This is my little boy standing on grass. 4 weeks ago this was causing him pain. So grateful for the research that has gone into this diet and the number of ways it has helped my family.

We were introduced to failsafe in 2009 and read Sue's book FedUp with ADHD (now an ebook called Fed Up with Food Intolerance: the personal story

We chose to attempt the diet as my eldest had been diagnosed with ADD (ie inattentive but not hyperactive). We spoke to a dietician but it was clear from one visit that I was more familiar with the diet than she was and that she was half-hearted in her support so we did not go back but did the diet on our own.

We went through 6 weeks of strict elimination diet during which I can say that I did not notice the benefits. I say this because I think it is easier to see the negatives rather than the positives in most situations. For example, everyone notices the naughty child in the class but how many stop to commend the child sitting quietly in the corner getting on with their work?

We then proceeded with the Salicylate Challenge. Within 2 days we noticed the negative impact of salicylates.

Child 1 (C born 2001, aged 8 at the time, diagnosed with ADD)
- Cloudiness or fogginess returned to his mind.
- Major impact on his co-ordination. I mean - on his scooter aiming for the door and hitting the wall. During the six weeks we were on strict FAILSAFE he had no issues with this.
- A few behavioral  changes
- During the six week elimination period we had attended a weekend and he had sat still for 2 days straight, paying attention, not even interested in the snacks and other items I had brought along to help get them through - unheard of. We attend the same convention every year and this is the first year he has EVER sat through more than an hour without fidgeting.

Child 2 (D born 2006, aged 3 at the time, no diagnosed issues)
- Sensitivity to textures
- Had issues identifying the difference between hot and cold - I mean, he wears warm clothes in summer and virtually nothing in winter. Under the shower he would say, the water is too hot but meant it was too cold. This was the same child who knew he left from this right but couldn't tell hot from cold.
- Wetting his pants. During the elimination period he was completely toilet trained. On the salicylate challenge he would stand next to me and say "I need to go to the ...." and not even get the phrase out before he wet his pants. It was like the salicylates were blocking the message.

Adult 1 (N born 1977, aged 32 at the time, diagnosed with depression and had an allergy to cats and dogs since 14yo)
- I am no longer allergic to cats and dogs and removing salicylates from our diet is THE ONLY thing I can put it down to. Allergy has not returned.

Adult 2 (P born sometime last century, about 62 at the time, dealing with side-effects of childhood polio)

Pat had polio when she was two and has been a very active and determined lady her whole life but with her illnesses has had many side effects. She had moved from calipers into a wheelchair and had been in the wheelchair for about 5 years. She has ALWAYS suffered with incontinence as far back as she can remember and irregular bowel motions.

During the elimination period Pat was relieved from her incontinence (no pun intended) and passed her first normal bowel motion IN YEARS!!

We carried on and went back on the elimination diet and then a few weeks later tested amines. The boys seemed to be mildly affected, particularly with leg cramps.

So, for a number of years we were a FAILSAFE family. Over the years, as the boys have grown up, amines have been better tolerated and salicylates have slowly crept back into our diet. When we have overloaded on a particular meal I would use the "bi-carb antidote" to settle the kids back down and it would have an impact within half an hour.

9 years later

Then in 2016 I noticed some of the symptoms returning. In particular with Daniel (now aged 10 and the little boy in the photograph). He would walk around on this tip toes regardless of the surface - tiles, grass, pavement, beach sand - that's if he was FORCED to go bare foot. Even wearing thongs he would still tip-toe.

The particular day I realised how bad it was for him was when we went to the beach with friends. He complained that the grass was actually HURTING his feet. This grass was that really soft grass, no prickles or stones or anything. It was as painful to him as walking on gravel.

Then when we got the beach sand he wanted to put his sneakers back on. Well, I insisted he go bare foot because I thought "you don't wear sneakers down on the beach". Well, he refused to leave his deck chair. Later in the day I agreed for him to put his shoes on because, well, he had been on the chair most of the day and OFF HE RAN to go play and make sandcastles.

So, I decided that we should go on strict elimination again because it seemed that the levels were now producing visible symptoms that were impacting on his quality of life.

After 4 weeks on the elimination diet (but eating amines such as bananas and oranges) [OOPS: this is a mistake  - oranges and all citrus are very high in salicylates - Sue] we were able to take the photograph above. This is the same type of grass that had given him pain a few weeks earlier.

So, since salicylates were the only thing we had removed from the diet I conclude it had to be salicylate related.

We are so grateful for the research that has produced this diet. Sue's cookbook is our favourite. It seems the recipes are all trialled and tested. My one issue is the amount of sugar in many of the recipes - Natalie

[Howard comment: the sugar is there to make this way of eating initially interesting to kids, rather than a punishment. Then you can reduce it bit by bit and they will still like it. The same goes for the high fat content of some recipes.]