I spent all afternoon yesterday reading your book "Fed Up" and by chance this morning I came across the Failsafe newsletters on the web and have just finished reading them all. At times when reading your book I felt as though you may have been speaking about my family. The sibling squabbles; irritability; difficulties in getting a child to sleep; defiance; a child not helping herself get ready for school; periods of not wanting to sit and concentrate on schoolwork and homework.

I have always realised that my 7 year old daughter reacted badly to some foods, but in the busyness of life (particularly as our family has had a number of crises to deal with in the past two years) it was often easier to give and to avoid the arguments. However this would only deal with the arguments then and there and the behaviours would often kick in later.

My 7 year old has always been very active - she finds it difficult to sit/stand still (although she can sit for long periods and watch TV or read with us) and has never been easy to get to bed. In class I find that she ends up sitting on her own because she "annoys the other children" - although she will say that they annoy her first. I have often put her patches of annoying type behaviours (defiance; reluctance to help herself in terms of dressing etc; fidgeting in class; fighting with her 5 yr old sister) down to periods of unsettled family life. Whilst I think that this has had an impact I'm sure diet is also involved. In the past we have undertaken to watch our diet and have eliminated foods as dictated by a naturopath and I have found the children's behaviour to be calmer with more self control and they certainly had less colds. However, I never had an in-depth understanding of this whole area. I'm an educated women and in hindsight it never ceases to amaze me how in our private lives we do things over and over even though we know the outcomes aren't desirable eg: know the outcome of giving red lollies.

After a particularly heated run in with both my 7 year old and 5 year old and the most wonderful shopping centre tantrums - which came after lollies, iceblocks, chips and fruitjuice, I discovered your book in the book shop. I think fate may have been working at it's best.

I feel your book has provided me with a more in-depth understanding and a desire to pursue an elimination diet to see where it takes us. I have a number of concerns - especially related to the school environment and whole of family participation, especially Dad. For example - how do you get around things like cookie cooker at preschool? As you may know this is where each child takes a turn to bake/buy cookies and take them to preschool for the others to buy. I wouldn't like to isolate my child by not allowing her to participate when the others have cookies to sell.

Part 2

I realise that our issues are extremely mild compared to a lot of the families that have written to your newsletters but it is quite recognisable that the foods that my 7 year old craves are the ones that affect her. I think we will all give the elimination diet a shot. Although it was more the 7 year old that prompted me into action, after a junk food attack my 5 year old displays less than angel-like behaviour. It certainly can't do any harm - in fact it appears to me that what you advocate makes perfect healthy eating sense. You will be pleased to hear that my daughter was the cookie cooker today and all the preschoolers enjoyed failsafe cookies from your book. - Cindy, Qld