Fedup Roadshow 2012 report

Summary

The Fedup Roadshow 2012 gave all of us a chance to see what issues are emerging in food intolerance and our food supply. Here are our conclusions following feedback from many members after the tour.

In a survey of 2,029 attendees, 77% said that irritable bowel symptoms are a problem within their families. This is an astonishing figure. We asked whether any of the following were a problem for those attending or their immediate family, and 1,555 people said yes: reflux, indigestion, stomach aches, bloating, flatulence, nausea, mouth ulcers, bedwetting, diarrhoea/ constipation, sneaky poos or 'incomplete evacuation'. Only four people had never taken antibiotics in their lives and one of those was only three months old.

A surprisingly high 27% of 192 attendees surveyed were interested in arthritis, with many reporting success on the diet including Bernard at the Wollongong talk who was told many years ago he would be in a wheelchair by now if he didn't take arthritis drugs. Instead when we asked 'How's your arthritis', he replied 'What arthritis? " http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/arthritis-joint-pain-and-diet

And 25% of 213 attendees surveyed reported sensitivity to fragrances. There's good news for those wanting to find fragrance-free accommodation when travelling, see the report below and in the updated Fumes and perfumes factsheet.

Childcare centres appear to realise the benefit of additive free eating (with low salicylate, low allergen options) more than other segments of the community - at least 100 childcare workers, directors and chefs attended our presentations. "The kids who are unruly when they start, calm down within 3-4 weeks" said the chef at Grandmas's Place Sarina, story [1139] http://fedup.com.au/stories/2012/1139-one-liners-september-2012

It was disappointing that despite Network efforts (and no thanks to the government) about two thirds of parents of asthmatic children still don't know about the sulphites-asthma connection - and what about hospitals? See story [1148] of what a hospital fed an asthmatic child http://fedup.com.au/stories/2012/1148-preservativeartificial-colour-use-in-hospital-october-2012

Maternal health nurses, midwives, sleep centres and family care centres like Tresillian need to know about the effects of additives and salicylates on breastfed babies - see update to the Breastfeeding and failsafe factsheet

Epilepsy - 25% of epileptic children react to preservatives and artificial colours so why is this still ignored by doctors? See the sad story about the boy in the institution [1143] http://fedup.com.au/stories/2012/1143-additive-free-reduced-epilepsy-seizures-october-2012 and the extensively updated Epilepsy factsheet.

WARNING! -we have received a number of severe adverse reactions reports due to chicken seasoning with "yeast extract, natural flavours" so it seems manufacturers may be using this method to avoid listing Ribo additives 627, 631 and 635. See our Ribo Rash factsheet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/635-msg-boosters-ribo-rash-ribonucleotides-627-631

Following are stories and comments talk-by-talk for 20 talks over 13,500km

Coffs Harbour NSW Tuesday 1 May

About 30% of attendees at our talks this year had come about adult health problems - a larger proportion than usual. One senior described his problem:

"I developed this terrible itchy rash six years ago. The doctor doesn't know what caused it. He just gives me steroids but it doesn't really help. Sometimes the rash drives me mad ...Yes, I do eat BBQ chicken once a week. No, I've never heard of ribo rash."

WARNING!!! This sounds like a typical Ribo Rash due to ribonucleotide flavour enhancers 627, 631 or 635 used in "chicken seasoning" on the skin of BBQ chickens and many other foods –  the rash is delayed and can last for a week, making it seem like a chronic rash not a food reaction – however,  we are now receiving the same reaction reports due to chicken seasoning with “yeast extract, natural flavours” so it seems the manufacturers have found a way to avoid listing Ribo additives . See our Ribo Rash factsheet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/635-msg-boosters-ribo-rash-ribonucleotides-627-631

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"We've had your book for a couple of years", said one mother, explaining that the diet doesn't work as well now as it did at first. Whenever people say that, I say, what have you reintroduced? The diet only works when you stick to it. "Well, we are eating more salicylates now ..." This is often a problem.

"We're here for about our grandson", said one couple. "I wouldn't say he's hyperactive but he is very busy". Does he eat a healthy diet with a lot of fruit?  According to scientific studies, the answer is likely to be salicylates in most fruit and some vegetables - but the majority of our audiences still don’t know this.

Thanks to David and his team at CROPO for organising this "practice" talk for the Roadshow.

 

Urunga NSW Thursday 10 May

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The talk in beautiful Urunga "where the rivers meet the sea" was enthusiastically received by the audience as well as an employee of the C Ex club who had applied to work that night because "the article in the paper described my toddler". "You're spot on," he said. "That's what he eats".

A young mother asked:

"My 18 month old daughter was the perfect baby slept well, really placid, an angel child. She's always eaten home cooked foods but I've started giving her an 'all natural' treat from the supermarket and it's like she's prematurely started the terrible twos. She's clingy, whingey and throwing tantrums. I can't see anything bad on the label: apples, pears and cinnamon and nothing else".

… Pears are low in salicylates, apples can be moderate in salicylates but are usually high, and cinnamon is VERY HIGH (it is used as a salicylate challenge). This was the second adverse reaction report in a week that we had received about this Rafferty’s Garden baby food product. Obviously it is fine for children who don't react to salicylates but the trouble is, most parents don't know about salicylates.

There was a noticeable gasp from the audience when I pointed out that avoiding fragranced products means avoiding essential oils as well anything else that smells because VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) have been implicated with autism and other health issues, see more about our battle with fragranced cleaners below.

"I came about my son who is one of the restless ones" said one mother, "but I realise now that his brother is one of the quiet ones - he is struggling to learn to read and I realise we should do the diet for him too". This is a frequent comment at our talks.

Thanks to Melissa and her Bellingen Mobile Resource Playgroup who organised this talk.

 

Kingaroy QLD Saturday 12 May

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Mothers at this talk in the charming town of Kingaroy were very happy to have found an exceptionally supportive paediatrician who visits from a nearby hospital. In one of life's strange coincidences, he is the same paediatrician who changed our lives many years ago by referring my daughter for a trial of the RPAH Elimination diet. You can request our list of supportive dietitians (and other health professionals) from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Some audience stories:

"We've been failsafe for a year and I just wanted to say thank you". "We would have done a mass homicide/suicide thing without this. I wanted to give my son away but you can't give away something that's that broken."

"Everyone should have to read your book when they first have their children".

"I've been struggling for over ten years with arthritis and more recently fatigue. I've tried every diet there is without much success. I only read your book and started failsafe eating less than two weeks ago but my arthritis is already better than it has been for years and I seem to have more energy. "

During the presentation I discuss the need to avoid fragranced products due to inhaled salicylates. The audience would have seen a live demonstration because when we arrived our Kingaroy cabin was reeking with a commercial floor cleaner called Jacaranda Blue, described as a "fresh fragranced cleaner, sanitiser, and deodoriser for use as an air-freshener and hand mopping of most surfaces including bathrooms & polished floors" according to the CleanX website. This was despite our specifying "no air fresheners, no fragranced cleaning products" when booking . We have previously experienced major problems with this particular product in north west NSW so I didn't even go inside. Howard's foggy brain during set up - including tripping over the teller machine 3 times - shows what strongly fragranced products like this can do to adults. You can see what they do to children at http://www.immuneweb.org/articles/slimak.html

Tina and her enthusiastic South Burnett Young Leaders Association did a great job with this talk.

 

Rockhampton QLD Monday 14 May

This was our third talk in Rockhampton and it was good to get feedback from previous attendees:

"I attended your talk 9 years ago - we did the diet straight away and have never looked back. We are very grateful"

"After attending your last presentation, we did the diet with my 4 year old son who was nonverbal - and he started talking."

One of the highlights of the night was hearing about the food policy at this Childcare centre :

My name is Shane Anthe and I am the chef at Grandma's Place childcare centre in Sarina. I attended your Rockhampton talk 3 years ago. I wanted you to know that we offer additive free, healthy, home cooked meals for the children. Low salicylate or allergen free options are available on request. The kids who are unruly when they start, calm down within 3-4 weeks." www.grandmasplace.com.au from story [1139]

Another favourite, this time about a pharmacist:

"We started failsafe eating several years ago after going to the pharmacist with a script for Ritalin for my son. The pharmacist refused to fill it. He said 'for oppositional defiance, you need to read this book and look at food'. It changed our lives" - from story [1139]

 

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Several people have been tripped up by the caramel ricecakes pictured - which contain the natural colour annatto 160b, as bad as artificial colours for many children.

The Catholic schools in the area got together to host this very succesful event, thanks to Denise, Kath, and Principals Alan and Cindy.

 

Hervey Bay QLD Tuesday 15 May

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There was a small but very enthusiastic audience at this talk, including lots of teachers which is always good to see.

One mother described how her 8 year old is so depressed that he keeps on saying that he wants to kill himself. Depression can be linked to food intolerance and this is very important knowledge for parents. A mother at last years' presentation reported:

"I came to your talk last year for my 8 year old son who was a little rascal and full on at school. We started the diet as a family for him- and his problem turned out to be artificial colours and some other additives. But the real surprise was my 12 year old son who was suffering from severe depression and had just started with a psychologist. He started slowly getting better and at first we thought the psychologist was helping but it was because we had changed our diet. His severe depression turned out to be due to amines and is gone completely on the diet. He is now a beautiful, happy boy. It wasn't until we ate the old foods again that I realised what life had been like, and saw the difference. I would tell others to stick with it and persist because improvements can be subtle and gradual. My boys are achieving so much more at school. Your work has changed their future, their lives and ours forever and we are profoundly grateful."

A mother who is breastfeeding a ten week old baby with feeding, sleeping and ib problems asked if it is too early to do the diet. Dr Anne Swain who developed the RPAH Elimination Diet says that the best age is at 4 months when fully breastfed - most of us miss that window of opportunity - with the proviso that the mother should be supervised by an experienced and supportive dietitian.

The wife of a butcher revealed to the audience that the preservatives used in ham, bacon, corned silverside and any meat that has been pickled come in a plastic pouch clearly labelled "poison" – "so don't believe your butcher if he says the preservatives are natural".

Tracy prepared the most delicious failsafe supper, including choko sticks for use in two tasty dips and some popular mini sausage rolls.

 

Maroochydore QLD Wednesday 16 May

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Of all the audience stories so far, these two sent shivers down my spine:

[1144] Chronic hives due to salicylates (October 2012)

"Thanks to your book Fed Up I discovered at the age of 17 that my chronic hives were due to dietary salicylates. But it wasn't until I inadvertently took an aspirin tablet at the age of 25 (it was the first time I'd ever taken aspirin - in the UK they are packaged to look the same as a paracetamol packet) - that I realised how sensitive I am. As well as the usual hives, my face and throat swelled so much I had to hold my head right back in order to breathe." (WARNING: salicylate responders beware: it is possible to die from one aspirin tablet. If this happens to you call an ambulance or have someone take you to the nearest ER as quickly as possible.) – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

[1143] Additive-free reduced epilepsy seizures (October 2012)

When I was a little girl, my brother had severe epilepsy with many seizures every day. When my mother finally started us on an additive free diet on her own initiative, the number of seizures dropped by 75%. My brother was able to come outside and play with me for the first time. But it was too late to prevent the brain damage that had already occurred and he ended up in an institution – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

One mother described how she was doing the diet strictly but it wasn't working. In this case, you need someone experienced to nitpick or look for mistakes. Turns out, she was doing gluten free as well and a lot of her gluten free baking involved almond meal. "Oh, I forgot it was high in salicylates and amines". This is why I think going gluten free from the beginning can be a bad idea sometimes it is better to do the first two weeks without the added problem of going gluten free because so many mothers make mistakes with that. If diet isn't working, ask your dietitian to check your food diary; or the failsafe facebook group or website forum; and see our checklist of common mistakes on the website http://fedup.com.au/information/support/checklist-of-common-mistakes. If doing the full RPAH elimination diet including GFDF, you can see the free booklet called Ethan's recipes https://fedup.com.au/information/failsafe-booklets   This was the diet prepared by Darani to help her son on his 3 week trial of the strict version of the RPAH Elimination Diet (free of additives; low in salicylates, amines and glutamates; gluten free, dairy free), supervised by an experienced dietitian.

Some of the audience were confused about challenges. You have to wait for three good days in a row before starting, and eat the amount of food set by RPAH, for example, 6 serves per day of moderate to high salicylate foods for a week (as set down in the RPAH protocols – it is important to avoid foods that contain wother food chemicals such as contain amines or glutamates). Your dietitian should give you a list of challenges. See also the challenge recipes in the cookbook and request our Challenges Information sheet from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - it is easy to make challenge mistakes.

Many thanks to Margaret the Thermomix demonstrator who had prepared a delicious fresh pear and cashew spread and other failsafe foods. For those who want to eat additive free food but avoid time in the kitchen, Thermomix seems to be the answer. We travelled with our relatively new Thermomix on this tour. Our favourite recipe so far is the standard mushroom risotto recipe adapted to failsafe by using chicken and a tiny amount of butternut pumpkin (moderate in salicylates) instead of mushrooms. The advantage of this recipe is that it is good both hot and cold, so it is ideal for a lunchboxes

 

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Sarah and her team from the Montessori International College did a great organising job at this lively talk.

 

Brisbane (Beenleigh) QLD Thursday 17 May

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Our time in Brisbane started with a half hour interview on ABC radio with Kelly Higgins-Devine by the end the producer was dealing with numerous requests for the podcast because the callers "knew someone who needs to listen to that".

The talk that night in the Beenleigh Events Centre was so busy we forgot to take photos of Kellie from the Springwood Wellness Centre, sorry about that.

"I bought my husband along tonight because I need his support" said one mother, "and you've convinced him. Thank you!"

There were two supportive dietitians in the audience and an extra supportive Womens Health GP who explained that after finding out about salicylates for her own family's health several years ago, she now recognised food intolerance in others and refers her patients to dietitians. You can request our list of recommended dietitians (and other health professionals) from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About half the audience had already read one of my books. "I just wanted to say thank you for all the work you've done over so many years. You've helped so many people and we are profoundly grateful" said one mother and this has been echoed by many others at all the talks.

Anne and Brenda from the Food Intolerance Network Brisbane (FinB) support group were surrounded at the end by an enthusiastic group of failsafers swapping butcher details for failsafe sausages. We hear that one of the butchers makes "real" chicken nuggets from real chicken breasts, not manufactured meat with gluten free breadcrumbs. You can find out more about these from Anne This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Macksville NSW Monday 21 May

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At Macksville on the beautiful Nambucca River, we were surprised for a small town on a Monday morning by the size and enthusiasm of the audience. It was especially pleasing to have some teachers and health professionals in the audience.

One longterm failsafer was in tears "your books have been so important to our family, they saved our lives", she said. Another mother said she had lent her copy of Fed Up to a neighbour who was likewise in tears a month later when she returned it because, again, "it changed our lives".

There was another complaint about Tresillian, the third on this trip so far supposedly helping mothers with new babies, but they don't seem to know anything about salicylate sensitivity. "Our baby was waking up to 15 times a night, but Tresillian wasn't for us, it was too harsh, it wasn't doing anything. We were supposed to stay until the Friday but we left on the Wednesday".

A child health nurse- how wonderful to have her in the audience! - explained that she discovered the low salicylate diet herself two years ago and since then has been telling her patients about it.

I was taken aback by one mother who explained she had read my books but "didn't take any notice of salicylates because I couldn't pronounce it". From now on, it's official: salicylates will also be called sals.

And a helpful comment regarding oatmilk as a dairy substitute: "I really like it ... not like rice or soymilk" (though not suitable for a gluten free diet).

 

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Thanks to Tracey, Helen and Jan for organising such a great failsafe food display and friendly talk.

 

Orange NSW Wednesday 22 May

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"You're not going to Orange? it's minus 3 degrees" said one failsafer. This was our first talk there and it was extremely cold, almost snowing, but the welcome was warm and local failsafers said it was so supportive to be together with others, "I don't feel so alone, as if it's all in my head".

In nearly every audience this year there have been more teachers than we usually expect. Why? "Because of the increasingly difficult and unusual behaviour being exhibited by school children these days", said one teacher. Her words echoed the quote from the teachers' union president when six year old Salecia Johnson was removed from a US school in handcuffs by police recently after throwing a tantrum: "Children's bad behaviour is more extreme these days".

It was lovely to see so many dietitians but they explained they didn't have the resources to help so many people. We also list four experienced dietitians who will do Skype consultations (including one who specialises in children's behaviour and learning including ADHD/ASD) and a supportive paediatric clinic in Sydney. There were also numerous complaints about the lack of support for food intolerant children from paediatricians in Orange. You can request our list of dietitians and other health professionals from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A stepfather explained how he learned about food intolerance:

"I didn't know about food intolerance at first and thought my girlfriends' kids just needed a kick up the bum. Now I'm their stepfather I realise that their bad behaviour is entirely related to food. Every second weekend we have to send them off to their father to be filled up with the worst junk food and returned out of their tree. It takes a week for them to calm down then we have four good days before we have to send them back and go through it all again." (from story 1124)

Heartbreaking stories like this about what split families have to go through are very common. "It's a vindictive thing", commented another failsafer in the audience. "feeding them junk food is as bad as giving them drugs or alcohol". These families demonstrate clearly that food regulators and other authorities in Australia are failing in their mandate to protect vulnerable children. As a result of this talk, we wrote the new factsheet Divorced families and coping with diet

Helpful hints on how to do a failsafe barbecue that appeals to blokes thanks to the stepfather in the above story: cook the steak briefly on the plate so it is rare (to prevent development of amines don't char or overcook); use some pear and leek ketchup on the barbecue plate for flavouring; serve with pasta or noodle salads; serve the steak cut up into small pieces on a platter and encourage ADHD children to help themselves to as much as they want. They will eat much more like that than if confronted by a single large steak on their plate. Also, fathers need to be convinced to give up their tomato sauce, devon and similar foods. You have to do the diet with the whole family, you can't expect one child to have to avoid his favourite foods when others are eating it. You can't even have it in the house.

Two failsafers with extra sensitive babies described how their children had inexplicably worsened on the diet despite nothing changing in their food it turned out that both had recently moved into brand new houses. Our experience is that food sensitive children will be set back by exposure to "new" chemicals (like fragranced products or other VOCs) for about six months. Options include good ventilation - opening the windows wide at every opportunity, not easy during an Orange winter or a heavy duty air purifier such as the InovaAir AirClean E20 recommended by Sheryl, our Canberra contact. See updates to the Fumes and perfumes factsheet

And speaking of fragranced products, we had to run our RainbowAir ozone generator for an hour despite requesting "no smelly cleaning chemicals" in our cabin in Orange, despite the cabin being well ventilated probably due to residual smells from the previous cleaning. The helpful proprietor explained that they used to use Enjo cleaning products but customers complained that their room hadn't been cleaned yet because they couldn't smell anything. Presumably customers have been brainwashed to equate strong artificial floral smells with cleanliness. No wonder our kids are getting worse! (if you are interested in this topic, read on - there is an answer!)

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Angela and Michelle did an amazing job of getting people out on such a cold night, and it was marvellous to have so many school staff helping out.

 

Sydney (Eastwood) NSW Thursday 23 May

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A friendly Sydney audience turned up on a cold and rainy winter night. "This is like meeting a rock star moment for me" said one mother who had read my books years ago.

This midwife in the audience shared her very important experience:

[1045] Delaying babies due to difficult first babies (October 2012)

I am a midwife. I came to your talk because of what I am finding with my clients. Those who are having second babies have often left it as long as possible because their first babies were so difficult - crying and unsettled for hours at a time, and sleeping poorly. It seems to be increasingly common. As a nurse, we tell them to eat everything in moderation while breastfeeding but I realise now they may need some more information – from Fedup Roadshow 2012.

We agree. New mothers desperately need to know about the effects of food chemicals - including sals - through their breastmilk.

Two women reported that their symptoms started after the birth of a baby. This is very common it is because food intolerance is aggravated by female hormones. Premenstrual symptoms including migraines can be avoided completely by changing what you eat and some women say they need only tighten up on their diet at that time of the month, though others may need to be failsafe all the time.

From the mother of an asthmatic:

"We have been failsafe for years. Before I discovered the diet, we frequently had to rush our asthmatic son to the emergency room at the local hospital for overnight observation of his asthma, despite being on daily preventers, relievers and antihistamines. Since the diet, all that has changed and we wouldn't go back to the way it was."

More about fragrances:

I am concerned that some mothers arrive at our presentations wearing fragranced products (probably deodorants, moisturisers, hair products and cosmetics) with smells that bother me which means they can also bother sensitive children. If I say anything to these mothers, they are usually surprised and say "I wouldn't have said I was wearing any perfume".

One mother described her perfume sensitivity:

"Some fragrances give me an instant headache and make me feel sick to my stomach, I feel as if I am going to vomit and just want to get away from it as quickly as possible".

How would a young child behave if he or she reacted like that to their mother's fragranced products, worn all day every day? My guess is they would appear to be irritable and difficult.

Finally, a good news fragrance story: as usual we requested smell-free accommodation in Sydney - a cabin in the Lane Cove River Tourist Park which is situated next to the National Park and managed on clean, green, sustainable principles. This one really was smell free. It was so good I asked what they used for cleaning. The answer "it's all eco friendly and non toxic" - EnviroClean Eucalyptus floor cleaner and Earth Renewable products. The towels didn't reek of fragranced washing products either. (Eucalyptus is not failsafe but we couldn't smell it when we arrived, presumably because it is eco friendly, not like artificial fragrances that are often designed to last for ridiculously long periods of time by the use of phthalate perfume fixatives which have been linked to a variety of health problems including cancer.)

From the Earth Renewable website:

"Earth Renewable cleaning products contain NO Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), NO chlorine or bleaches, NO harmful solvents, NO biocides, NO caustic alkalis, NO known carcinogens, NO known toxins. Frighteningly most commercial cleaning products are full of these substances which makes them hazardous, toxic, carcinogenic and plain bad for people and the environment. All EarthRrenewable products are SAFE FOR PEOPLE."

I wish all our accommodation could be cleaned with this stuff – and there is now a way to make it happen. It's a matter of choosing places with environmental qualifications such as the Eco friendly star (motoring organisations) or Ringer the bell frog at Golden chain http://intranet.goldenchain.com.au/article/a-greener-golden-chain/. For example, over 85% of Golden Chain properties (Australia's largest motel chain) have gained the Ringer Environmental Qualification.

 

Eco-friendly stars are awarded for environmental management including - most important for us - the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products. They cover a wide range of prices, locations and types of accommodation. You can search for Eco-friendly tourist accommodation in Australia by using the advanced search option and ticking the green star

http://www.ecotourism.org.au/

See more about Eco-friendly STAR accreditation

http://www.ecotourism.org.au/our-certification-programs/eco-certification/ 

See updated Fumes and perfumes factsheet

 

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Jane and her P&C helpers did a very professional job of organising the talk and hot soup, even if Howard did manage to sit in a bowl of it left on his chair!

 

Wollongong NSW Monday 24 May

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A flight attendant who had missed the Sydney talk ("I was in Singapore that day") came to see us in Wollongong instead. "You were my saviour 5 years ago", she said and explained how my book helped with her child's severe sleep and behaviour problems - and there were many similar stories.

"How's your arthritis?" we asked Bernard Trudgett. "What arthritis?" Bernard responded. Twenty years ago, Bernard's specialist warned he would be in a wheelchair within 5 years unless he took strong medication every day for the rest of his life. Bernard opted to try the RPAH diet instead and has never looked back. For Bernard with psoriatic arthritis and his wife Maree with rheumatoid arthritis, salicylates are the worst, but not the only dietary culprit. We have been amazed at how many attendees are interested in arthritis. The science shows that arthritis is helped by diet because arthritics improve when fasting, but is less clear about which foods contribute - because they always regress when food is reintroduced (and what do people always break their fasts with? Fruit or in other words, salicylates). Unfortunately there have been no published studies of the RPAH elimination diet for arthritics, but you can see our Arthritis joint pain and diet factsheet with reports concerning osteoarthritis ("much less painful if I adhere to the diet"), juvenile, psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis. Bernard and Marie are in the photograph below.

Irritable bowel problems are another major area of interest among attendees. A worried mother described her 5 year old with severe bowel problems including chronic constipation and impacted faeces, on 8 doses of movicol per day "and it just doesn't work" plus a high fruit diet as recommended by her doctor. Salicylates are the most likely culprits. "What can I do?" she begged. I recommended a dietitian to supervise a trial of the RPAH elimination diet. "But what can I do right now?" read my books and start cooking from the Failsafe Cookbook. Reader reports tell us that these symptoms generally start improving within 4 days of starting the diet.

It was interesting to hear from a chef who had previously worked at a school camp. "The guy before me used to cook everything from frozen or a packet" he said, and described how when he introduced real food, the activities director begged him to keep it up because the children were now able to be controlled.

Thanks to the long term failsafer who commented "I've been reading your website for ten years and the new one is light years ahead. I love it!"

 

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Thanks to the vigorous efforts of Ro, Cara and Tanya there was a large and lively audience, a superb supper of scones with pear jam and cream, expresso coffee, and even a Thermomix demo.

 

Canberra ACT Tuesday 25 May

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The Canberra talk hosted by Gymbaroo was in the very comfortable high-tech Alastair Swayn auditorium at the new Brindabella Conference Centre. During the talk there was a regular kerthunk, kerthunk, kerthunk that turned out to be a runaway baby crawling away from his mother. If she picked him up, he squirmed and cried, if she put him down he took off. He reminded me of my daughter at that age. Bystanders tend to say "how cute" but it is tiring for the mother. I hope she got the message: "take salicylates seriously"!

A schoolteacher described the changes she has seen:

"My husband and I are schoolteachers. We left Australia in the mid 1980s to work in a remote New Guinea location for ten years. When we came back, everything was different. Everyone was sick, so many children had asthma, so many had ADHD. We had been surrounded by people who were living on fresh seafood and vegetables, they were so strong and healthy, no asthma, no ADHD."

Food intolerance runs in families. One mother who had come because her two children aged 3 and 5 are very salicylate sensitive - with eczema and oppositional defiance - had just realised that her own irritable bowel and anxiety issues are probably also related to salicylates.

In Canberra we stayed in a cabin in Canberra Motor Village, where they took our request for a scent-free, well ventilated room very seriously, allocating us a room that hadn't been used for 3 days to allow time to get rid of smells. However, even after that time, the cheap fragrance used on bench tops and the shower recess was still strong enough to give me a headache and make me feel like throwing up. We used our RainbowAir ozone generator to get rid of the smell and recommended the non toxic cleaners as used in our Sydney cabin. This time - unlike Kingaroy - we felt we were listened to.

 

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Kristie and her team from Gymbaroo Canberra made this a well-organised and friendly evening, and Darryl from our asthma clip came with his kids which was great.

 

Albury NSW Wednesday 26 May

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This was our 5th talk in Albury, all in the same venue and we were fascinated to see that the large and interesting audience included:

  • returnees ("this is the third of Sue's talks I've been to, I always learn new things")
  • new people ("I read your book and we've been additive-free for 6 weeks, I can't begin to tell you how many improvements we've seen in our children and ourselves, now I'm here to learn more about salicylates")
  • an increasing number of students as well as teachers, nurses, dietitians, family day educators (previously called family day carers, I always think these people are the best experts in child management because they have to be: "most of what is wrong with children these days is due to what they eat and lack of boundaries ... parents send all packets, no one sends sandwiches any more ... when they send sultanas now I send them home again unopened ...")
  • a couple who had driven from Wangaratta
  • a group who had caught the train down from Cootamundra
  • the owner of a child care centre was there because he wanted his own chefs to go additive free, to get rid of unruly behaviour in a small number of boys
  • an Enjo franchisee who was disappointed I hadn't mentioned Enjo for smell free cleaning (my mistake)
  • at least one policeman (? – in the past there have been some police at our talks)

and many more ...

Some interesting audience comments:

[1046] 'sticky poos' (October 2012)

I am an RN (registered nurse). I run an encopresis and continence clinic and am interested to hear more about what you describe as 'sticky poos'. I obtain great success with her management methods, but I currently have a case where the boy's faeces are so sticky it's like a layer of wallpaper on his bottom." (We would regard this as due to food intolerance – most likely salicylates - and would expect to see the problems resolve completely on the elimination diet) – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

"I know a mental health nurse who recommends to people being discharged that they look after their health by avoiding takeaways. When she hears that they feel better doing that, she then recommends the Fed Up books – there's no point in doing that until she knows they are prepared to avoid takeaways."

Mistakes can be a major issue, as in the following dialogue.

Mother: "We've done the elimination diet and we've still got problems (with chronic constipation)".

Howard: "Then you're probably making mistakes"

Mother: "No, we're not"

Howard: "It's most likely to be salicylates. Which salicylates is she eating?"

Mother: "Only about 1 teaspoon of tomato sauce a day"

Howard: "Well, even that mistake would be enough to stop the diet from working. What about toothpaste?"

Mother: "I'm not sure"

Howard: "I suggest you read the Checklist of Common Mistakes carefully, they do apply!"

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Kerry surprised us with a large and diverse audience and a very relaxed evening due to excellent audiovisual equipment at the Commercial Club. Then we took a break at nearby Bright in the Victorian Alps.

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Melbourne (Vermont South) VIC Tuesday 6 June

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Fascinating audience stories included:

  • "We are a family of four – we all react to MSG (and 635, and hydrolysed vegetable protein) with moodiness and picking fights. The day after we've broken our diet it is hard to all live under the same roof"
  • "When we found out that hydrolysed vegetable protein is the same as MSG it made a big difference for us - no more fantastic rice crackers in our house!"
  • "I was addicted to diet coke for 2 years. I was drinking about one to one and a half litres a day. It really was an addiction. Even now, when I walk past it in the supermarket, I still feel the pull of it" (artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are not recommended on the RPAH elimination diet)

A mother doing the "moderate" RPAH elimination diet through a dietitian reported that apples and bananas didn't work and had to be cut out, but there were still problems. From our point of view, if the moderate diet isn't working, it is time to cut down to the strict diet. "I have a feeling it's the pear jam" she said. What kind of pear jam? Hank's Vanilla & pear. When the diet isn't working, it is a good idea to avoid all vanilla as well. This is often a problem, see our Checklist of Common Mistakes.

A comment about a school selling junk food as a fund raiser (from a visitor, NOT at Weedon Heights):

"I refuse to work at the school selling junk food on fund-raising days I'm not prepared to sell that rubbish to children. When I complain, everyone says, 'it's a one-off, we're not worried about health, we just want to make profits' and 'all the other schools do it'".

"Is Aldi rice milk failsafe?" I don't know. You would have to ask them whether there are any synthetic antioxidants 319, 320 or 321 in the sunflower oil under the 5% labelling loophole. Since these antioxidants seem to be commonly used in Aldi products, it could be a problem.

A chiropractor asked "would it be okay to show your DVD in my waiting room?" Yes, you can! and you don't need to ask. We purposely used a different copyright clause than usual, that encourages showing the DVD to groups e.g. to school audiences, in waiting rooms and it is often shown in childcare centres and preschools at pick-up time.

Cooking classes for adults and children (failsafe options included - Leanne attended this talk): www.swiftfitness.com.au

 

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Organiser Michelle and friends did a marvellous job of hosting this talk at Weedon Heights Primary school, and it was good to have Melbourne contact Jenny and dietitian Sophie in the audience to answer questions afterwards.

 

Melbourne (Essendon) VIC Wednesday 7 June

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An enthusiastic mix of returnees, newbies and dragees in Essendon - 100 people crowded into the playroom at the Community Children Childcare centre laughed and groaned their way through the presentation. It was good to have dietitians Kerin and Zoe from our Victoria list to answer questions afterwards.

Stories ranged from "read your book 5 years ago, it has made a huge difference, I hate to think where we would have been without it" and "my sister is your greatest fan" to people who had never heard of salicylates - "my 11 yo son has struggled with eczema all his life, since the age of about 3 or 4 months. He was allergy tested and it wasn't much help. No, I don't know what salicylates are". Yet salicylates are the single food chemical most likely to be associated with eczema and most children from families like this are consuming very high salicylate diets.

"What's A2 milk?" asked a mother. Most people these days know about A2, and it is available in most of the supermarkets we go to. At least ten hands went up when I asked "has anyone found A2 helpful?" Now available in full cream, light, non-fat (new!) and as Jalna A2 yoghurt www.a2milk.com.au

There were a number of complaints about the lack of diet-supportive paediatricians in Melbourne "I had to go to 5 paediatricians to find one that would support diet", said one mother. "Three of them were so negative they had me in tears". Another said "Why don't doctors know about this diet? In all the medical specialists we saw not one mentioned diet but when we finally tried it our son was a different person in 3 weeks!" Please, if you find a supportive paediatrician or GP, TELL US so we can help others!!!! Our Dietitians List includes other supportive medical personnel and you can request it from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"What are your thoughts on the FODMAPs diet?" asked a group of mothers, and many others complained that it didn't help them. Our position is clear: FODMAPs works ONLY for irritable bowel symptoms - if there are any other signs of food intolerance (including children's behaviour and sleeping problems) it is best to do the RPAH elimination diet first. In most cases, it is counterproductive to combine the two at first because it is too difficult and the RPAH diet is much more likely to be successful. If the RPAH diet isn't enough, then you can try FODMAPs. Hydrogen breath tests are NOT useful for diagnosing food intolerance. See the following story (we would regard CFS as non-IBS symptoms):

I'm a coeliac with ME/CFS who is still having major problems with food reactions (particularly gastro-wise; I get so much pain/bloating/cramping/malabsorption etc that my life is severely affected by it) despite following a strict GF diet. I have a feeling salicylates may be a big problem for me, and I can see that my diet is very high in them. I was trialled on a FODMAP diet by my dietician but it made my symptoms so much worse, and I suspect this may be because the 'safe' FODMAP foods are actually those that are highest in salicylates. – FROM STORY 1121 http://fedup.com.au/stories/2012/1121-fodmap-diet-made-my-gastro-symptoms-so-much-worse-august-2012 

Have you ever wished you had a card that you could hand to chefs and waitpersons that tells them exactly what you can eat and not eat? Michelle McDonald (who attended this talk) has developed a website that lets you do exactly that. 0432 320 553

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There was a large and thoroughly professional team helping Margo with this really responsive talk but the hour's drive home afterwards was a bit tiring:

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So far we have spoken to nearly 1,500 people on this Roadshow.

 

Victor Harbor SA Tuesday 12 June

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For our first visit to this extraordinarily beautiful town on the Fleurieu peninsula, we talked at Investigator College.

There were two young boys in the audience who sat still, quiet and attentive throughout the whole presentation. "With attention spans like that, they have to be on the diet" I thought to myself, and sure enough they were.

People had driven from as far away as Adelaide to attend the talk. As in many places we have spoken, there were numerous strong complaints from parents about lack of support from health professionals. " All the specialists we went to NEVER mentioned diet" said one mother who had seen huge changes in her child after trying the diet for herself. Another complained that diet hadn't been suggested for her nonverbal 4 yo diagnosed with PDD. Yet speech delay commonly improves on diet (search All Stories on our website for to see reports including nonverbal children who started speaking during the first weeks of the elimination diet).

Similarly, parents of a 4 year old son with Oppositional Defiance told how diet was never suggested so their son was taking medication - that doesn't work. "I worry about my wife being alone at home with him", said the father. It is true that medication doesn't work for ODD! But diet does, extremely well. It is frustrating that medical professionals are so slow to realise how effective diet is. Please, if you see a huge improvement in your child, take him or her back to your doctor or paediatrician so they can see with their own eyes. It seems to be the only way to convince some experts - and tell us so we can add your story to our list.

The mother of a little girl with anaphylaxis to wheat described how difficult it is for her daughter's problem to be taken seriously. With reports of the inquest for a child who died from peanut anaphylaxis in the national news the previous week, you would expect more awareness that allergies are potentially lethal.

It was wonderful to have strongly supportive and highly experienced local dietitian Melanie in the audience. Please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request our list of supportive dietitians & other medical professionals.

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Thanks to Mark at Investigator College for organising this memorable night.

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Adelaide SA Wednesday 13 June

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Here we did filming for the dramatic Today Tonight segment about natural additives. The highlight was an interview with Frances, a mother who had attended our Essendon talk. Aware of her potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions to MSG, this mother nearly died when she consumed Vegeta vegetable stock that claimed 'No Added MSG, No added flavour enhancers' on the label but listed yeast extract and hydrolysed vegetable protein in the fine print.

Also I did a studio interview for Radio 5AA. A caller named Katherine described how her son was admitted to hospital with an asthma attack. While in hospital, he was regularly given icypoles to eat. Eventually she read the label and discovered these contained two preservatives and two artificial colours! After she removed the icypoles from his diet, his asthma improved and he was able to go home. Thank you to Katherine for making an official complaint to the hospital. Has anyone else had a similar experience in hospitals?

The main talk at Concordia College, as in previous years, was a real buzz. There were heaps of displays and failsafe food for sale, thanks to Bakers Delight, Deb from the Small Food Caterers, Bronwyn Pollnitz and Marianne Orgran, the enthusiastic Thermomix ladies, Veronica, and the many others who helped to make this evening such a success. In the main auditorium, question time turned into a workshop as people who wanted to ask lots of questions stayed to the bitter end.

Some stories:

"My five year old son suffered with eczema problems for most of his life. I tried every kind of eczema cream, lotion and ointment, hundreds of them. His eczema and asthma cleared up completely within two weeks of reading your book. Now I have all these useless lotions at home."

The mother of a 3 yo with aggression had never heard of salicylates and amines. In my experience, young children who are expelled from day care centres are nearly always sensitive to amines, although they are probably sensitive to salicylates as well. "Salicylates make him silly, but amines cause world war III" said one mother in my book Fed Up.

"Have others noticed immune system improvements on this diet?" asked one woman who was surprised at her own improvement. Yes ,they have. It is common for failsafers to report that after being failsafe for months or years, they notice have stopped suffering from frequent minor illnesses such as colds, flu, tonsillitis, ear infections and other infections.

There were two accounts of people with ulcerative colitis who were on the diet but not gluten free. While UC is not caused by food intolerance, symptoms will generally improve on the diet. It is worth doing a strict trial of the RPAH elimination diet supervised by an experienced dietitian and including GFDF with no mistakes - that's the hard part to find out exactly which symptoms are due to food intolerance.

While we were there, Adelaide tapwater smelled so strongly chlorinated, it MUST have been affecting some children. Chloramines (chemicals that cause the strong chlorine smell associated with indoor swimming pools) have been linked to asthma in medical journals and there are numerous failsafer reports of behavioural problems associated with chloramines. Adelaide is the only place in Australia I have seen free filtered drinking water available in a tourist park. If I lived there I would also need a filter system for the shower water as I found the smell during showering was so strong my eyes were stinging, like swimming in an overdosed pool.

 

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Perth (Willetton) WA Monday 18 June

Then we drove for four days, across the beautiful Nullarbor Plains to Perth.

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"What do you eat while travelling?" many people ask. Or, "what do you eat for takeaways?" The only takeaways we buy are the occasional cups of coffee, usually soy decaf for me (one of our children calls it "why bother"). We eat totally home-made while on tour and it is simple but delicious food.

Breakfast: rolled oat porridge with low fat A2 milk and yoghurt for breakfast

Lunch: essentially bread with cheese or egg and salad - for Howard who can tolerate dairy, amines and gluten it is regular bread and cheese; for me it is gluten free bread, wraps or home cooked buckwheat pancakes as wraps with homemade A2 quark cheese and salad (e.g. celery, lettuce, cucumber, red kidney beans) or leftover cooked vegetables such as Swedish rotmos, or mashed potato and swede with a little butternut, or leftover risotto, see recipe.

beanwrap    eggonrye

risottowrap    beansalad

Dinner: most nights we eat chicken or lamb and vegetable (potatoes, Swedes, leeks, shallots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, limited carrots or butternut) stew on rice or the Thermomix standard risotto using chicken, butternut pumpkin, shallots and brussels sprouts instead of mushrooms and onions http://fedup.com.au/recipes/main-meals/chicken-risotto-with-butternut-option-moderate-in-sals-thermomix .

lambstew    chickenrisotto

Supper: (after talks) weetbix for Howard, millet porridge for me

Snacks: 2 pears per day especially the beautiful beurre boscs plus lots of plain rice cakes

Drinks: water, decaf, soda water, whisky soda

Occasional treats (failsafe from the talks, rare because we are staying low fat, low sugar on the tour to avoid weight gain due to lack of exercise as most of our time is taken up with driving or talking)

 

And now the Willeton talk: Howard and I had debated about taking the roadshow all the way to Western Australia. It meant an extra 6,000 kilometres of driving including crossing the Nullarbor Plain twice for just four talks - would it be worth it? The answer was a resounding yes in terms of enthusiastic audiences, teachers and dietitians who attended the talks.

Thank you to all the supportive dietitians who attended our WA talks, and especially to dietitian Joy Anderson who is also a lactation consultant, the ABA specialist on food intolerance in breastfed babies and was happy to chat with attendees at two of our talks. You can see Joy's article about lactose intolerance in babies at https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lactose.html

Special thanks to organiser Tiffany who gave such a moving introduction about her own family's experience with food intolerance that there were very few dry eyes when she had finished. If you're wondering about Tiffany's comment "when we asked our new paediatrician what he thought of failsafe eating he said every family should try the failsafe diet" - details of supportive medical professionals are on our updated dietitians' list available on request from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Tiffany is now our Perth contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Perth Dalkeith Primary School staff We also gave a shorter version of our talk at the weekly professional development session and were very pleased by the teachers' high level of interest in the topic.

 

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Perth (Claremont) WA Tuesday 19 June

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This talk was held in the lovely MLC (Methodist Ladies College) auditorium

One woman was interested in the story [421] in the presentation: 'I wish I'd found your website months ago when I was scratching myself until bleeding from the worst rash I've ever had. In case people think only children are affected by additives, I'm 56 and another victim of 635' because she had a similar story:

[1147] 635: intensely itchy rash (October 2012)

My mother-in-law suffered from three years of intensely itchy rash, consulted numerous medical specialists and tried everything from lotions to laser treatment without success until she found the Ribo Rash factsheet on your website, removed all products with 600 number flavour enhancers such as stock cubes, packet soups, instant gravy and sauces - from her pantry - and her rash went away. When she confronted her doctor about it, he confessed he had never heard of 635 – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

Thank you to an audience member for this comment:

"You were talking about MSG. We Asians don't like to eat MSG either. We usually buy Asian foods and the manufacturers are hiding MSG in those too. So now we know what to look for."

It was good to have so many supportive dietitians in the audience including the coeliac society dietitian who – for coeliacs - is also supportive of the RPAH elimination diet. Our updated dietitians list is available by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks to Helen for her enthusiastic and competent arrangement for this talk.

 

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Bunbury WA Wednesday 20 June

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Beautiful Bunbury is meant to be one of the most liveable places in Australia and we can see why. People in the warm and friendly audience had driven for up to 3 hours to attend the talk. There were some fascinating stories.

A Tale of Two Sisters: Sister One attended one of our Perth talks. Her 3 yo with severe eczema was put on an allergy clinic gluten free, dairy free elimination diet that recommends for fruit eat only pears, for vegetables eat only zucchini, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot and avocado. After 8 months her child is still in restraining sleep suits to stop scratching and there has been no improvement. Sister Two attended our Bunbury talk. She recently consulted a dietitian and her 5 yo with severe eczema was put on the RPAH elimination diet. Three weeks later his skin was almost completely clear and soft. Challenges showed that salicylates were the culprit. Sister One has switched to the RPAH diet and is already seeing some improvements e.g. skin is softer to touch.

An enthusiastic mother in the front row who had already emailed me about the improvements in her oppositional 5 yo daughter after going additive free updated her report: "now we've gone low salicylate as well, she has turned into an angel". She also recommended a dietitian in Bunbury soon to be on our recommended dietitians list available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From another mother: "My doctor said toddler diarrhoea is normal and he'll grow out of it". Hmmm. Actually, there is evidence in the medical literature that toddler diarrhoea is related to drinking fruit juice. There is also evidence in the medical literature that drinking fruit juice is as bad as drinking soft drinks for the development of overweight and obesity. I am reminded of a quote from a mother in our network about why her doctor didn't know that asthma can be related to dietary salicylates: "he said that doctors don't study nutrition so they don't know about salicylates in foods" (from story [854])

There was a heartbreaking story about an 8 year old who has suffered years of "terrible stomach aches writhing in agony" and has been through years of costly and invasive tests. Doctors have been baffled and could only agree with the mother's own observation that apples had something to do with it. From our point of view it is pretty straightforward and I am totally outraged by the medical profession's inability to understand the role of dietary salicylates in IBS.

We have been amazed at all the talks by how many happy Thermomix users there are. Basically, Thermomix allows you the convenience of processed food without the additives because you can do it yourself. As one mother said "I think eventually everyone will have a Thermomix, like microwaves." At the Bunbury talk, one supportive father actually bought his wife a Thermomix as an advance Christmas present, accompanied by cheers all round.

The  Bunbury talk was organised by a local group of four mothers who have created www.thetrustedtrolley.com.au  and ran a very friendly and enthusiastic talk with lots of failsafe cakie things.

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And we promised a final photo of the sun setting into the Indian Ocean before we drive home.

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