.
In 1985, a similar trial of the RPAH Elimination Diet with 140 behaviourally disturbed children found that nearly two thirds (61%) improved significantly and that a suitable diet could usually be devised for each child within three months. We recommend the RPAH Elimination Diet supervised by an experienced and supportive dietitian to members of the Food Intolerance Network because it is equally effective and much easier to use.
· Our updated ADHD factsheet
Outcome from Australian Food Labelling Review
In 2010 FIN members put a huge effort into two submissions and now we are looking at what we might have achieved. Our main focus was on ingredient labels and we basically asked for full disclosure: all ingredients listed, other information such as full country of origin labelling and penalties for labels with incorrect information. You can see a list of what we asked for, and what we got. The short answer is not much, as expected.
Books, DVD and Failsafe magnifying card now available through www.fedup.com.au
You can buy Sue’s books and DVD individually or as “the set” (Fed Up, the Failsafe Cookbook & the DVD Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour) at competitive prices. The new magnifying failsafe card with names and numbers of all 50 additives to avoid is also available.
Feb 2011 Doctors are calling for mandatory warnings on teething gels after children were hospitalised with potentially life-threatening poisoning. The authors of a study conducted by two Sydney hospitals and two New Zealand hospitals, published in the Medical Journal of Australia (Med J Aust. 2011 Feb 7;194(3):146-8) found that chronic salicylate intoxication could occur in children using over-the-counter teething gels, even at intakes close to the recommended doses. In Britain, the ingredient salicylate was removed from Bonjela teething gel after a 2002 study by the Commission on Human Medicines ... http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/teething-gel-danger-for-infants/story-fn6bm90q-1226005032121
Jan 2011 Gluten intolerance: It's official! - gluten can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in non-coeliacs, as some of our members have known for years. It's now confirmed by an Australian study from Monash University Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology in Melbourne, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology: http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ajg2010487a.html
Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?
Medical mind-change on fever: Parents need to know that fever has beneficial effects in fighting infection, and there is no need for them to bring down a child’s temperature with medication, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Contrary to what parents were previously told, there is no evidence that fever itself can increase the risk of brain damage. Sullivan JE, Farrar HC. Clinical report -- fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics 2011; 127(3): 580-587. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/25079
Additive-free school trial goes French: After watching the results of our 2007 Nana Glen Primary School NSW additive free trial, seven schools in France are intending to carry out similar trials. See the trial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs-N0Gjf4C8 and how we did it: the Palmers Island trial.
Here’s a great game for your kids about the food industry and how it works: http://www.addictinggames.com/burgertycoon.html
Sensitivity to Quorn foods: A novel ingredient called mycoprotein in Quorn-brand frozen meat substitutes is made from processed mould. Despite advertising implications about ‘mushroom protein’, the mould (or fungus) is grown in liquid solution in large tanks. Quorn foods have been marketed in the U.K. since the 1990s, the U.S. since 2002 and were introduced in Australia late last year. Several percent of consumers are sensitive to Quorn products, resulting in vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, and, less often, hives and potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions. Many people have gone to emergency rooms for treatment of Quorn-related reactions. The British and American governments acknowledge that Quorn foods can cause allergic reactions, but rejected recommendations to require Quorn foods to bear a warning label. (When Quorn-containing ‘vegetarian’ products are served at restaurants, there is no label to inform consumers that they are eating Quorn foods.) So far at least two Australians have reported severe reactions. Further reading: Consumer Group Warns Australian Food Safety Officials about Quorn Fungus Foods: http://www.cspinet.org/new/201009231.html
Katona SJ, Kaminski Sensitivity to Quorn mycoprotein (Fusarium venenatum) in a mould allergic patient. J Clin Pathol. 2002;55(11):876-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1769805/?tool=pubmed
The Australian New Zealand food regulatory authority FSANZ released a factsheet on Quorn on 3/3/2011 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au
How doctors think by Jerome Groopman MD, Scribe, Melbourne, 2010, first published 2007. This New York Times bestseller opens with the case of ‘Anne’, a patient in her thirties with a 15 year history of irritable bowel symptoms diagnosed as anorexia nervosa with bulimia. When Anne failed to gain weight on a high calorie diet including large amounts of cereals and pasta she was accused of lying and treated with tranquillisers. Did you work it out yet? She was a coeliac! Groopman wrote this book by asking his medical friends and colleagues to tell him about their best and worst diagnoses, explaining how patients can be avoid the worst diagnoses box. It’s a fascinating book but what comes through clearly unintended is how little the author and others know about food intolerance (basically zilch).
How patients should think: 10 questions to ask your doctor about drugs, tests and treatment by experienced medical journalists Ray Moynihan and Melissa Sweet, Pegasus Books, New York, 2009, carries on where Groopman left off, showing patients how to avoid becoming victims of what they call profit-driven medicine. With headings such as ‘some procedures are unproven’ and ‘misleading evidence has been used to promote harmful drugs to women’, the authors offer good advice on how to question everything, including non-invasive tests that may label you as a patient.
Oscar's Lunchbox by Pam Houssenloge, Well Connected Kids, 2010. I was delighted to see finally a children’s picture book about food intolerances rather than allergies. Oscar has just started school and notices that everyone else has bright colourful packets unlike the real food he eats at home and in his lunchbox. Guided by his mother, he remembers what happens with different foods (cows’ milk makes me cough, chocolate gives me headaches, yellow lollies make me go silly; Auntie Mary is a coeliac, his friend Emmitt gets a rash from tomatoes) and learns that bodies are like racing cars, if you want the best performance you need the right fuel. It’s all good except the bit about fruit. For salicylate responders, fruit can be the most difficult issue. What makes Oscar feel good? ‘Fresh fruit gives me a real boost’ with an illustration of a pear J and a bunch of grapes L (very high in both salicylates and amines). www.wellconnectedkids.com.au.
Diet success? - tell your doctor ‘We are in the first week of the diet and have already seen big improvements in my 3 yo son’s behaviour. The worst part is that we have been experiencing this unsettled, screaming, fighting to eat behaviour since he was 3 weeks old. The paediatrician told us at a 6 week check that he had behavioural problems, but never once stated anything about food. We (my new baby and I) were admitted to hospital when he was 6 weeks old due to complete exhaustion. I will most definitely write to our paediatrician and advise on my son’s improvements’. – thanks to Eleanor
For every story we report, there are probably another 10 which cover similar issues. And these are just the ones we get to hear about.
See all stories and search them. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
 One-liners (March 2011)
I just want to say a huge thank you. We have managed to keep both our children off all medication for hyperactivity and ADHD diagnosis through your diet and recommendations. Whilst it is hard and we slip up - it is worth it. - Leona, NSW
I have been reading the personal accounts of other desperate people who have already put into practice your failsafe plan and I have barely been able to read them without bawling like a baby!! - father of a difficult 5 yo
We have been following Sue's advice for our family for the last 13 years and really appreciate the time and effort you put into keeping us safe from additives!! - Lynelle by email.
Your Failsafe Cookbook has been a fantastic assistance in helping with meal planning. We are 2 days into the diet and already noticing big changes with our 3 yo e.g extended lengths of happiness, co-operation, fewer tantrums and accepting instructions. - Eleanor, NSW
Having followed Failsafe for a week, and being astounded by the loving, fun, happy, laughing 6 year old that came home on Thursday, I am a full convert. (Gone is the angry, aggressive, resentful, contradictory, unhappy, destructive child I have had!). – Karen, by email
I still live by my Failsafe Cookbook we found in a bookshop when my son was 3 – six years ago. It's very well loved by now! – by email
We appreciate your continued dedication to the cause. Generations from now (if we're lucky), may look back to this era as when the human race continually found ways to chemically self-destruct. – Judy, by email
Your Failsafe Cookbook is brill if you're on a weightloss diet - it doesn't have a lot of those fatty sauces!! - love the lamb stew! - Caroline, UK
Our naturopath commented that failsafe eating is very nutritious – Jackie, by email.
 ADHD: Denied enrolment at 2 schools (March 2011) COURAGE AWARD
I just wanted thank you!!! My 9 year old son has ADHD, ODD, OCD, anxiety and a learning disability. He was denied enrolment at 2 schools because they feared his ADHD would disrupt other children. He was constantly in trouble at school and has been suspended. He was frustrated and upset every morning and every night, at times he couldn't sit at the dinner table without crying from the stress he felt, he found it very difficult to cope from day to day. From when he was a very young age, my husband and I worked very hard at managing his problems and saw numerous specialists. Originally we took him off bread with preservatives when he was 2 years old. It wasn't until we were at our wits’ end a year ago, with schools and counsellors telling us to 'medicate him' - that I decided to buy your book.
A year on, our son avoids salicylates and additives and I have to say I have had a recent comment from a friend who hasn't seen him for a year and she said 'we were so impressed with your son’s politeness, his impeccable table manners, you two have done so well with him!, even my sister commented on what a lovely boy he is!'
We managed to get him into a new school, one that I believed would work with us to 'manage' his issues better. Then his new school teacher rang me to say 'I have had a beautiful week with your son, he is very respectful, very caring towards the other children, has lovely manners and we haven't had one episode of hyperactivity or disruptive behaviour, he has a lot to offer and is doing very well'
I have near cried with pure relief and excitement that the little boy I got glimpses off occasionally over the last 9 years is now that nice little boy all day EVERY DAY! and other people can see it.
As a parent who had tried everything to avoid medication, I finally feel we have found the answer to successfully managing a child with behavioural issues. I now tell people – Failsafe, Structure, Management, and above all: Understanding. Your book is gold to us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. – Leonie, NSW
 Fragrance: Our sensitivity to perfumes and fragranced products (March 2011) COURAGE AWARD
I’ve become increasing sensitive to perfumes and fragrances. For me it triggers an intense, immediate burning headache, dizziness, nausea, and a reflexive instinct to want to get away. The longer I’m exposed to the smell, I find it hard to look up, hard to make eye contact with people, my heart rate speeds up and I feel hot and a bit shivery. I feel like I have to keep an eye on the ground to know where it is, have trouble telling where objects are around me, and kind of lose my sense of where I am in space.
Background noise seems to become louder as well, and I feel a rising panic and need to escape. I had a ‘brain episode’ about 3-4 yrs ago, some kind of massive seizure that had symptoms similar to a stroke. Since then, my problems with perfumes have increased dramatically, though I think I’ve always had a slight problem with scents. In March 2009 I was prescribed Methotrexate (an immuno-suppressant) as my psoriasis had become so severe it almost landed me in hospital with a life-threatening version. This has side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness, which have gradually lessened over time, but still rear up at least a couple of times each week. Since being on this drug I find it particularly difficult to cope with perfumes. From what my two ASD boys have been able to tell me, I think their responses are fairly similar, but they have difficulty describing the sensations, and they tend to go into Autistic withdrawal / blocking behaviours.
A couple of weeks ago we took the boys to a cinema to watch Despicable Me. A teenage girl entered with a small group of friends and sat in the row in front of us. The perfume smell was so strong I had to shift the four of us back 3 rows to escape it, and still left the cinema with a headache.
The worst places for the boys and I to enter are public toilets with automatic fragrance sprayers. One was introduced to our local shopping centre, and we were caught unawares. I sat down on the toilet, and was suddenly sprayed by a fountain of this horrible scent – it triggered of a bout of vomiting which meant I was stuck in there with the scent. When I finally escaped, I found that hubby had encountered the same problem on taking the boys into the Men’s toilet. The elder was biting his hands and pulling his hair, and the younger was bouncing and squirming uncontrollably. We abandoned the idea of grocery shopping and went home to recover. Now we make sure we go to the toilet at home before we leave.
Windex and whiteboard cleaning spray have an appalling effect on my elder son, trigger out of control behaviours, self harm, high temperatures, headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea. Perfumes and body sprays such as Impulse are awful, incense sticks are a nightmare, car and toilet deodorizing products are the worst, possibly due to the confined, airless space. – by email
 Fragrance: Angry, tantrumy boy punching himself in the head due to airfreshener (March 2011)
A couple of months ago I decided to put an airfreshener in my 6 yo autistic’s room because it smelt like urine due to him wetting the bed a lot. The next day he turned from a calm placid little boy to an angry, tantrumy boy who would constantly punch himself in the head causing big bruises, crying and screaming like there was something in his head and he couldn't get it out. He also didn't sleep much while the air freshener was in his room. It took two days to figure out what I had done to my beautiful boy and once I removed the offender and aired his room out naturally, within a 2-3 hour period he was his calm self again. I hope this can help someone. - Jackie, by email
 Rosy cheeks, colic, poor sleeping, terrible nappy rash due to salicylates (March 2011)
I can’t tell you how much I love your work!! We came across FAILSAFE after months of my infant son suffering from such a terrible nappy rash that he was quite raw. I wasn’t helping matters by using baby wipes & soothing creams that had orange juice etc in them (Gaia brand). The Dr wouldn’t believe that I was using the steroid cream he’d prescribed, & made me tell him exactly how I was using it - is there another way to use it? Finally, through our local Child & Family Health Clinic, one of the Nurses mentioned salicylates. My journey was far from over, however, going through the public health paediatric dietitian (who recommended that I feed my son rockmelon you should have seen him after I took that advice!! Poor little tyke!) & several other Drs & nurses before I stumbled onto a Dr who, when walking past us to her next patient in the waiting room (we were there to see another Dr), looked at my son & remarked Looks like he might have a reaction to salicylates those rosy cheeks that everyone kept telling me was teething was really a dead giveaway!!
From there, our lives improved so much, thanks to a supportive & knowledgeable Dr, dietitian & your Failsafe Cookbook. Our son could finally sleep, and his pesky colic disappeared after only a few days! All that we had been told was normal in a baby, and that we were made to feel like whingers for bringing up, were anything but normal when we got his food right (& mine, as I was breastfeeding).
He’s now 3 years old, and it’s so easy to tell when he’s had something to eat that he shouldn’t! He’s very sensitive, even reacting to red delicious apples. We’ve now got another bub, a little girl, who has been so lucky that she has never had any real food issues, as I was Failsafe the whole time when breastfeeding her & of course feeding her solids. Still makes me feel guilty that my son had to go through almost a year with such pain, but at least we’re all better off now, knowing about this issue. We still get funny looks from people who seem to think we’re on some kind of fad diet, but we know what happens when we don’t follow it. My main problem is that our family, and even myself, think of ordinary food as being a treat so we do give him non-Failsafe foods occasionally. What I need to remember, and I think I’m getting there, is that even if he enjoys eating the food, the way he then feels & acts for the next 3 days is definitely not a good thing. Making my son feel sick, irritable or aggressive is not a treat for him, or any of us. I am getting there, but I wish my family would stop asking me when he’ll grow out of it and suggesting that he’s getting better (only because he’s eating Failsafe!! He wouldn’t be if he wasn’t!) and tempting my son with offers of when I’m babysitting you we’ll go out & get some REAL food chiko rolls and hot dogs & coke . Real food indeed!! Grrr!!
Thanks again, Sue, for everything you’ve done, and continue to do. It must bring you such a feeling of vindication & joy when you read through the many different stories people have I’m often amazed at the different ways people react to various things. Without you, our lives would all be much harder and I thank you sincerely from all of our family. – Lyn, by email
 ‘Huge ankles’ and other symptoms due to diet (March 2011)
I went through the RPAH elimination diet about 3 years ago. The dietician confirmed I was intolerant to dairy, wheat, salicylates, amines and glutamates. Despite following a strict regime I have not been able to reintroduce any of the foods that caused an intolerance reaction. My symptoms I have now as a result of low exposure are: IBS, sinus pain, fluid buildup around my eyes, feet and ankles swelling, sleep disturbance, severe cramps in feet and legs. I am asthmatic. ... Update 3 weeks later: I cleaned up my diet (herbs, coffee and some vegies that I had included are now gone) and immediately had migraine type headaches. But since then it has all been much better. So this is the first summer in 20 years that I have been able to wear short trousers and not needed to hide my huge ankles. - Fiona, NSW
 Challenges: 3 week reaction to amines (March 2011)
My son’s reaction to amine foods is always the same: depression, crying for nothing, being angry, seeking conflicts, ODD like behaviour and many attacks of night terrors (like 5 times in a 2-week-period). He had very strong reactions to pork meat and to chocolate, and the effects to those foods lasted for almost 3 weeks even after stopping the challenge. His reaction to salicylates is the usual hyperactive, silly behaviour, talking too much/too loud and having more little accidents.- by email, Europe
 MSG: AF (Atrial fibrillation) after additives (March 2011)
Was just reading your article on Atrial Fibrillation from additives and I am certainly one who suffers from this, especially with MSG. The latest attack was as recent as Friday last week. I tried out a new Thai restaurant and that night was awake until 2am (after going to bed at 10pm) with a pounding heart. It is an issue for me and the worst is definitely MSG. I have been having these symptoms for 8 years that I know of (I am 39), ever since I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think the symptoms were present before this but I didn't recognise them.
I realised it was due to MSG, firstly when it seemed to happen whenever I ate Chinese or some Asian foods. Then it was a process of isolating those foods with MSG and without to see if symptoms occurred. I get such a strong reaction that there is no doubt it is related to food. I also experience bloating symptoms along with the heart palpitations. I haven't tried this with other additives but I just generally stay away from all processed/packaged foods and feel a lot better for it. If I do eat the occasional packaged food I make sure there are next to no numbers in the ingredient list!
I have spoken to a doctor about these symptoms in the past but when I realised they were a reaction to additives I didn't pursue it any further. - Georgina, by email
 Under-active thyroid and salicylate intolerance (March 2011)
I've had a long-term salicylate intolerance and avoid salicylates as much as possible in my diet. Last year I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid and found once I was started on the medication that a lot of my allergic rhinitis disappeared. I was still having reactions to salicylates but not nearly as bad. Thyroid problems are apparently very common and as mine was under-active my metabolism wasn't processing things as it should making my symptoms worse – Caroline, UK
(Note that one cause of underactive thyroid could be iodine deficiency. This has become more common as iodine intake has dropped in industrialised countries over the last two decades due to less (iodised) salt being added to meals. Too much iodine can be as bad as not enough. Failsafe sources of iodine include seafood (2-3 times a week), dairy foods and eggs but not seaweed such as kelp or nori. Dietitians now recommend iodised salt for the RPAH Elimination Diet. Recommended Multivitamins also contain iodine. If in doubt, consult your dietitian.)
More information http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Iodine_explained). http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/scienceandeducation/factsheets/factsheets2010/reformulatedbonsoyso4785.cfm
 MSG: 635: Heart palpitations from flavour enhancers (March 2011)
When I have MSG or other flavour enhancers I get heart palpitations. It feels like my heart is pounding really hard and fast in my chest and will last for about 15 seconds at a time. It's quite scary. I wasn't sure what caused it initially but over a couple of years it established a pattern. A few hours after I'd eaten MSG or other enhancers - Chinese foods, BBQ flavoured chips, red rock deli honey soy flavoured chips, maggi chicken flavour 2 minute noodles, cheese flavoured CCs, 635, 621 are the ones I have noticed on packaging.
I'm 38 and didn't realise until my son was in kindergarten (born 1998) what had been making me so sick and still I was silly enough to give into my craving for these foods some times. He had terrible problems with reflux, even though breastfed and there was no formed poo. He screamed all day every day but they told me I was a bad mother. By kindergarten, he had over 50 days off school with diarrhoea and then was referred to a dietician who hit the nail on the head and that was when I realised how foods were affecting me too. I no longer touch these foods and it hasn't happened since. – Sharyn, by email
 Sorbates, nitrates: Preservatives cause mouth ulcers and irritable bowel (March 2011)
I am in my sixties. I can tell if a product has sorbates by the sore spots that develop in the mouth and then develop into mouth ulcers. With margarine (the RPA recommended challenge) it tends to build up over several meals. I have also worked out the preservatives in meats, particularly bacon and silverside, give a disturbed alimentary canal showing signs at the rear end. - Trevor, by email
 The Red Frogs letter to politicians (March 2011)
I am writing to give feedback regarding the recent Today Tonight story in Sydney about artificial food colours.
I can't believe there is still doubt about the effects these additives have on behaviour! I have had experience with the effects of these additives with my own children and can refer you to many other people who agree.
If there is a natural alternative without any suspected side effects why are we using additives that DO have suspected side effects? Additives that have been BANNED in other countries! Why are we not travelling the safer route? This is simple logic.
We avoid these additives as much as possible in our foods, but more and more products have more and more additives. One of the best resources for information and studies I have found is Sue Dengate and her Fed Up books and website. Sue has been looking into the problems with these additives for years and I really feel it is time for further attention and action on this issue. These additives do affect our health!
I hope the government is allowing for increased medical costs associated with the effects of these additives in the future, as the numbers will only keep increasing. The increase in the number of food additives since the 70’s correlates with the increase in health issues such as asthma, eczema and behavioural problems. Information on this can be found in Sue Dengate’s work.
This page on Sue’s site lists some of the letters she has already sent asking for change. How many more will it take?
Banning these products has far reaching benefits. Not only for the health and temperament of the people who consume them (in particular children) but also for the stress levels of the parents, teachers and carers who look after these children, would likely lead to reduced medical costs to the government and could possibly even reduce juvenile crime statistics.
The General Manager of Food Standards Australia doesn't think food colourings have an 'impact' on behaviour?? Maybe you need me to send my daughter over with a pack of red frogs! – Fiona, NSW (with permission to reprint this letter)
 Asthma: How to save a life: the asthma catechism (March 2011)
23 years ago, at the age of 30, I was hospitalised for asthma at Frankston Hospital in Victoria; I recovered quickly with intravenous Theophylline and inhaled Ventolin via a pump. The specialist would not discharge me until I learned what he ironically called The Catechism:
Q: What do you do in the event of an asthma attack in a remote area if there is no puffer?
A: Give them coffee until they shake (lots): this will save them. Decaf coffee will not work.
As it happens, Theophylline is similar to caffeine; the side effects and benefits are similar. – Jonathon, Vic (A Cochrane Database Review, Caffeine for Asthma 2010, agrees: ‘Caffeine appears to improve airways function modestly, for up to four hours, in people with asthma’ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091514).
 Asthma: hospital admissions - from one per week to one per year (March 2011)
First, I have to thank you for the work you have done. It is just over 3 years since I first picked up a copy of Fed Up with Asthma after my then 16 month old son was diagnosed. The medication did not seem to be working as it should, and I knew there was something else going on. He has major difficulties with sulphites, MSG and flavour enhancers (and natural glutamates) and benzoates (although we still avoid all preservatives and artificial colours because we are used to it now!), and after seeing an allergist and finding a nut allergy as well, all the pieces fit together. He is now a happy and healthy little boy about to start pre-school, whose nut allergies have been decreasing over the last two years - in fact his peanut allergy is totally gone - and has gone from one hospital admission a week to one every 8-12 months. We truly thank you, because it was your book that put us on the right track. Clare, NSW
 Sulphites & asthma: unlisted sulphites in prawns (March 2011)
Just purchased my Xmas prawns and thinking to avoid any additives, I always buy 'Australian' uncooked prawns. As I purchased 2Kg they came in the original box and shock, horror, I see preservative ticked, and then 223 (sodium metabisulphite). This product was labelled 'Wild caught Australian frozen prawns' from Hervey Bay - all sounds so pristine!
I rang the fish man morning and he informs me that all prawns are treated with 223 to prevent discolouring. This is common practice across the industry, the only difference being that imported prawns may not declare the preservative on the packaging. I phoned the Health department who were completely unaware of this practice. I suggested that as processed foods have to have labelling of ingredients what of the 'fresh' product?
An asthmatic with sensitivities to the sulphur group of preservatives may well react to prawns and then assume this is a seafood allergy, as preservative would not be considered a factor. Imagine if all those wonderful sea food displays at this time of the year were labelled 'contains sulphur metabisulphite'! – Judy, Vic
 Salicylates: Nasal polyps & salicylates (March 2011)
I recently went to see an ENT specialist as I have nasal polyps that have bothered me since my 20s and I was due to have surgery to have them removed. The doctor told me that as our town was having problems with the privately owned base hospital I would have to go to the private hospital at a cost of $2400. He did also say when I said I used to have asthma that people who have asthma and nasal polyps are usually salicylate sensitive.
As we didn't fancy paying the exorbitant fee, I got your book Fed Up out of the library, remembering you had said about salicylates. To cut a long story short we cut salicylates out of my diet and one week later I was able to breathe through my nose. THANK YOU Sue. We have since purchased Fed Up and plan to loan it out to anyone we can help. - Geoff, NSW
 Salicylates: Aspirin-induced asthma and nasal polyps (March 2011)
 Low salicylate versus low fructose diet (March 2011)
My 4 year old son’ behaviour has always been challenging, but has been particularly bad in recent weeks. After complaining of bloating, diarrhoea etc a breath test revealed that he was fructose intolerant (Note: about 50% of people have a positive breath test, so it is not very useful - Fructose malabsorption factsheet. So we started on the strict fructose elimination diet. My GP asked me a couple of weeks later how the diet was going. I responded that it was going well and that my son had not complained of bloating, stomach pains, etc since. However the thing I had noticed the most was his improved behaviour. I'm sure my GP thought I was a little odd, and commented that it wasn't something he'd heard of before but perhaps my son's behaviour is better because he doesn't have tummy pains. I wasn't convinced.
After a few weeks, we started a challenge by reintroducing the high fructose foods. He seemed to tolerate them well as long as he doesn't eat too much fruit each day. However, his behaviour has been foul! He seems more angry than ever, and last week I was wondering if he may be ODD. The Magic 123 which worked well for so long, now has no impact as he is just so defiant.
So, I started FAILSAFE eating 6 days ago. We haven't done it perfectly as his diet is very restricted due to food allergies and the fructose intolerance. But I've removed the high salicylate items, particularly tomatoes, strawberries and cantelope; and we're really just having the good ol meat and 3 veg for tea every night. I've cut his fruit intake to 1 serve every 2-3 days.
Day 1 perfect behaviour although it was still like walking on egg shells.
Day 2 bad morning, good afternoon.
Day 3 good behaviour a little less eggshells!
Day 4, 5, 6 great behaviour.
When things are good he is the perfect gentleman, well-mannered a real angel. But when things aren't going his way he still gets grumpy but most of the time he can now control the anger. A week or more ago, he just couldn't.
Update 3 months later after doing the elimination diet with a dietitian: Things went really well for some time. However, my son was desperate for some of the non-failsafe foods, particularly tomato sauce and jam. So I gradually caved in, and allowed him to have some. Initially it was a little bit every few days, then a little each daily. Although I'm still careful with his diet, he mustn't be able to tolerate even these quantities as we've started to notice some of the same old behaviour. The salicylates seem to have a cumulative effect on him. Whilst his behaviour hasn't been as aggressive or defiant, I'm certainly noticing that he is loud and unsettled. He can't concentrate on playing with his toys, but instead races around the house and jumps on the furniture! So this week were back on failsafe - strictly! – Carly, by email.
What the researchers say: (See page 14 of the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook 2009 available from www.allergy.net.au): ‘Having excessive amounts of fruit especially fruit juice and dried fruit can cause symptoms such as bloating, reflux, abdominal discomfort, wind and diarrhoea. Although incomplete fructose absorption can cause stomach and bowel symptoms, it does not cause other symptoms such as headaches, fatigue or skin rashes … improvement of symptoms after going onto a low fructose diet is most likely to be due to the simultaneous reduction of intake of natural chemicals in fruits and vegetables’.
 We cannot believe that all our problems are gone simply by changing food (March 2011)
I am trying to find the words that will express exactly how thankful I am for the work you do and for the information you make available to parents everywhere.
You really have changed our lives and the life of my 4yr old son whom we were afraid was showing signs of being ODD and even Aspergers. He also was exhibiting symptoms that suggested irritable bowel and gluten intolerance. Since making the switch to fresh food made from scratch we cannot believe the complete change in our son. I had hoped to see positive results but had no idea that ALL of our problems with his behavioural and emotional development would be solved simply by eliminating all processed foods. I have cried so many times these past few weeks which to my family and friends would seem normal as I am often reduced to tears over my son s behaviour. However, I now cry true tears of joy... the change in him is that dramatic!
We suspect that 282, BHA 320, 160b and the major artificial food colourings as well as MSG were the main culprits. However, we decided that the risks with these chemicals are too great and that rather than read the labels and get tricked time and again it is far easier to just cook from scratch the old fashioned way. Being in the kitchen all day is a very small price to pay for a happy family environment!
I have attached a couple of images that summarise how things have turned out for us... a picture tells a thousand words!!! – Carley, by email.
<before, and after>
 Speech: Diet got rid of disfluency and stutter (March 2011)
My 5 year old son has suffered from disfluency in his speech since he started to speak! He was an early speaker, and was putting sentences together very early, but would always talk in a very monotone evenly paced voice, a trait we are now told is quite common with kids who have auditory processing issues. We have recently had him diagnosed with a 'severe' figure ground problem. [the louder the background noise, the more trouble he has in processing what he hears - his actual hearing is perfect] I put 'severe' in italics, because he was tested at a time where he was not baseline; at a time where other factors were in play. Both the audiologist and the speech pathologist had other explanations for the stutter, which was most common at the beginning of sentences. Once he got started, the speech was more fluent, but still monotone.
The speech pathologist said his brain was moving faster than his tongue. He had an amazing grasp of language at an early age and his tongue would catch up with time. We discussed techniques in 'smooth talking' and 'bumpy talking', but aside from that the advice was that he would grow out of it.
The audiologist said that the processing difficulty could be linked to the stuttering as a delaying tactic while the rest of the information becomes accessible.
I don't disagree with these experts, but as time has gone on, I am convinced that other factors are more responsible for these symptoms than either of the explanations above.
We noticed, over time, that sometimes his stutter was worse than other times. A noisy environment always made things worse, supporting the figure ground hearing assessment, but at other times there seemed to be no obvious contributor. Tiredness, we thought? Perhaps new developmental stages?
We had already suspected that colours and preservatives made him 'high' and had eliminated all of those anyway. I made most things from scratch and bought very little processed food.
In about April of this year, we happened upon the 'Fed Up' information. We had just had about 3-4 weeks of hell at home. I was tearing my hair out and the tension in our house with the behavioural problems was unbelievable. His stutter was so bad, that it would take him 3-4 minutes to get through a simple sentence. I was trying to be patient and not draw attention to it as the speech pathologist had told us, but it was not only driving me mad, but for the first time, it was really bothering him. " Mu..Mu...Mu...Mu...Mum..... I....I ....I....I...I.... wa....wa. wa...wa..... Uh, what was I saying mum? " If I'd put in every stutter, it would take up more than a page! Upon reading various fact sheets on the website, I had an epiphany! I had put dried apricots in his lunchboxes for the 2 kinder days and 1 day care day a week for about the last 3-4 weeks. Just 3-4 each time, but I cut them out immediately while I kept researching.
Within 4-5 days of removing apricots [and no other changes], the stutter had improved, but was still apparent. After another week, other people started noticing the improvement.
That was the beginning. While the stutter had not vanished at this point, it was enough to make me convinced that there was something to all this 'intolerance stuff'. We got more serious, and finally started to see the gorgeous little boy that we knew was in there somewhere. The aggression all but disappeared, the frustration and the stutter were much improved but there were still times where things would go downhill again.
After hearing Sue talk, I decided to get much more serious, and undertook the complete elimination diet, including the elimination of dairy and wheat. Prior to starting, I spent about 2 weeks trying recipes, building up my pantry items, stocking the freezer etc. I believe that if I had not done that, I might have given up, fallen in a heap and put it all in the too hard basket. The changes in the household were amazing. I was spending a couple of hours extra in the kitchen every day, but with the elimination of wheat [I am convinced] I had the extra energy to do it. A week in, and his stutter had all but disappeared. It was as if he had suddenly grown up an extra year or two. He took adversity in his stride, he shrugged his shoulders instead of clenching his fists, and any remaining disfluency in speech I felt was because of habit rather than anything else. His voice became more interesting, his pitch patters varied and I am sure that he coped with noisy situations better. All of the 'autistic' tendencies which we had seen for years were improved. He read social cues better, spent much less time with his fingers in his mouth, coped with loud noises better; generally it was an amazing difference. His kinder teacher, who has watched this process with interest, remarked that it almost looked as if we had sedated him!
We are lucky in a way, to have a son who reacts so quickly and obviously to things. It makes identifying problems a lot easier. During our salicylate challenge, he went off the chart for silliness, and the stutter got worse. During a course of antibiotics for a bad bacterial skin infection, he got aggressive, angry ... and the stutter got worse. Every time we have slipped up with food, the stutter gets worse. It is our main indicator that something is amiss.
I have no absolute proof. I am not a scientist. I am not a speech pathologist. I am a mum - plain and simple. But I know my boy. I know who he is and who he isn't and these past 7 months I have watched him like a hawk. I know when he is up and I know when he is down. And I am absolutely convinced that his disfluency is directly connected with his diet. I am not saying that the diet is fully responsible, but added to other issues that he has, the diet is what has made the difference for him. A year ago, I was so worried that when he starts school next year, he would be teased because of his stutter. Now, I know that while we will always face issues with diet and behaviour, at least at baseline, he won’t be that different from any other child.
And of course, I will be eternally grateful to Sue, and all who contribute to the Fed Up website. Without it, life would be a great deal more difficult. The one thing I am thankful for, is that I never let things go. If I had just listened to the experts and not used my brain and my intuition, then who knows....- Kylie, by email
 Behaviour & diet: extraordinary tantrums gone (March 2011)
First of all thank you for being my saviour!! My 4 year old little boy had been getting increasingly worse in his behaviour and we had pretty much become isolated due to his extraordinary tantrums that lasted anything up to 2 hours 3 or 4 times a week. I never knew when they would happen and it was normally as soon as we met up with friends in a play centre he would become aggressive, loud, uncontrollable and impossible to calm. Many times I have left a shop or playcentre with him folded under my arm, kicking and screaming, biting anyone or anything that came in his way.
We had already been seeing a paediatrician as he was also under weight and under height for his age. They hadn't found anything wrong but his blood tests were not quite right either. I was getting desperate and he is starting school next Thursday and I couldn't imagine what they were going to say!!
Until 'Fed Up'...... We have been following the elimination diet (mostly) for the last 2 weeks with dramatic results. We have not had any tantrums for 10 days. He is a pleasure to be around and he is sleeping much better. We are not there yet, but so much better. I can’t quite believe he's the same child!! - Fay, UK.
 Annatto 160b: eczema, tantrums and head banging (March 2011)
My son William had eczema behind his knees when he was 6 months old and then it went away. In October this year it reappeared (just before his 2nd birthday) with a vengeance! It was behind his knees and then spread to his legs, patches on his arms and his entire chest was rough. Fortunately we got onto it quickly and he didn't suffer with any broken skin, however the key things I took out were vegemite and grapes. He had only had vegemite for a few weeks but it took ages to get the eczema to go again. After spending a weekend with my mum, William had eczema behind his knees again. The only thing she gave him which I never do was Vaalia yoghurt (160b) so I took that out and double checked EVERYTHING he was eating for 160b and bingo! No eczema since, with the added bonus of far fewer tantrums. When I realised he had yoghurt with annatto at my mum’s house (and had a little eczema again) I threw out everything that had annatto in it (Heinz kids muesli bars which I was giving him occasionally). The other reason, apart from eczema that had me throw out annatto was his tantrums. William was headbanging again, which he hadn't done in a while. That day I took out annatto and that was the last time I saw him headbang, and that was in November!
He still gets frustrated and chucks a wobbly every now and again, but there's been a big big change since removing annatto. If a normal tantrum for William is a 3/10, they were 8/10 before I eliminated annatto. – Margaret, by email
 Annatto 160b: Head banging due to food causes nose bleeds and deformation of the skull (March 2011)
From introduction of solids when my baby daughter was 4 months old, she banged her head more or less continually, to the point of making her nose bleed constantly and causing deformation of the skull. She was always covered in big bruises and it was so bad we could never go out, I couldn’t even leave her alone to go to the toilet. After 18 months of this, we discovered your website 3 weeks ago (when she was nearly 2) and found she was eating heaps of annatto 160b in yoghurt and Kraft cheese as well as some other suspect foods. Although she improved, removing annatto alone was not enough. After a drastic change of diet (we switched to unhomogenised milk only), the head banging stopped completely and we are now slowly reintroducing foods. We cannot thank you enough. No one else mentioned diet. – parents at Launceston talk, Tas
 Annatto 160b: Annatto and years of constant diarrhoea (March 2011)
It took me a LONG time to pinpoint Annatto as the cause of my problems. For years I just lived with constant diarrhea. It was at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 I started to develop new problems. I started getting severe abdominal pain (like nothing I had before) and then a few months later I started getting extremely bloated. The bloating caused me to have unusual belching fits which just added to the embarrassment of my situation. In Feb 2010, my wife and I took a week long cruise... most of the food on the cruise didn't bother me; for the most part I was symptom-free that week!
When we returned from our trip all my problems returned (much like your story). Then in March a new symptom ... I started to get some very unusual and severe pain in my nether regions to the point that it was uncomfortable to sit down. I went to go see my PCP about the burping, abdominal pain, and my "new" problem.
He diagnosed me as having celiac sprue disease and hemorrhoids. A few weeks went by; the problems continued even with a new diet. The pain in my bottom came and went. Then finally in March, I ended up finding out one of my problems was not hemorrhoids but a perianal cyst that I had to have lanced.
After speaking with the proctologist following my surgery and telling him about all my recent problems he decided to perform a colonscopy to rule out colitis and Crohns. Colonscopy was clean but the only thing they could tell me was that they thought I had IBS.
Finally, in August I went to go see an Allergist. The allergist performed a scratch test and put me on a BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast!) diet. I spent the next three months slowly adding unprocessed food back into my diet. When it was time to add dairy I began having problems again. It was only after speaking with my older sister that she told me she had problems with food dyes. Her problems were skin related (rashes / eczema). She explained to me that yellow cheese has a dye in it (little did I know at the time).
So, I decided to "re-challenge" dairy but this time with just milk--no problems! I then added yellow cheese to my diet--problems again! Finally, tested white cheese--no problems! It was a eureka moment! :)
 Annatto 160: headbanging, rage, trichotillomania (eyelash, eyebrow pulling) (March 2011)
When my daughter was 12 months old she had a headbanging reaction to annatto in yoghurt. The next week she had another episode of screaming, tantrums and banging her head repeatedly on the metal frame of her bed. The very next day my mum saw a story on ACA or similar program with yourself mentioned, and thought the 4 year old kids on the segment sounded like what we had with our 12 month old ... so we looked up your website. I looked back at food she ate and I had given her a kids Heinz apricot bar and sure enough it had annatto too. This was all I needed to prompt me to look at what she, and we, were actually eating!
My daughter is now 6 1/2 and we still have the occasional uncontrollable outburst and know she's had something. We actually had an incident last weekend with her and the wicked 160b. She was at a friend’s place Saturday night and they thought they were doing the right thing when they gave her jelly snakes 'preservative free, no artificial colours'. I didn't know about the snakes but Sunday saw her at her worst. She woke in a rage and was lashing out, hitting, biting, screaming, indecisive about trivial little things and completely and utterly beside herself. When in this state (the worst lasts for about 4-6 hours) she cannot control any aspect of her being. She even goes as far as plucking all her eyelashes and eyebrows out with her fingers (trichotillomania) if left alone. I went to the friend’s house and began quizzing them! A peek at the ingredients on the snakes proved me right yet again when I saw the number 160b. (fyi they were Aldi brand).
After an annatto reaction is somewhat over, she 'sleeps it off' and will often then sleep up to 15 hours (say 6pm til 9am!!). She had a horrific day and finally fell asleep at 11pm Sunday night. She slept it off and woke close to 10.30am Monday morning. She was fine Monday and Tuesday ... But Wednesday evening saw her showing (relatively mild this time) annatto signs again. I asked her about school (started back on Tuesday) and she was hesitant to tell me her little friend had bought a lemonade 'spider'. I went to the canteen today and sure enough... Annatto in the ice cream!!!!
I'd also be willing to bet my husband reacts to annatto... he gets very moody at times and also his sleep patterns are all over the place. Some nights he will be up all night on the computer and just not tired, then other days/nights he too will sleep for 15+ hours. - Skye, NSW
 Annatto 160b: head banging now headaches in a 6 yo (March 2011)
My son started head banging at 6 months old with the introduction of solids (an all natural yoghurt with ‘no artificial colours or preservatives’ – but it did contain annatto). He has grown out of head banging but if he eats annatto by mistake now he suffers from headaches. – Jo, ACT
 Annatto 160b: Severe delayed vomiting and diarrhea after annatto (March 2011)
I'm a 40 year old physician who has a severe reaction to consuming annatto. If I eat any significant amount, I have the onset of severe vomiting and diarrhea roughly 12 hours later, which then persists for 12-24 hours. I don't have any classic "type I hypersensitivity" symptoms such as hives, just a severe delayed gastrointestinal symptoms. I've managed to effectively avoid annatto since the age of 4 or 5, except for rare exposures every 3-10 years since the age of 4 or 5. I've only recently learned about annatto and concluded that it is the additive that explains my intolerance to certain foods.
Here's my brief story. At a very early age, about age 5, I refused to eat cheese since I insisted it made me sick. My mother tells a story that she didn't believe this, had me eat some, and recalls "sure enough, he threw up!" However, I could drink milk and other dairy products without problem. As a teen, I figured out (the hard way) that white cheese like mozzarella didn't cause a problem, but yellow cheese did. So I continued to avoid yellow cheese, knowing that it made me ill. Everyone around me thought my aversion was odd, and I suspect many people thought it was my imagination. I would accidentally eat something with yellow cheese added every 5-10 years, get severe symptoms, and this would reinforce my belief that I really did have a "physical" intolerance.
I learned of annatto a year ago, and finally my reaction made sense. This connection was reinforced when I got sick a couple of weeks ago, and I assumed it was the flu since I had not eaten cheese. My wife looked in our refrigerator, and sure enough we had some orange yogurt with annatto added. I had eaten two the night before.
I'll also mention that at baseline, with no annatto exposure, I tend to have symptoms consistent with mild irritable bowel syndrome. I've never bothered to ask for a diagnosis, and am used to living with it. So, my pattern hasn't been chronic IBS symptoms with chronic annatto exposure, but severe reactions when I get exposed very rarely. – Physician, USA
 Annatto 160b: yellow addiction, nightmare behaviour (March 2011)
After reading on your website the letter from Helen in NSW titled ‘Yellow Addiction’ I felt compelled to write to you.
I realised the adverse effect 160b had on my family approx 3 years ago when my now 6 year old son was about 3. Even at the age of three he was very good at sitting and concentrating at a task, be it drawing, lego or watching tv – except that was if he had consumed 160b within 24 hours. He became a completely different child. He couldn’t sit still, he couldn’t concentrate on anything and authority meant nothing to him – he was literally a nightmare. With hindsight prior to taking 160b out of my son’s diet, yellow was absolutely positively his favourite colour. I can’t remember him being attracted to only yellow foods – he has always been a fairly good eater but definitely yellow “things”. He always had to have the yellow cup and the yellow plate and if he didn’t there would be hell to pay. If you asked him back then what his favourite colour was it was most definitely yellow. His favourite colour today is unknown – it seems to be different every day. Until I read Helen’s letter I hadn’t made the link but who knows maybe it was linked to his 160b intolerance.
Today, obviously I keep 160b out of the house but I can tell straight away if my son has consumed it whilst at a play date! If I personally consume 160b I generally have a terrible night’s sleep and/or are very restless during the day. As you’ve mentioned on your website, 160b does seem to be creeping further into our food supply lately and it is driving me crazy. Aldi in particular seems to be extremely guilty of this. Sue, what can I do to try and get this revolting colouring out. (Contact manufacturers and see our Now Targeting section - S). Obviously we don’t eat a lot of processed food but just being able to let the kids select an icecream treat every now and again has turned into a nightmare. – Donna, by email
 Sore vagina due to salicylates (February 2011)
I react to salicylates with pain in my joints, also I get very tender, raw skin in my genital area and intercourse becomes very painful. I saw you mention sore vagina in children - makes me happy to know I'm not the only one - I have always felt like a freak - so thank you for your books - they have helped me tremendously! - by email
Don’t forget, you can see all current stories
Products are updated in the Failsafe Shopping List.
Here are recent updates from that list:
USA shopping list is in the Failsafe Shopping List – recently updated thanks to Moni.
EASTER EGGS Little Lolly Shop: Alison will have carob eggs for Easter (mini eggs in a 125g pack, as well as 8cm and 11cm eggs) and Bilbies. Also failsafe "Shepherds Crooks". See full range at http://littlelollyshop.com/oscatalog/index.php?cPath=25
Toothpaste: Soul Pattinson Plain toothpaste is now called ‘Pharmacy Health Plain Toothpaste’. The product is exactly the same formula and packaging is identical except for the name. All Soul Pattinson pharmacies have access to buying this product from their wholesaler. If pharmacy does not have it in stock, they can order it in but it is not available online. Alternatively, you can buy Plain Toothpaste by mail order from Oral Hygiene Solutions www.plaintoothpaste.com or we have heard from a dentist that your local pharmacy will stock it on request. – thanks to Fiona from Soul Pattison and Jackie
Home-made insect repellent To ward off mosquitoes, gnats, midges and other flying insects, this recipe could be worth a try:
* 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
* 1 cup of water
Simply mix together and apply to the skin. You can also place some neat vanilla extract in a small open container where the gnats tend to congregate and this will keep them away.
Other internet recipes containing baby oil and dettol, tea tree oil or citronella are likely to affect failsafers who are sensitive to strong smells. Thanks to Sheryl, Robin, Renee and http://www.makeyourown.net/Insect_repellent.shtml
Dried pears: Goulburn Valley Fruit Leathers from Shepparton have pear leathers or straps that are all natural, no fat, no preservatives and no chemicals. They also do not have skin. I found some recently at the Kingston Bus Depot markets on Sunday in Canberra.
Pear jelly from Mrs Oldbuck’s Pantry in Berrima They assured me they do not make this with skin on. For ordering online: www.mrsoldbucks.com.au - thanks to Jan
Multivitamins Anything you put in your mouth during the elimination diet must be made from permitted ingredients. The newly formulated and packaged Amcal One-a-Day is still failsafe, and for those who find it is not always easy to access the Amcal chemist, there is a Blackmores supplement now recommended by RPAH for adults: Blackmores Sustained Release Multi with Antioxidants http://www.blackmores.com.au/products/sustained-release-multi (p 108 the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook with food & shopping guide 2009 available from www.allergy.net.au)
ALDI Products. Although ALDI have removed artificial colours from their own brands, there are still synthetic antioxidants and other additives to watch out for, especially annatto 160b in many items including ice cream, sweets, cereals and snacks. Here are some failsafe items:
· ALDI Brookdale Vanilla Flavoured Creamed Rice (Milk, white rice, sugar, flavour) “That’s lovely,” commented a passerby. (Contains dairy)
· ALDI Belmont Butter Shortbread (Wheat, butter, sugar)
· ALDI SPrinters Original Crinkle Cut Chips/Crisps (Potatoes, veg oil, salt, 306, 304) – Antioxidants 304, 306 are failsafe (vitamin E tocopherols)
· ALDI Brooklea Vanilla Custard (contains dairy); natural colour 160a betacarotene is failsafe (natural colour 160b annatto is not) – read all labels, others in this range contain annatto
· ALDI Westacre Farms cheese slices are additive free (no annatto colouring, no sorbate preservatives, no synthetic antioxidants) if you can tolerate natural amines in cheese
· ALDI Seasons Pride Frozen French Fries (potatoes 94%, sunflower oil 6%, antioxidant 330 citric acid) these ingredients are all failsafe but the fries look fairly yellow – it’s possible that they are not made from white fleshed potatoes – approach with caution and see our recipe in Failsafe Newsletter #66.
**Product Warning** GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS
Most gluten free products including breads are not failsafe. They need to be made from failsafe ingredients and you always have to check labels. Recent problems that have been reported include artificial colours 102 and 110 in gluten free custard powder and products including gf breads with salicylate-containing ingredients such as olive oil, corn instead of cornflour, or containing vinegar, apple juice, natural colours such as turmeric, fermented rice powder, gardenia flower extract, sweet potato extract and ‘natural fruit flavour’. None of these are failsafe. These ingredients are likely to lead to a slow build up of symptoms - 1 or 2 serves may seem to be tolerated and most people then assume the product is okay, but it isn't. Many company websites now have allergen lists for gluten. E.g. Nestle and Cadburys, but that doesn’t mean the products are necessarily failsafe. Read the label! - thanks to Nikki and Sandy
Gluten free breadmaker Sanyo Gopan breadmaker that grinds rice and makes a loaf of fresh gluten-free bread has been overwhelmed with demand in Japan. It is expensive (about $A600) and we haven't found a source to buy it from in Australia yet.
Failsafe sausages & hamburgers, lamb, beef and chicken to order, and also does nitrite-free bacon and ham: Ozzies Gourmet Butchery, 55 Hamilton Place, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149; p: 03 9809 5208 f: 03 9809 5208 http://www.ozziesgourmetbutchery.elocal.com.au – thanks to Erica
Failsafe sausages in Gympie. A while ago I emailed about Stewart Tce Butchery in Gympie offering failsafe sausages and we worked out the gluten free ones actually weren't FS. BUT...I have since found out they will make the FS ones specifically so here's the information: Stewart Terrace Butchery 9 Stewart Tce, Gympie QLD 4570 ph: (07) 5482 1225 - and ask for Jason. He doesn't call them failsafe sausages, just 'plain sausages with garlic and salt' (They make a variety of made to order sausages so ensure you're both talking about the same thing). Minimum order is 10kg. – thanks to Bron
Failsafe sausages NSW Alan’s Quality Meats, Lisarow Plaza, Pacific Hwy, Lisarow 02 4329 3111 (Central Coast NSW) do a fantastic job, and tend to make up 5 kg lots for us when we ask. Gotta tell you they don’t actually last all that long, even though we freeze what we don’t eat straight away! – thanks to Lyn
Failsafe sausages Tasmania Skelbrook Vale (free range meats) in Launceston 0419 364 838. They are happy to do up as little as a kg at a time ($10 a kg) and will make them up on Thursdays and you can then pick them up from their market stall on Sundays – thanks Belinda
Remove sulphites from wine www.so2go.com.au and www.purewine.com.au make small vials of hydrogen peroxide that turn sulphites into inactive sulphates, BUT of course wines are very high in salicylates and amines if you react to them, and the treatment does not remove them! Useful for that one bottle a year.
160b annatto in Nestle products? Failsafers have reported some reactions but Nestle have confirmed that that colour 160b is not in NESTLE Dixie Cups and NESTLE PETERS Original Vanilla icecream by formulation.
All questions from Food Intolerance Network members can be searched here.
Some of the information, particularly that about specific foods and what they contain, may be out of date – always check the Failsafe Shopping List for the latest information.
Q. Is it possible to combine a FODMAP diet with the RPAH Elimination Diet?
A. It is much easier to get best results by sticking strictly to the RPAH Elimination Diet. Breath hydrogen testing is of no value for food intolerances and not very useful anyway because about 50% of people test positive. If your only symptoms are bloating, reflux, abdominal discomfort, wind and diarrhoea, you can do FODMAPS if you want but if there are any food intolerance symptoms – e.g. behaviour, rashes, migraines, sleep disturbance, asthma, then it is best to do the 3 week strict RPAH Elimination diet - with no mistakes, gluten free and dairy free options first as it is possible your symptoms are completely related to salicylates, amines and glutamates, see story  and Fructose malabsorption factsheet.
Q. Can you tell me whether apple cider vinegar has any salicylates?
A. Cider vinegar – as well as red and white wine vinegar - is listed as Very High in both salicylates and amines; malt vinegar is listed as moderate in salicylates (Source: p48 “Baking aids, herbs, spices & condiments’, the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook 2009, www.allergy.net.au)
Q. I would like to do the challenges but would like more information.
Q. I went through the RPAH elimination diet about 3 years ago. The dietician confirmed I was intolerant to dairy, wheat, salicylates, amines and glutamates. Despite following a strict regime I have not been able to reintroduce any of the foods that caused an intolerance reaction.
Q. I have tried to explain to my daughter who is getting married that I only wanted plain veges at the wedding, but she doesn't understand my food sensitivities.
A. It would be best to contact the caterer directly. They are usually understanding for allergies, gluten and dairy avoidance, but less so for food intolerance. See Paul’s list about food sensitivity for chefs: http://www.zipworld.com.au/~ataraxy/ALLER_01h.html.
Q. I suffer AF (atrial fibrillation) after eating sulphites and at no other times. My doctor does not believe me and I am afraid I may be subjected to inappropriate medical interventions. Can you please refer me to an authority linking AF with sulphites in food?
Q: My son becomes cranky, tantrum-throwing and obnoxious after eating certain foods. Does it matter if he reacts but we all manage somehow, or is there something else going on at a deeper level that is best avoided altogether?
A. Most parents think it is OK to keep their children on a diet that restricts their obvious behaviour to what the family can live with. However, the obvious behaviour (cranky, obnoxious) usually covers an underlying inattention – although parents aren’t aware of this so much. Every time a child is inattentive it is likely to cause a day's learning delay - if this happens once a week or more, or worse still, every day, you are probably looking at a child whose long term school results will be affected. The well-known Southampton University study concluded that food reactions may cause long term psychological harm because children with early behaviour or reading problems are more likely to miss out on higher educational and employment opportunities and to suffer from depression as adults. Of course if your children are already top of the class then it may not be so important if they are obnoxious - although it could interfere with their ability to make friends. Another little recognized effect of food intolerance is frequent illnesses such as colds, flu and infections.
Q: Our second baby whilst being exclusively breastfed developed eczema over Christmas. She also has quite severe cradle-cap. The shampoos the docs have prescribed all contain salicylates as well as the olive oil they are telling me to put on her head. I've noticed her head becomes quite red after application of olive oil. Do you have any alternative remedies for both her scalp and her skin?
A: Members of the failsafe eczema group usually recommend failsafe oils (e.g. rice bran oil, sunflower oil, canola oil - no antioxidants) for both scalp and skin as well as avoiding foods to which your baby has an allergy or intolerance (including from your diet if you are breastfeeding). See their comments below:
· A bit of failsafe oil massaged onto his head. Leave it for a bit to soften then with a comb, comb out the cradle cap. About 2-3 times, should be gone. That's what I did for both my boys.
· Baby oil is usually the conventional treatment, but any failsafe oil should do the trick. After all, you're just trying to soften the scales.
· Please find out if your son has any other allergies. My DD's cradle cap did not ease until we got rid of the stuff she was allergic to. – thanks to the failsafeeczema group
Q: Do you have any failsafe remedies for my daughter’s teen acne?
A: Many adult failsafers report that their longstanding acne improved when they went failsafe but everyone is different. Some of the culprits have been bread preservative 282, gluten and salicylates. Many people recommend avoiding fried and fatty foods and chocolate; drink lots of filtered water. There are some home remedies involving failsafe foods that may be worth a try:
· Ice cubes - to shrink the redness and inflammation of a pimple and make it less noticeable.
· Potato - slice a raw white potato and place it on top of your acne outbreaks. Leave for five to seven minutes. Will reduce inflammation and swelling and help with healing
· Soda bicarb - wash face with a gentle cleanser. Mix soda bicarb and a little water together to make a paste. Dab paste on individual pimples, let them dry, then rinse. Or apply to your whole face, leave on for 30 mins, then rinse off. If acne improves, repeat several times a week.
· Cucumber (peeled is moderate in salicylates) – rub the wet side of cucumber peel on your face and leave on overnight
· Sardines – if you have passed your amine challenge, eat sardines in spring water 2-3 times a week for omega benefits. Otherwise try ½ tsp flaxseed oil daily (but see cautions in our Supplements factsheet). (Ref Kaimal S, Thappa DM. Diet in dermatology: revisited. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2010 Mar-Apr;76(2):103-15.)
See some failsafer Success stories by searching.
Q: Do you have come any suggestions to get rid of the smell of new furniture (a wooden wardrobe for my very food and chemically sensitive 3 yo daughter??
A: there are a number of options.
· Ventilation, the more the better, may help – e.g. windows open with a fan is a good idea, or you could put the wardrobe outside on a sunny, dry day.
· An air purifier - good ones are not cheap, e.g InovaAir E20, see review http://www.productreview.com.au/showitem.php?item_id=57950
· You are probably aware that flat pack furniture from China can have appallingly high formaldehyde emissions (Cheap Chinese furniture 'may poison you' http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/toxic-risk-in-imports/story-e6freoof-1111117892668). If that’s what you have, my advice (based on experience) would be to get rid of it and buy a new one. Home renovator forums say that the best way to avoid VOC emissions in board products (furniture, kitchens, bathrooms etc) is to buy at IKEA because they abide by the strictest European standards for VOC emissions (Australia has more relaxed ‘voluntary’ standards). For more information on VOCs in homes, see http://www.sustainablehomebrisbane.com.au/bcc1.pdf.
· If you already have an IKEA wardrobe, formaldehyde is not an issue there is another possibility - it could be the natural smell of the wood that bothers you. Being a plant product, some trees (and their timber products) contain more salicylates than others, e.g. camphor and sandalwood are the most obvious. These will gas off over time, or you can hasten the process by using an ozone generator in the same room as the open wardrobe. Powerful ozone generators – we use a RainbowAir on our roadshows - can do the job in a short time such as half an hour, but should not be used when people are in the room as they can aggravate breathing problems for asthmatics. They work very well for cleaning and deodorising the air in a room.
Q. My stepdaughter has been on an additive free diet for three years to help (successfully) control her ADHD without the need for medication. Recently the dentist recommended GC tooth mousse for a sensitive tooth. The packet, tube and consumer advice all stated that those with allergy or sensitivity to preservatives and colourings should not use this product and on the side of the packet had E214 and names of preservatives in 214-219 range. My stepdaughter was VERY restless sleeping for 2 nights after the last dose that she had been given. I looked up your website and found a factsheet that talked about medications and the first question was related to this same GC tooth mousse. But the wallet card in your books does not list that preservative as an additive to avoid. Is this a nasty preservative?
A. In the past, we haven't listed preservatives 214-219 (hydroxybenzoates) as additives to avoid because they are usually not permitted in foods in Australia. However, we are concerned that hydroxybenzoates are now used in a pharmaceutical product that goes in the mouth in large amounts that have to be applied and left on for a while, as this is likely to cause problems. Our new additives to avoid lists include ALL benzoates (210-219). Note that the strawberry flavour in GC Tooth Mousse is definitely NOT failsafe - it is like a salicylate challenge. Flavours in pharmaceuticals are usually much stronger than you would eat in nature. Most children who react to additives of any kind will react to strong artificial fruit flavours.
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All Failsafe Newsletters can be searched and printed. There is a wealth of research, issue discussion, recipes, personal reports and recipes now available in one place. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.
Hint: Maple slushie - some school canteens will sell plain slushies (ie no syrup) if you ask - send a small plastic vial of maple syrup to add to the slushie (or supply the school with a bottle). My 6yo is happy with this - thanks to Neola
Easy potato chips
Preheat oven to 200°C
Use big potatoes (must be white fleshed and brown or white skinned, not pontiacs), peel thickly and cut into chip shapes
Place on an oiled oven tray and spray with canola oil
Bake for about 20 minutes depending on oven, until brown.
Green chicken pie
A sneaky way to get a lot of green vegetables into children, and delicious too.
1 small leek, rinsed
1 spring onion
4 Brussel sprouts
500g chicken breast or thighs (thighs have more flavor)
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 tbsp failsafe oil
salt to taste
1 cup water
1 tbsp cornflour
Pie covering: you can either use failsafe bread (cut crusts off thin slices, cut into fingers, brush with plenty of failsafe butter) or 1 sheet of Pampas Puff Pastry with canola.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Finely chop leek, onion, sprouts and cabbage until you have about 5 cups of vegetables. Cut chicken into small dices.
In a large saucepan, fry chicken and garlic in oil until cooked - don’t overcook so it stays moist. Set aside the chicken in a covered bowl and leave any oil and liquid in the saucepan.
Add vegetables and stir-fry for about 15 mins. Add ½ cup water, cover and simmer for 5 mins. Puree using a wand blender. Add another ½ cup water with cornflour, stirring in while on hotplate until thickened. Add chicken pieces and pour all into a 25cm glass pie dish or similar. Put choice of covering over the filling and bake for 20 mins or until brown.
Country pear cake
It’s fresh pear season in late summer - in Australia. Bartlett (Williams) pears in the shops may look hard and green but they ripen much more quickly than usual. This deliciously moist pear cake, like carrot cake, can be decorated with citric flavoured icing or cream cheese based frosting. It is dairy-free (unless you frost with cream cheese!).
3 cups peeled and finely diced ripe Bartlett (Williams) pears
½ cup raw cashews, chopped (optional)
½ cup canola or rice bran oil
2 cups self-raising flour (or self-raising gluten-free flour)
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate (2 tsp if glutenfree)
1 cup sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease a square 20 cm tin. Prepare pears and cashews. Beat eggs until thick and beat in oil. Sift dry ingredients together and combine with oil and eggs to a stiff dough. Thoroughly fold in remaining ingredients. Bake 60 minutes, 10 minutes longer for gluten-free.
© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to Karen, Liz, Robin, Shelley, Val, Eleanor, Alison, Nikki, Moni, Martina, Sheryl, Bron from the Adelaide group and especially Kathleen Daalmeyer and Jenny Ravlic from the Melbourne group; and the many others who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter. Further reading: The Simplified Elimination Diet from dietitians, Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, (Murdoch Books).