I've watched your fantastic DVD three times since receiving it. It has made me go back to the drawing board, I think I missed salicylates earlier. You might want to reconsider the title "Fed up with Children's behaviour", it is not just about children I feel, and it is not just about behaviour either. It goes much further. Many people who are not concerned about children's behaviour could still benefit in a big way from the DVD. - Peter, Adelaide

My in-laws have recently moved in with us while waiting for a nursing home. We have been failsafe for years and I have noticed a trend, that whenever my mother in law eats artificial colours and flavours in something like a finger bun with pink icing, or the cheap and nasty cream biscuits, she becomes very oppositional ... more so than usual.

My father in law does not and won't accept the role food plays in our life, and he is the one who buys the rubbish. For our own sanity, we will just have to hide it, then throw it out. I can now understand what living with a child with ODD must be like. I am sure she would have loved to hit me the other day!!!!!!

Given that in nursing homes, a lot of the food has artificial colourings, (e.g. jelly and custard etc), I was wondering if any research has been done on the effect of food AFTER dementia has set in. There are plenty of websites that tell you how to AVOID dementia , but it is too late for that.

So far we have noticed greater oppositional defiance after the ingestion of food that has additives e.g. Farmland Cream biscuits - the two occasions she had ONE, there was a reaction later that day.

Yesterday I think there was also a reaction to salicylates (some tomato sauce she was given at lunch time). Her husband makes most decisions for her ... and I was at work. During the afternoon she tried to put her used control pants down the toilet, rather than in the nappy bucket ... but she was aware she had done something wrong ... it was the first time she had done that. I will try and keep a food diary from now on, although I am not in control of what she eats while I am at work.

Ten days later: I kept a food diary and limited the types of food that my mother-in-law had over the previous week. Then at the weekend she had an iced donut (with artificial colours and probably other additives) on the Saturday and Sunday. The upshot is that last week was TERRIBLE ... she was introspective, restless, agitated, didn't do what was asked ... and ultimately she had a fall. She is now very depressed. There is no way we will give her a donut again! Cheryl, by email

Do salicylates have the same effect on adults as they do on children? When my grandson eats salicylates in fruit he is irritable and has a vile temper. The doctor says my husband should take an aspirin every day for his heart but since he started he has become grumpy and forgetful. We've been married for more than 50 years but the way he is now, I don't want to live with him any more. - Gail, NT (Yes, salicylates can have the same effect on adults. For salicylate sensitive seniors who need blood-thinning medication, clopidogrel is a suitable alternative. For those wanting to try the RPAH elimination diet, discuss this with your doctor first , see p115 RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook – S)

The Sunshine Coast is a strawberry-growing area. My visiting daughter gave me a blender for Xmas and bought me daily supplies of bananas and strawberries. I was consuming half a punnet a day. After several days I was struck by severe gout, and it was excruciating, making walking from the car to the doctor almost impossible. Several passersby stopped to ask me if I had gout, and laughed at my affirmative saying "You've been into the strawberries, haven't you?"

Astonished, I told the doctor, who clearly was not impressed and prescribed some pills. I ignored the pills and simply gave up the strawberries. Instant cure. Testing the thesis , a few weeks later I tried some strawberries and the next day I had gout in, of all places, my left thumb. Just thought this experience might confirm for you your own conclusions (See gout and salicylates http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/arthritis-joint-pain-and-diet) - Tony, Qld

My irritable bowel symptoms are normally well controlled by a low salicylate diet but five months ago I had travellers diarrhoea that I just couldn't seem to get over. During a course of VSL#3 (which is very expensive!) my symptoms worsened so much that I ended up gluten free as well as strictly failsafe. A pharmacist recommended Naturopathica GastroHealth4 because "we stock this for a regular customer who says 'this brand really works'". After two courses of GH4 I have improved so much I am now able to tolerate gluten again including wholemeal bread and pasta that previously would have been unthinkable for me, can tolerate some moderate salicylates and I no longer need to take probiotics. - Sue by email.

See more including 3 scientific references at http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/probiotics

My blood pressure started to rise about three years ago after a trip to China. Obviously MSG, I would think. I was put on medication and have been OK ever since. Then 5 months ago a naturopath suggested I take kefir for my irritable bowel. In the last few months, I have had alarming changes in my body. I almost fainted after a formal meal and when they took me to the emergency department, my pulse was only 45 and the blood pressure was extremely high 190/90 so they kept me in overnight for observation but nothing sinister showed up.

Over the last month, my blood pressure has been all over the place. Sometimes good and at other times, dangerously high. Last Saturday, it was 198/102 – pulse 50. I tried to think what it could be and worked out it must be kefir. The kefir I'm consuming now is very different from what I started with 5 months ago. Originally, I only had 3 small grains and the kefir was quite sweet and runny but in the last month, with the hot weather, the grains have grown large. I now have a cup of grains and the kefir is quite sour and very thick. Obviously, very high in amines.

I stopped the kefir after the 198/102 episode on Saturday and my blood pressure today (Monday) is perfect – 125/70 pulse 61. I thought I would see if it made a difference and it sure did. I don't want to go completely off the kefir because I know how much good it was doing for me – my tummy is so much better. After talking to you, I will go back on it but with a much modified regime – just 3 small grains which I had originally and make sure it is sweet and runny, not thick and sour. And I am going to take my blood pressure every day. Blood pressure affects so many people and there is very little info out there apart from drug info. I think you are amazing and I admire what you do tremendously. Thank you to both you and Howard. Thank you is not the right word – what you are doing is truly life saving!! - Lorraine, by email

'Too ugly to contemplate' - that was the heading in the news edition email from Crikey.com.au I have just received. I immediately thought it was a news story about someone like me. It fits the way I am feeling perfectly. But of course it wasn't.

And then I had the idea to write about the way I'm feeling. To document this: even though I feel so awful I'd rather just curl up in bed and disappear. I've started writing a work related blog recently and I have received some enjoyment from it, and so I thought I'd try writing about this experience tonight as a way to detach, to get my head out of this space. I have enough wherewithal (and experience) to understand that what I'm going through at the moment is a direct result of the lunch I have eaten. But knowing that doesn't stop me feeling suicidal, it just stops me from legitimising my thoughts as valid, from spending time listing all the reasons why my life isn't worth living, as I once used to do.

I have spent many years experiencing episodes like this and it occurs to me, after "RUOK" day this week, that I haven't seen any information about this particular trigger. I haven't read much about how some people can become profoundly depressed by the foods they have eaten.

I don't want to say which foods set me off, but suffice it to say it's been a long journey to figure it out. I've avoided these types of foods for a while but today was a farewell lunch for a colleague and I wanted to join in with everyone. It was a new restaurant, and I hoped it would be OK.

Within thirty minutes I had the first symptom, which was a dense fogginess in my brain, as though I was barely there, like a zombie, and then I felt a slight head pressure, almost a headache. I knew I was having a reaction to the food but I didn't yet know how bad it was going to be. I haven't had a strong reaction for years. And then two hours later I had the first "what's the point of living, I have absolutely nothing to live for" moment. Within another hour or two rolling fits of blackness came over me; the deep and utter despair, overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and irrelevance and unimportance. I know this will take 36-48 hours to clear my system. I'm glad I don't have much on this weekend.

As I said I have spent many years having episodes like this, through most of my teenage years (if not earlier) and much of my twenties. It was only in my thirties that I heard about food intolerance, as opposed to food allergies, and I tried the elimination diet. I have found that certain chemical numbers and a couple of relatively common food items have a severe negative effect on my mood. There are also other ingredients that affect me which I haven't identified yet, but I know they are in certain sauces so I avoid them just in case. Somehow I have very low motivation to isolate the ingredients to determine which particular chemical is making me feel like I am nothing but a useless, pointless energy sucking black hole on the planet!

I sometimes talk to people about my food sensitivities, and while most people are polite, their response is often one of disbelief. The people who nod vigorously are usually sufferers themselves or they have gone through the process with their children, seeing how they respond to certain foods. It's harder for people who take more than a couple of hours to react to make the link to a certain food ­ for some people it can take days for the symptoms to show, or there are no symptoms until a certain threshold is reached (a little is OK, a lot is not).

There's not any where near enough research done on this.

There is increasing recognition that asthma and eczema are linked to food intolerance/sensitivity, as well as several studies showing that certain foods (particularly additives) can cause hyperactivity, but I have yet to see much research done in terms of foods and links to mood, especially depression. As for me, I'm obviously totally convinced, and I figure if I exist there will be others who have similar food sensitivities, so I thought I'd write about it. I am also allergic to some foods and I have very sensitive skin, so I know there's something about my chemical makeup that makes me sensitive to the world I'm living in.

In general, we know so little about how our bodies react to the world we are living in, and the changes in our food and broader environment have been dramatic in the last few decades. If you suspect this might be relevant for you, I should warn you there is no quick test. Determining your/your children's sensitivities is a long and thorough process but the benefits when everything is sorted are incalculable. – Jude by email

After going to Sue's talk I have read the Fed Up books and cut out salicylates and glutamates mainly. My headaches have almost disappeared in a week! (I have had a constant headache/migraine basically all year!). I have also had loud ringing in my ears, pressure in my head, pins and needles down my arms and hands, fatigue, foggy brain all symptoms are improving. It's amazing!!

I am definitely feeling a lot better avoiding salicylates (mainly all fruits (except pears) & tomatoes at the moment), amines as much as possible (no supermarket meat and careful choices at the butcher), wine, glutamates (making my own stock instead of using "Campbell's Real stock" (which I thought was ok, I didn't realise yeast extract was bad!) and not using any soy sauces etc). Every time I slip up and have something I shouldn't, I get a headache within 12 – 48 hours later. It's quite easy now to trace it back to something I've eaten, which is a good thing as I had no idea what was causing the headaches, foggy head, and ringing in my ears a few weeks ago. I haven't had any pins and needles in my hands now since eating 'failsafe'.

I have also decided to go 'gluten free'. I have suspected for many years that I could be a little gluten intolerant and avoided eating bread mainly. However, I have noticed that lately oats have been upsetting me too! The gluten free muesli, muesli bars and other recipes in the book are fantastic!

My family are really enjoying all the different recipes that I have been trying and don't seem to be missing tomato based sauces (which we had quite often). We haven't come across a failure yet! I love cooking and trying new ideas. We very rarely have take-away food or packaged, highly processed foods so eating 'failsafe' hasn't been a huge, radical change for us. - Jenny (Melbourne) by email

It's been about 6 weeks now that we've had our son eating failsafe. In fact, the whole family to different degrees. Our soon to be 5 yo son was diagnosed with Conduct Disorder over a year ago, however the behavioural problems have existed for two years - hitting/kicking/swearing/yelling/pushing etc. Considerably violent and unpredictable outbursts. We've been to see all kinds of people, Paediatrician, Psychologist, the Children's Developmental Service, more recently a Psychotherapist. All this has cost us a fortune and made some difference, although not significant and not consistent.

This last weekend has been one of the best we've had in two years, we have our beautiful, kind and gentle son back. The change is significant. At his kindy, ALL the staff have noticed, not just his own teachers. If only we had looked more closely at his diet two years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you - Megan by email.

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

Here are some of my hints to get blokes involved:

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

- from the 2012 Roadshow

We were at the theatre the other night and as usual I was hungry! I decided to go with the white magnum as I know I react to amines and thought this would be the safest bet of what was on offer. The next morning I woke up with an almighty migraine. I had the wrapper in my bag and a quick check of the ingredients and a check on your website and now I have learnt I have another additive I need to avoid - 160b. Thank you so much for all of your fantastic work - it is a somewhat tedious journey ploughing through the challenges but well worth it. I am very grateful for the amazing resource you have provided. – Dawn, NZ

My daughter is nearly 5 years old. When we did the elimination diet we found that she reacts to the bread preservative, some other preservatives and MSG. Her reactions to the bread preservative range from temper tantrums to very moody pre-diet behaviour. This includes hitting and annoying her brother and sister if they are trying to do homework or just generally whingy and very demanding behaviour and refusing to do as requested. At night, she wakes up from 1 to 5 times per night and walks the house. When we put her back on to preservative-free bread her behaviour changed back to good behaviour within 3 or 4 days. - Moya, Qld

I have been suffering from various IBS-like symptoms for several years and have finally decided to do something about it. A couple of months ago I went to see a dietitian and following her advice tried a FODMAP elimination diet for a month. Although there was improvement in some areas there was a decline in others. I became VERY forgetful and suffered stomach cramps when eating what turned out to be foods high in salicylates. - Sharon

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

I have been wondering how many other unhappy, 'hormonal' teenagers there are out there who might be helped by the diet. Amines (and might also be salicylates) really affect my 14 year old's mental health and on the diet she is so much happier.

My daughter has always been a very anxious child and teenager. In recent years she has been a glass-half-empty girl, where any outing or party was 'okay' but there was always a negative slant on it. She was always too uptight to sleep in and would have sessions where she would cry for no reason, which I put down to hormones. Essentially, she is a lovely, loving child and we are very close, but she was wearing me out.

Since the diet, she and her sister have barely exchanged a cross word, she takes life in her stride and comes home positive about her experiences. She has a busy sporting schedule but rather than complaining about getting up early and being tired, she gets on with it and has improved greatly since the diet. She sleeps in on the mornings she doesn't go to training, trusting that I will wake her in time to go to school. She will never be a super-confident girl and she still has occasional times of grumpiness, but she is now a happy child. The funny thing is that she couldn't see the change in herself, even though it was so obvious to my older daughter and me. But she did see the effect when she once ate some rubbish they created in Food Tech at school (chocolate, coconut and m&m balls!) and now chooses not to eat those foods as far as it is possible.

Thanks so much for all your work in this area. I found your book in a waiting room and haven't looked back. - by email

Our 7 year old daughter has been living in anxiety and terror at night and also in the day has to be with someone else in the room. I have been trying the diet with her for one and half weeks no amines, glutamates and moderate salicylates only. Last night was her first fear free night. I could cry with relief. - Rachel by email

Back around 1997 I was diagnosed with AF (atrial fibrillation) & TC (tachycardia), my heart at times could literally be felt beating through my clothes It was scary and freaked other people out when I showed them. I had a cardiologist who was great but neither he or any of the doctors or specialists I saw ever mentioned anything about diet, after 3 or 4 goes I was on medication which helped without too many bad side effects. I cant remember how I stumbled across it, but somewhere along the line I heard about how MSG could be bad for your health (experience of a friend/associate at the time I think) so I thought Id strike it out of my diet ... WOW there went half my problems, so I looked further into diet, soon I had struck red food colouring from the list, sports drinks (when not exercising), high caffeine drinks (coke especially), energy drinks went too (although not as common as they are now), highly fatty foods went out the window and through more experimentation (monitoring) I dropped anything with the preservatives starting with 22_ . I have also found that some of this stuff seems to build up in my system as if I don't have any for a long time I can cope with quite a high dose of it in one hit, if it becomes regular in my diet I quickly feel the symptoms after even the smallest amount.

I went off my medication once for two years by maintaining a very strict diet, these days I am back on my medication as it is so hard to keep up with things that are out there (and it becomes hard to eat socially some times). Many years ago I emailed the Heart foundation in anger at them giving 2 minute noodles the heart tick! Loaded with MSG, of which by then I knew other people with heart conditions suffered the same reactions as me These days I have learnt to ignore any labelling on packaging (apart from the ingredients thank goodness) very recently seeing some cups of soup labelled as no artificial flavours yet they had MSG in the ingredients as a flavour enhancer, mongrels.

It's so good to see your site and the work you are doing. I hope some of this may help in some way. It's so good to see the message being spread, for what its worth, from me, WELL DONE!! - Dave, by email

I notice your correspondence is commonly from parents thanking you for the assistance with their children and their behaviour. Well I am 35 years old, and the failsafe method actually saved my life. Who knows how this may have ended, if there was inadequate information out there about the chemicals in foods (in my case particularly the natural chemicals in fruits etc). Thanks for your tireless efforts. - Liz by email.

We are now nearing the end of our third week on diet and have experienced some remarkable changes in our health, weight, moods and ability to concentrate and think more clearly. Thank you, Sue, your work is inspirational - Jane. by email.

The talk inspired our school to talk about food and they now have a better understanding the important role of what food we stock in the canteen. Job well done - we also got the community talking which is fabulous. Keep up ur great work – Ro by email

Thanking you - we are still receiving great feedback from the day. I met a mum in Woolworths whom attended your workshop, she rushed up to me crying saying she had put the elimination diet in place and has a different boy. No more meltdowns and the Preschool even asked her what had she done to Johnnie as he is a different boy at school. THANK YOU THANK YOU - talk organiser

We just had a school disco where we served 300 kids Bakers Delight bread, Failsafe sausages, water & kettle chips - the kids loved it & several parents commented on how good the kids were. Thanks for your words, exactly what we need!  - Deb from Taree

I am so enjoying the many conversations I'm having with people who attended the talk. Many have made changes with huge benefits. One mother told me how she had been about to go on antidepressants for long-standing depression, and after a week of being fs "all the scary voices had disappeared". She also couldn't get over the changes in her children's behaviour, and just how much easier it is to parent them! – Tiffany by email

My son has been off most artificial additives since 2005 and we can really see the difference when we let him have things occasionally such as at birthday parties. He is now 9. I'm sure he would have been put on medication had we not discovered your website. Now I'm keen now to do the full Elimination Diet to check for anything else, and particularly to see whether salicylates and amines have an impact on my other children - they don't seem to react to anything artificial, but there is more anger, aggression and irritability in my house than I think is reasonable so it is worth a try. - Melinda by email.

Thanks ever so much for giving me back the joy of having two children ­ I had lost it for a while I'm afraid due to my 5 year old's horrendous behaviour. He has been failsafe for a month now and it's been great. ­ Denise, by email

Thank you for your fantastic books, they have "cured" me after 40 years of chronic pain. Yay! 40 years sounds like I am old, but I am only just 46 so you can imagine how wonderful and life changing this is for me :) It turns out that for me "dairy" (not lactose) causes constipation and salicylates cause stomach pain and severe bloating and distention. So I am avoiding all dairy and minimising salicylates. - Chris, by email

I know a 78 yr old who has suffered terribly with chronic sinus for more than 40 years and since eliminating dairy is much, much better. Keep in mind his trusted doctor prescribed seven courses of antibiotics leading up to this and when the good doctor was informed that my friend was going to eliminate some foods his reply was 'yes, that's a good idea' !! - Michael by email.

We attended your talk a few months back and it has changed our lives. We have a six year old son who suffers from Aspergers and ADHD and since going additive-free his behaviour is much improved, his social skills are coming along in leaps and bounds and his fits of rage are completely gone.- Heather by email.

We've been following the elimination diet for the past 5 weeks and the changes in my darling son are amazing. Now everyone is seeing the beautiful kind boy I always knew was there! - Lissa by email

 

I am 23. I led a high achieving, healthy active lifestyle until about 6 years ago when Bulimia slowly introduced itself into my normal, happy life, I nearly lost my scholarship and it ruined my VCE which I was unable to complete and was continued by many months of incredible ups and downs.

It then progressed to Severe Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia, hospitalisation and long stays in inpatient facilities for people with similar issues. Everything seemed like a temporary fix, a week after finishing programs I was back to my old habits.

About 18 months ago, with my barely manageable eating disorder, I moved by myself to a new town ... I needed a new start, fresh faces and thought a change of scenery would help and it did :) I met my current partner after the first month of being here and he's been nothing but supportive of all my issues. To look at and meet me I'm you're average bubbly, blue eyed, blonde hair, healthy looking girl and I think it was quite a shock when he first he learned what the "other me" was like.

After 6 months however things started to go downhill with my health - my asthma, hay fever and eczema went crazy - which had only ever happened occasionally over my life (but never all at the same time) as I've had them all since I was a baby.

What really bothered me was a rash on my face that I had never experienced before - swollen lips, eyelids, dark red blotches underneath my skin, which turned to swelling, my skin flaking off and incredible itchiness!! As my self-esteem wasn't that great anyway, this was a huge blow. I quit work, uni, and it ruined my social life.

I thought it may have been the natural environment around me, new town, new plants, pollens etc as it was sometimes accompanied by sneezing. My crazy eating habits were another likely culprit.

I went to the Doctor, he gave me some steroids which cleared it up but kept coming back. Then turned to allergy testing, cutting out certain foods through a nutritionist , gluten, all the usuals etc. Useless. Used all natural makeups, moisturizers, cleansers etc. Useless again ....

I've always known that preservatives aren't good for us, always eaten well in the past and thought of myself as fairly educated about food (that might sound strange when someone has an Eating Disorder but it's very common) but because additives had never been a problem in the past it never occurred to me that they could be the cause.

I found your website by chance whilst researching the issue on the net and along with your website's helpful info, photos and testimonials I knew I had found what I was looking for. I started cutting out the 600 number flavour enhancers and the 200 number preservatives (I wasn't aware that dried fruit could be so delicious but deathly for my skin!! I'd always make sure there was no added sugar but that's all I worried about) ... Anyway, instant recovery ... now I'm trying to cut out the rest of the nasties too - in both foods and makeup.

We have always eaten loads of fruit and veg and always go organic when we can afford to but it's hard trying to buy food that both my boyfriend and I will be happy with as he's an eating machine who's affected by nothing and never puts on weight ;) We're getting used to it ... we're happier.

I myself have SO much more energy it's unbelievable, I'm sure it neurologically changes something in your head. My eating disorder - it was currently Bulimia 1-5 times a day and Binge Eating everyday - has been completely stopped.

It's been nearly 2 months - I feel so free. Where it used to be constant, I now rarely have my crazy OCD thoughts filling my head with foods, food info or body image. I know it's only early days but I'm optimistic and am going to try my absolute hardest ... I honestly haven't felt this good in years.

I've never seen any information about the links between food additives and Eating disorders - I definitely intend to research this further.

Thank you so much for being a revolutionary voice and caring enough to share your knowledge with the rest of the world. You have seriously changed my life and inspired me to take action. - Jayne, by email

I happened upon your site late last year while searching for help for my eldest son who was diagnosed with PDD, ADHD, anxiety disorder and high level language disorder as well as bordering on anorexia nervosa all at the ripe old age of 10. Doctors were not helping and all the drugs they threw at us weren't helping either. I was at a loss as to how to help him as his behaviour escalated out of control and my husband and I nearly split up because of the stress on both of us. It was a nightmare trying to manage all his problems as well as look after our other three children. His behaviour was so extreme that I didn't think diet could help but remembering that I was a Feingold kid for many years myself I figured it certainly couldn't hurt and I had been only too willing to make him take drugs because it was an "easy" option that didn't require a lot of effort on our part.

We started FS in January before school went back and now only a couple of months later my son looks and acts like a "normal" child. We have had easily an 80% improvement in his behaviour, autism symptoms and mood. I say only 80% because I'm still fumbling to get the diet right for him because he seems to be sensitive to just about everything and he is living on the elimination diet at the moment. It's a sharp learning curve though and we pay dearly for mistakes with a slide back into his worst behaviour and autistic traits within half an hour usually and the effects can last for days.

Thank you so much for the work you and your husband are doing for families like ours. ­ by email, Qld

Is there a link between food additives or salicylates and anorexia? Our youngest daughter while off diet is seriously disinterested in food. Between the ages 3 - 9 she was in the lower percentiles weight wise. With the diet partially sorted out her relative weight for her ages has gone up. There were also some indications of her being obsessed with low weight and being skinny. We did the diet for her behaviour - fighting with siblings and extreme jealousy that could not be redirected by anything: force, reason, removal of privileges or ignoring. That fits in with my own experience recently when feelings were controlling and consuming me totally and logic did not have any place in my life. It was very uncomfortable to say the least and it was due to salicylates. ­ Peter, SA

Today is my son's 3rd birthday. He desperately wanted a "Boots" the monkey (from Dora the explorer) for his birthday. We however, have started the elimination diet and I wasn't willing to break it for colourants on his cake. Thank goodness for your recipe book. I made the cake and icing from your recipes and best of all, used your recipe to make the colours from cabbage, citric acid, bicarb and a little imagination. I felt like a magician turning cabbage water red and blue. I have sent a picture of my completely "Failsafe" birthday cake. (The brown is decaffeinated coffee granules). Thank you so much for your wonderful book. Without it my son would not be having his special cake for his birthday. - Claire

birthday01

I notice your correspondence is commonly from parents thanking you for the assistance with their children and their behaviour. Well I am 35 years old, and the failsafe method actually saved my life. Who knows how this may have ended, if there was inadequate information out there about the chemicals in foods (in my case particularly the natural chemicals in fruits etc). Thanks for your tireless efforts. - Liz by email.

We are now nearing the end of our third week on diet and have experienced some remarkable changes in our health, weight, moods and ability to concentrate and think more clearly. Thank you, Sue, your work is inspirational - Jane. by email.

The talk inspired our school to talk about food and they now have a better understanding the important role of what food we stock in the canteen. Job well done - we also got the community talking which is fabulous. Keep up ur great work! – Ro by email

I spoke to you briefly after your talk in Canberra about our Jekyll & Hyde second daughter and the next day I implemented a much stricter diet. She detoxed with escalated defiant behaviour for 2 days, then settled down into a very happy 1 year old for the next two days. Then out of the blue on day 5 she started headbanging in her cot, against the tiled floor, on furniture. It was devastating. She had a couple spoonfuls of a yoghurt that lunch just before it started but I was struggling to believe it would cause such a massive reaction until I remembered she had been prescribed RED Dimetapp for a cold and had been taking 1.8mls 3 times a day from days 2-4. Of course it had to be the Dimetapp, full of colours and preservatives! It has been 2 weeks and she is back to a happy little girl with an occasional attempt at hurting herself, but I can see that becoming less and less each day. I found the facebook page such a wonderful source of support during the worst of the headbanging - where else can you jump on at 2am in the morning with your bruised and battered baby & find others experiencing the same awfulness it was so great to know I wasn't alone and that there was light at the end of the tunnel (and let me tell you I didn't get much support from my doctor - he suggested she take phenergan). - Kirstie by email

I thought I knew about food and nutrition, as I learnt about this at Uni ......however, little did I know, how little I knew....about 6 years ago now I heard that Sue Dengate was on TV talking about food additives and how they affected kids behaviour, so I went to her website www.fedup.com.au where I bought her DVD and books, at that stage purely as part of my ongoing education, as I treat a lot of kids in my practice.

After watching Sue's DVD with my husband, we decided to try the FAILSAFE program, which is based on the program created by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, as we wanted to see if it would help my husband's asthma.

After just a few days of my whole family being on the program we were amazed to find that not only my husband's asthma had dramatically improved, but my son was much calmer, and happier. In addition, we were all sleeping better, and from that time pretty much all arguments have stopped in our home.

Personally, I noticed that I became more calm and relaxed, not that I thought I was uptight or stressed before, but after 5 days on the program I felt incredibly happy, and couldn't stop smiling, I felt as if I was on a yearlong holiday!

I hadn't realised that food intolerances were affecting the way I was coping in life, but now life is so much easier, and I accomplish so much more, because I am even more 'clear thinking' than I was before.

I really notice it in my son......if he eats foods that are not the best for him, he becomes cranky, and emotional, plus he suffers from nightmares and unnecessary worrying during the day. But when we are careful with his food, which is most of the time, we have a happy, relaxed boy who sleeps well and wakes up with a smile.

Over the last 6 years I have recommended many of my patients to try the Failsafe program, and most of them are amazed at how it changes their lives. A side benefit, for people suffering with back pain, is that many back pain sufferers, as well as migraine sufferers, actually have less frequent bouts of pain when following the program. I personally experienced this as well....after having Chiro for many years to help my bad back, I was relieved to find that by simply eliminating problematic foods for me, I became pain free like I had never done before. Today I still have Chiropractic for preventative health reasons, but knowing about the food side of things and how it affects my health has truly made such a change to my life.

On a very personal note.....my husband and I were constantly arguing before we changed what we ate, we had years of trouble and were seriously considering divorce. After 5 days on the program we suddenly had peace between us. Very quickly our relationship was rebuilt without the negative effects of food intolerances affecting our moods and attitudes to each other. I will be forever grateful to Sue and Howard Dengate for making this information public, apart from our massive health benefits, both my husband and myself firmly believe that the Failsafe program actually saved our marriage. When we look at what we have today, a strong happy family living peacefully together, we have to pinch ourselves, as it is so far from the reality of our lives before we learned about our food intolerances. We are incredibly grateful for Sue and Howard's work, we believe it has saved our boys from having to live in a split family, and has saved us from the stresses ad sadness that would surely have come from our divorce. - Kellie Dawson, Chiropractor, Springwood, QLD

'As a parent of two children who are on the Failsafe diet, the work you and your wife are doing is incredible, life changing and so valued. I continue to spread the word as much as I can and enjoy your facebook page on a daily basis.' - Sarah by email.

'Thanks for all you have done in setting up this great information and support network, we've have massive improvements with the boys when we suddenly twigged about what we were eating and now my wife and I are much happier and healthier too' – Daniel of Bywong

'I already can't quite believe how much calmer our 5 month old is in the last few days, and is sleeping much better than a week ago. I wish I'd heard about this before I was pregnant!' - Fiona by email

'I feel like we wasted 2 months doing Feingold when we could have done a 3 week elimination diet and known for sure!!! We are 1 week into the elimination diet and have seen more changes in that week than in the last 5 years of dietary interventions. I hope more American nutritionists will look at Failsafe instead of Feingold because it is much more complete' - Anna, USA

'Thanks for the Mistakes sheets. Wonderful! All 3 feel like pure gold! Thanks so much for all your hard work.- Tracey by email. (You can request Amines, Salicylates or Glutamates Mistakes sheets from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

'Failsafe has been our saving grace. I was at my wit's end with my son - the diet has helped me like him again.' –Alethea by email.

'We've been using your cookbook for a few weeks and her eczema rashes, hives, and swelling have been more under control than any time in the past two years!' – Jessica, USA

My story is similar to many of yours but it has taken us until Jan this year to work it out!

My daughter is 20 and has suffered bloating, runs, painful wind and, at times stabbing stomach aches which had her writhing on the floor and necessitated rushes to the doctor for pain relief, calls to afterhours drs, and hospital emergency. For the following days she was lethargic and her whole tummy area hurt. These awful symptoms which seemingly came with no warning at all were very distressing for a young girl living away from home in a Uni college, attending university and working part time.

She moved out of college accommodation this last year and has been in a shared house. Her symptoms got worse as the year went on until at the end of last year she was a mess. ( I suspect she was eating 'healthier foods' since moving away from the college.) She didn't want to eat anything as everything she felt all food was the cause of her painful bloating every night, headaches and migraines, not sleeping well (she told me later she was living on panadol and would take sleeping tablets if she had to work early the next day) After Xmas lunch she was in a lot of pain and it was very noticeable she was losing weight.

When i think back we had been to the dr with various symptoms since her birth. In late high school, after a particularly bad stomach attack our dr. could only recommend wind tablets. It is interesting to note that she had glandular fever the previous year in year 11.

During her college years her dr recommended an elimination diet. Yay! Unfortunately it was the FODMAPS elimination diet which is full of salicylates. It seemed to make some difference for a while probably due to less additives and preservatives and of course she fell off the wagon as the improvements were minor.

Our next step was to have her tested for coeliac. We were desperate although from reading I was pretty sure that was not her problem. I was right. Expensive, invasive tests for nothing. She has not wanted to do anything else for a year or so but I did say to her in November last year that when she had finished her exams and moved house she would need to see a dietician. (In the past we had only seen what was really a weight control dietician.)

Late December 2011 I spoke to a friend about my concerns and she said one of her daughters suffered greatly from stabbing pains after Xmas dinner! Her eldest daughter who has just completed a degree in nutrition and suggested her sister might be sensitive to salicylates.

I went into research mode and found a list of symptoms for salicylate sensitivity. All of the symptoms she had been having were there plus many we did not realise were part of her problem. Ringing ears, ulcers in the mouth (at the time she had 5) weeping eyes, irritability (we thought that was hormones) awful rashes under her arm. Just about everything except chronic fatigue and some eye tic!

I continued reading and helped her start the elimination diet. The bucket affect was a revelation. No wonder we could not pin point the problem foods. I read everything and borrowed Sue's books from the library and passed all the info onto my daughter. I will buy the Failsafe Cookbook. She was quite upset as looking at the list of what she couldn't eat and combined with how unwell she was, she needed lots of support. I found recipes and went shopping. She came home for a few days and we cooked and shopped and read labels. So much is just knowing the alternatives. No honey but golden syrup fine, no olive oil but canola fine. So many simple changes that are so easy. We didn't cut out amines as she was upset enough at what she couldn't eat. I thought if she still had symptoms and she was in a more cooperative mood we could cut them out later. Also she had been to Zimbabwe to visit her boyfriend's family and she had been really well. They ate a lot of aged meat and I bet their produce is stored and picked differently to ours. She gave me the food from her pantry she couldn't eat and I sent her back with foods she could eat and patties and dips and muffins.

After about a week her physical symptoms were almost gone. No more bands of heaviness in her head, or headaches, really only some mild bloating when she made a mistake with labels. Not many mothers would be happy to get a text from their daughter saying they just had their second proper poop! But I was.

She has been very busy moving, house hunting, and finishing summer school and had some special social engagements so we have not progressed to the challenges. We planned the social events and she went prepared and still enjoyed herself. She was a little bloated (which seems to be her default symptom) but managed well. She will start the challenges when she is settled. We are looking forward to it as we want to have a better idea of what is actually the main culprit. I know it may be more than one. I suspect salicylate sensitivity, flavour enhancers and maybe some preservatives. She certainly doesn't want to avoid food she doesn't have to!

Last night I got a text from her that said she felt she was not as scattered in her thinking and did not get upset and weird about things. She feels more in control and settled. Wow! These comments were after 3 particularly busy and stressful days. The physical improvements were the most noticeable at first but now the mental and behavioural improvements are showing. This has all happened in a month.

When I think back I think she has suffered since birth. She had reflux and after falling asleep would wake and cry for hours. Of course everyone said colic but even colicky babies settled sometimes. When I look at her baby photos she just looks pained and unwell. After about 4 months my husband joined me at the drs as my health centre nurse was concerned she was not putting on weight (no wonder! All her milk was on my clothes!) He told the dr we had to do something now as things were becoming desperate at home. The dr prescribed a drug that helped keep the flap at the top of her tummy closed after eating. I am pretty sure we also changed to the bottle because I was exhausted and she needed to put on weight. Well, in about a week we had a new child. Happy, smiling, sleeping putting on weight. I always attributed the improvement to the drug but now suspect it was changing to the bottle! In affect I was poisoning my baby!

She was quite good through primary school. Probably there were not as many additives and preservatives in the food and our fruit and vegetables were picked ripe. She did have some aches and pains, a rash here and there and we did joke about her lack of concentration. Nothing that really impacted her life; that was just her.

High school was ok but she was a child that always seemed to some ailment or other. Nothing too serious though. She found Year 11 and 12 difficult as she found it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. Also she had glandular fever. I am actually very proud of her to get through year 12 with an OP 8, work part time and live away from home since she was 17. In fact the part job she has had for the last 2 years has been a guest service agent in a busy Brisbane hotel. It is very demanding. Also she has worked really hard in 2011 in her studies and achieved excellent results. I actually feel so excited for her now as she has done this well with a huge health disadvantage, I can't wait to see what she does from now on. We have a dietician from the failsafe recommended list (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list) who is actually one of my daughters friends mum and she is helping with the challenges and reading my daughter food diary when things go wrong. I have purchased The Failsafe Cookbook.

If my daughter had been born now I am pretty sure we would have gone through the trials so many parents I have come across in my reading and on the DVD. This probably shows how much our food has changed over the last 20 years. At least parents today have to deal with it early in their child's life. I know this has been difficult for them but I think it is better than our experience as it has been over so many years and during some challenging teenage times for my daughter. Then again I have read of people not getting the answers until their later years and I bet many have never come across the right answers.

I really wanted to write my story and also to sincerely thank Sue and Howard and all the parents whose stories I have read. All helped piece the puzzle together. – Sylvia by email

I have an almost 5 year old son who I believe has ODD. I am yet to get this diagnosed (awaiting appointments) but would lay my soul on it that this is the case. He is the youngest of 3 children (all boys - 12, 11 and 4) and has been difficult from the word go. Things are just becoming more obvious and scaling to a higher level the older he gets. At first we were told (12 months ago) that it's a development stage he will grow out of but this just does not seem to be the case.

Our whole house/lives revolve around him. To say he dictates the household dynamics is an understatement. For the last 4 years of his life, my husband and myself have felt it was us who had the problem.

Something we were doing wrong, something we weren't doing enough of. We have read so many self help books to assist us in being better people, more controlled, more patient, more understand towards others and more at peace with our struggles. We have questioned ourselves as people and our abilities as parents everyday of our lives since he was born. Whilst this has not been of waste (improvement of any kind can only be for the better), we are now realizing that it is not us. We are not bad people and not what creates the problems.

After researching what is happening to him and his behaviors, I have stumbled across ODD, which I have never heard of before. He fits this mould to a tea. Not just four of the symptoms, but all of them and not on a weekly basis but on a daily basis, several times a day.

What I would like to investigate is the option of elimination diet to establish whether food plays a part. Definitely there are better days than others which leads me to believe certain foods may be a contributor considering there are variations to his behaviour. I have not documented nor memorized these instances as I had not even considered this could be a contributor.

Could you please help me in my quest to educate our family and assist my son with what could possibly mean a major difference in our lives?

8 weeks later:

The diet has been working really well. We hired the Fedup dvd from our local library and got the whole family to watch it so everyone could understand the effects of foods in health and behaviours and also what we were trying to achieve. We also purchased the Failsafe Cookbook for recipe ideas as well as the many helpful guides around good choice/bad choice products which became very useful when grocery shopping.

We started with small changes that were a daily consumption. Stuff like breads, milk, spreads, cereals, drinks. These items were traded for better choice products. We didn't remove anything without replacing it first with a healthy alternative. It was important for the children to understand that they were not being deprived of anything but instead by being aware of what they were eating and making better choices, they could still enjoy all the food groups including sweets.

The positive results were almost instant. Our problem son was becoming less of a problem right before our eyes. He became more emotionally in control, less aggressive within his outbursts and far more affectionate than ever before. I started getting hugs and kisses and told several times a day how much he loves me (which by the way in his words is twenty fifty hundred - I'm assuming that's somewhere near infinity). Such simple changes with so much benefit. As a family unit, we have all changed for the better. I can't say there isn't a household member who hasn't noticed at least one benefit within themselves or each other.

It brings tears to my eyes to know that something so simply had controlled our lives for far too long and left myself and my husband questioning our abilities as people and parents. I thank the heavens above everyday for stumbling across your website which provided our family with the tools to make the changes we needed for a better, loving life. For the first time in 5 years, we can now finally bond with our son. Instead of being the control of the family, he has joined with the rest of us in becoming part of the family.

I spread the word everytime food is brought up in conversation. Not just for the benefit of children like my son but for the health and benefit of all people. My only hope now is others out there are able to be introduced to this information, somehow, someway.

Thank you for all you offer families and all the best in your quest with educating the world. – Carina by email.

For our son's birthday last year we got him a Border Collie named Jax. We got him from a rescue place and he was apparently about 2 years old - seems he could be younger as he is so bouncy, and chews things and the vet said he may be only 18 months. We had to get a dog trainer out to see him cos he was too boisterous - and what was the first thing she told us? - to change his diet!! Which of course we did straight away and in 3 days we had a much calmer dog. The next week the trainer asked if we had changed - of course we had bought the new food that same night - she was surprised we had done it as many people don't bother changing the diet. Up at the dog park a lady gave Jax a piece of Smacko and of course he went Whacko. We just love the fact we got a dog who is food affected too!! - Anne from Brisbane

Thanks for your research about chilli! I have found I can manage more salicylates e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, rockmelons - but I had a rough night last week when I took some leftover sweet potatoes from the fridge for a snack at work & didn't eat chilli first. That night I was right back to the salicylate reactions - difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, and bad dreams that have plagued me for years – and I forgot about ENO (that's another one, forgetfulness). – Lydia, Qld

I am one of those people that had to work out myself what was wrong with me because all the doctors I went to didn't know. I even had one doctor so exasperated he offered me an anti-depressant! I went through so much trying to find out what was wrong with me. And the doctors were no help at all. After a few years of reading newspaper articles and looking at what I ate I finally worked out my problem - that being preservatives 202 and 282. It was so good when a doctor listened to me, agreed and sent me to a dietician who agreed as well. I was then able to get my life in some semblance of order. - Maria, by email

I'm a mom to a very amine sensitive teen boy and your books, website and DVD have been a big help to us. I think without the knowledge you imparted through your books, there's a good chance my son would have become a violent young man, because under the effects of amines he gets so angry. But, with the diet, he can enjoy life and we can enjoy him! - Kelly

Freedom Foods Ultra Rice Maple Crunch was recommended for our 3 year-old as part of a dairy free/gluten free diet. Because he's on Autism spectrum he can be quite fussy with food, but he loved it so much, he ate three bowls for lunch (I was so excited, as he's been hard to feed).

It is clearly marked as Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-free (great) and also clearly states that it contains nothing artificial. Silly me, I didn't read the label and see that it was Maple FLAVOURED syrup, not the pure stuff. What followed was a total regression in his behaviour: 2 hours of hell. Behaviours that hadn't manifested themselves for the past month suddenly reappeared including, stripping off his clothes (4 times in 30 minutes), drawing on walls, climbing up bookshelves/kitchen benches. Before diet modification this behaviour would have been done separately ( ie we'd have a day or week of stripping off, then maybe a day of drawing on walls, with some climbing thrown in another day) so it was very rare for all these behaviours to appear all together, and in such a short period of time.

Once I realized there was a reaction, I read the box properly (yes, I know I should have done it beforehand), and noticed that it included Butterscotch as an ingredient (under the heading Nature Identical). It's a mistake I won't be making again - Maria by email. (Freedom Foods responded that they are working to replace this flavour with a nature-identical flavour within 6 months, which might be failsafe)

I am single mother with 4 kids and am finding it very hard to find free information on an additive free diet for my 3 yr old that I was told was hyperactive by a paediatrician. You would think after paying the doctor more than $250 dollars he would give you more information than 'eliminate additives', but everyone is after money. What about the kids that are suffering from these problems and the family problems they are creating, why is it no one in today's society can do anything to help without wanting to be paid an arm and a leg for it. Sorry to go on but I am finding it very hard and frustrating to get information that can help. PS Thank you for your Failsafe Booklet. – by email, Melissa

I thought you may be interested in the list of ingredients to be found in the Tony Ferguson "healthy and nourishing" weight loss product. Everyone who has lost kilos purports to be vital, energetic and generally full of the joys of Spring.

It didn't occur to me to scan the ingredients (which I do in ALL food products before buying) as I naively thought when he said "healthy and nutritious" that it was true. It was only when I kept becoming hugely bloated with griping abdominal pains, plus an extremely internally inflamed and painful leg (out of the blue), that I decided to check the ingredients and found - shock horror - Flavour Enhancer 621 (MSG of course!). When I had the leg checked out by my doctor, she said the internal inflammation could have indeed been an allergic response to something - Victoria, NZ

I started using Tony Ferguson (weight loss meal replacement) shakes last year and managed to lose 10 kg. Three months later I started using the soups as well. Around that time I developed a painful and desperately itchy rash mainly on my leg and sometimes it would spread to other parts of my body. My doctor gave me steroid cream and I didn't realise the cause of the rash until I heard you speak. When I looked at the packets, the soups I had been eating all contained flavour enhancers you talked about (621, 627, 631, 635). When I stopped eating them the rash went away. - Marian, NSW

I didn't realise that my two year old's frequent tantrums, inconsolable crying and inability to listen to instructions were due to food until our local supermarket ran out of Zach's favourite flavoured rice cakes. He used to eat those ricecakes every day for morning tea. When the ricecakes went off the shelf and he wasn't eating them, you'd tell him to stop and he would stop, you'd say no and he'd accept it- he wouldn't have a meltdown or a tantrum. He was also vomiting five nights out of seven and we didn't know why but when we cut out salicylates and glutamates, that stopped too. The culprits for Zach turned out to be flavour enhancers (621, 627, 631, 635) and fruit such as grapes and strawberries. - Kim, NSW

Last night I made a beef casserole which I now realise was probably very high in salicylates. There were no additives but I used a base of one tablespoon of tomato paste and about a tablespoon of fresh herbs from my garden and about 100mls of red wine, cornflour and just carrots and celery with gravy beef. Of this casserole my son would have had about two tablespoons (with some basmati rice). I wasn't sure if this quantity would be is sufficient to cause a behavioural reaction but within about one hour my food sensitive son was headbutting my husband and just couldn't calm down. My youngest son who ate the same quantity had zero reaction. – Courtney, by email

In around Oct last year, my 8 year old son, who is usually dry at night, started wetting his bed. He wet it every night for over 2 months. During this same time, his twin sister – who has never been dry at night, went from wetting her bed once a night to wetting at least twice a night. Even their 3 year old brother, who was occasionally dry, stopped having any dry nights.

The first think I started to think about was what had changed in our diet, since it was something affecting all 3 of them. I was Googling away when I happened to come across your Food Intolerance Network site and the link between Calcium Propionate and bedwetting. I found a "what's in your bread" website (since we were in the car on a journey up to Scotland, and not at home) and discovered that the "healthy", Warburtons Seeded Batch Loaf which we had switched to about 2 months before contains 282. I have not used it, or any of the bagels or wraps (all with 282) we used to buy again and my son has not wet his bed once since then – apart from last Monday night. The children went back to school this week and go to an after school club on Mondays where they get sandwiches for a snack. I called the manager to find out what kind of bread they use – and sure enough, it is a long-life bread with 282. I explained all the dangers of this particular preservative to her and she was most willing to switch to a safer brand in future! – Michelle, UK

We are introducing challenges but I'm not sure how to do it properly. We tried grapes last week and all seemed fine, then we tried a small handful of raisins this week and he's gone loopy again. Now I don't know what to try next and have lost confidence because I'd rather he didn't go off the failsafe, because he's so obnoxious, but I know he wants to widen his diet ... update one week later ... The RPAH salicylate challenge showed he reacts to salicylates! - we were sailing along at first but then hit a wall where his behaviour went downhill rapidly. – Denise by email

I am new to food intolerance but I have had my 4 yo son to the doctors in the past (and just been fobbed off) for pains in his legs, tummy aches, stuffy nose and mouth-breathing. He grinds his teeth at night, over-reacts to situations with anger or tears, does not seem to sleep much and complains about loud noises.

... One month later ... We have been to a dietician from the list you sent. It was great advice as it really smooths the way when having to deal with doctors and other govt. agencies - they are now very accommodating. We are into day five and I have already noticed the voice volume decrease and far less fighting between the two children. So thank you to you and everyone who contributes info, it saves so much time and mistakes. - Anna, NZ

 

 I just wanted to say thanks for your book. It's a really positive and helpful tool - by the details of the stories ...  My dad always say "your mother was ahead of her time" as she had me on the feingold diet when I was about 2-13. So I have always been very conscious of colours, flavours, additives etc with what I feed my kids, I can pick it when my 7 yo son has had anything that's affecting him. We tried an almost vegan (we were starving so I added eggs and fish) diet for 2 weeks, and the only thing I could work out is berries make him nuts … And pizza, even homemade (I now know high high salicylates). All other crap has already been eliminated, so we have decided to try the rpah diet. It's been just over a week, and we are not seeing a great deal of change .... 5 DAYS LATER ... The further I got into your book, the more questions were answered! And I've definitely learnt heaps! I have decided to persevere with the diet. Oh my goodness, the vast majority of whining seems to have disappeared, and too what appeared to be grumpy hypoglycemia! Next on my list is concentration at school ...  I did decide to remove dairy which I feel may have added to the positive result. His handwriting is comparatively much better already (and attitude along with doing it).  I now actually looking forward to school to see we can see real progress!   - Kath, by email

We have just started the diet today and my normal pain in the bum whingy 7 year old boy is already improved in half a day! I know its early days, but so far so good! ... Update one month later .... My son is doing well, doesn't seem to have reacted to anything however preservatives eliminated from his diet made a huge huge difference.

My daughter only did the diet as did I to help her brother. She has had a major reaction to salicylates, had major ear troubles when they were reintroduced. Funny as she is asthmatic and has had frequent colds and flu and major ear troubles for a long time - salicylates may have been the problem all along. - Sharon, by email

I have been working on failsafe eating with my four year old daughter who has extreme behavioral issues - tantrums, oppositional, aggression, etc. We completed the elimination phase, and have been doing some trials. Her behavior improved greatly during the elimination phase, however, on each of the trials the old behaviors have returned. She seems to be extremely sensitive. There are very few food left on my list that are okay for her. Her diet consists mainly of rice, rice milk, chicken, white potatoes, green beans, pears ... She goes to preschool and I pack her snacks and meals for her. It is difficult to do it on such a limited diet. Since we are in the US, the products that are on your failsafe list are not available to us. Our sanity is more important than a varied diet for her - but right now I feel frustrated. I have your book, "Fed Up" and that is what helped me get started with the elimination diet but I don't know how to find a dietician that would support the failsafe diet. Many dieticians here in the US don't believe in foods affecting behavior. (We recommended joining the failsafeUSA group)

Update three months later ... My daughter is like a different person on this diet - thank you so much for all you have done to share your information. She is a much happier person, and our lives no longer revolve around tantrums. Not to mention that her skin has improved a great deal and she is no longer constantly itchy. I have also been able to add more safe items to her diet. I am glad that you have been able to spread the word in schools in Australia and wish that the same thing could be done here. – Elise USA, by email

I emailed you some time ago about my chronic migraines. After having been to GPs, specialists, naturopaths, etc, I went to a dietitian. She gave me the booklet produced by the Royal Prince Alfred Allergy unit. I also purchased your book, "Fed Up". This letter is to give you an update because it has good success.

Until recently I had no relief from those persistent migraines and was getting really desperate - again! Yet I knew there was something I was eating that did not like me - or rather my system did not like it. I was concerned my protein intake was a bit low, and not being into lentils, and because they are listed in the booklet as low in amines and salicylates, I decided to try some red lentils boiled, and had a nice helping one afternoon for lunch. That night - 12.15am - I experienced a most horrific headache in my brain like the blood vessels wanted to burst! Knowing that the migraine medication works on blood vessels I had an imigran which helped settle the reaction somewhat. If it had got any worse I would've phoned for an ambulance because it was a bit frightening.

Later that week when I had recovered from the after-effects of what I knew to be the lentils, I went looking on the internet. Anyway to cut a long story short, to my amazement, the low or restricted tyramine diet for persons on MAOI drugs lists lentils and soy as high in tyramine*. Many years ago, my doctor prescribed a MAOI for a few months to help me over a bit of a rough patch, and I was told to not have "cheese, vegemite and broad beans". Anyway, being a lover of cheeses at the time, and being deprived of one of my favourite foods for some weeks, I thought, "hey! surely a little half-inch cube wouldn't hurt....". Well I'll tell you now that it did hurt!!! That evening I had the most horrific and frightening experience in the brain that truly felt like every blood vessel in the brain was going to explode with blood all over the ceiling. I was so ill and frightened. The experience I had after the lentils was the exact type I had with the cheese while taking the MAOI.

Now I was onto something ... I went through the foods that I had been consuming regularly over these past years and saw that the full cream powdered milk contains emulsifier from soy!!! The only time I ever ate soy beans was about 15 years ago, and I was violently ill after eating them. Didn't think much about it at the time, just didn't like the soy flavour and even now the smell of things like soy turn me off. I have the same reaction to chick peas. After reading the soy stories on your website (in particular [314] and [702] - what they have said - discovered by personal experience - I can confirm by my own experience.) It certainly helps to unravel the mystery of my on-going migraines. And I am not surprised that my migraines were aggravated when I had Sustagen or Ensure as supplements - they contain soy derivatives. I even checked out baby food formulas and they too contain soy.

The multi-vitamin/mineral supplement I have been taking also contains soy - the vitamin E is derived from soy. The company was really understanding when I explained the situation, and very kindly refunded me the money. The soy was not listed as an ingredient, because the vitamin was derived form it.

Since stopping having powdered milk (I used it to bolster up my normal milk, most of the time) I have not had a migraine headache from foods.

I am aware that I still am prone to migraines from environmental factors - odours, (funnily enough the odours that trigger an instant migraine are those foods high in amines, like strong tomatoes, spicy foods, femented foods etc), stormy weather, sensory overload (flashing lights, etc).

This is a great find for me. To experience a head that does not wake up every morning in "migraine mode", and have confidence in eating foods that are low in amines, I can be a lot more relaxed about eating. It has given me so much relief - almost unbelievable!!! - Patricia, NSW (* RPAH researchers do not agree that legumes are high in amines and nor do the majority of amine sensitive failsafers. All legumes are listed as low in amines except broad beans which are very high; however lentils and other legumes do contain other natural chemicals that could cause problems e.g. purines which can be associated with gout – Sue)

My daughter Rose is 7 years old. Since she was about 18 months old, we had problems with her waking every night with nightmares. Although her behaviour was not exceptionally good, it was not an issue at the time. When Rose started 4 year old kinder we started to notice that her eczema was getting quite bad and that it was not responding to any remedies that we tried. We saw doctors who just said that she might grow out of it. When Rose started school, there was a huge turning point. Her behaviour I would say was ADHD behaviour – tantrums, itching all over her body, stomach pains, still having nightmares, oppositional defiance and the list goes on, and the worst of all, severe anxiety with me leaving her. Rose's anxiety was so bad that she had to be physically removed from me when I left her at school, even punching and kicking at the teachers. Rose would not leave me at all, even on weekends.

With trying to counteract the behaviour part, I stopped all additives and preservatives. Rose's behaviour became so much better. We noticed that her sleep, and feelings of anxiety did not improve.

After reading your book, I made an appointment with a dietician and started on the Elimination Diet. Everything started to improve with Rose, in leaps and bounds, except the anxiety. With many trials, I have now established that Rose is very sensitive to SALICYLATES.

I now have a daughter who is very confident, well mannered, has no problems sleeping, no eczema, nor does she have anxiety.

I can only say that without your help, I had no idea where to turn. The professional field let me down big time.

We have been doing this for about 12 months and I am a true advocate of Failsafe. I want to introduce this to our school. When my daughter was in Prep we had a lot to do with the Principal, as Rose spent a lot of time in her office, as they believed she was being naughty. Last year I was determined to prove them wrong by showing them that food did contribute to children's behaviour. I did often say that it was the food Rose was eating, but I know they did not believe me. I can now truly say that Rose's behaviour was as a result of the food, its additives and preservatives, as she is a different student. Well mannered, high achiever, leader material. Thank you. - Sharon, Vic

Thought I'd let you know about a small win I've had here in this town. I was disappointed to learn when we moved here 18 months ago that all the products of the one small bakery contained preservatives. I just brought my bread from the supermarket or made it myself but at the beginning of this year on a total whim I decided to telephone the bakery. As luck would have it one of the owners answered (it is a family run business and has been for generations and the father, who is close to retirement, answered the phone). I explained my concerns about preservatives and asked if he happened to have any plans to remove them from their products. To be honest I expected to get a thanks for calling and never hear back from them but he took my details and asked me a few questions and went straight to his computer apparently and googled preservatives and children. As you would know he found a lot of information and called me back a couple of days later to say they would be removing all preservatives from their products as of that day. He told me he had no idea of the effects of preservatives.

The best thing is that all three of the schools here buy their bread from that bakery to support local business, so now all the schools are getting preservative-free bread for the kiddies. One less thing for my kids to be singled out as different as before I was taking in their own bread for lunch orders - Korina by email.

I thought I'd share with you a recent experience I had with my son, when overnight my gorgeous, fun loving, cheeky little man turned into an absolute monster, having tantrums left right and centre. Not his usual 2 year old tantrums but full-on aggressive, angry and really scary tantrums, it was like the devil had taken him over. He was really irritable, he couldn't sit still and wasn't listening to anything I said, he was throwing things all the time and just being grumpy, angry and outright horrible. After a few days of this I started to think that is was something more than the usual 'milestone' / wonderweek stuff, it was really disturbing, not to mention very difficult to deal with. Anyway to cut a long story short I started to think if he was eating anything that he didn't normally eat that might have caused him to behave like this. I remember that I had just changed the brand and type of cracker that he eats for his snack. On closer investigation of the ingredients of this biscuit and a bit of google work (thanks to the Fed Up website) we found it had vegetable oil with antioxidant 319 in it, which can cause irritability, learning difficulties and children's behavioural problems! Bingo! That had to be it; it was the only thing that we could think of that was new in his life that could make him change so dramatically, so quickly. So those biscuits (Ritz sticks for your information) went straight in the bin and my lovely little boy returned, just like that - his nice behaviour returned as quickly as the horrible behaviour arrived. I couldn't quite believe that something so small could have such a big impact. It was amazing and very disturbing.

Anyway after this experience I became intrigued in food additives and frantically began reading and researching and quite frankly I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. I have always been pretty careful with the food I feed my kids and try to have minimal or no processed food in the house but I am disturbed to find that these antioxidant additives (and other nasty additives) are added to things that you would think would be pretty harmless and healthy, like crackers, bread, yoghurt and butter/margarine.

I've never really been keen on being obsessed with reading food labels but this experience was so powerful that for the sake of the health and wellbeing of our family we have now gone additive free and it is hard to describe just how much it has changed our lives. Generally speaking things are better all round, we're less irritable, there's less niggling and nagging, and less frustration and shouting, our household is so much calmer and happier. Also I have noticed that both of my boys skin has improved dramatically, they have always suffered from eczema, not badly but enough for it to noticeable, three weeks into being additive free it has almost cleared up completely, it certainly can't be a coincidence!!!

Even though it was a terrible week to live through in a way I am so happy that we had the 319 experience so that our eyes were opened up to the world of additives and just how powerful they can be. A big thank you to Sue and all her passionate helpers for making this information available and for all your hard work in spreading the word, you really have changed our lives (for the better!) – Anna from SA by email.

'Thanks for all the work you've done on food additives and the effects they have on people. Without it, I would never have tracked down the weird heart palpitations and early morning panic attacks I have after eating ribonucleotides - Lynne by email.

Your books, dvd, etc were recommended by a local pediatrician after we spent a night in hospital with our 3 year old who was suffering from a migraine - no migraines since we eliminated oranges and chocolate. We also do our best to eliminate, where possible all the numbers, especially the flavour enhancers. - Michael, NSW

Thanks ever so much for giving me back the joy of having two children – I had lost it for a while I'm afraid due to my 5 year old's horrendous behaviour. He has been failsafe for a month now and it's been great. – Denise, by email

Thank you for your fantastic books, they have "cured" me after 40 years of chronic pain. Yay! 40 years sounds like I am old, but I am only just 46 so you can imagine how wonderful and life changing this is for me :) It turns out that for me "dairy" (not lactose) causes constipation and salicylates cause stomach pain and severe bloating and distention. So I am avoiding all dairy and minimising salicylates. - Chris, by email

I know a 78 yr old who has suffered terribly with chronic sinus for more than 40 years and since eliminating dairy is much, much better. Keep in mind his trusted doctor prescribed seven courses of antibiotics leading up to this and when the good doctor was informed that my friend was going to eliminate some foods his reply was 'yes, that's a good idea' !! - Michael by email.

We attended your talk a few months back and it has changed our lives. We have a six year old son who suffers from Aspergers and ADHD and since going additive-free his behaviour is much improved, his social skills are coming along in leaps and bounds and his fits of rage are completely gone.- Heather by email.

Two years ago I was having behavioural issues with my 4 year old girl and took out the artificial colours, flavours and preservatives on your list which solved most of our issues but about every two weeks we would see a flare up and holidays were particularly painful. About 6 weeks ago we began the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet - I fully expected that she would react to salicylates and amines etc but here was the outcome......

Weeks 1 & 2 of a low salicylate diet - we have a beautiful happy child, she is in kindy and her teachers reported that they saw a drastic change in her - the happiest she has been all year, not getting frustrated with her friends, wants to help and participate, is laughing and happy.

Weeks 3,4 & 5 saw us add in high salicylates and then amines and then glutamates - no reaction still a beautiful child.....

Week 6 - added a soy challenge - 2 tablespoons of soy sauce Saturday night and a small handful of choc chips on Sunday morning in muffins (soy lecithin), by lunchtime she was having tantrums over ridiculous things, she was sulky, teary and generally unhappy. We also saw this same reaction half way through week 3 and 4 at her sisters birthday as I unknowingly used white chocolate in her birthday cake (soy lecithin)....

So the outcome was she has to have a diet that doesn't contain artificial colours/flavours or preservatives, soy or soy derivatives. I can't believe that for the last two years soy has been the culprit all along - the poor kid!! The occasional treat of chocolate and plain Arnotts biscuits were just topping her up so that we saw it at weird times, holidays worse as usually they get more treats on holidays! Our dietician was really shocked that a protein could cause that reaction - Tiffany by email

I have started your diet with one of my children who has had numerous problems and after one week of just cutting back (not the full elimination diet) I had his teacher approaching me telling me how good he had been and how his attention had improved. Needless to say I have now started doing the same with all my other children and would like to say how great it is all going. I approached a mum at school who pointed me in your direction after the success she has had with her adhd child so yes word of mouth really does work.

I help run a support group for Velocardiofacial Syndrome also known as Deletion 22q11. Our VCFS kids have a very high incidence of behavioral and inattention issues and I believe an introduction to your diet could greatly benefit many of our members. - Melinda, by email

Before starting the diet, our 6 yo ADHD son had the 40 foods blood test and it showed wheat to be a 4 which is the highest, so I put him on wheat-free bread. The dietitian I saw about the elimination diet said that the blood test is not a credible way of testing for food intolerances and is reportedly listed on a web list of dodgy allergy tests by the ASCIA (The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy). The blood test only shows up food that is currently in the child's system, which makes sense, and the level of severity as revealed by the blood test is also affected by how much of that food the child has been eating. Intolerance is very strongly related to dose, unlike allergy. So a child could have a major intolerance towards amines for example, but if he has not eaten any recently, it won't show up as a problem on the results. Correspondingly, my son's 4 rating for wheat could be indicative of the fact that he was eating a lot of it rather than his sensitivity towards it. I'm not a food scientist, but this does make sense to me.

According to our dietitian, the only way to conclude if a child is intolerant or not, is to do the elimination diet for a few weeks and then introduce challenges systematically. In short, she suggested our son do a bread challenge with Bakers Delight or Brumby's bread which does not use any vinegar or whey powder. HE PASSED!!! He is able to tolerate a sandwich or a bread roll for lunch, and is better on this than he was on the wheat free bread. He feels more normal , and it's a lot cheaper too. Our son is still free of additives and low in salicylates, amines and glutamates, and we continue to see astounding improvement, which is confirmed by his teachers, extended family and others who work with him. He is calmer, more thoughtful, and you can actually have a 2-way conversation with him now. - by email, SA

I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am to have found this diet. My nutritionist put me onto it recently. I had a bad bout of bacterial pneumonia 3 years ago and then developed Chronic Fatigue. I have tried soooo many things that haven't worked, until now. I am amazed at the change. I am now trying my children with it too. I just finished reading your "Fed Up" book and was amazed at the great results in so many situations. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge with so many, and for all the help. - Jillian, by email

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  4. [1078] Hot flushes gone within days of starting a VLF diet (February 2012)
  5. [1077] Deb and Andrew speak about food intolerance (January 2012)
  6. [1076] 'pulling out her hair and eye lashes' (December 2011)
  7. [1075] Annatto 160b: headbanging, rage, trichotillomania (hair, eyelash, eyebrow pulling) (December 2011)
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  9. [1073] Some feedback from the Fedup Roadshow 2011 (September 2011)
  10. [1072] The Amine/Salicylate dilemma (September 2011)
  11. [1071] This was the answer: SALICYLATES (September 2011)
  12. [1070] The real surprise: depression in my 12 yo was due to amines (September 2011)
  13. [1069] One-liners (July 2011)
  14. [1068] Grandmother’s night terrors, anxiety, paranoia, depression and brain fog helped by diet (July 2011) COURAGE AWARD
  15. [1067] 160b: Annatto tantrums due to soy yoghurt (July 2011)
  16. [1066] Anniversary: 12 months failsafe for severe eczema (July 2011) COURAGE AWARD
  17. [1065] 220: Sulphites and eczema – “it pays to be persistent” (July 2011)
  18. [1064] Salicylates: “they said he couldn't come back to preschool unless I did something about his behaviour” (July 2011)
  19. [1063] Another soy intolerance story: “Wow, wow, wow – a different boy” (July 2011)
  20. [1062] Elimination process “the best thing we ever did for our daughter” (July 2011)
  21. [1061] Salicylates: Migraines due to salicylates (July 2011)
  22. [1060] 'Crohns disease' due to salicylates (May 2011) (July 2011) COURAGE AWARD
  23. [1059] 4 yo behaviour - the biggest shock was the fruit and veg (July 2011)
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