Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

November 1998


FAILSAFE (formerly the Dietpage) supports families using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.




• restless legs syndrome

• omega nutrients

• reader reports - dreams, asthma, tantrums

• Chinese food

• product warning - additive 635

Cooks Corner: - tofu stir-fry, mango parfait, gluten-free slice

With our move into electronic publishing, the Dietpage has changed its name and is now available free by email. Just send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


- Sue Dengate, editor

Restless Legs syndrome (RLS)


RLS was first defined in the 1950s. According to the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Clinic, it affects 5-10% of the population. Diagnostic criteria include:

• desire to move the limbs during sleep

• motor restlessness during waking

• symptoms are worse or only present during rest (lying, sitting) with at least partial and temporary relief from activity

• symptoms are worse in the evening/night

Sufferers may experience tingling and crawling sensations in their arms or legs that are best relieved by getting up and walking around. Once in bed, their legs may twitch and jump continuously, severely disrupting sleep. The condition runs in families.

Doctors say the cause is not known. People who try an elimination diet often find their restless legs are caused by food chemicals like artificial colours, preservatives and salicylates.

Diagnostic criteria from International RLS Study Group in Movement Disorders, 1995 Vol 10

The Omega Ratio


Recent research links omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improvements in such conditions as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, eczema, inflammatory bowel diseases, dyslexia, ADHD, schizophrenia and depression.

New Zealand, Canada and West Germany all have a high prevalence of major depression (5-7 per cent) and a low intake of fish, which is a good source of omega-3 nutrients. Japan and Taiwan have less than 1 per cent depression, while their fish intakes are among the highest in the world. An Australian study of depression and omega nutrients confirmed this trend.

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are both essential for good health but work best when consumed in a ratio of less than 5:1. For most Australians the current ratio is 15:1. We need to increase our omega-3s (in fish and canola oils) and decrease our omega-6s (in polyunsaturated vegetable oils and margarines, grains, nuts and seeds and evening primrose oil).

Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby warns that fish oil supplements are not a short cut to improving your intake. If you don't modify your overall diet, the omega-3s from fish oils can be swamped by the omega-6s from other fats.


Canola oil has the perfect balance of omega nutrients - and it's failsafe. Consider switching to a canola-based spread as well. Other failsafe foods containing omega-3s include fresh white fish such as flake, whiting and barramundi, oysters, lean lamb and beef, omega-enriched eggs, Brussel sprouts, beans, leeks, lettuce, cabbage, soybeans, tofu, soymilk, butter and other beans and lentils. People who don't react to amines can eat canned fish. Sardines, mackeral and salmon are the best in this category, much higher than canned tuna.

Darwin dietitian Marion Leggo comments "Perhaps it is partly because of the inclusion of canola oil, Brussel sprouts and soymilk that we notice improvements in behaviour. It would certainly be an enhanced effect."

Nutritionists warn that it may take six weeks to gain any benefits from an omega nutrient rich diet.

Reference: 'Omega nutrients - health, diet and you' by Catherine Saxelby with Professor Andrew Sinclair, professor of Food Science at RMITU, New Woman, November 1998


Airline food


From 1 December 1998, Qantas will no longer provide certain types of special meals for food allergy sufferers. This includes gluten-free meals. The withdrawal comes after Medical Advisory Council advice that, despite the airline's diligence, potential allergens may still be present in a customer's inflight meal. Some special meals are still on offer including a fruit platter and three types of vegetarian meals - no use at all to salicylate reactors. Frequent-flyers can object to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Readers' comments


salicylate dreaming: a 20 year old reports "strange and intense dreams" caused by salicylates including dreams which are "either weird or start to turn into nightmares"

asthma: "He used to have runny eyes, a watery nose and a night cough if he didn't use his preventative asthma puffer every day. Since we started on the diet six months ago he hasn't had to use it and has only had those symptoms once, associated with a cold" - from a nurse who is the mother of a 5 year old


irritability and oppositional behaviour: "Our 4 year old son is an extremely active child that we have suspected of food intolerances for a long time. I had a miserable childhood, labelled as a "Trying Child" at five years old and spent most of my school life outside the teachers office. When I was 11 my parents put me on a preservative-free diet which did wonders, but was very difficult as 20 years ago no food was labelled.

"Our son is extremely volatile at home and little things set him off, for example a rollerblade through the plaster in the wall because he could not get the knee pad done up properly. He is a perfect angel when things are going his way, but explodes when he is challenged or things do not turn out how he wants.


"We have always been proud of his "mature palate" and his weekly diet would include foods like pesto, tuna, anchovies, olives, salami and parmesan cheese. He generally melts down in the afternoon at 3:00 pm. As he has never eaten sweet foods we thought he was not reacting to foods in an obvious way. He also eats heaps of bread, all with 282 we discovered.


"For four days we have been in heaven. Our son has done things that were just never part of his personality (washed his hair, flushed the toilet, picked up toys) and already he is much more communicative, following me around the house just chatting. He has been challenged by things not going his way a few times and had a couple of tantrums, but they are less severe and over very quickly.


"The best thing is that I have been eating the foods he eats and I feel so much calmer and able to deal with him ... My husband and I consider we are reasonably intelligent and rational people but we have been at a complete loss about our son's behaviour.


Natural chemicals in Chinese food


• Mung bean sprouts and bamboo shoots are low in food chemicals.

• Chinese vegetables like bok choy, pak choy, kangkung, Chinese cabbage and snow peas are moderate in salicylates. Water chestnut (yambean) is high in salicylates.

• Fresh beef, lamb, chicken and seafoods are all low in salicylates and amines except prawns. Pork products are all high in amines. People of Asian descent are likely to tolerate MSG but may react to dairy foods.

• Rice is usually an excellent food for people with food intolerance.

• Soymilk and tofu are low in salicylates and amines but tempeh, miso and soy sauce are very high in amines and natural MSG.




• Dianne from the Gold Coast has an 8 year old daughter on the diet and would love to hear from others doing diet. Phone 07 5564 1000

• A reader would like to hear from other Chinese who have done this diet. Reply c/ this newsletter.

• We would like to hear from dietitians with experience in supervising the elimination diet. Also volunteers who can offer telephone support - you must have followed the elimination diet strictly for at least three weeks and have completed at least the salicylate and amine challenges.

• Any reports on a relatively new preservative in bread (code 262)? We have had one report of reactions.






A recently approved food additive (flavour enhancer code 635) may be associated with itchy skin rashes up to 30 hours after ingestion. Rashes may vary from mild to dramatic. This group has received numerous reports of possible reactions, including school children suffering itchy rashes after eating chips and party pies at class parties. Some children have required emergency treatment in the middle of the night and up to two weeks of antihistamine treatment after eating foods containing additive 635. Others develop a chronic mild rash. Typical foods include flavoured chips, instant noodles and party pies. The reaction is dose-related and cumulative. Some individuals are more sensitive than others. Adults may be affected too.


Cooks' corner


Tofu stir-fry (rich in omega nutrients)

1 tbspn canola oil

300 gm firm tofu, cubed

1 cup cup chopped leeks (plus garlic to taste)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots (moderate in salicylates)

1 tbspn chicken stock or water

1 tbspn golden syrup

2 bunches baby bok choy (moderate in salicylates) ends trimmed, leaves separated and washed

salt to taste

Heat ½ tbspn canola oil in wok, add tofu and toss until golden. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil and stir-fry leek, celery and swedes. Add tofu, bok-choy, chicken stock and golden syrup and toss to combine. Cook 1 minute or until the bok choy is slightly wilted. Serve on noodles or rice.


Mango parfait


½ cup fresh mango cubes (moderate in salicylates) per person

1 cup low-fat yoghurt or soy yoghurt

¼ cup light sour cream

vanilla icecream (optional)

Combine yoghurt and cream. In parfait glasses, layer mango and cream mixture (or icecream). Top with mango cube.


Gluten-free slice


½ cup gluten-free cornflour

½ cup rice flour

2 cups rice flakes

¾ cup sugar

125 gm butter or Nuttelex

2 tbspn golden syrup

2 tsp soda bicarb

1 tsp boiling water

Mix together flours, rice flakes and sugar. Melt butter and golden syrup together. Mix bicarbonate with boiling water and add to butter mixture. Pour onto blended dry ingredients and stir to combine. Press into slice tray and bake at 160°C for 20 minutes.


Thanks to Margie Turner, dietitian Marion Leggo, Ashley,Kerry and readers for reports.

© Sue Dengate, Joanne van Os (rats), 1998

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