I'm so happy I could cry, I have cried with frustration over the last 4 weeks but at the mo I am so happy with the diet. Check out master 6 homework. What a difference 4 weeks makes. Did it himself, with focus and within 1 minute! Thank you failsafe! One proud mummy. I tried to also show the scrawl from 3 weeks ago but couldn't.

LATER: Would you believe it, today marked our d day. Saw our fantastic dietician after 4 weeks of elim diet. Pricipal at school today asked me to read her blog because it was written on my child with good manners being the topic. I am so proud of him I might burst.  - Lisa from facebook group


In October 2012 a strange rash started to appear on my hands and slowly started to cover my entire body, after multiple visits to the doctors I was put on steroids as they believed I had a reaction to something. Two months later, more doctors visits and this rash now covered my face, ears, back and everything in between. I ended up on antibiotics due to golden staph from all the itching and resulted to bathing in bleach every couple of days! A visit to the dermatologist and I was given a stronger cortisone cream and advised to have 3 (yes 3) 24 hour antihistamines to control the itch. After living on antihistamines, steroids and cortisone cream for 12 months I was miserable. I felt sick all the time and just couldn't get a handle on my skin. I wasn't sleeping, I became depressed and each doctors visit the doctors threw their hands in the air unsure of what to do. This on top of getting a sudden onset of migraines in 2011 told me something wasn't right ... tonight for the first time I've just seen a photo that looks like my rash - it's the one you put up on the screen for ribo rash.

Update: My rash started improving within 24 hours of removing MSG boosters in liquid stock and others from diet. 7 weeks in and massive massive changes. I have converted to rice milk and removed 220, 600's and 950 & 951 and look at the result!  Such a relief to not be on all the nasty medications and feel so miserable.

I am a new failsafe ambassador and have been telling everyone .. THANKYOU !!! - attendee at the Melbourne roadshow talk


I suggested gluten free to my 12 year old niece as she's S-H-O-R-T. She's been gf for about 6 weeks, and yesterday I saw her for the first time. Wow!!!

1) She's been able to wake up around 6 am whereas before she would have extreme difficulties getting up in the morning her entire life.

2) Her mom says her hair had grown in those 6 weeks much faster than ever (she'd always had a weird problem where her hair grows REALLY slowly).

3) And the best surprise: her behavior has always been totally normal and even better than that, except for being a bit socially withdrawn, maybe even a snob... Yesterday for the first time she was really friendly, cute and sociable. What a change!!!

And before having those gains, her mother said she had had huge emotional withdrawals (as I said, she's always been very stable emotionally, so what a surprise) for several days.

I'm "used" to the emotional / mental gains within my own 4 person family, but this is the first time I recommend diet to someone else, they actually do it, and I get to see the difference with my own eyes. Incredible!!! Now let's see if she grows taller too (she's about the height of a 9 year old) - Sivan from facebook page.

Just thought I'd pop and let u know the great success I've had so far with my daughter - I think we are going into week 3. Recently diagnosed with ADD. Have eliminated all salicylates from her diet and she is only having the permitted vege on the elimination diet and only fruit is Pear. No additives or Preservatives......I THINK I HAVE A NEW CHILD!!!!!! Difference is unbelievable..... Can't thank u enough Sue and your cookbook is a saviour and I think you've also cut my grocery bill by over half - Megan

When I drink Starbuck's cafe mocha I get significant irritation on my face. It affects the skin between my eyes, my cheeks, the crevices of my nose and my chin. At times it has spread to my scalp. It can also affect the center of my chest. It mainly just looks bad but the affected skin can be tender and sting. Without further exposure the redness lasts a few days.  After researching the ingredients it seems likely the potassium sorbate ingredient is the cause, though it will take exposure to potassium sorbate through other products to be certain. 

Starbuck's cafe mocha is made with Fontana Bittersweet Chocolate Mocha Sauce which contains this ingredient. The ingredients for the Fontana sauce can be seen here:  http://www.starbucksfs.com/Products/Details/Bittersweet_Chocolate_Sauce - Rick, by email

Sue's comment:

I agree that potassium sorbate (preservative E202) seems the most likely cause of facial irritation.  It is well documented in the medical literature that sorbic acid and potassium sorbate can cause contact dermatitis but less well known that foods containing sorbates can cause erythema (reddening of the skin), most frequently on the face and back, worse in people with rosacea.

Reference: CRC Handbook of Food, Drug and Cosmetic Excipients, page 366 

See 200-203 Sorbates factsheet

We would be interested to hear any other reports of a reaction to this product: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My failsafe baby started high school this week. Twelve years ago I was at breaking point trying to find a reason my baby was covered in eczema, never slept, did frothy green poos, and never smiled. Sue Dengate saved both our lives, literally. My little Firecracker was one of the first babies to join Sue's support group and the affirmation and support I received from others on those groups has seen me forge lifelong friendships. Today my daughter is a fierce warrior. She is eating foods, her body continues to lead the way and we all listen. It's not an easy road by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but this works.

I've recently been reminded of what life was like before Sue pointed me in the right direction and I realised how far we've come. My little Firecracker is the best person she can be, and it's all thanks to you. But it's not just about her and babies. Failsafe also gave me my life back and I do my bit to pay it forward. Thank you Sue, for showing me how - Blanca

Any thoughts on/experiences with constantly switching between failsafe and non-failsafe for kids with separated parents? My ex and his family won’t even acknowledge our kids’ bad nut allergies despite a couple of hospitalisations! They "forget" so I have no hope of them acknowledging food sensitivities and they have used artificial colours "against me" on purpose in the past (given boys red frogs just before they are returned to me).

We have been failsafe for four days (been avoiding artificial chemicals for years but it appears natural chemicals are the problem). Changes almost instantly and amazing. I have different children!

Unfortunately I do not have the kids long enough in my care to do challenges properly (10 nights a fortnight but with only 7 days straight).

Is avoiding food chemicals completely part of the time likely to increase bad/extreme reactions? Would this be unhealthy for my kids to switch between low chemical and all chemical diets? Any advice? - Gail


Just going by my son, if he has chemicals just once then it could affect him for a long time, days, weeks. But there is a big difference between his behaviour if he has them now and again, compared to if he has them daily. I think having some additive free days a week is better than none at all. Also you probably are already, but try to make sure your kids know why they eat additive free. Point out to them when their behaviour changes due to additives. Make sure they know that eating better makes them feel better. The best "revenge" on their father and family will be when they turn down the red frogs and other junk because they know it will make them feel bad later - Melanie

That’s a tough one, seems they’re willing to risk kids health for spite? Would having a doctor confirm the nut allergy make them take care? -  Melissa

I've been through this with my ex...not a pleasant situation to be in. My suggestion is to start with a doctor's letter about the nut allergy. If he fails to comply, contact DHS as he is endangering the life of your child. They will contact him and have a word...if he does it again, they'll take action against him (I went through this with my second eldest and his asthma). As for diet, get yourself a dietitian and again, provide the father with a letter. Also, contact the Family Relationships centre and get the ball rolling on some parenting plans/orders and have a clause included that states that all medical and dietary requirements are to be met and that you, the mother, will notify him by email of any and all changes to the children's needs in those areas. I say email because then you'll have an electronic record of all correspondence regarding these matters...trust me, letters get "lost". Keep a copy of all medical letters sent to your ex and document the dates they were sent (scan and email also, as a precautionary measure). Provide him with names and numbers of all medicos as well - Shawna.

I would stick to the low chemical while you have them. Living with some chemicals in your system some of the time is a much nicer way to live than having high chemicals all of the time. They will be a bit more up & down, which is tough on them, but at least they will feel ok some of the time. As they get older hopefully they will recognise the difference, and speak up & say, I don't want to eat that! Good luck, it's a very difficult situation - Renee

I think Shawna has a great long term plan on how to force control, I am lucky to have family that helps. But I think going strict on and off is just really hard on the system in general, I have seen in my own children that consistency changes things, it takes their little bodies so long to heal. What I would do is maintain low as you can at home, marathon cook pre visits so they are getting at least some of the food their bodies can work with, and work really really hard on getting some legal help on your side. Depending on how old the kiddos are I would really work on them, more than on the inlaws/ex. I would have them write or describe for you how they feel each day, how much trouble they’re getting into, how hard it is to control themselves etc.  Start having THEM refuse the foods that inlaws are shoving down their throats, let them be the one to offer up something from their stash as a replacement so they can feel good.

I only say all of this because I have an ASD 5 yr old boy that has extreme fructose malabsorption and many other food related issues and has been on a strict diet for a long time. Family support was great but the early years were all about him sneaking foods. Between 4 and 5 we started doing the above with him, we made funny names for some of the symptoms like "fire poop" and made it kinda fun for him to understand his own body, and due to delayed reactions to foods we had to really help him understand what caused what. We allowed him things and said "this is going to give you your tummy aches, but if you really want to have it I will let you have a small amount so you can see" Later when he was uncomfortable I would remind him gently "this is why mommy says no to so many foods, like that apple you ate today. Because I don’t like it when you are hurting I would rather make you special food that doesn’t make you hurt".  It only took a couple of special allowances, and never did he ask for the same one again, for him to totally grasp the concept, within a very very short time he stopped asking for things he knew were off limits, Instead of trying to sneak away with a candy someone gave him he would trade it to us, or just refuse it with "I have allergies". He tells his teachers and friends that he cannot have this or that freely and is no longer feeling like he "can’t" but now like he "doesn’t want to!" - Adrianne

We have the same issue. It's impossible but at least my stepsons’ mother values "natural" foods. But her refusal to believe in Twin One's MAJOR amine intolerance is ridiculous. She TOLD him to eat the chocolate cake then complained she didn't want custody of him because he was too aggressive and violent. Got nowhere with dietician letters etc. Mediation not an option either. SIGH it's hard. Shawna your suggestions are great  - Megs.

I've had the same problem and battled for nearly a year before my ex finally realised the effects of foods. I have my son 2.5 weeks out of every three so was never able to do challenges although there was some foods I knew were definitely out. I just now keep it failsafe as much as possible. It's hard but like others have said it's better to minimize the chemicals as much as possible. I also always gave my son a bath in Epsom salts (about 1/2 cup Epsom salts and 1/4 cup bicarb in a third full big bath for my nearly 7 year old) the first two nights he was back to help speed elimination of chemicals - Vanessa

Do the best you can for your kids while you have them then throw them in a bi carb bath when they get home from the exs.  It might help with the fallout. As for your ex and new partner how bloody rude and irresponsible - Leanne

I find going high and low leaves me feeling worse (and better) at times than before going failsafe. I wonder if moderate failsafe might be the option for you until you can work out some parenting plans (e.g. Shawna's suggestions) and then go from there - Janelle.

Really feel for your situation.  I did FS with my then 4 1/2 year old daughter and explained it all to her. She thankfully understood and would say to people that she was allergic! It was enough for them to stop and ask me of it was ok. I know you don't have that option, but getting the kids (if they are old enough) on board might be the only strategy available for you! - Megan

If your child can swallow capsules, you can fill them with bicarb. My younger has probiotics that I have to empty out, and I fill the capsules with bicarb for the older one - seems to work on him - Alice (see link to bicarb antidote at bottom of this story)

I too have the same issue whereas my son's father doesn't believe in food intolerances, although there has been fantastic improvement at his school, after school care and in my home. I bought my son the book 'Oscar's lunchbox', it's fantastic in that he understands why we are doing what we are doing, not to mention he knows he is a lot calmer in his self and doesn't get in trouble as much. I constantly praise him about his good behaviour and link it back to the food so he is aware within himself. The problem I have is his father will not acknowledge this and when my son goes crazy over there and says to his dad it's the food he has given him, he tells him it's rubbish. I do the Epsom salt baths when he comes back from staying with his father just to assist in eliminating the toxins. The other thing I have done when told by my son he has been given something, for example, custard, I say to him, do you have custard when you are here with mummy? And try and let him know if he has not had it here, he should not be having it there. It is hard, especially with a young one as they don't get to have the voice as an older child. I am just persevering as best I can in this situation, however you cannot help but think it is like child abuse in a way, giving them foods that react in their body - Rae

Gail responds: So nice again to hear I am not the only one!!! So what do you do Rae when you get your son back from seeing his dad? Does he go to straight to school after contact?

He does go straight to school after contact on a Monday morning and I pick him up that afternoon, however the school is well aware of what I am doing and they are behind me 100% as they see the improvement also, which makes their life easy. They are aware of the timeframes he is with his Dad and with me and give him a little more space if he starts to misbehave for the first couple of days after being dropped off by dad knowing he doesn't follow the failsafe diet like he should. My suggestion is to be open and honest about the whole situation to those who need to know, like the school, etc. My pride would get in the way in terms of not speaking out of school regarding the shortcomings of his dad, but found as long as you discuss these issues without your child in earshot, you will get a lot of support and empathy for that matter as it is not easy dealing with a child who has meltdowns and I have been told numerous times that I am doing a good job helping my son to be better within himself - Rae.

Gail responds: Have you considered replacing the contents of the lunch box?

I'm unable to do this as I don't pick him up until around 5.30pm in the afternoon, there have been times where I have found a chicken leg in his lunch box, great considering he's intolerant to amines, At the end of the day, you can only do what is within your control, it's hard enough raising a child with intolerances to add the never ending arguments on top of this. I just know what I'm doing is benefiting my son and thankfully he's in my care more than in he's his dad's over a fortnight, so that's in my favour and my little boy when it comes to ensuring he is getting the correct foods - Rae

See bicarb antidote

See factsheet on divorced families and coping with diet for more ideas

The "Failsafe" elimination diet is a very specific diagnostic tool, which will give you many answers, and for us (myself and my kids, we have various food reactions) doing this elimination diet was the fastest, most direct way to a resolution. It changed our quality of life from hard, to absolutely lovely - Susanne from facebook group

I just wanted to send my congratulations to the moderators and members of this wonderful group. Everyone I have seen posting on here has been supportive, uplifting, and informative. This is a real change from the normal on facebook, and I as a mother have found this group wonderful. Thank you - Natasha from facebook group

I could chat on all day about how you've changed my life - which wouldn't have changed at all if my now 2 yo son hadn't had food intolerance symptoms as a breastfed bub - thank you, thank you, thank you.  The most frustrating thing is I want to sing it from the rooftops but no one really cares - and I know their lives could change too! - Katie from Victoria

I asked my son today (which is day 3 on FS diet), "Can you tell a difference in yourself? Do you feel any different?" At first he said,"No, not really." Followed by," Well, I don't feel so negative anymore...and I feel happier." Praise The Lord and raise the roof! - Alicia from facebook group

My DS7 admitted tonight that he is doesn't listen because he does not like what he may have to do at the time (i.e. defiant after they didn't practice enough flips at gymnastics tonight). Is then just a derivative of ODD or is food intolerance contributing to it? I hate to keep him on the elim diet if he is just naturally defiant...lol, if you know what I mean - Michelle

I think that defiance, tantrums etc are part of my DS4 personality, but I def think that Failsafe helps to control it and lessen it! - Megan

My dd6 said the exact same thing, and he's the child without intolerances! - Teresa

How long has he been on elim diet? It is hard to tell as even the person having the intolerance doesn't know the difference until they have been 'clean' for a while. The feeling of being persecuted and your reaction being appropriate remains even when you come out of it - Kim

How long have you been on the diet and was your son able to communicate this defiance to you before failsafe? My son (ODD and ADHD tendencies) always told me he didn't know why he behaved the way he did or why he did something wrong, but after starting failsafe has at times made up excuses for his behaviour that had I believed him would lead to going off the diet - ODD related I believe, they can be cunning (from personal experience) - Kylie

Good on you for sharing Michelle and trusting us with this. My son has ASD and tells me exactly the same thing. Exactly. All you can do is give FS a go and see if his behavior changes. I remain calm with my voice and don't get sucked into the turn-taking in arguments with our son. I let him have his say (because he loses it if I go the power play and try & shut him down) & then I say, okay it's my turn. I keep my language simple & repetitive. I also suggest talking when there's no eye contact, like in the car. Explain that sometimes mums ask kids to do things and they have to do it. That's the rules. It's tough. But I'm sure you are doing great - Helen

Two thoughts come to mind. Your son says now he has choice - failsafe gave that to my son and before failsafe he had no choice or control over his level of frustration. But frustration is a normal human response too and kids learn and pattern successful behaviours that work for them early. I therefore believe it is possible to learn and unlearn destructive but successful behaviours. We used a combo approach of retraining with failsafe. Have you done challenges yet? Watch for his level of self control when you do them,  not just the amount of defiance exhibited. It might answer your question. But consider normal learned behaviours too. They are usually harder to identify as we the parents are part of the cycle of reactions in relationship. Sounds like progress to me if he can identify his own behavioural choices. Pre failsafe for us this was impossible; now he can be defiant but we know the difference between reactive defiance and normal kid defiance.. even when it seems huge...Ries

My middle daughter is an absolute angel when she is not affected, but when I'm challenging a food which doesn't agree with her body, she is a feral little girl with ODD tendencies and extreme fatigue too - Julie

Michelle responds:  We have been on the elim diet now since Sept. 13 but were making mistakes and cheating. I think we have now hit a baseline. Thank you everyone for your comments. It is absolutely true...my DS7 didn't have control before over his defiance and it is a blessing that now he can voice his reasons for not wanting to do something. In October we introduced peeled cucumbers and sugar snap peas and he had a headache and lethargic for two days. Ate garlic bread with cheese on New Years's Eve (we are vegetarians, DF, GF) and he wanted to beat up his best friend over something small the next day. However we are going to try challenges again here shortly.

Any suggestions for likely culprits for growing pains or pains in legs for 11 yo?  - Glenda

For my daughter it's amines. Natural flavours are included in this. Not sure what they are classed as but we trialled and the result was the same as amines with leg pain. It's the first sign we get that she has had amines  - Tanya1

For my son it’s salicylates. He also gets nose bleeds and headaches when he has gone over his threshold - Claire

That is interesting our son was complaining of headaches this arvo and the leg pains half hour later hmm time to start a food diary I think - Glenda

Amines for my two daughters - Julie

Magnesium helps - Jasmin

My 10yr old has got better off sals (salicylates) - Leigh

My son had 'growing pains' before failsafe, either amines or sals. I'm suspecting amines as I knew it was a trigger (after reading the website and book and noting the timing of our meltdowns in the past and the fact that a choc overload bought me to find failsafe lol) didn't challenge it, pains did not reappear during sals challenge (other symptoms did) - Kylie

For us, it was lack of calcium. When they drank less milk, they got the pains... Jen

A preventative that has worked WONDERS for my sons is one each of Schuessler Tissue Salts: Calc Phos (Bone Health) & Silica (Cleanser&Conditioner) each night.  My two sons, especially my youngest, used to wake up screaming in the night with 'sore legs' etc. Taking these as a preventative has helped immensely - can't remember the last time they complained. We have cut back now and don't do it every night, but if they say they have sore legs before going to sleep now, they have them (youngest will ask for them) - Tanya2

My son was at his worst with pains pre failsafe. I have since found that amines trigger his pains. He usually asks for some milk then he is fine to go back to bed after 3 - 5 mins. But now he asks for his soda water mix before bed when he feels it coming on. He is 3 1/2. Soda water drink helps him through the day only when he feels he needs it mainly due to amines in meat. Soda water mix is 30mls Schweppes soda water in a small kids cup, sprinkle of citric acid, sprinkle of ascorbic acid, sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt, sprinkle of sugar topped up with filtered tap water. Taste and adjust. Just got to get the right balance of flavour and bubbles. My other two kids don't like it. But they don't have amine Issues - Tanya3

Sals (salicylates) cause growing pain type leg pain here, without fail, every time - Susie

I wonder if the Tissue Salts that my boys have are a counter/balance for sals?? - Tanya2

A warm wheat bag also helps for the pain - Amanda

My boys have all had the same pain. It's only now we know it's when it rains or the weather has a big change coming. He's had to have panadol tonight. He's 13 - Kerry-Anne

We have worked out three definite triggers for "growing pains" with my daughter. Cadbury cocoa (amines), soy vanilla ice cream (flavours) and lemonade (even though it was the preservative free schweppes one) - Kylie

Cutting out all artificial and natural food colouring from our daughters diet had stopped all her restless legs and muscle pain! Has worked wonders for her!!! - Michele

In our case glutamates and salicylates - Adelie

It normally occurs after a very active day. And it's just that. .. growing pains. Heat and pain relief. Mine got so bad I couldn't walk and would have to crawl to my parent’s room in the middle of the night and I was a very active kid - Nicole

I used to think my daughter was faking growing pains. When we did the elimination diet I was absolutely shocked to find she wasn't 'faking it' almost every night for attention and it wasn't 'normal'. The amine challenge was the only time she had them. Once upon a time sleep didn't exist in our house due to night time leg pain. Now the only time she gets them is after too much cheese (we have added mild cheese back in to her diet) and after other cheat days (at parties with friends/relatives) that include too much amines or natural flavours. Several times we couldn't work out what she'd had and then she would say, 'oh yeah, that's right.... I may have had this today, sorry' - Tanya1

My 13 year old suffered horrible growing pains. We started FS 12 months ago and have discovered for him it is additives - Tanja

I would just like to add that if your boys are having painful hips & are walking with a limp this may not be growing pains but something more serious. My youngest had "growing pains" but it turned out to be Perthes disease (femoral head broke away). So please don't just think growing pains when it is in their hips - Roslyn


Last year my  6 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and given a trial of Ritalin.  I felt sick in the pit of my stomach when I gave her that first tablet and I knew there had to be a better way. So, I began searching and found Fed Up. We went on the elimination diet and in week 4 I did not give the Ritalin to her (on the Thursday and Friday) and the teacher did not notice!!!!!!!!  I can not tell you how happy and relieved I was. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. - Julia, WA

I was sitting at home, reading about 'alcohol-fueled' violence in Sydney, while listening to my seven- and five-year-old having a Category 5 tantrum outside as they recovered from the preservatives and artificial flavourings and colourings they'd been plied with at family holiday functions.

Then I had what may or may not have been a Eureka moment. I'm sure someone has brought this up before, but it could it be that ingredients other than alcohol in beer, wine, spirits and mixed drinks could be at least partly responsible for the so-called 'brain snaps' which have led to recent violent and tragic incidents?.

While I was contemplating this, I was drinking a 100% natural, preservative-free beer. I do this not because I like spending the extra money or think it gives me street cred. I do this because I've had some terrible experiences with some mainstream beer and mixed drink brands. I have had what some might term brain snaps, not leading to any violent behaviour on my part, but certainly reckless in terms of self-harm. I've also had massive headaches and allergic reactions from these drinks and, when I've told other people about this, some have described exactly the same symptoms.

I'm not saying everyone who drinks the same products would have the same reaction, just as preservatives and colourings affect my kids more so than others we know, who can scoff every candy cane on the Christmas tree and still remain so placid and angelic, perhaps they should be used to decorate the top of it.

I'm also not saying that alcohol should be disregarded. Even if other ingredients are only a factor, the alcohol obviously lowers inhibitions and reduces the ability of adults to moderate altered moods and feelings of unease - bringing them back to the unfiltered child-like state of my two, who don't have the skills or the desire to curb their tantrums and will start fighting, sometimes physically. Or it could be the interaction of these alcohol and these chemicals creating an altogether different situation. I'm no scientist so that's just speculation.

Then there is the question of what impact the snack foods being eaten with the alcoholic drinks might have. And this is before we even bring in other factors like caffeinated alcoholic beverages, other drugs, the ingredients of high-protein dietary supplements and steroids.

Or perhaps I'm completely wrong and it's just a coincidence that I'm blowing out of all proportion. However, I'm thinking if they're serious about doing something to reduce these violent incidents, they would be as keen as anyone to ensure they're targeting the right ingredients and that the right approach is taken. – Michael, NSW

Sue’s comment: While we certainly agree that additives in drinks, mixers, snacks and fast foods can contribute to temper outbursts and removing them would be a giant step in the right direction, this particular issue is complicated by the fact that all alcoholic drinks except gin, vodka and whisky are very high in natural salicylates, amines and glutamates. I can't see the general public wanting to embrace a message that says "drink only gin, vodka and whisky - and don't mix your vodka with tomato or fruit juice" although for a certain proportion of the population - possibly the ones in the news – this could make a huge difference. It would be good to see more awareness about food intolerance at an earlier age so that people know what affects them long before they get to legal drinking age.

See also story [304] "Last weekend I assaulted my wife and did horrific damage to her face ...  I had been drinking most of the afternoon, then consumed two strawberry sundae tubs of icecream ..." Was it artificial colours or the very high salicylates in strawberry flavouring or both? We don't know, but this story illustrates what Michael says, that a combination of alcohol plus food intolerance could be potentially lethal read more.

My children have been following a failsafe lifestyle for quite a few years due to behavioural issues and weve found it has improved our quality of life significantly.
Our little dog has been incontinent for about 3 years and has been progressively getting worse.  She has been on medication for about 2 years to help, but lately its been getting less and less effective.  Im not sure why I hadn't thought of it earlier, but about 2 months ago, I looked at her diet and found that all of her food had preservatives in it.  I decided to experiment and changed her diet to a natural brand from the pet shop.  For the first time in years, she has stopped leaving little puddles all over the house and has now also been medication free for the last month.  She is calmer too now… no more running around fretting when there’s a thunder storm. What a relief! 
Thank you for changing our life once again!!  - Cristi, NSW



Thats it! I'm convinced!....For the past 11 months my children have not been able to eat in the same room, let alone next to each other at the table without some kind of temper tantrum explosion, because my youngest (miss 8) has what I can only describe as some kind of anxiety attack over the noise her sister (miss 10) makes when eating anything. A couple of months ago my mum saw Sue Dengate on the TV talking about salicylates and how they can affect children and when she showed me all I kept thinking was...."That's her...that's what she's like." It wasn't only the eating thing but any tantrum she threw was extreme. Only at home though, my parents and husband were the only ones to see the full extent of it for a very long time. I looked into the failsafe diet and had been experimenting with things until I received my failsafe book recently. I was cutting back or cutting out salicylates where I knew they were, and had good results. Keeping a food diary I was able to link explosive tantrums which lasted for days to foods that I hadn't considered for one reason or another. So I began being a little more strict with it, recently cutting out preservatives where I could as well, (we haven't done the strict elimination diet). A few days ago she had a massive melt down, followed by something that surprised me....she was unable to make a decision, just a simple one.....but as there was no logic in her head that told her how to do it, she looked at me blankly and said "I can't decide". She's a very bright girl so it was very surprising to see it, I think it was something I'd not noticed previously as it was hidden by tantrums when she couldn't decide something. Tonight, after not having preservatives and only having very little salicylates for about a week, she came to me and said "mum....Em was sitting this far away from me (showing me a few cm's with her fingers) and she was eating popcorn, and I didn’t even hear her!!!" She was so excited and proud of herself, and once she left the room I burst into tears of happiness. She's been amazingly accepting of this diet, I've not kept it secret from her, and I believe she understands how its helping her and all of us. Thank you Sue Dengate, you've changed our lives thanks also to my family for being so supportive - Kristy

The irritation to noise is called auditory sensory processing disorder (ASPD). We have also found that my son who suffered terribly from it can show no signs of it when managed with diet. It always creeps back whenever there is the smallest of slipups. Two days ago when he accidentally consumed corn he was an emotional wreck on the couch covering his ears crying and begging me to turn the vacuum cleaner off. Today his reaction was over. I vacuumed in the same room and he had no problem at all - Emma

Wow! I never considered that! My two year old is highly sensitive to noise and so is my 15wk old. Both my boys! We are already preservative, artificial colour and flavour, and chemical free. High sals are mostly out but realised we weren’t meant to be having avocado! Think it’s time to fine tune the sals! -Kristie

It's not always just salicylates. Gluten can be a major factor. I have had SPD my whole life. It is something I think you learn to cope with but it is so hard for kids to deal with. I somehow managed to graduate from the law school with honours. I pretty much spent the whole of my VCE and law degree studying in the state library in Melbourne (in the dome) where making any noise is strictly forbidden. The only way I could study without feeling the need to punch people out for making noise. The other thing to note is that lots of people don't understand SPD because often people who suffer from it (commonly kids with ADD or ADHD etc) can be quite noisy themselves. If the child is in control of the noise (making it themselves or choosing to listen to it, e.g music), they will cope just fine. It is noises they are not in control of (e.g music or clashing conversations by others) that they can't cope with. My one year old has sensory processing issues with touch not sound. He hates the feel of things touching his hands. When he starts to touch his food he acts as though his hands are burnt (like he's handling a hot potato). Some people have sensory processing issues with bright lights - Emma

Amines also, especially chocolate, for auditory processing disorder here - Adelie

My daughter has sensory/sound and OCD issues which are definitely magnified by eating a high salicylate diet. Great to you found it too and now know why she behaved that way - Jan

Thank you for your post. I thought this was not due to food but a part of the ASD, as our doctor & speech pathologist said! - Louisa

See also factsheet on hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound)

So I have now cut out all artificial flavors/colours/preservatives, changed milk to A2 - but he doesn't really have a lot only in mashed potato etc, Bread to Brumbys, restricting fruit to mainly pears with the odd piece of other fruit, and we already used Nuttalex etc for about 2 weeks now and I must say although we are not on the Strict Elimination - WOW what a difference!!!! I'm really impressed!! There has been a huge change in behavior and his sleep patterns and he is managing on his own without any medication to help him sleep. I truly do hope this continues. I even had my mother mention last night that it was a very peaceful night and how lovely it was, so it's not just my imagination.

Oh and a big one I forgot to mention is that my son’s tutor called me into talk with her and mentioned how happy she has been with his progress over the past 2 weeks and have I been doing extra work with him at home. I don't think that I have, I just seem to think that he is taking it all in better! *Happy Dance* It's just so so lovely to see him this way – Mandy from facebook group

My son was about to be put into hospital for his severe eczema but doing all these things below as well as the RPAH diet has seen his eczema almost disappear, and his rhinitis as well. One thing I've noticed is that if we relax the diet, his skin goes dry and scaly, and then next thing is the inflammation and full blown eczema. So I believe that, in our situation at least, the condition of the gut (what you eat) affects the function of the skin (goes dry and scaly), and then the environmental allergen can get in and cause the inflammation. This goes for rhinitis as well.

There are a number of things to limit your exposure to dustmite, but you can't get rid of them (unless you live in the desert!).  It's important to remind yourself of that because, like the food situation, it can send you a bit bonkers trying to do everything, all of the time. However there is a lot you can do and it works.

Dustmites like warm moist dark places and they live off dead skin cells and mould. So your bed is the first place to start. Get good quality mite covers (see Melbourne supplier below recommended by allergists). Cover the mattress ( and the base if it's not timber) with the mite proof covers, cover your pillow as well and doona/quilt. You'll need to wash the covers fortnightly, and the rest of the bedding (sheets) weekly. Hot wash 60°C will kill the mites, but it's the mite poos that actually cause the allergy so a long cycle in the machine will wash the droppings away.

Get rid of carpets, wash curtains regularly. Eucalyptus will also kill mites, so use the Bosistos http://www.fgb.com.au/about-bosistos range of cleaning products, sprays and detergents, which work well but limit exposure because they aren’t failsafe. Anything that can't be hot washed can but put a plastic bag and into the freezer overnight to kill mites, then washed on gentle cycle next day to remove the droppings (I do this with soft toys and delicate fabrics). A de-humidifier is an option as mites need humidity to survive. So if the constant washing gets you down, that is something to think about.

Check out helpful www.housedustmite.com and http://www.allergend.com.au/  – Diana from failsafeeczema group.

See also story [1012] Eczema exacerbated by dust mite allergy (March 2006)

I am a food technologist and I am unhappy about the way food technology is going: I have sat in technical meetings discussing what to call the MSG that we want to put in a product  – Fedup Roadshow 2012

That's the thing about failsafe - as overwhelming as it all seems, you are not just bumbling around in the dark. There is a specific procedure, which will give you a lot of answers - Susanne

My son is doing wonderfully behavior wise too. It amazes me how he has progressed in the three weeks. With Halloween, we decided to let him have a small piece of chocolate and immediately he regressed to where he had been. Now we know...no deviations, especially with regard to preservatives/flavors. That was a wake up call - Meghan

I found Failsafe after 18 mths researching. Couldn't believe it was something I was eating as my diet hadn't changed & I was in my 40s & had always eaten a "good" diet. All the medication can only hold it at bay, failsafe allowed me to find a cure, for which I am so grateful. I followed a tiny thumbnail pic of a girl's face & thought "her rash looks like mine" and it was a blog about Ribo Rash! - Kate

I went to Sue's Fedup Roadshow looking at behaviour kids for my son. She was showing some photos and one was the rash ... "Lightbulb" that's my rash!  - Brianna

Just realised my 3 year old has stopped stuttering since starting fs nearly 7 weeks ago! Another tick in the box for the one kid we thought didn't have a problem - Kylie.

I was chatting with a school counsellor about the problems *we* face... being THAT MOTHER. The one that groans inside when our child runs out of class clutching a Freddo frog from another kid's birthday. The one who asks at the fete meeting "Will there be any healthy food?" The one who says "Can't we get better snacks at the canteen?" and "Shouldn't the school be sending a better message about food?" So... he put the question back to me... to put to you...What have other schools DONE to tackle this issue?.. I'll kick off with our school that banned food rewards. That was a no-brainer! Instead of a drawer of lollies the teachers have "Treasure Box" full of silly tid-bits that the kids get to choose from.

At the end of the year, the Principal reminds parents via the newsletter that they discourage candy canes and other food gifts "due to allergies and food intolerances.  A card is enough -( thanks to Frilly for putting this topic forward)

My kids went to a school that did not have a canteen, so all lunches were packed from home, so much easier - Kathy

Our school has banned lollies at the school disco - Leigh

Food policies for birthdays etc at our school - no food allowed due to allergies.

Our canteen has been lovely, they often ask and accommodate our needs. They have some stuff we can't eat, but they also put out things like fruit kebabs, apple slinkies, etc. We found that when we got alongside the canteen ladies they were very happy to work through the menu with us and see what was ok and what was not - for example they buy in packet cake mixes, but they were happy to take input on what our kids could have and ordered in the brand without the additives. With lollies, they bought a pack of naturals and keep them in a special jar for our kids. It's not too hard to have a few natural juice poppers, milk poppers, or water bottles in the canteen, so even if they aren't popular with all the kids there is always an option for ours. Our canteen caters for the fete, so they have their normal menu as well as special stuff. When there are special days on, we work with them a day or so in advance to figure out the alternatives. For example, my son's year group had a 'machines' science day where kids could order a special lunch of 'nuts and bolts' (chicken bites and chicken sticks I think), tyres (donuts), oil (apple juice), etc. there were a couple things he couldn't have, but they just left those out and put in extra of the things he could have - Lindsey

Get more involved in the P&C to have input on fundraisers. I'd much prefer things like cards/wrapping paper or the sponsorship walks and activity days rather than the chocolate drives and cookie dough - Lindsey

Our school is in the process of converting from "bad foods" to healthy foods. Lollies were phased out, even though they still sell chips, and curly whirlies amongst other things. They have meal deals every fortnight that provide a "healthier' option. From memory, this week it was a hot dog in wholemeal roll, yoghurt, sultanas and packet of popcorn. Even though the parents requested healthier food, the meal deals are not selling. The foods the parents did suggest, such as sushi, casseroles, etc are too impractical for our canteen lady to make, and we cannot get parent helpers to assist -  Janine

Our school replaced the chocolate fundraisers with a fundraising spell-a-thon where kids are sponsored (normally by family) per word they get right. They raise more money and nobody has a box of chocolate in their house. Unfortunately I still have to battle when they give lollies as rewards  - Kristen

I work in a role that encourages healthy eating and physical activity for kids. These websites might give you some ideas for policy change, canteens and fundraising if you haven't seen them already - Parent's Jury: healthy schools http://www.parentsjury.org.au/key-concerns/healthy-schools   Parent's Jury: healthy food ideas that make a profit http://www.parentsjury.org.au/healthy-fundraising-campaign-guide/healthy-fundraising-ideas-that-make-a-profit#profit    Sweet Deals (this is a resource for Canadian schools, so most of the specific product deals and companies aren't relevant to Australia but it still has lots of good info and ideas that can be used here) http://www.cspinet.org/schoolfundraising.pdf  - Lisa

Our school designated a bake shop to buy bday cupcakes from....we can only serve bday cupcakes from that shop (though not fs, it's allergy-friendly...). Also, no sweet treats in the bday goody bags (party favors). For snack time, parents are assigned a specific snack to bring each week....again, not fs 100%, but healthy (no artificial additives) and nut/peanut free - Caroline

My son has a 'mummy approved' treat jar the teacher keeps for him & gives him one of those when birthday treats are handed out in class. The tuck shop also stocks FAILSAFE icy poles - Samantha

Our Principal visited a large independent school that had gone additive-free, and now wish they hadn't because of how much time and effort has had to go into policing non-compliance from parents. What she has started this year, though, is a plan for children/parents to donate the $ they would normally spend on cards and candy canes that often end up in the bin to better the lives of children elsewhere - specifically a village in Fiji that older students will be visiting next year to help build houses (P-12 school). Each class has discussed and decided what to put their money towards (food plants, school supplies, etc.) We'll see soon if parents resist the temptation to simply do both – Tracy

Our kinder teachers have asked what foods my son "can eat" & are going to make a halloween treat tomorrow to FS ingredients for the 'whole class'. I wait how it turns out. But instead of a black icing witches hat with orange sprinkles, we have come up with a white icing ghost cone with carob icing for face - Emma.

When there's a reason for a party (eg farewell to a prac teacher), they use fruit break/crunch and sip time to have a party. Kids bring chopped up fruit or vegetables and it's all laid out on a table. Teacher provides bowls, spoons & serviettes, and the kids can help themselves to a beautiful spread of colourful food. He has been impressed with how much the kids enjoy the variety and chance to try new things, and they often ask for seconds.

The other thing this does is restore some of the purpose of a class party. It's supposed to be a social occasion and a celebration, but so often it turns into a race to see who gets the good chips or the last marshmallow. This way it's more an emphasis on the social sharing of simple and delicious food – Lindsey

Our school has gone 'nude food' and Opal (http://www.playford.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=1648 - South Australian government program to promote healthy eating ) are visiting the school with recipes and breakfast this term, while not failsafe it's a step in the healthy food direction - Denise

Our school canteen doesn't have a lot for a failsafe child, but it is pretty good health wise. Recess you can buy fruit, muffins with cheese and tomato, or baked beans toasties. They have sushi available for lunch, and frequent Indian food. There is very little in the way of typical school rubbish - Nicola

It does take small steps... I know that when my son first started school, many of the things I've mentioned were not in place and the lady in charge of the canteen was not as receptive and felt all the kids needed their 'treats' at the canteen. He's in year 4 now and things have changed a lot over time, but I'm aware it has come in tip-toes rather than a sudden leap - Lindsey

Note from Howard: Thanks for your positive ideas. If you are taking action, you can tell the school that the additives we avoid are explicitly recognised in the National Healthy Schools Canteen Guidelines (page 47): National Healthy School Canteen 2014

More ideas in http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/support-factsheets/healthy-choice-school-canteens

I developed 202 intolerance in my mid 40s and now avoid 202 like the plague as it gives me pain in the splenic flexure of my descending colon, sometimes inflaming the whole descending colon. I suffered a barium meal, and no consult with any doctor delivered me an answer to my difficulty. Elimination of 202 solved a range of unexplained symptoms. I picked up the problem by timing my recurrent pain 1.5 hours after spreading margarine on my toast.  - by email, New Zealand

I was diagnosed with a heart valve problem late last year and also with 2 out of 3 coronary arteries being blocked by 20%. The latter was not enough for the specialists to intervene but a wake up call for me! One cardiologist wanted me to lower my cholesterol levels  through medication. When I said to him I would like to try it through diet the answer was: "That is not easy, I wish you good luck".  I really had the idea that there should be a natural way through diet.

Seven months later my conclusion is that a vegetable based diet very low in fats with some grains and legumes is at least as good as being on statins for both the cholesterol level and protection against heart attacks. Taking the side effects into account, I think it is actually much better since the side effects of a healthy diet are much more far reaching than heart disease. Hence I’m no longer using statins and the cardiologist is quite happy with my cholesterol levels.

Apart from achieving good cholesterol levels, improved energy, much better skin and a clearer head, I discovered that the rates of heart disease, strokes, diabetes type 2, cancer and even autoimmune diseases like arthritis, lupus, MS, Crohn’s and more are actually heavily influenced by what we eat. Strangely enough this does not seem common knowledge, not among our specialists either. Currently it is not reflected in our dietary guidelines.'

Update after 14 months on the low fat plant based diet, avoiding all processed foods:  My total cholesterol has come down by 27%, the LDL by 38% without any medication (total/LDL was 5.3/3.4 on 1 Sept 2012 mmol/l = 205/131 mg/dl and on 6/11/2013 this was 3.9/2.1 mmol/l or 151/81 mg/dl); my dry and cracked sometimes bleeding skin is gone; my excess weight has come down about 7 kg. I feel good and energetic and never hungry. I know that salicylates affect me with IBS and severe amplification of feelings, so now I eat any veg but stay away from fruits and garlic and that seems to be OK for me.

 -  Peter, by email. See the full story at http://users.tpg.com.au/freestro/The_Ideal_Diet.pdf

I recently discovered that I have a sensitivity to salicylates after getting a rash (not for the first time) which seemed due to taking aspirin for a cold. In researching what in aspirin I might be sensitive to, I came across numerous articles linking asthma and aspirin, and one case study very similar to mine where a woman thought she was allergic to numerous medications, but it turned out it was only aspirin, and the salicylates in mints that she was sensitive to. Each time I've developed this rash has been when I've had a cold, bad enough that I probably should have stayed home from work. In order to speak with people while working and not cough all over them, I use cough drops, the natural ones, which are loaded with all kinds of mint and mint-related herbs, and usually honey too. This last cold started on Christmas day, and after the cold left I was left with what seemed like asthma like wheezing and coughing, bad enough that I was using two cough drops an hour. Last week I caught another cold, and when I started to get a sore throat I took aspirin, and continued with the cough drops. After two days of aspirin (only about 250mg, maybe twice a day), I developed the rash, and worsening sinus symptoms. Imagine my surprise when in the course of my research I happened upon one of the failsafe websites, and realized how many things I eat and use (I don't like to use chemicals so I've been using natural products that have a lot of essential oils in them) that have high levels of salicylates in them.

Since stopping the cough drops and starting on some version of failsafe, my asthmatic symptoms have really receded, so I hoping some other symptoms will improve as well when I get some of the personal products - such as deodorant and toothpaste - more under control. - Glenda, Canada

When I started on the weight watchers program, everything was going well for the first few days then I developed gastric problems. I was losing weight but I had terrible stomach pains all the time, so I had to give it up after six weeks and the problem stopped. Yes, I was eating their products.  – by email (see similar reports in [873]  [1099]   [1100] etc)

Under the supervision of a dietician, I embarked on my Food Intolerance Journey 2 .5 years ago. I had no idea it would become my ticket to a transformation in wellbeing, energy and better health! I should point out that we are at the extreme end of the spectrum with a heavily restricted diet. A dietician’s fine toothed comb has decreed that it contains all the necessary nutrients that my children need to grow and that I need to train hard and compete well, as an athlete. I am a triathlete, and race triathlon (swim, bike and run). I have just been selected to compete on the (amateur) Australian Team for the Triathlon World Championships, London 2013.” – from NurseNaomi  http://nursenaomi.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/introduction-to-food-intolerances-and-training-as-a-food-intolerant-athlete/

After reading your website, I am wondering whether my mother’s final illness may have been due to nickel allergy. She started having problems with slurred speech soon after going to the dentist, and we all thought it must have been due to something not right in her mouth. She actually went back to the dentist to check. From then on it was downhill all the way. Over 2 nightmarish years she lost her ability to speak, to swallow food or drink including water, and was losing her ability to walk. She was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and chose to end her life by refusing a peg feeding tube rather than to end up completely helpless. – by email.

See factsheet on nickel allergy and other heavy metals

My salicylate-sensitive teenage daughter started having scary episodes at school where she seemed to zone out for 15 minutes or more, staring at the ground, not responding, as well as other longer lasting episodes, where she was confused and shaky, with red cheeks, and described afterwards that she was aware of some things while it was happening, but it was like she was hallucinating. We think of these as hypo-episodes and have tightened up on her diet. They've been diagnosed as absence seizures but a brain scans recommended by a neurologist didn't show any abnormalities. 

The most recent presentation is for things to happen that she cannot remember doing. e.g. one day I found her in the bathroom scrubbing at her arms, trying to remove intricate patterns of drawing from her left arm. She was upset, and said she could not remember drawing it, she first noticed it at lunchtime. The patterns look like those I've seen her draw quite often. She has previously shown me writing in notebooks that she can't remember writing, some of it not in English! This type of episode had been happening along with "absence seizures" and also full-on "hypo-episodes".  We  have not had reports of absence seizures or the hypo episodes for some time, but how can you be sure that the absence seizures are NOT happening; they are so subtle.  Over the time that these episodes have been happening, her maths performance and attitude has dropped off dramatically, to the point that she now refuses to even try. 

Update one year later: When her dental braces were removed, we finally discovered  that our daughter's "unexplainable" neurological issues over 3.5 years had been due to a reaction to the nickel in the stainless steel.  Many things have settled down now, but it's been quite a journey. - by email

How long have you had MS?

I was diagnosed with MS 13 years ago. In retrospect, I think food intolerances have been with me since childhood: I endured terrible growing pains and had my adenoids taken out at 8 years of age because I supposedly talked through my nose. After years of bowel pains and then my MS diagnosis at 15, I finally decided to eliminate dairy foods four years later and noticed a dramatic improvement in my health.

How does MS affect you?

The MS symptoms I experience day to day are mostly sensory symptoms plus fatigue. The sensory changes mostly relate to feelings of cold particularly in my legs (not cold to touch but I perceive them to feel like ice blocks). This sensation changes from being really noticeable (both my legs feel cold 8 on a scale of 1-10) to not much at all (limited to the smallest spot on one leg but hardly noticeable - 2 out of 10). Early last year I went 100% failsafe after a period of not being so strict and after 4 weeks my cold sensations had reduced dramatically to about 1- 2 out of 10.

I have discussed my experiences with my allergist and he said other people with MS he has treated have had positive changes in their symptoms when following the RPAH elimination diet. I certainly notice a difference in sensation and fatigue when being failsafe. It has taken me years to finally accept this because I, like so many, kept thinking how can a meat and potatoes type diet be good for me? (Comment from Sue: it is possible to do a failsafe very low fat vegan diet)

Have you ever tried the standard MS diet?

All research into MS says to eat heaps of fruit and vegies, follow a low saturated fat diet and supplement with fish oils. After years of eating a mostly vegetarian diet, popping heaps of evening primrose oil and fish oil, I can now say that being failsafe is helping me the most. In fact, I follow failsafe eating principles but make sure my diet is low in saturated fat.

Do you have any opinions on Professor Jelinek's recommendations about sunshine?

I have read Professor Jelinek's book and think there is definitely something in the research about sun, vitamin D and calming an overactive immune system. It is quite interesting that over the last 13 years since my MS diagnosis every relapse I have had occurred in winter or very soon after! I certainly feel more energised in summer and even a few rays streaming through our lounge window see me on the floor soaking up the sunshine in winter.

Any hints for others?

I have noticed that taking bicarb soda in water makes quite a difference to food intolerance symptoms, particularly with facial flushing and itchy skin which is one of my more obvious reactions to salicylates, amines and MSG. How or why failsafe works is a mystery to me but I am happy to benefit from the impact it is making on my day to day health.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August 2011 at the age of 30. An MRI scan showed two large lesions in my brain. Prior to diagnosis, I had experienced the following symptoms over a six year period:  numbness in my arms, itchiness of the upper body, fatigue, loss of taste, blurred vision and very scary double vision.  After diagnosis I had some medical treatment with steroids and interferon but decided to stop this treatment due to the numerous side-effects.


Things I did:

Changed to a wholefood diet - 3 plates of vegetables, nuts and fruit per day (no additives, no alcohol, no added sugar, changed soaps for hair and body to natural ones)

  • Eliminated metal I was found to be allergic to (nickel and titanium, www.melisa.com) :

- my nickel dental bridge and root canal tooth  
- titanium dioxide  in my make-up and sunscreen (changed to www.bewellstaywell.com)
- aluminium and fluoride in the town water  (drank only pure spring water)

  • Sunbathed 20 min a day during the cooler months
  • Took supplements
  • Read web pages by others who have recovered from Multiple Sclerosis
  • Researched, researched, and researched.
  • Prayed and praying always.

One year later, the symptoms and brain lesions had gone, see image of brain scans above.  Anyone can contact me via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – thanks to Danelle, who attended the 2013 Albury Fed Up roadshow talk. You can see her full story at http://www.msdietforwomen.com/beating-ms-without-medication-is-possible

See also Factsheet on multiple sclerosis and diet with references

Started my daughter on FS on Wed and I think there are changes already but am I imagining it if it's only been 3 days? So many of the symptoms in Fed-up book are her (low muscle tone, speech/gross/fine motor delay, insomnia...) so am feeling very hopeful right now! - Christie

In our experience, the results were nearly instant. By day 2 half of DD3's symptoms had gone. We thought it was all in our heads... but now 4 wks down the road she just keeps getting better! Good luck:-) - Susie

Mine were the same for the first 4-5 days & then withdrawal symptoms kicked in, especially the sleep issues... We're on day 12, so hoping it is going to get better again soon. Good luck! P.S. speech concerns are getting continuously better! – Di

We saw results in two days. Still have steps backwards but all boys behaviour is so greatly improved we will never look back - Megsie

We saw results straight away as well we also see them immediately if he has something he is not meant to or if he goes into over load ... Good Luck - Olivia

When I took my son off gluten I noticed big improvement starting only 2-3 days later - Ginny

Lots of people see changes quickly. Withdrawals can sometimes kick in and you may start to think you got it wrong, but they do go to - Susan.

See withdrawals factsheet

Want to share - thanks to Failsafe strict elimination diet then ongoing challenges since Nov 2012 (dietitians free rural FNQmedicarelocalcare): no migraine, less anxious, less mood swings, decluttered life and home, learning how to be organised, meditate regularly = makeover. :) – Robin Qld

Just wanted to say, I am having AMAZING results with my 5 year old son!! He has gone from what I would describe as "difficult to handle at times" is now "a delightful child". It is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you so much, it brings tears to my eyes : ). Just wanted to add, school was talking about possibly expelling him about 6 weeks ago. Now he is getting good behaviour certificates! - Nadyne

Thank you for all the effort put into helping others.  I greatly appreciate what you all do, and it has changed my life and my family's life – Nicole

Was joking with my husband about feeling like a 1950’s housewife having to make everything from scratch and not having access to ‘convenience’ foods, I think he quite likes that concept…! - by email, Tas

Fantastic website, have just discovered it & can't stop telling people about it – Michelle

Sue's book has been really helpful with our 2.5 year old boy. He was developing a stutter and drawn out speech impediment, but since we have changed his diet, it seems to have rectified the situation. It is alarming to learn that this was caused by foods - Ryan by email

A comment on the excellent Failsafe community...have had lovely offer from a local lady to supply very fresh eggs for my sons baked egg challenge as well as cook us some failsafe meals when baby no. 3 arrives, and another local lady more than happy to accommodate our requests for a failsafe box of fruit and veg during her co-op market run -- Amelia by email

After 10 days of withdrawal symptoms, our son stopped his 3 years of rage and  ceased his incontinence, night pains and violence. A neighbour saw him sitting still and eating dinner and was so surprised by the calm picture that she asked if we had started training him. Ha ha...gotta love disinhibited neighbours. So thank you to you and Sue. Many many thanks – Elizabeth


On Friday 23 August the Food Intolerance Network saw its 5 millionth visitor. Over 4,000 people a day visit for independent information about the effects of food on health, behaviour and learning for adults and children.

 Thank you for providing us with all the info we need, I appreciate it so much - Sue

Wonderful support. I couldn't have done it without your help. "Thank you" just doesn't seem enough! - Sue

The power of social media! I remember finding your website some 9 years ago...it changed our lives! Thank you x - Tina

Oh my goodness - thanks to both you and Sue for your amazing work - and to everyone who so selflessly shares their knowledge and experience - esp Teresa and Tracy! - Vida

Congratulations! Fantastic outcome - Jude

Thank you for providing such a great forum for those needing advice and a place to vent their frustrations and/or happiness. Congrats! - Kim

The number of visits will escalate as more and more people become aware of the dangers of food additives ... thanks also to your roadshows and TV appearances, etc. Thank you for your tireless help and support over the years - Jenny

You are awesome. Thanks for all the support over the years - Sonia.

I was diagnosed with severe salicylate & additive reactions 20 years ago. It turned my life around.  I have been on a strict diet ever since and no longer have the fatigue, headaches, aches & pains etc  I used to experience.  Now and then I slip up and have insomnia and headaches but overall my health is much better.

I was so ill for many years, getting worse and worse with my GP inferring I was a hypochondriac. After a run around with a hormone specialist and a gastroenterologist I was finally seen by an allergy specialist. He seemed to think he couldn't help me until he put me on an elimination diet, and the result was amazing. I felt well for the first time in years.  I have complications in that I have a couple of auto immune diseases - pernicious anaemia and primary biliary cirrhosis. However if I watch my diet, take my pills and get plenty of exercise I keep well. I don't know if there's any connection between my intolerances and my diseases. I am now nearly 71 and going strong - Denise

My son has just been diagnosed with Aspergers. Just wondering if anyone has tried fs or other options for Aspergers such as pres and add free? - Kelee

Not Aspergers/FS as such but I worked with a little boy (5) who has autism and when on a FS diet he was back to all normal development until he had something not on the diet...and then he would literally be in the corner of the room banging his head on a wall and no speech at all - Tallara

My ex-husband had/has Aspergers and when I was able to limit those foods which i knew had negative effect he was a lot more emotionally and socially connected - however as an adult who refused to acknowledge the diagnosis or that FS can work he would often eat foods he was 'addicted to' (bread with 282 was his major addiction).... I honestly believe that if he reduced those foods he was able to cope a lot better – facebook member

Yes my daughter is off completely artificial chemical free, a few natural chemicals she has reacted to I have eliminated.  Nearly completely dairy free and now I'm going gluten free.  She has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's and although this is not a cure it has made amazing changes in her behaviour for the most part. Gluten apparently affects their speech and such and most cannot tolerate dairy - Haylee

Yup we are additive free, I have also found that foods such as bananas can effect his behavior. The kids themselves hate the diet! Esp if they have food aversions. It takes a good week of horrible to see the effects - Carolyn

My autistic boys have several food sensitivities. Fruit, dried fruit, salami/cured meat, 160B is a HUGE one. I avoid MSG(natural ones too). I limit the amount of bread and milk they have- Tess

My aspie son went from sitting under his desk chewing his shirt all day at school (we were told that he'd never pick up a pencil) to an A grade student thanks to fs diet / gluten and dairy free. Best thing we ever did for him - Kim

Went pres, additive, colour free, 99% failsafe, autism tendencies disappeared. Also switched to A2 milk (if can tolerate dairy)-  Kath
I did for my daughter many years ago. It worked - Margo

My son has Aspergers and is on a gluten and dairy free diet and that has helped but the biggest surprise was removing anything red - tomatoes, apples etc - Different child completely without the red. And when I say dairy free I mean all milk products are goat milk products - this diet has helped him majorly with focus and attitude in all areas - Anna

We went Full elimination for my HF Autistic 12 year old son 12 months ago and had amazing results. Teachers could not believe the difference. I only wish we had known about Failsafe when he was younger - Michelle

There are many more Aspergers stories in this collection http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/SCautismAspergers.pdf

I found it hard to start too because I went against everything I thought was "healthy" and my first fs food shop was mainly white and seemed so odd to me, but after 2 weeks of the strict elimination diet and the results are incredible xxx - Deborah

Failsafe isn't about eating healthy, it's about avoiding food chemicals that you have a low tolerance for - or a diagnostic tool of avoidance in order to identify those food chemicals. Completely different thing. You then decide how to eat healthy within those limits (and, yes, it is absolutely possible to do that) - Tracy Gaze

I found the same thing when we started (we are on about week 9 now); it's a mind shift, but the results are absolutely worth it. I am very health conscious and we are able to eat healthily within those limits easily, although I'm so looking forward to being able to expand the range of veggies, even if it's only by a few varieties!! Good luck - it's an amazing journey and I've seen tremendous benefits for myself as well, although it never crossed my mind before this that I could be food intolerant - I was just doing it strictly with my boys to support them! You just never know how many beneficial spin-off's it'll have - Senta

I don't know about the health complications all I know is that my 5 year old cannot tolerate 160b annatto at all: bed wetting, aggression, risky behaviour like running out in front of cars and just all round horrible naught behaviour of course a huge amount of food had this reaction but I have found 160b one of the worst for him (microwave popcorn oh good Lordy it's revolting the reaction) - Deborah

It’s the worst additive for my daughter, she has ADHD and this one makes her have massive, and I mean massive meltdowns! - Donna

My son would bang his head repeatedly on anything hard or prickly eg, the doormat, tiles, concrete etc. he would do this for hours. I suppose he had a headache, but at age 2 he couldn't tell me - Claire

My son also banged his head he was one - Mel

Jittery movements, anxiety, foggy head, eczema - Lynda

My eldest would get weepy and have terrible stomach cramps, would writhe around in agony screaming in pain. I didn't realise for ages that 160b in his vanilla yoghurt was the culprit. As soon as I stopped giving it to him he became a different boy - Kate

My 11 month old would bounce her head repeatedly off the tiles, she was aggressive punching walls etc smacking kids twice her size at daycare. At only 11 months old I was so scared that she had some really bad issue but cut the 160b and she is an angel - Jennifer

See story collection on 160b annatto effects

I just want to say how amazing going failsafe has been. The change in my eldest daughter is beyond anything we ever expected. To see all of our 4 children playing together with enthusiasm and smiles on their faces. Is enough to know this is right for us. Thank you everyone who posts. It’s great to read and also learn new things everyday – Kalista from facebook group

A year ago we realised the same thing! Kids playing nicely?? We had never seen it in the youngest three... now it is common for us, and our family and friends are still commenting.... isn’t it wonderful! So glad for you too! – Ries from facebook group

Congrats! We feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself – Megsie from facebook group.

After years of thinking I had a mental illness, being told I had bipolar, filling my body with hideous drugs that made my hair fall out, gave me acne and basically turned me into a zombie and got me to a point where I was totally ready to end my life, I have been totally drug free, symptom free and depression free and manic free since we started FS! I didn’t start FS for me, I was doing it for my boys! 8 months have passed and I haven't bothered to do the challenges myself, I’ve been too busy trying to sort all their issues out. Well this week, I have been testing my boys on the different types of amines. For the last 3 days we have all been eating avocados! OMG THEY ARE SO YUMMY!

I am sitting at my desk today, I feel so horrible. I’m crying at everything, it feels like the world is caving in on me, I feel like nothing is right, I’m anxious, frustrated, angry, sad, ....... Oh that’s right, according to Drs I have BIPOLAR! quick take some drugs!

NOTE TO SELF! STOP EATING AVOCADOS! and remember this horrible feeling will pass as soon as this food is out of my system! – facebook group member.

I will forever be grateful for all the hard work that has been put into devising this program.

One of my 4 kids was just hard hard work, behaviourally I found it so hard to parent this child he had this "haze" that just made it a daily struggle that affected all of us the older kids would be so embarrassed with some of the things my Billy would do and he was dangerous running in front of cars and would chase the school bus everyday, I ended up not taking him anywhere as the looks and comments from people were soul destroying.

We have been FS for 4 weeks and I saw a quick change in this child and he is amazing!!!!! we have spent the school holidays out doing things, restaurants, movies, parks and shopping, I managed to take him food shopping which I would normally avoid like the plague and he was perfect he just held the trolley and walked the isles chatting!!!! He is the most caring, helpful and funny little guy I know and the bed wetting, terrors and restless legs have gone too I just can't believe what a totally different child I have.

I have tears in my eyes thinking about all the times I would just sit and cry because I didn't know what to do and had resolved myself to the fact that I was just a crappy parent, I now feel so very blessed to have to answers so thank you so very much xxxxxx - Deborah by email

I hope no one has a hideous experience like this! My husband was texting me all day from work about how unhappy our marriage was, that he wants to leave and that we've had a good run and should end it now. After not telling the kids that night he was going to leave (as messaged to me that day) and a big sob alone that evening he woke the next day to say he didn't feel like that at all, thought his messages were 'weird' when he re-read them and didn't know why he said all of that. I pointed out to him that his intake of steak, shop yiros and $25 worth of beef jerky sheets in the 48hrs before Monday probably had something to do with it! He thinks so too (amines and / or nasty numbers) He usually watches what he eats but I think he was unprepared for this one! – facebook member 1.

I know I respond very badly to amines in a similar way to your husband. I get very angry and have also talked about ending our marriage during a reaction. It's like I'm possessed, now I know and understand I'm able to bite my tongue and punch a pillow or two but the fights we've had prior to realising the effects were horrid. Thankfully we've made it through – facebook member 2.

I am ashamed to say this is me on chocolate= amines. I am happy to admit this only so you know you are not alone, that my beautiful gorgeous husband suffers as you do. His way is to hear the words that are usually underneath all the rubbish. Most of what comes out those days is what is true for me, but under the surface and never mentioned except those days, so he listens and deals with those things, which is honouring.. .but I am a chick, so that may not be the case for your husband. The guilt and the pain I feel when after a few days when it is all gone is unbearable so I try to stay away if we have eaten chocolate etc. I am learning to understand the difference between real issues and these amine feelings which seem so real! – facebook member 3.

Thanks all for sharing these effects. I recently had a similar experience, having had a very high salicylate meal and wine, thought I'd got away with it, but three days later hit the withdrawal symptoms and had the bloodiest row which really quite frightened me. These are dangerous chemicals! – facebook member 4 (male)

I have been trying to identify this cursed rash for years and your website I believe has finally helped. I prepared fresh chicken soup yesterday using raw chicken and fresh vegetables, however I added three packets of Campbell’s soup to enhance the flavour. Within 30 mins I had the type of reaction shown in the photo attached. Surprise, surprise when I looked at what the packet contained it had 635 and 621 additives. I looked them up on your website and sure enough the symptoms matched. Interestingly the web site mentions that the body’s reaction is not like a real allergy and that bears out from the blood test I had which showed during my reaction the IGE antibody concentration in my blood was within its normal range. This had the doctors scratching their heads.

I have worked away for many years and get reactions generally away from home. This was because I was eating at restaurants and had no control over what went into my food. You can use these photos of me as an example of the chronic reactions you can get to these additives. This was a great web site after having gone to many doctors who were clueless. Some of these reactions can be quite dangerous and worrying when you don’t know what causes it. Now I think at long last I am on it – David from WA.

riborash03     riborash04

See ribo-rash factsheet

See collection of many similar stories

I just wanted to let you know I tried an Olive Leaf Extract (Tree of Health brand) that contains potassium sorbate (preservative E 202) .  I experienced migraines and mood disturbance.  I am sensitive to glutamates, but wasn't aware of any sensitivity to sorbates.  I have tried other brands of Olive Leaf Extract which I have not had a problem with.  I do not have a known salicylate sensitivity. - by email

I was sent with my eldest son to the sleep clinic at Tresillian in Sydney (from Canberra 16 years ago) where they fed him bread, tomatoes and vegemite of the first time in his life. Of course, he got worse!!!

He went down to 4 x 15 minute cat naps in 24 hours and they told me he was just stubborn/difficult and to stay the course. After 8 months of persisting with 'controlled crying', I gave up (thank god!) It was only when I found RPAH that he got any peace. 4 month old babies aren't stubborn or difficult - they react entirely to environmental and dietary input.

The child health clinics need to provide this avenue of info – Sheryl by email.

I came across your web site when I was trying to find out if potassium sorbate could cause sleep disturbances. My sister aged 61 was awake for about three hours and kept repeating the words "I'm terrified" and I believe it was from the potassium sorbate that was in the sweet cider we were using to make her fruit smoothies. She had no headaches for several days, then had one on Saturday. I asked the Aide if she did anything different and she mentioned the cider. I checked the label and saw the preservative. Then that same night my sister was awake with the night terrors. I had also noticed a slight rash on her face and found that the preservative can cause rashes also. I poured all that cider away and bought some that has no preservatives and she slept good for me the last two nights. - Leanda, US, by email

See also [797] 202: Behaviour and night terror induced by potassium sorbate (202) in Panamax (June 2009)


I've had nosebleeds from milk since I was a kid; I was raised on powdered and skim milk because of my intolerance. In college I got to experiment (not of my choosing - they didn't have skim milk at the cafeteria); a couple of glasses of full fat milk one a day were tolerable, but any more than that and the nose bleeds started; I could go maybe a week on 2% milk. I don't have any of the normal symptoms of lactose intolerance, and cheese has always been a favorite food and no problem at all. I've never found a good explanation for it, but I can say 100% that fatty milk is the single variable that causes my nose bleeds - Les, USA.



My husband is very intelligent, sensitive and kind. But for years he has had excessive sexual drive. And when I say excessive I mean excessive. Such as mental pictures of naked women haunting him for hours. I won't get into all the disgusting details (because they ARE disgusting), but our marriage was really in danger, although in every other aspect we get along beautifully. Throughout the years he invested large amounts of money / time / energy in trying to get this under control through psychological treatments etc. However, the change (if any) was disappointingly minor (10% possibly). He was seriously thinking of leaving the love of his life (me) just to find someone who would be willing to have sex twice a day with him... Out of desperation, I suggested he try the same diet our three kids were doing. What could we lose? Maybe the cause would be discovered to be physical rather than mental. On day 6 of Failsafe he had the most severe "attack" ever. We were both sure "the diet was not working" (although we knew very well what may happen on day 5 or so) and I was getting truly hopeless. This was the most severe "attack" he's had for 15 years, and he was more determined on leaving me than ever (about 3 or 4 times as determined as through any other attack - just imagine what I felt...). Luckily, and I don't know where I got the strength, we managed to decide to persevere with the diet for 3 weeks before he makes a final decision. After 24 hours of being in this unbearable condition, he suddenly said "I have a feeling everything will be ok". He kept saying that same sentence every day for 3 days, without really explaining much. Then on day 10 or so he told me his obsession had totally subsided. 90% gone. He became a normal 35 year old man. Now we're on day 25 or so (I'll have to check) and life is beautiful!!! - by email

See also story [1204] on a similar theme

Can you explain to me why we don’t get sick when on failsafe? Something to do with improving your immune system? I practically gloat when everyone around me moans about their colds and flus they have all the time as I don’t get them anymore!! What a relief to not have infections from colds every year now! - Rosemaree (failsafe 8 years), by email

Comment from Sue: see our answer to this very interesting question -

A. It is common for failsafers to report that they no longer suffer frequent colds, flu and recurrent infections once they are established on failsafe eating (e.g. see stories [874] and [848]) - and yes, there is scientific evidence. Studies have shown that certain artificial colours and preservatives act as immunosuppressants, that is, they can actually suppress the immune system, making us more likely to suffer from recurrent infections. This has been shown in the laboratory by Greek researchers with artificial colours tartrazine (102) and amaranth (123) using small doses normally considered to be nontoxic, and by Brazilian researchers with propionic acid which is part of the group that includes bread preservative 282. As well, a US study with beagle dogs showed they were more susceptible to fatal viruses when fed indigotine (132). Failsafers who are salicylate-sensitive know that although we are constantly told to eat fruit to build up our immunity, for us, it works the opposite way. We are better off eating failsafe vegetables such as cabbage as described in the Myths of Fruit.

Scientific references

Koutsogeorgopoulou L and others Immunological aspects of the common food colorants, amaranth and tartrazine.Vet Hum Toxicol. 1998;40(1):1-4.

Wajner M and others Inhibition of mitogen-activated proliferation of human peripheral lymphocytes in vitro by propionic acid.Clin Sci (Lond). 1999;96(1):99-103.

Hansen WH and others Chronic toxicity of two food colors, brilliant blue FCF and indigotine, Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1966;8(1):29-36.

From http://fedup.com.au/information/frequently-asked-questions/diet-questions#sensitive2

I have three kids - a 9.5 month daughter and nearly 7 year old twins (a son and daughter). My youngest is allergic or intolerant to a LOT of things. She is suspected of having Eosinophilic Oesophagitis, which precludes her (and myself as I breastfeed her) from wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts and seafood - plus on top of those allergens, her food intolerance list is a mile long. The only way I have managed to work out what has been troublesome to her is via Fed Up/the support network you have, and working with my dietitian. Our daughter has gone from a screaming, projectile vomiting baby who was borderline failing to thrive, to a generally happy, growing, cheeky little baby who is already starting to talk and nearly walking.

While learning what being FAILSAFE was about, I suspected that maybe we could help our son's impulsive/unsettled/inattentive behaviour, maybe even his bedwetting by looking further into diet. Well, we are only approximately 6 weeks into being fully failsafe and early in the challenges stage, after having removed additives and reduced a lot of them during Term 2, yet his teacher already has noticed the change in him when he is at baseline compared to the challenges. It has improved his confidence and so much more.

In the last 6 months can very confidently say that Fed Up/your network has directly changed my family's life, and many others around me as a result of my experience - Kristan by email.


I have coeliac disease, a thyroid problem, IBS, fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance and definitely can only tolerate small amounts of amines, salicylates and glutamates. I was born with many food problems and we are discovering more within our family as we trace back. All my children are affected one way or another. I am 46 and have been through quite a lot, experienced numerous (13) miscarriages prior to learning about my food intolerances. In fact Doctors still outrule this link however myself I feel as I was undiagnosed with the food intolerances then, it was a definite link! - Kim, by email

(Comment from Sue: It is well known - in medical journals - that coeliac disease can be associated with infertility and reproductive health including delayed puberty, early menopause, absence of menstrual periods during normal reproductive years, infertility, recurrent miscarriages and intrauterine growth restriction. See scientific reference below and more on our Women's Health Factsheet

Soni S, Badawy SZ.Celiac disease and its effect on human reproduction: a review. J Reprod Med. 2010;55(1-2):3-8.

Abstract: Celiac disease is an intestinal inflammatory disease that is triggered by gluten in the diet. Patients present with a wide array of symptoms due to malabsorption that include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and weight loss. In women, this disease may have implications on menstrual and reproductive health. The symptom complex includes delayed menarche, early menopause, secondary amenorrhea, infertility, recurrent miscarriages and intrauterine growth restriction. These women benefit from early diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, celiac disease should be considered and screening tests performed on women presenting with menstrual and reproductive problems and treated accordingly. The objective of this article is to review the current literature on celiac disease and its association with the above-mentioned disorders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20337200)

Thank you for your web page, it has been a glowing light in a dark room – Judith

Totally unprompted our 4 year old said this about "testing the foods on his red list" (salicylate challenge) "they make me feel angry!" - think we will stop the challenge there then :) We had not explained to our son we were doing the elimination diet for his behaviour, he thought it was so he didn't get tummy ache as he knows cheese and chocolate give him a headache and make him sick, so I was astounded when he came out with that! – Kate

My 3 year old son suffered badly from 'toddler diarrhoea' and after paying a fortune on a medical run-around, I fortunately found this diet which has transformed our lives. I am truly grateful – Selena

My second son had IBS all his life, we started FS in Feb and amines were found to be the problem! 4 days on FS and his IBS disappeared; 24 hours on amine challenge and he was screaming in pain! - Tanja

The incredibly positive feedback I am getting from parents is what keeps me handing out your brochures – speech pathologist

It is so good to finally have answers to things that have been plaguing me for years and to be able to help my 2 year old daughter so she doesn't have to suffer any longer – Ruth

Please thank Sue for the life-changing work she does, for sharing your family’s struggle to inspire other families and for the support and education the website provides. It has certainly opened my eyes and helped me to point other parents in the right direction. I can’t believe that western medicos are still not being educated or considering the impact of food on our health - Natalie (www.sleepandsettle.com.au)

The website that you and your wife have created is a wonderful resource for people like me who are struggling to make sense of which foods they can eat and those they cannot. It has been a long arduous journey but l sense that the end is in sight. It is a wonderful feeling - almost of freedom – Cathy by email.

Thank you for your amine and salicylate information sheets. I am working with a dietician who is fantastic however I feel better being armed with as much information as possible. I find all of your information so very helpful to support the RPAH diet for myself and my two children aged 4 & 14 months. - Jennah, by email

Took our own failsafe treats to a wedding that had a lolly bar... My son was by far the best behaved child there ;) - Emma

I was diagnosed with IBS about 2 years ago and told to follow the FODMAP diet to reduce symptoms. The last few months my symptoms flared right up again and so I dragged myself back to the doctors and a dietician and I have now been told I have to cut out salicylates and amines (at least initially) as that is likely to be my problem. After one week on the elimination diet I have noticed a huge improvement, apart from the fact I am missing all my usual fare like spinach, coconut, berries, tomato and the list goes on! I am so grateful though for the relief, I actually feel normal again. Thanks! – Lisa

(see also FAQs http://fedup.com.au/information/frequently-asked-questions/diet-questions#fodmap and http://fedup.com.au/information/frequently-asked-questions/diet-questions#fodmap2)

I have been going along quite well on a fairly strict version of failsafe eating and was feeling pretty confident in my body - which made for a nice change. Last year I even felt confident enough to plan a 6 month trip around Australia with my husband - just considering that as a possibility was a big step for me! So I was thrilled to be able to make it happen. I learnt a lot about living out of a van and cooking and shopping on the road. As our trip was for quite a long time there were a few things that we did in preparation which I felt really helped us with our food planning:

  • We bought a Webber Q BBQ - I knew I would need something which works as an oven so that I could cook roasts for lunch meat, and also for doing baking. After doing some research we felt the Webber Q was the best option for us.
  • We had a rough itinerary so I used that to look up the Coles, Woolworths & IGA websites to get addresses for their stores in each of these towns. This helped me plan on how much I would need to stock up on certain things. I have to avoid gluten so access to GF pasta, rice flour etc was a bit more of an issue for me than it would be for people who can tolerate gluten.
  • We learnt to allow one day every couple of weeks for doing a big cook up of roast meat (for lunch meat) and cakes etc for freezing. This also gave us time to do a shop and do laundry too. We really needed this day just to catch up on things.
  • We did a couple of practice trips before we left - this helped us fine tune things in terms of utensils and groceries that we needed.

One thing which was almost impossible to find in many towns was a source of really "fresh" meat as most butchers only seemed to stock cryovacced meat.

We had a fantastic 6 months - it went so quickly. I hope these hints can help other failsafers to achieve their dream holiday. - Jodie, by email

Husband is gobsmacked! 3 days into failsafe and 10 yr old with oppositional defiance is an angel! Best behaved of all 6 boys!!!!! Too hard to do elimination with 50% custody so have done the maximum changes I can. He's converted to fs bread sambos with nuttelex and golden syrup. All boys are happy with dinners and lunch boxes. We may never know what his intolerances are but even hubby agrees we can live with feeding the boys this way. (We eat later) soo happy WOOHOO!!! Going to start keeping a food and behaviour diary to give to ex wife (most likely to ignore but you never know!!!) – grateful husband, by email

A lovely lady directed me here. I am desperate really. To the point of waiting for a paeds appointment in Sept so they can put my lovely 7.5yr old son on Ritalin. I'm not anti-ritalin but I want to know that I have tried EVERYTHING first before we get to that point. His behaviour is really bad at school and he just isn't coping with life. I am really hoping that a change in diet can go some way to help him control his behaviour – Sarah

Please, please try this diet first before meds. My 7yo teacher thought I had put him on meds within 2 weeks of diet. Not easy, but worth it for no meds - Jenni

I don't do failsafe but cut out additives ie preservatives, colours and flavours, as a way of managing my daughter asthma. When I did it I noticed a great change in my son’s behaviour, he's in kindergarten this year and doing really well, with the occasional down days (usually my fault for slipping with food). So good luck, I noticed results far quicker for my daughter’s asthma, but it did work for sons behaviour, tied in with me trying to be more calm and consistent with managing behaviour. He doesn't have ADD or anything, was just really loud and impulsive, I couldn't manage his behaviour all the time which was frustrating and he's even noticed he feels better. Good luck, well worth a try - Kate

I agree Jenni. Nothing to lose trying, 2 weeks is what it took to rid my daughter of a 6 month long cough, I think it took so long to see results with son because preschool 2 days a week were feeding him anything. Once he left results were far better. My daughter’s preschool are fantastic at modifying my daughters diet to suit her needs, no probs there - Kate

At our house, the diet means the difference between absolute madness, and a lovely, calm, inspiring life! Well worth trying, and although it's hard initially and although the process overall may take a little while, you are likely to see results quickly. Amongst many other benefits, my own fibromyalgia pains disappeared inside a week (wheat and dairy in my case)... I was furious that nobody had mentioned it to me before :0) – Susanne

This is definitely worth a try Sarah Definitely!! - Sonia

Sarah I think it's awesome your trying this first. As a psych student and previous carer I question meds. The impact it has is devastating. I finally have a child carer at school who agrees in the difference in my son’s behaviour on diet. I wouldn't consider my son anywhere need ADHD etc but the difference b/w diet and off diet is VERY different that this carer (as teachers are oblivious) now says “what have you added this week?” - Julie

Good luck Sarah, my son has ADHD and was prescribed 2x 10mg Ritalin daily. His teacher last year wanted us to increase the dose. We pulled in our failsafe reins, and although we're not as strict as we could be, he is now on 1x 10mg Ritalin daily and it's JUST enough to help him through school – another Sarah

It's worth a try. My 4 year old was a right little monster, almost ODD. I have taken out colours, preservatives and flavours haven't done the whole fs diet but this has worked wonders. He can concentrate now flow directions his per prep teachers have seen a massive improvement. We can also tell when he had had something that he shouldn't. Give it a go it is worth a try - Tracey

Thank you so so much for your encouragement xx - Sarah

Do It!!! I had a terrible prep year did the elimination and turns out she is intolerant to colours and sals. It was literally Jekyll and Hyde with her now we have calm and peace and sometimes she starts to slip and we pull the reins up on the sals , absolutely amazing the difference in food can make - def worth doing! My only regret is that I lost 6 yrs living with her like that and that the behavior specialist never mentioned food I had to think of that myself – Michelle

So true. We loosely follow this diet too. Behaviour was crazytown then we went on the very strict elimination diet and i did notice a big change. As my son has gotten older we have gone down the ritalin path but I’m convinced that diet is related. Do ALL U CAN. I don’t believe 1 thing works- it’s a combination of love, support, diet, routines, boundaries and sometimes medication. oh and a good paed! - Narrissa

I find it strange that no health professionals ever mention diet as a way of managing issues. You'll need the encouragement Sarah, it's a daunting thing to start, but 12 months down the track you'll wonder what all the fuss is about. My main issue ATM is the canteen at school. For some reason having mum put a fun thing in your lunch box is not as fun as getting it yourself at the canteen. But you'll find what works for you and learn some new negotiating skills along the way - Kate

I know!!! I got my DD was explosive and suggested books to read which we're nothing more than ways to tip toe around her - not one mention from anyone about food until I had the light bulb moment and googled "food child behavior " and my whole life changed… Oh and the canteen why oh why do they make lemonade slushies blue it's so unnecessary it's infuriating - Michelle

Thankfully my son’s canteens don't do slushies, I'd never hear the end of it! The canteen guidelines in NSW (red amber and green) are a joke, the kids only buy the amber foods, which in large amounts is ridiculous and almost everything in my sons canteen is classified as green or amber but are loaded with additives - Kate

I'm from the UK but live in Oz. I find the guidelines here for kids food MINDBLOWING! - Sarah

We have red amber green too but only red on Fridays she can't have anything without backlash. I found a microwave travel bowl that I heat last night’s tea in and send it with an extra hot heat pack to keep it warm I thought we were far more educated than what's available on the canteen list grrrr - Michelle

We tried fail safe with my 6yr old wasn’t working after a week of gluten free wow new child - Bec

Good luck, it’s challenging at first but so amazing when you see the results a few weeks later. We've been doing it for nearly 3 years, it becomes a way of life - Nora

Oh lovely, it's saved us, and it sounds like you are where we were. Welcome. You won't regret it xx – Susan

My 5.5 year old still wets the bed (and has anger issues and self control problems etc) so we are setting up to start the diet. But could I expect the possibility of him stopping wetting the bed in the process. Is that normal thing to expect? - Bree (Later: diet was not enough, as Bree said “we have a bed wetting alarm but he is too immature to use it, he undoes it and pulls his pants down”)

Within a week, my little one stopped bedwetting and stopped having night terrors. For years, both would only happen as part of a reaction. It can happen - Tracy

I don't know when he stopped because I wasn't expecting it, but I just figured he would grow out of it when he was ready, wasn't expecting diet to affect it. I should also add that when we challenge him or re-introduce sals the bed wetting at night starts again - Selina

My daughter was just short of 4 when we started failsafe and stopped wetting the bed within 2 days. Only time she wets it now is when she has amines or preservatives in high doses - Danielle

So for bed wetting it is all or nothing. I am just doing low sals at the moment so is it unlikely I will see a change until I go all out? - Bree

If sals is the only thing your child reacts to it may work....but if there is other reactions then maybe not....or it may not be the food at all. Good luck! - Danielle

My son started bed wetting when we went failsafe because he was sleeping too well. It only lasted a few weeks. Something to think about?? - Eilis

I am still learning about failsafe and there is a lot to learn. Could someone explain how the food affects the children to wet the bed. Is it because they constantly wake during the night due to being restless? Thanks in advance - Melody

For us Melody it just seemed to go hand in hand with poor sleep, restless, unsettled behaviours day and night. But not sure why really. My daughter stopped wetting the bed and slept through the night for the first time ever when we started failsafe, so we just assumed it was diet related!? And when she eats the wrong things the restlessness, night wakings and bed wetting comes back. I wonder if it has anything to do with muscle tension or control or something? Have never thought about it. Great question! - Danielle

Our son stopped at aged 8 in the first two weeks of full elimination, and it was a clear sign for sals, and preservatives for us when challenging, he also had bowel control issues with these as well (the sneaky poo's) our son slept through deeply before failsafe, but now seems an easier waker, as he can tell us about what goes on after bed, but has remained dry on failsafe, so no that theory might not work either - Ries

Two of mine stopped wetting when we started FS. This weekend was a non failsafe weekend as they were at their Dads. Woke up this morning, one wet bed! - Tanja

See more at http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/bedwetting

I'd be really interested to hear people's experience with withdrawals in relation to behaviour, eg timing of it, how long it latest etc. also, if a high chem food is eaten in error, does it take weeks to get back to baseline again? Thanks – Rebecca

My son’s withdrawals initially were day 5-7 then again at the end of week 2. Depending on the slipup it reactions can last a week, especially if there's a few slipups together - Vanessa

I find it's bad for about four days, then day 4 or 5 is a revelation, amazingly good (I think I had one of those yesterday). Then a bit up and down til day 10, Day 10 can be a bit rough, and another revelation from then on, and even better after 3 weeks. Mind you I've read some things - like milk, for dairy responders, can take months to leave the system completely - Lynette

My son took 2 weeks and then he was so much happier and healthier. However I rang the dietitian at the end of week 1 telling her that his behaviour was terrible, but then we made it past the withdrawals and it was worth it - Kerri-Ann

I found that with the salicylates challenge my eldest daughter took reacted within about 2 days and then it took a week to get back on track, but when we did the amine challenge it took at least a week for her behaviour to change and at least 3 weeks to get her back on track with the FS diet – Bronnie

see more at http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/withdrawal-symptoms

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