On a recent veterinary talkback radio program, a caller had tried all kinds of prescribed medication for her dog’s constantly itchy skin. When it didn't help she changed vets. The new vet suggested avoiding foods with preservatives and colouring and to add fish to the diet. Within a month the condition had improved and the dog had also lost three kilograms - it was a breed that is prone to put on weight. - Tom Olthoff, Adelaide

I grew up on nearly "failsafe" food in Norway 20 years ago: homemade bread, oat porridge with sugar, dinner with potatoes every day, meat and fish and a few vegetables. We ate just half or one piece of fruit every day because fruit was very expensive then, and we only drank fruit juice or fizzy drinks for Christmas or birthdays. When I was around 10 years old and got my own pocket money I started buying sweets with my friends and often felt sad and depressed. My Mum told us all about how bad junk was, so I stopped eating sweets and felt much better, and have never touched junk foods again. – reader, UK

My entire family previously responded well to the Gluten Free/Casein Free diet for about 3 weeks, and then began to backslide. I was *so* frustrated until I read about amines and salicylates. Of course, when we went GF/CF we loaded up on fruit, and all the other "bad foods"! No wonder it seemed to have failed. – reader, New Zealand

My son Luke went to kindy for five terms and hated every day. He escaped quite a few times by jumping the gates and fences. He wouldn't interact with other children, had a small attention span and if his teachers said day he would say night. His kindy teachers asked me to have him assessed so that they could get to have someone to work with him one. I went along to a paediatrician but I didn't really get a lot of help. Luke acted like a quiet little angel, so the paediatrician probably thought I was just some over-reacting mother. My own doctor had said there was no need to feed Luke bad foods to show the paediatrician what he becomes like or how bad his skin gets (he has chronic eczema) as the paediatrician would believe me, but I didn't feel that at all.

Luke has just started at school this term. A friend gave me your book and it has been a godsend, my husband said that your book has helped us more than any doctor ever has. Thankyou so very much for being there for all us lost and desperate parents. - SA

Last night I was "surfing the web" looking for information on sneaky poos (my 6 year old daughter has had a lifetime of tummy upsets, with sneaky poos being just one symptom). I typed in sneaky poos into the search engine and found some pages. As I opened up a few pages, I found they were all about our family, from the behaviour problems my 7 year old son has, to the physical problems the rest of us have ... and there was another common link with the pages ... they were ALL from your website!! I spent the next few hours reading reading reading! I know it will be difficult to change our way of eating so drastically, but you have convinced me it's worth a shot. - Tas

I've known for 30 years that I am salicylate sensitive since suffering temporary hearing loss - and the top of my head felt numb - after taking one regular full day’s dosage of aspirin (8 tablets in 24 hours) prescribed by my doctor. My symptoms cleared up in several days after I stopped the aspirin. But it is only recently that I put two and two together and got four - food salicylates may have played a big role in my steady hearing loss and increasing tinnitus over the years. I discovered this when I started taking noni this year and my hearing loss accelerated, I got terrible tinnitus, and my head felt "funny". Then I discovered noni may be high in salicylates. - by email

I’d like to thank you for sharing your life and family with the rest of us. I sat and read the book Fed Up with ADHD from beginning to end and cried the whole way through it. All I kept thinking was that this was a book about my child (although I didn't have the baby or sleeping problems) and how I was feeling. It was a relief to know that it's all normal - for ADHD sufferers. Thanks to you, I can finally feel free. - SA

First of all let me tell you how wonderful it was to find your website and help our 4 1/2 year old son (and the rest of us) lead a much more ‘normal’ life. He's had horrible symptoms of terrible mood swings, off and on stuttering, biting, spitting, banging his head against the wall, excessive bedwetting, an extremely loud voice that he couldn't control, big ‘saucer’ eyes with clenched teeth while running at me to kick and bite me, would go into hysterics when I would ask him to do the simplest of tasks such as dressing himself, pulling his hair hard enough to yank it out of head (and his 14 month old sister's), screaming every name at me he knew, running behind me from across the room gaining momentum to head butt me as hard as he could in the back and spine and as we give him a much needed nap during the day he can't fall asleep until 11:00 pm or midnight!

I’ve ordered your book but until it arrives I've been making some really wonderful meals and snacks for my son just from the info on your website… Since introducing the new diet, he's been basically a new, happier little boy and the mood around the house is SO MUCH CALMER. - USA

Have just discovered your website and it's a great relief to find out that I am not the only adult in the world to have sensitivities (specifically fumes and especially perfumes - solved by getting off buses, changing carriages or seats in trains, changing seats in cinemas and theatres; food additives – and the ubiquitous jasmine and basmati rice - solved by avoiding all Thai/Indian and some other Asian eateries and even some coffee shops and restaurants.) It's been too long a time whereby non-sufferers usually laugh at my "discomfort" and disbelieve: "you're making it up - it's your imagination!" Thank you. - by email

After only one week (and this was my getting ready to start the diet week) I noticed a definite calmness about my 7 year old son. Then he finished off some icecream and within an hour we had a horrible argument which was like his behaviour from the previous week. I sat and cried this morning as I read the failsafers’ stories and the annatto 160b factsheet on the website. My son used to head bang since about 2 years of age – and we still have dents in the walls! I have tried for 5/6 years to track his' diet reactions but they had no rhyme or reason. I just had a psychopath in training. I had always cooked and used behaviour management but there are always those telling stares from other parents and friends - I wasn't tough enough, he was out of control, obviously a single mother working full time produces this "type' of child etc. I didn’t make the food intolerance connection until I read your book. - reader, NSW

I removed the bread preservative 282 from my 7 year old son's diet after coming across your website and recognising many of the behavioural problems we were experiencing with him. He was extremely defiant, flatly refusing to do the simplest thing asked of him - homework was torture for all involved. He was loud, argumentative, talked non-stop, very anxious, had frequent bad dreams and was prone to angry outbursts. Much of this we had grown to live with since he was identified as a preschooler as being highly gifted but I was increasingly concerned about our family dynamics as we spent most of our time yelling at him and wondering how much longer we could survive, and how he was going to cope as he grew older - and therefore stronger and possibly dangerously violent.

He has always loved bread and, being a vegetarian, eats a lot of it, averaging six slices a day. The difference once we started making our own bread was astounding. He immediately became so much calmer and quieter that my husband asked if he was still in the house while he was getting ready for school in the mornings. He became much less defiant and argumentative, was able to stay still while I put his school tie on, much more polite and affectionate.

It was a lovely change to have him come home from school and give me a spontaneous hug, which is a very rare event as he is so sensitive to touch. He also seems to be able to think more clearly. I removed 282 a few days before the end of term 3 so was able to monitor changes over the holidays, which were the most pleasant we've ever had. In the first week of the new term he came home with a merit award for “staying cool, calm and collected" when faced with a situation which usually would have had him in tears. That same week he gained a further stamp towards a different award, and the following week another one for his homework!

As a visual-spatial learner with a central auditory processing disorder and an IQ in the top 2% he was probably always going to have trouble fitting into a mainstream school, however the difference the removal of 282 has made is so marked we are all going to attempt the failsafe diet.- reader, NSW

• When I was little I was told to take antihistamines every day for the rest of my life for a persistent itchy throat, but after months of failsafe I have finally worked out that even minute amounts of salicylates are the problem. - WA

• The possibility of missing out on the wonderful information I receive through your newsletter is just unthinkable - it has saved my life ... not just my sanity! – by email

• Logan Farm Guilt Free (oven) Fries are such a great item ... my take-away ... LOL - Vic • I have just read your book "Fed Up" after it was recommended by my son's childcareteacher - I was in tears after reading the first page of your first chapter, as it was like looking in to a mirror.- SA

• The closest restaurant to our hotel in LA was a Denny’s, but we had to stop eating there when I developed a rash all over my body half an hour after our meal – and they actually provide children with artificial colour sachets to change the colour of their lemonade … WHAT THE ??? - Failsafer visiting the USA

• Discovering the failsafe diet has changed our lives: we have read Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook, most, if not all, of the newsletters, and we are on the Failsafe USA list and Failsafe 3 - we have had our mistakes and struggles, but we have had so much success with our very difficult 4 year old son that we continually strive to get it right. - USA

• Thank you for coming to our town and pointing us in the right direction - we now have a dairy-free happy child who has not seen a doctor in about month except the paediatrician - it was the best he had ever seen her, even her speech has improved. – NSW

• First let me tell you how impressed and grateful I am: I work with children with autism, ADD and learning difficulties and the best way to tell people about the effects of what their children eat is to lend them one of your books. – WA

• We're on day 2 of the elimination diet today, and all is going well - your Failsafe Cookbook is fantastic with bits of info all through which seem to answer questions as they come into your mind. – NZ

• Our son is such a fussy eater that we didn’t give him enough salicylates during the salicylate challenge – we concluded he could tolerate moderate to high salicylates and it has taken us months to recognise that he is noticeably better on low salicylates - Vic

• My dreadful rash has almost cleared up as long as I avoid ‘the 600 numbers’ [flavour
enhancers 621, 627, 631 and 635] - I have found that one of the worst things if I happen
to be dining out is soup. - SA

• Our yellow colouring (102) challenge was like going back to the dark ages – my daughter was moody, angry, cried for nothing eg. being told to move, stop screaming etc, she was aggressive, confrontational, "raaahed" at me and her sister, spat and threw things at us, cut off her 2 year old sister’s hair and woke next morning still in a bad mood. - WA

• My 18 month old son is generally a quiet little guy, until the last two afternoons when I gave him chicken in a biscuit – both days his behaviour changed after about half an hour, he was running around the house yelling loudly, his breathing was very intense and he was a totally different child - I am amazed that it is legal to use additives that can do this to children.- by email

• We gave our 5 year old failsafe daughter a mandarin as a treat – there were no behavioural changes, but the next day she was unable do read properly and all her numbers were written back to front – it really makes you appreciate what some of these kids go through on a daily basis. - NSW

• Our three and a half year old son is a lovely child with a few difficulties when on failsafe food but before diet, he had enough symptoms to class him as autistic: little or no eye contact, spent hours alone fixated with various objects ie string, sand, wouldn't accept hugs or show affection, constant tantrums, his development regressed a lot from about 18 months or 2 years with regard to loss of speech, and for quite a while he said only one word repetitively, as well as severe reflux, diarrhoea, eczema and sleep disturbance. - Qld

• I didn't even think that my son's behaviour and symptoms could be caused by food. Now I've been eliminating, I can see why. Most of his reactions (eg to colours) are delayed by at least a day, if not two.- by email.

• I have often thought that my children’s academic success [three teenagers] has something to do with the fact that they just don't consume the same amount of daily junk compared to the average kid. – Vic

• Our Beagle dog’s seizures are related to ribonucleotides (flavour enhancer 635). – SA

• My four year old autistic son’s pain threshold seems to have decreased on the diet – he used to be barely aware of pain if he injured himself, but now responds as any "normal" child would. - NSW

• I just wish I had done this YEARS ago! It is a delight to see my two kids cooperating and playing nicely with each other as long as they are eating properly! – by email


Six months ago, I was rushed off to hospital after waking in the middle of the night feeling edgy and hot with swelling of my face, heart palpitations and welts of hives all over my body. Afterwards, I questioned was it something I ate - the wine, the peanuts?

These awful experiences went on for a period of about four months until my brother saw a segment on A Current Affair about reactions to flavour enhancer 635 (also 627 and 631, ribonucleotides). I had missed the show but immediately got onto the website and as soon as I started reading I knew that was exactly what I had. This information is provided by Sue Dengate at www.fedup.com.au on the factsheet called "Ribo Rash".

I read everything I purchase, I do not eat anything if I do not know exactly what is in it, and before I go to a function I speak with the chef or caterers. When dining I choose a meal and then request that the chef can assure me that there is no 635 added. I went through my pantry and discarded any foods with 635 in the ingredients and have not had a reaction of any kind for about two months which is a wonderful breakthrough for me, after experiencing reactions 3-4 times a week.

I request that you please take the time to read the attached information, as my parents are both experiencing similar reactions. My stepfather has a chronic rash and my mother gets hives at least one night a week. They receive "Meals on Wheels" and my stepfather says it is usually after rissoles, stew or soup. Therefore I request that you read the ingredients that you are adding for flavour to these meals. Purchased chickens from Woolworths have the additive in the stuffing, Coles marinated fresh chickens contain 635, Red Rooster have in on the outside, some chicken salt has it as well as some stocks, tinned and packet sauces and soups and it is even in some butter blends. Potato chips, CC's and other flavour enhanced foods are all to be avoided but there are plenty of substitutes, it just means being more vigilant as to what is served.

The elderly in aged care facilities and even patients in hospitals are experiencing these reactions due to flavour enhancer 635. There are plenty of natural herbs and spices that can be added to food for flavour instead of an additive which is causing a lot of suffering and possibly even death.

- letter from Queensland

After the birth of my first son I was diagnosed with post natal depression (PND) and had a few months on an antidepressant (Seroxat).

I was soon pregnant with my second son and while pregnant avoided alcohol (this later turned out to be important). During both pregnancies I ate well, although not failsafe, and felt great.

After my second son was born I was again diagnosed with PND and went back on Seroxat and I was on varying doses of that or similar medication altogether for 6 years. I needed them and they helped me. I could not have coped the first three years with all the stress going on in our lives.

My second son had been a very sick baby, I was stressed with him and an overactive toddler, and when things did balance out for the boys – when we went failsafe – we had a big move and I had a huge amount of stress again with that life change.

In addition, I visited psychologists on a regular basis, had light therapy, and tried other sorts of complementary therapies such as vitamins and herbal therapies but nothing that "replaced" the medication. All helped in various ways at different stages, particularly the first two.

Then eighteen months ago I went totally FAILSAFE and regained my life! I felt like the "old me", pre-children me was back. I had energy, wasn't continually tired, didn't have continual body aches, headaches and wasn't depressed. I didn't "need" red wine and cheese comforts (amines overloads, not to mention other preservatives). After about 5 years of lacking normal energy, and being down, this was and is cause for celebration.

So I celebrated with red wine and realised that this was a primary cause along with the amine overloads that had been causing MANY of my problems. I'm not a big drinker, but had fallen in the habit of sharing a bottle of wine once or twice a week with my husband.

I still find it hard to believe the difference I have gained in myself from mainly the diet change. I respond to high salicylates and medium amines, but the things that affect me worst have combinations of both, such as wine, cheese, and local hot dog sausages.

At its worst, with the depression I could and would burst into tears over nothing and worst of all lost all my energy. I needed afternoon sleeps as I couldn’t survive a day without them and just achieving half an ordinary persons daily tasks was a huge achievement for me. I don’t know what others thought of me, but I had a big battle coping over my body’s responses and why I couldn’t do more than make the beds and vacuum half the house in a day. If I did manage to do more on
a good day then I wrote myself off for a couple of days afterwards.

The biggest difference and what constantly surprises me is the return of energy. I had just thought I was overweight and unfit, which was partly true. But now since being failsafe, I can ride the three km into town and home again without a huge effort, and without training! It is just an example of the things that over five years I just took for granted that I couldn’t do – I had huge problems trying to keep to regular exercise, even mild walking programs as when I became depressed I lost all my energy. I notice it now when I challenge the amines.

I have now weaned myself off the tablets totally after taking them for six years. The medication really just masked the problem, it evened out my emotional highs and lows and made it possible to survive by avoiding the deep lows that threatened my life’s worthiness.

Over 5 months I weaned myself successfully from two daily capsules to one capsule every other day. Fist I tried "cold turkey" - which I don't recommend to anyone - but gave up by the fourth day due to dizziness and inability to focus, as well as nausea and more. Over winter I maintained one every second day (every day date divisible by two) and when spring came, extended the medication free days in-between until I was up to one tablet every 7 days. I missed one and then found I didn’t notice and haven’t taken one since. Despite another stressful period I have entered recently, I am managing well so long as I keep failsafe. - Reader, Europe

Pre-failsafe, my eight year old daughter was mildly depressed, as well as lethargic, pale, anxious, dizzy and "spacy". Her amine challenge resulted in severe depression including bouts of suicidal thoughts and almost psychotic agitation. Based on pre-diet behaviours, she was classified as having a highly anxious temperament. A number of health professionals have told us they expect to see her back during her teenage years, meaning so they can give her antidepressants. However after two years failsafe she shows no signs of mental illness in any form and no longer seems a candidate for anxiety and depression.

I am only mildly food intolerant but an overdose of amines can give me the blues. My husband is moderately food intolerant and can get dark moods and negative thinking from amines. However neither of us have ever had full blown depression. - reader, Tas

I have suffered depression since at least age 15 and am 38 now. I self medicated on huge amounts of alcohol over the years, and was always very emotional and explosive. Either very 'up' or totally down and in a complete mess.

When I fell pregnant at age 29, I sank into a deep depression that only worsened with a long labour and breastfeeding difficulties. I was prescribed Prozac and stayed on this medication for seven years during which time I tried to come off twice with very bad results.

I did a lot of counseling and support group work regarding childhood abuse issues, relationship and communication counseling work with my husband, and received the assistance of a social worker with trying to manage mothering my child. My daughter was three before I received this assistance and also started to work through my own emotional issues. It took until she was six before I came across Sue's information about diet. My daughter always had Oppositional Defiant Disorder behaviours and was not interested in learning at school or at home, but it had been presumed that it was I who was not coping. Which I wasn't anyway, to top it off! ODD people can appear so normal to others making me seem quite neurotic.

I came off antidepressants again at the beginning of last year after having felt very level for quite a few months in a row. It was a very rocky 12 months. At times I was OK and at others I thought I would not survive unless I went back on the drugs. At least my husband was far more understanding at this point, but I wouldn't have called it a life.

I know now that we (my daughter and I ) had been bouncing off each other for years. Her behaviour and concentration improved enormously on the diet. It has changed our lives. We laugh, play, cuddle and talk together instead of constant aggression and fighting. I cannot remember ever being so level and calm and capable. I cried with joy (or over the loss?) one night when she was just so caring towards me. Of course we still have bad times. Everyone does after all. Now we have good times too.

When we tested salicylates, as soon as I woke the next day I could feel the return of my helpless, hopeless, awful black depression. I wanted to strike out at others in my pain. Once again I couldn't think straight to make even the simplest of decisions. I hated myself and anyone that I loved. It took about five days before I started to come up again. I don't ever want to feel like that again and I know what causes it now. To be able to say that feels so good. I have some form of control over a life that was totally out of control. I find the diet very hard in some ways, but I know which I prefer. To maintain my life in any reasonably happy form, I need to be failsafe. - reader, Vic

I always had horrible periods. I was a chronic bitch for two weeks out of every month and also suffered severe cramping with heavy bleeding and frequent clots.

Straight after my son’s birth I knew something was wrong. When I got home I just sat in bed staring into space. I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t do anything, couldn’t sleep. I would start panicking when I heard the baby cry. My mother had to come and look after us, doing all the work and bringing my son to me for feeds. It was awful. I didn’t want to take antidepressants but it was something I had to do to make myself better.

After my second child was born the same thing happened but I went on the diet for her eczema when she was 4 months old and it really helped me, I felt better than I had for months. Then when I weaned her I went back on my normal diet and started feeling anxious and overwhelmed and I couldn’t sleep even though I was on antidepressants. I know I should have realised I needed to go on the diet again but I was in denial. It all seemed too hard. For me giving up chocolate was a really big thing. I had to decide that feeling good was more important than being able to eat chocolate when I was stressed.

After my daughter was born, I took antidepressants for 12 months, then I spent 18 months weaning myself off them very slowly, because if I went any faster I had withdrawal symptoms. During this time I went on the elimination diet for myself. My PMS, other menstrual problems and depression all disappeared. Challenges showed that I am sensitive to nearly everything. If someone had told me when I first got postnatal depression that my problems were due to food intolerance, I would have gone on the diet straight away. I’ve been on this diet for months and now I can’t really remember what it’s like to be depressed.’ - reader, ACT

The first time that I can remember having significant depression was my third year of varsity. At that stage I didn't do much about it, but I do know that good diets tend to go out the window at varsity – I was having a lot of fast foods and fizzy drinks. Whenever I was under stress my 'drug of choice’ was chocolate. I was sure chocolate could get me through anything and could eat up to a block a day.

Somehow I finished my third and fourth years of varsity with good enough grades to get into a job that I thought that I should have.

I started my job about six months after finishing varsity into an environment that was full on learning and living. Through the first year of steep learning curves I found it more and more difficult to cope, I was crabby, had no self esteem and 'lost myself'. I couldn't concentrate, and therefore got more down on myself because I felt I wasn't doing well enough so started eating more and more chocolate and fast foods, which caused the cycle to continue, chocolate, stress, depression, lack of self worth …

About a year into this I went to a doctor who said I would be fine, that I was just stressed out with preparing for our wedding, new job, change of city etc, basically to get on with it.

Three years later, I went to another doctor with the same symptoms, this time though I was put onto a 'minor' antidepressant. This did help to stabilise me, and I was able to make some decisions about where I was and where I wanted to go. I then changed jobs and felt much better, though saying that the much better as a comparative wasn't really still 'good'.

A year and a half ago my sister suggested that I try the failsafe diet for symptoms that my doctors were calling irritable bowel. I had gone off antidepressants for about six months before testing for IBS, but the first thing the doctors did when looking into my bowel problems was to put me back on antidepressants. During this time I had still been eating my old diet of chocolate, plus other foods that are high in amines.

So for my bowel reasons I went onto failsafe, cutting out everything including wheat and dairy.

This was very hard, and the withdrawal symptoms were awful, my husband put up with me yelling at him for no except that he wouldn't go and get me chocolate! At any time I transgressed, the withdrawal symptoms would come back.

Being on the diet showed many symptoms that we would have never had associated with food, for example, black rings under the eyes disappearing, lack of concentration leaving and a levelling of the depression that I had been experiencing. Before failsafe I never suspected that depression could even be related to food. I had decided that it ran in the family so I was just prone to it. After the diet, I suspected that amines were going to be the big one as whenever I ate
cocoa based products I had always had either a major craving or it made everything seem worse.

During the amine testing, I think my husband just about divorced me. I felt awful, didn't want to get out of bed, couldn't be bothered with anything and was sure everyone hated me. Anything anyone said was taken the wrong way and I nearly chucked in the job that I sometimes really enjoy. I spent hours telling my husband about how terrible my life was and analysing everything in detail trying to work out why everyone hated me. I had an increasing intensity in suicidal thoughts,
thinking through what was in the house to help me, though, thank goodness, never got to the stage of actually doing anything about it. It was scary!!!

Dairy had also shown an affect on my moods, making me grumpy when I consumed too much, though grumpy, I wasn't as bad as on amines to live with.

I am still on the antidepressants, but know that I don't really need them. When I am doing diet wrong, the antidepressants don't help, but they are effectively a crutch that I haven't been game enough to get off.

When I am staying strictly on failsafe, I feel happier, am nicer to be around, enjoy life and have lots of energy instead of lying on the couch like a half comatose couch potato.- Reader, NZ

When our 8-year-old daughter was a toddler she was on a gluten free diet for some months after reacting to antibiotics. She had biopsies to rule out coeliac disease and at that time I bought a bread maker which I used almost exclusively until about 2 years ago.

During the time she was eating almost 100% home made bread, she had a great attention span. Due to other Issues, our kindy recommended testing with the WPPSI – R, which we agreed to. I do not wish to go into the results here, only to say that this assessment now gives us a good indication that her later performance while on preserved bread was really poor.

We started using purchased bread over two years ago when I was having a very difficult pregnancy and needed to reduce my workload. Now I wish I had given up totally on the housework instead! The introduction of preservative 282 in purchased bread coincided with a decline in our daughter’s abilities. Her bread intake increased until she was eating about 8 or more slices/day and her performance decreased until we were able to get very little work out of her as she was unable to concentrate for more than about one minute at a time.

In desperation I called her teacher who mentioned the television report on 282. I did further investigation on the net, and read your site. The result was that we returned to using our bread maker after not having used it for nearly two years. After about ten days, we had a different child. She started concentrating! She finished in 10 minutes what she previously couldn’t finish in 4 hours. Her spelling started to improve as did her handwriting. She also finally learned to ride a two-wheeled bike!

As you can imagine, we were thrilled. After two years of under achieving and barely being grade level, our daughter is finally starting to accelerate and achieve some of that potential. I am grateful we had the assessment as it shows how much she was behind.

We have become very angry that this preservative is allowed. Even if it is just anecdotal evidence, I believe it validates the need for further research and a ban on 282. Our recent experience with [a particular supermarket] bread has shown how little we can trust labels. I also believe this could partly explain the increased rate of ADHD among lower income families. When Bilo bread is 1/3rd the price of Bakers Delight, what are most families going to use?

We are grateful for the work that you have done in researching this. I only wish we had known earlier. It makes us rather angry and frustrated at the lost potential and the damage it has done to our daughter. - reader, SA

I made a bad choice on Monday by having our carpet cleaned. I had never used the company before so I quizzed the man about his detergent and how well he would rinse and remove the detergent. However, when I got home the detergent smell was really strong! Yesterday my son’s teacher asked me if my son was still doing the diet. She said his concentration and handwriting had been really good but it had all fallen apart the last two days. - reader, NSW

I just want to give you my personal thanks for everything you have done, with the website and the books. I have only come across this 8 wks ago and we have had some significant changes already.

We've always been a "really healthy" family with me doing heaps of home cooking (baking biscuits, all wholefood type ingredients, homemade casseroles and everything). Everyone commented on it. But they also noticed my two boys who have become increasingly unbearable to live with. Thank heavens that I have two other children who are near-perfect, otherwise I think I would have sunk into a deep depression over my "obviously inadequate" parenting skills!! As it was, I've gotten pretty depressed about living with these dreadful boys and their seemingly illogical, self-destructive behaviour and foolish choices. They are both so different with their problems but the results are so similar - my stress levels have just climbed over the past couple of years.

Anyway we started the failsafe diet 5 weeks ago. I am really organised and exact when I am strongly motivated and I can swear I did it perfectly from day one. Your book was my constant companion and the website was invaluable for the shopping list etc.

Results so far? What a change in one child (8yrs). From a monster that we (almost) hated to a lovely pleasant human. And without having to be horrible disciplinarian parents! The other child (10yrs) is a lot more canny about what we were looking for, and incredibly stubborn. He has worked out that a positive result could spell disaster for some of his favourite foodstuffs so he has been playing dead, claiming headaches, stomach aches etc and being totally miserable, despite rewards etc.

Then we did the salicylate challenge. The child I did not suspect for salicylates reacted so strongly, I couldn't believe it ... so did the other one, but I suspected him. Then the amines - again, reactions but different ones - I can actually link specific mood types to these substances. I am a normally suspicious and sceptical person but this is incredible. I feel so stupid that I didn't think of this before ... but it seems everyone says that, so I don't feel alone.

We still have more challenges to do, but I didn't want to wait any longer before saying "thank you" so very much for your work. I cannot say how much this means to me - I was expecting the 8 year old to be in remand school by the time he is 12, and now I know I can change his whole outlook on life! I'm not depressed about my family situation anymore but feeling really positive and hopeful even though it means a lot of hard work. Only looking back do I realise how depressed I was about the constant battles with the boys. - Sue, NSW

At the back of the food section in "Fed up" it has the story about the family who went to the Kimberleys with failsafe, and I read that and thought wow, how dedicated and marvellous etc. After doing this for 5-6 weeks now, I reckon the easiest way would have been to pack up the family and head for the Kimberleys with NO birthday parties, kid's clubs, school, end of term things, playing at someone else's house, grandparents, church suppers, well-meaning people bearing treats, etc. My friend and I are going to make big signs saying "NIL BY MOUTH" and string them around the children's necks!! (Only joking - but it is totally devastating to have your vital research wrecked by a nice person.) - reader, NSW

I tried the diet with my son after seeing a dietitian and using the RPA booklets but it didn’t work. It wasn’t until I found your cookbook that I realized I had made so many errors. Your book is chock full of little bits of info I didn’t get from the booklets or dietitian – and the recipes are invaluable. As soon as I read the checklist of mistakes I made some changes and the results were amazing. - reader, NSW

When my 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD late last year the doctor suggested I read Dr Green’s book, which I did, and she also suggested that I cut out some artificial colours, flavours and salicylates. She told me that salicylates are in cheese. I did this for about a week. Most of the food I had in my home was "no artificial colours" etc and avoiding cheese made no difference. The doctor didn’t tell me that salicylates are mainly in fruit, she didn’t tell me about 282, and she didn’t give me any reference to your work or that of the RPAH diet. Therefore, I thought my child was not a "foodie" (as I call her!) and gave it no further thought. My husband is dead against ADHD medication and basically my daughter got worse over the next six months until I was at breaking point with her behaviour at home, socially, and at school.

About 3 months ago, I went into a bookstore in desperation one day just looking for anything that would help me. I had been in tears for a week not knowing what else to do with her. I bought a copy of "Fed Up With ADHD" and I admit I didn’t place much hope in it because of my previous experience. I read your book in a day and a half. The third page got my attention when you mentioned all the things food intolerance can be responsible for - handwriting, co-ordination, bowel control etc which are all things my daughter has been struggling with for years. She has never finished a task at school and she is in year 3. She is currently having occupational therapy for her co-ordination and she has always had bowel problems which are ongoing.

That week I took all my children off commercial bread and bought Bakers Delight which is the only bread I have bought since. I thought about two days later that my home was slightly calmer, but told myself that I was just looking for something. After three days I started my children on the diet, much to their total disgust! Within another three days I could see a difference in my daughter.

Since then, I have been having daily communication with her teachers and frequently the Principal, and although she is still quite slow and disorganised, her attitude is much better and she is not anywhere near as emotional as she was. She has gone from crying hysterically ten times a day to only having hysterics if she has eaten something wrong. I’ve established, unfortunately, that she is severely sensitive to salicylates, and even pears seem to make her a bit vague. While I am still struggling with this (I mean after all, how can a child not eat any fruit!!), I am learning what I can give her and when.

Basically, it is very hard work (which I realise you of all people know!), and a very big learning curve, but we’re getting there. Everywhere I go now and mention it someone says something along the lines of "Oh yes, my friend has a sister who’s done that and apparently the kid is like a different person". Sue, the word is spreading! I just wanted to say thank you for all the work and time and effort you have put in to this. Without your advice I would probably be on antidepressants by now. - Tracy, NSW

Last year one of my children had a cottage pie from the school tuckshop and when she arrived home she complained of a headache, stomach cramps and had a skin rash. The next day I read the ingredients of the cottage pies in the tuckshop. They contained preservative, MSG and flavour enhancer 635. When I read about 635 on your web site I was stunned that a tuckshop would give this stuff to children, and I realized what had caused a rash on my other daughter. After eating some cooked chicken from a supermarket, she had developed an itchy red rash which covered her whole body and I had to give her an antihistamine tablet. At the time I couldn’t work out what had caused the rash. Another time she got a rash after eating some cooked chicken from the local small food store. I went to the shop to read the ingredients and sure enough the seasoning contained 635. I printed out the information from your website and gave it to the owner of the shop. They have not changed the seasoning and we have never again bought a cooked chicken from any store. - reader, Qld

My daughter Jessie is three and a half now and from the moment she was born we have had nothing but problems.

In the first three months she was always crying, not able to sleep, she was given medicine for reflux and colic and her formula was changed on a weekly basis. At 6 months she threw her first tantrum, I remember it well as it was over a set of car keys. She was chewing on them and then decided to ram them into the back of her mouth, so I took the keys from her. She turned around and grabbed at my face, screaming and trying to bite. That was the start.

As she grew older she stopped her daytime sleeps well before she was one and moved into bed with me. I didn’t mind because she slept so much better. She was never able to amuse herself and would rather sit and scream than do something for herself. She often had ear infections and colds. Before she was two her sister was born, much to her annoyance.

My second daughter was and still is breastfed so both girls were in my bed. Jessie’s night terrors were getting worse, and even though she loved her sister she didn't like her one little bit. Once again, I believed the nurses and doctors putting it down to terrible two's and a new sister. Her behaviour got worse as she got older and it was nothing for her to headbutt the cement from one end of town to the other end till her head was blue, for no reason but a toy put in a plastic
bag so that she could carry it. When she was three she hit the peak period.

A typical day would start off with her wanting the light on in the morning, so I would turn it on. "Get it off", she would say, so I would turn it off, trying so stop the tantrum. "No, turn it back on", so I would turn it on, and then she would start, "Get her away from me, I don’t want her any more" (that’s her sister), then the screaming would start and the kicking and the biting and this was from the moment she opened her eyes! She would scream and yell until she wet herself and then just lie in it and scream some more.

When she was finished in the bedroom she would go and destroy the next room. She was so loud that in the middle of summer with the aircon on and all the doors and windows shut the neighbours three doors up could still hear her. After an hour of morning tantrums then it was time for the next one usually over something stupid. The tantrums could last up two hours with her hitting, screaming and biting herself and me. When she was so angry there was nothing I could
do to help her, timeout didn’t work, smacking made it worse and holding her was pointless. She would be screaming out for me "mummy mummy I need you" but if I dared go near her "get away from me, I don’t want you" and she would hurt me with what ever was closest. Not a day would go by that she was not like that all day, in fact out of a whole 12 hour day I would say that she would be calm for about 3 hours.

I turned to the doctors and nurses for help but all they could say was go to parenting classes. I knew that there was something else wrong. When a friend recommended Fed Up with ADHD, I almost cried.

We started the diet in a month ago and within 3 days her behaviour had changed, no more kicking, hitting and biting and the look of pure hatred that she would give you before she started the tantrum had gone. We removed colourings and preservatives first and then went on the elimination diet. She got better and better. Everyone noticed! When we made a mistake, like kindy giving her chocolate, she would wake the next morning complaining of sore eyes, and then the LOOK would start and I knew we were in trouble!

Suddenly I had my little girl back, the one that I spent three years looking for. She is nice to her sister and even nicer to me! I can not thank you enough. You helped when no one else could. -reader, Qld

* Your book saved my son but it was too late for my marriage, which really suffered from having a child like this.

* We gave up 282 preservatives in bread after reading your book ‘Fed up’ about two years ago – within a week my wife was free of urinary incontinence and over a period of about three months I was able to give up all asthma medications. – readers aged 60 and 56

* We have been weaning ourselves off non-failsafe stuff for over a week and my autistic son and I are already seeing and feeling the benefits.

* It just hit me like a brick that my sons have gone to sleep well since we started the failsafe diet a month ago, instead of getting up every 5 mins for 2 hours every night. A miracle!

* We have bought your book and are noticing FANTASTIC changes in our children (even their teachers are noticing).

* My son is just turning the corner with his severe eczema thanks to a new allergist and your food!

* Our school principal has borrowed my copy of ‘Fed Up’ based solely on seeing the results I am achieving.

* My husband suffers from severe hayfever/rhinitis but not when he eliminates dairy from his diet - quite an incredible change for him -he is very good at avoiding dairy now.

* My failsafe son has gone from distracting others to being named student of the week for great work habits!

* I have just stumbled across your site and I wish to thank you for it and applaud and recognise the effort you have devoted to help so many.

* I have been asthmatic for 34 years and in the first 20 pages of your asthma book I learnt so much.

* we have pretty much cut out preservatives, colours and flavours and cut back on the amount of fruit they were eating - WOW!!! what a difference - my girls still argue but the ‘volcanic activity’ is gone.

* my son has dyslexia but it is increased by stress and food – thanks for the guidance and help that you are giving us all.

* I realise now that it is better to do the hard yards in the first place with the diet than to suffer the tantrums and bad behaviour.

* The website is so useful with all the recipes and stories - people just so resourceful and clever -I really admire the way they adapt and come up with strategies.

* The issue of unlabelled antioxidants in oil ticks me right off - I know the labelling laws have improved things a lot but to have to call the company before you eat a product is crazy.

* Our amine challenge was ‘contaminated’ on the last day of school by well-meaning people feeding all sorts of marvellous stuff (without notice!!!) to the kiddies like fizzy drinks, pizza and chips - I felt like a scientist whose petri dishes had been upset all over the floor by the lab cleaner - it's so frustrating and it's like, bang! all that work down the drain.

* I never knew mince could contain sulphites until I read your asthma book and then I realized
why my asthma got bad the week we lived on our butcher’s cut-price mince.

* I tell everyone I meet about our diet because there are so many kids who could be helped.

* What you have achieved for all of us suffering families is nothing less than amazing, you will certainly be welcomed with open arms at the pearly gates - for the first time I actually feel as if there is some hope for my son to be happy and understood.

I have been using your book like a bible for my four-year-old and have had wonderful success. Without it I don't think our family would have survived. Our little boy has salicylate sensitivity and is also affected by a lot of preservatives and colours. He previously suffered from severe bloating, diarrhoea and stomach cramps which are controlled with this diet. His severe rages and tantrums also went away almost instantly when we started failsafe eating. My son is very grateful because he doesn't like having stomach cramps. He said to me one day when he was only three, 'Mummy what are we going to do about my tummy, it really hurts' and that was when I found your book.

I am a nutritionist and have studied through natural health colleges. I have found that trying to help my son and myself the naturopathic way only makes us much sicker, as you stated in your book. Damien cannot take vitamins or eat lots of fruit and vegetables. - Karen England, NSW.

We were having troubles with our son at school not concentrating and mucking up, but since reading your book and taking things out of his diet he went from reading level 3 to 16 in one school year and came first out of all the boys in his class in a maths test, so I would just like to thank you for giving us the information we needed. - Sherree, NSW.

I am soy intolerant. More specifically I suffer from a legume intolerance which is only now apparent after 13 years of suffering and frustration. My intolerance manifests itself in the form of chronic idiopathic urticaria, meaning never-ending hives of unknown origin. 'These hives are large unbelievably itchy red welts that, in a severe attack can cover almost all of the body. My symptoms got worst and extended to lethargy, aching and swelled joints, sleepless nights and eventually an emotional feeling of hopelessness of ever being able to stop the relentless onslaught.

As many people discover when suffering from a health condition, not a lot of other people know much about it and the medical profession (as good as they are) can only help to a point.

My story began when I was 30 years old and developed a few welts for no apparent reason since I was otherwise healthy. I went to well-known allergy experts and my GP. It was obvious to them that I was suffering a food sensitivity. After I failed a skin test for allergic reactions, they focused on a food intolerance type problem.

I undertook a series of elimination diets starting with a GP 'allergy expert' in order to eliminate the obvious and common culprits. Soy was one such test whereby I had to stop consuming dairy products and 'overdose' on soy milk. No change! And so was the result for every other test. Each common food type was evaluated and the end result was no change.

After a year or two, I was referred to a local leading immunologist (a very nice and knowledgeable man) as no clear cause was becoming evident and the symptoms were worsening. I saw a dietician and with both their help proceeded on the RPA chemical sensitivity elimination diet in order to determine if salicylates or glutamates etc were a problem for me. After months of that there was no change.

Years went by of chopping and changing, trying different things and variations to elimination diets, even getting down to decaf coffee, toast and margarine for breakfast, salad for lunch and fish and steamed vegies or salads with dressings for tea with a packet of twisties or chocolate treat.

I still had no significant change over 5 to 6 weeks. My wife was at her wits end also having to shop for special food and cook different meals. I worked shift work. One thing did stick out - soy sauce caused me an immediate affect. Clearly I shouldn't have soy, but what else was causing the reactions? After all I only had soy sauce with a very occasional Chinese meal or rice.

In the end there was nothing the immunologist could do but maintain my antihistamine intake, and put me on cyclosporine, used in transplant patents, a drug which I could not take for long with bad side effects. Its purpose was to suppress the immunological system and 'shock' it into performing normally. This did not work. I had ultrasounds and blood tests - with no clear result. Everything seemed normal, yet the symptoms persisted.

I utterly refused to accept that I could not stop this thing from happening to me. After eliminating so many food types, the cause of my intolerance had to come from something I was in contact with every day. I even started considering the possibility of 'environmental sensitivity'.

The most important aspect of identifying my problem was keeping a record of what I ate every day for years. Eventually, when the breakthrough came, it was due to improved food labelling on Australian packaging combined with information about food ingredients.

One afternoon, one of my kids left an empty Cheezels packet on the bench in the kitchen. I picked it up to dispose of it and, as I'd been doing habitually for years, read the food ingredients label. To my utter surprise and confusion, it said 'contains milk, dairy and soy products'. I always liked twisties and cheezels, but never read anything in the past that alerted me to soy products within the ingredients. I closely read the ingredients list. No mention of soy. That's odd, I thought.

I then recalled being tested for soy with the 'overdose' of soy milk routine. It didn't make sense. I then went to an article about soy labelling and there it was, 'May be described as lecithin, vegetable gum, vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein or vegetable starch'.

I referred back to the Cheezel labelling and there it was: 'vegetable gum'. I then went to the West Australian Health Department's 'Food Additives Guide'. I looked through and found all the numbers relative to these titles, particularly lecithin (322) used as an antioxidant in many foods and checked out my pantry and fridge. More than half the food I had contained at least one of these soy based ingredients, but not one made mention or reference to them being a derivative of soy.

I stopped eating anything that contained ANY soy based ingredients and within 24 hours there was a major change!

I awoke the next morning to find only 3 small welts on my body and after 13 years, no need for any medication. I could not believe it. I thought I'd made a mistake or it was just luck that I didn't have the welts. I was almost in a state of denial that it was really happening.

I persisted with the elimination of these ingredients and over the following few weeks, lost almost all symptoms. No more lethargy, swollen joints or rashes caused from excessive histamine flowing through my body and virtually no welts.

The more I read labelling, the more products I found containing soy derivatives not called 'soy'. Ingredients that I had read before but never realised were actually soy. For example, regular manufactured bread and margarine with nothing else was filling me with soy and I didn't know it. The bread contained 'soy flour' which in previous years was labelled simply 'contains flour' (which I assumed was wheat flour) and the margarine contained lecithin 322.

I love chocolate. ALL chocolate contains lecithin 322 made from soy.

So there you have it. What doctors thought was a dairy problem was a soy problem. What they thought was a 'chemical' problem was a soy problem and so it went on. All because soy is not called soy on the food labelling of most products.

That situation is improving and I intend to help make that happen. Even when I speak to doctors and dieticians, not to mention workmates, friends and family, no one ever knows that soy is in so much of their diet.

There was a period where 'experts' would tell me I needed to exercise more, or stop stressing or don't work in an office. That advice made a bad situation worse. I did find some relief in researching alternative medicine options and have continued to adhere to some of those findings. At one stage they helped me to focus on the task at hand, providing relief from the worry of 'unending sufferance' and helping to clear my mind. To this day I use a particular liquid soap, aluminium free deodorant and do not apply sprays or scents to my body.

I am aware of the extension of my intolerance to other legumes. I still suffer every 5 days roughly from a few welts or itch, but nothing compared to what I used to get.

It is now easier to identify a 'bean' (legume) type reaction. I've stopped eating beans (obviously), peas, anything with vanilla in it and coffee. Not because of the caffeine, but because it's a bean! Snack foods (all types), all biscuits except pure shortbread (Walker's Glengarry plain), all chocolates and confectionery (except for barley sugar lollies - most brands) are off limits because they contain a soy based additive in them.

As well as 322 (antioxidant) I also avoid additives 476,471,492 (emulsifiers), vegetable gums 410,412,415,416,461 (not all soy but derivatives of various beans), vegetable gums & vegetable protein, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and vegetable starch (even if they do not specifically state soy, I don't take the chance). Soya beans, soya meal, soy flour (very common in breads and cakes), soya sauce, miso, tofu and chickpeas. In fact quite a lot of 'health foods' are grossly unhealthy for me. Packaged health foods early always contain a soy additive.

These other legumes give me a small reaction but soy brings out the worst reaction of all. It may be immediate, it may take 4 hours or it may take 24 hours, depends on what type of soy product it was or how much of it I consumed. I can go up to 10 days easy now without any medication and if I do get a slight reaction after that time, one antihistamine will fix it - and fast.

No, I'm not 100% cured but around 90% cured. I am managing a good 'normal' quality of life, not taking medications and continually improving through self-control and discipline of my dietary intake.

I am happy to provide alternatives that I have found that allow me a 'normal' eating habit and has no affect on the rest of the family. I strongly suggest to anyone who, like me is at a complete loss to identify the cause of their intolerance and suffers from long term 'idiopathic urticaria' to simply look for these ingredients in their shopping and STOP consuming them. Like me it could be the hidden soy components in the various food types that are causing you grief. You'll know within a very short period of time (48 hours I would suggest) if soy is a major culprit that's causing you your poor health.

I recommend alternatives like soyfree bread mixes (some pita and Lebanese breads have only wheat flour), use butter instead of margarine etc. Fresh meats, veges, fruit, salads and cheeses are OK. Check the labels. Jams and some spreads are OK. 'Cafe 26' salad dressing made in Perth is the only dressing I have found without soy additive. Soon I aim to research spices that may be of a legume origin. On goes the quest. I hope this recollection of events may help someone else find relief. - Wayne, WA 

Last year we moved into our new house and within a month I began getting generally weak with extremely weak arms. I had a few episodes of feeling drunk and not even being able to chew. I'm a cyclist and couldn't cycle for most of the year. They tested for everything from MS to motor neurone disease but put it down to a virus. Then I used a nasal spray. My nasal passages swelled up, I became itchy all over and my lips swelled. The same happened with eardrops. The preservative in them is benzalkonium chloride which is in a concentrated form in nearly every household cleaner (from Pine O Clean to spray and wipe type cleaners). I had started using these cleaners when we moved into our new house because the baths etc are plastic these days and they tell us to use spray and wipe instead of Jif. That was when it all started. In retrospect I believe my 'virus' was in fact this chemical. I have now almost completely recovered except for some weakness in my arms.- by email, NSW.

A couple of years ago I discovered through the elimination diet that my son (now 8) can't tolerate gluten. I also suspected that he had a problem with artificial flavours, colours and preservatives, but due to the fact that we pretty much avoid these anyway, I didn't challenge him with them. Well, at Christmas we went for a month's holiday to New Zealand. I got slack on avoiding preservatives so he was eating lots of peanut butter with BHA (320).

The worst thing is that we didn't really think about what was causing his deteriorating behaviour, but just battled through our holiday trying to cope with it. When we returned home I started buying a different brand of gluten free bread but it wasn't until he returned to school and went from an average maths student at the end of 2003 to bottom of the class in a remedial group at the start of 2004, and looking back at the horrendous hour-long tantrums we were experiencing at home, that I seriously started questioning what was going on. Living with him was like treading on eggshells. At the end of one particularly distressing tantrum he said he hated himself and hated the way he felt. His teachers said he has NO concentration. I had noticed this myself at home during the holidays but STILL didn't think of diet! He had also totally lost interest in playing the piano which he was mad keen on before we went on holidays. He said it was too hard.

I phoned Woolworths to double check on the ingredients in their gluten free Kerry Formula bread. They told me they don't put preservatives in their bread. Then when I asked specifically about E320 she said, oh yes, it has that. Anyway, apart from 320 being in the bread he was eating 2-3 times a day, I'm not sure of what other preservatives he's had, but for nearly 2 weeks now he's been off them all and his behaviour has become quite reasonable. He has again become excited about playing the piano, and I have my lovely little boy back. Even my husband who is a bit of a 'disbeliever' until he is thoroughly convinced has noticed a big difference.

I can't believe I let all of this happen. And when it was happening I can't believe I didn't see it earlier. It's scary that chemicals permitted in our foods can have such an extreme effect. My son avoids gluten because he hates being sick. There is no problem there. But preservatives are more difficult. I can keep him off them now, but when he's a teenager will he have to become antisocial and drop to the bottom of the class again and reach rock bottom before he is determined to avoid them, because at the moment he can't, or doesn't want to, understand the connection. It's very hard, but when I feel sorry for myself or him I just remind myself that at least we know what the problem is. Wouldn't it be awful having that sort of behaviour and not knowing why? - reader, NSW.

We are trying the failsafe diet for my 13-year-old nephew, Lachlan, who has come to live with us. Lachlan has ADHD and I believe a huge dose of oppositional defiance as well as Aspergers and I am finding him unmanageable. We noticed a bit of an improvement on the first 3 days of our failsafe diet but he then reverted to absolutely foul - defiant and oppositional!!

Two weeks later… I think that Lachlan's behaviour is better overall but I still get defiance at times. We have been on the diet for 3 weeks now and he has been off his dex for 1 week. He says he doesn't notice any difference, but I do.

Three days later … We had a wonderful day with Lachlan yesterday - so different from our daily experience a couple of weeks ago. I have decided to leave Lachlan off his medication indefinitely at this stage as he seems to be a much nicer person when not taking it. He even seems to be understanding some of the basic maths concepts that were just beyond his grasp in the past. - reader, Qld.

My 3-year-old daughter developed eczema at the age of six months when I introduced solids and by 8 months she needed frequent cortisone cream. The doctor said she would grow out of it, but every time I stopped using the cortisone cream the eczema would start again within 4 days. Now her eczema is so close to being gone that we are just waiting for some healed areas to disappear. Her legs are smooth and so are her arms except for a couple of tiny spots. She would still be covered in eczema if it wasn't for your books and all the heaps of help and reassurance you have given me. I've been close to tears and felt like giving up several times, but I couldn't let her suffer, I had to keep persevering. How do you say thank you for giving a child the opportunity to live a 'normal' life. - reader, NSW.

I tried the failsafe diet several years ago unsuccessfully. I realise now that I was not strict enough with the salicylates and additives. So, once again I've turned to the book, this time with new vigour. After three days, my child who has learning difficulties and is repeating year 1 has been praised by three different teachers and is receiving an honour certificate at school (a positive reinforcement program). My older son (9) received an award on the same day for the 'most improved Mathematician - Years 4-7'. They do a fortnightly maths test (same test each time -they have a copy at home to practice) - he doubled the number of questions answered in the allotted time and got nearly all of them right with only one short trial at home. I am determined to continue this time. Thanks so much - we may have finally found the answers. - email.

My 5 1/2-year-old daughter Claire has been on the elimination diet for 2 months with amazing results. The main reason for doing the elimination was her bed wetting, and after about 5 weeks we saw a marked improvement (but not yet cure), also, she had stopped her ceaseless empty chatter, her cradle cap (she has had it since starting solids!) has pretty much gone, the dermatitis on her back has gone, her drawing has changed from a dark blue or black scribble to colourful age appropriate drawings of recognisable objects, and she has overnight (it seems) learnt to read! - from the failsafe groups.

See illustrations, the blue one was done a few days after the 'normal' one, while she was reacting to too many flavours in too many 'treats'

I believe I had a very real dangerous reaction last year to chips whilst I was in early stages of pregnancy. I was admitted to emergency and due to difficulty breathing a nurse had to stay in with me. They asked me had I taken any unusual drugs etc and were baffled when the only different thing I had eaten was flavoured chips. I even took the packet with me, the reaction started almost immediately. Previously I had only ever eaten plain, but due to a craving I got a flavoured variety. I thought I was going to die. By the time I got to hospital (luckily it wasn't far from home) my mouth and throat was so swollen I couldn't talk or breath properly, of course because of this I was treated as high priority and treated straight away. Thank God I had realised straight away when I got a tingling burning sensation and felt like I had been to the dentist and had a local anaesthetic. My mother had said something about these chemicals recently in our diets (I had actually dismissed this at the time) but thank goodness she did. I think I am lucky to still be here. - reader, SA.

Well it hasn't even been a week yet and I'm feeling better, my rash has cured 80% best ever, the main problem was Maggi 2 minute noodles as I have been eating them at least once a week since I left home (I guess mother's cooking says a lot there) just because they were quick and easy.- from the failsafe groups.

I've kept my 12 year old's asthma at bay for most of his life with dust mite control, no additives etc. Since the Christmas holidays started he's had a virus and then constant asthma. I visited a doctor two weeks ago and he put my son on a wheat free, dairy free, additive free diet (all of which I've done before) as well as salicylate free diet for which he gave me a list of good and bad foods. He also recommended steaming eucalyptus twice a day for mucus control as well as some supplements.

After 10 days there had been no improvement so I sat down and reread your book as well as Friendly Food from RPAH. I found his list had been quite misleading - no talk about cold pressed oils, different rices, raw and roasted cashews, hazelnuts, tamari, additives in margarines etc.

Probably the worst thing has been the twice daily sucking in of eucalyptus oil!! There must be a lot of doctors out there like this who send people off with half-baked lists and advice and consequently end up with very spurious results. Most of the population treat doctors as gods and never question them but, as I have proven on many occasions, they are not infallible and people need to be a lot more aware and questioning. It is has been hard yakka trying to get my son to give up so many different foods and all for nought as now we will need to find somebody who really knows what they are doing and start again.

Had I not had your book, we could have come to the conclusion that the problem is not salicylates, whereas there is a possibility that it is. - by email.

About 18 months ago you helped us put our son Ryan (now nearly 5 years old) on the elimination diet, after we had been to RPA for Ryan's hyperactivity, ADHD and autism. Three months later you helped us find a problem with wholegrain wheat and antioxidants that had pulled us undone. Salicylates turned out to be our main problem although antioxidants are a close second, with amines and other additives a problem too.

Our son is now in his second year at special school, where he has made great leaps and bounds. When Ryan started school he was already on the diet. Months later when we'd allowed bananas to become more frequent than one half every second day, his teachers actually came to me and asked was Ryan eating something he shouldn't be. It took us three weeks to figure it out, and cut back on the bananas. Through this incident, they really came to see what we were talking about.
Interestingly the school has strongly supported us, always keeping us up to date with what's coming up for 'tasting' in cooking classes, and seeking alternatives for Ryan. I'm very grateful for this! - reader, NSW.

My autistic son has been on the diet strictly now for nearly 2 years. He looks terrific and is very healthy with only a very mild sniffle since going failsafe.

He starts pre-primary school this year. It is the school where he went to kindy last year so they are very aware of his requirements such as: no hairspray, aerosol deodorants, perfume etc and are using enjo gloves in the classroom to avoid any chemical being used during the day. Big relief.

We have a five-month wait for the formal disability services assessment to obtain aids for school. I don't know whether to take him off the diet for the period of the assessment. On the diet, although excellent, autistic signs are still evident, for example: no eye contact, no imaginary play, everything is black or white, no flexibility etc. If we take him off the diet we get a severe reduction in speech, tantrums, aggression, argumentative, rashes, red ears, hypersensitivity to noise, dislike of being touched and the list continues.

I am an avid failsafer and can't now imagine life without failsafe (my son has failed all challenges on a number of occasions and is also intolerant to airborne salicylates). Could I have input from other failsafe mothers on what they think would be best during the assessment? - reader, WA.

Even though my asthmatic daughter Kate improved out of sight on the failsafe diet, she never got the fabulous results that other failsafers report, and I always wondered why.

Up until November last year, Kate's peak flow was around 280-300 and although she never needed Ventolin, we couldn't get her off inhaled steroids. Suddenly in November her peak flow shot up to 380-395 consistently and we were about to take her off her Pulmicort. Then after two months she slumped back to a peak flow of 250 and needing Ventolin. Nothing had changed in her diet.

A light bulb moment occurred when I realised that I had been buying our meat from Coles or Woolworths for years but last November I started buying local butcher's meat. I hadn't realised the connection that the butcher's meat was what brought Kate's peak flow up to the 380 range and when I returned to buying Coles meat even though fresh, it slumped down to 250. Why?

It turns out that what I thought was fresh meat from my local supermarket hasn't been fresh at all. Meat is sent to the Bathurst Woolworths and Coles stores not as carcasses, but in vacuum packs. When the vacuum pack is opened, the meat is repacked in trays and sold as fresh meat to the consumer with a use by date 3-5 days from the opening of the cryovac pack. This lasts the supermarket up to 8 weeks so the meat can be up to 60 days old in the vacuum pack before it is opened and sold as fresh meat. By comparison, my local butcher reassures me that his meat is killed on Thursday/Friday and he gets it Monday. I purchase on that Monday for the week and freeze.

I found on the internet that vacuum packaging of meat is not an effective means of retarding the production of amines, and we know that Kate is a sensitive amine responder.

Kate has now been off Coles meat for five days. Her peak flow has risen from 250 to 330 already and she no longer requires Ventolin - so this was obviously the cause of her asthma. This was the hardest food item ever to figure out. I am usually pretty good at finding it but this one had me baffled until I realised the meat connection. It was only because there was a pattern to the asthma. Kate woke up every Monday morning needing Ventolin and the only thing different about Sunday was the roast lamb for dinner!

Coles Customer relations say that this is a fairly new procedure, but some stores have been doing it longer than others. Some Woolworths stores vacuum pack only beef not lamb, but Coles supermarkets vacuum pack both lamb and beef. This may change from supermarket to supermarket. I know that this is my problem and will be a problem for a lot of amine responders. Chicken is not affected, as it is usually 48 hour from slaughter to sale. After my sleepless nights and desperation to track down this offending amine, I hope now to get the word out to other amine responders which I know you will do on your website. - Susan Bragg, NSW.

* If it wasn't for your books, one of us would be dead by now - reader, Qld.

* Going failsafe is the best thing that our family ever did! - reader NT.

* Congratulations on your new book! Another wonderful read (full of tears for me!) - reader NSW. * For the first time since my son was diagnosed with ADHD I was able to relate to someone about what it is like to live with this condition on a daily basis.- email.

* When I was diagnosed with a salicylate intolerance I found your book incredibly helpful and it stopped the usual 3 or 4 hours of runny nose every day! - reader UK.

* Your book with its striking cover jumped off the shelf at me - I couldn't put it down and we have been on the failsafe diet ever since. -email.

* The more I see the effect of this diet, the more I find it incredible to believe that the medical profession and food authorities/manufacturers can deny that additives have any effect. - reader Qld.

Our nearly two year old twin girls are awaiting a psychology assessment to determine whether they have autism. They both have a few symptoms especially lack of language - only use the words Mum, Dad, Nan, Bub, no and hello. Their understanding is slow although we feel this is improving. Although both show a few signs they also have signs that keep us hopeful that the girls do not have autism. They have fairly good eye contact and are very affectionate little girls. After researching for hours on the internet, I started the girls on a gluten free and dairy free diet last week. By the end of the day, one of the twins (who would normally use maybe one word a month) had not stopped using her basic words and was making new sounds. Within days they had both improved very noticeably. At first I thought it couldn't work that fast but whilst reading your books I have a different view and realise it might be lack of the bread preservative. - Reader, Tas

After months of struggling with my 4½ y.o. son's behaviour, I stumbled upon the www.fedup.com.au website. I have refused to believe suggestions (from carers etc) that he has ADD. My son is very bright and intelligent, and I simply did not want him medicated unnecessarily. Now that I have found this website and the information on oppositional defiance (which describes my son to a T!) I have a place to start. I have started to cut foods high in additives from his diet and have already noticed a change in his behaviour after only a couple of weeks. The really good thing is that after I explained to him that his bad behaviour could be caused by these things in food, he has been quite happy to not eat them, and even asks me first to check if there is anything bad in his food. I am so grateful for the website. - Reader, NSW

My 2yr old has had chronic diarrhoea for 5 months. Before that, his stools have always fluctuated. Along with the diarrhoea, he gets a spotty rash on his face, throws things, hits, kicks, screams and is generally unmanageable. When he eats certain things like commercial bread and wheat products, the next day he poos water. I had him back and forth to doctors who treated me like I was an idiot. Finally we were sent to a pediatrician who ordered blood tests and stool analyses. When the results came back, he told me there was nothing wrong with him, he just had toddler diarrhoea and told me to put him on half an immodium tablet a day to fix his diarrhoea. Because I was getting no joy from doctors and my son was getting sicker daily, I took him off wheat, dairy and most sugars. He slowly started to improve, but it wasn't good enough. I now have him on a full elimination diet, no wheat, gluten or lactose, salicylates, amines and glutamates. He started improving straightaway (only one water poo in the first five days which was a miracle).

We're still waiting to see a gastrointestinal pediatrician, but other doctors have told me he wouldn't have an intolerance to things. I know he does because the change is dramatic, and even his behaviour has improved. He seems to react to salicylates, it's amazing to read these things when you've noticed something but didn't understand it. My five-year-old son has improved too and when he breaks the diet he says he feels "like his brain wants to puke". I hope more health professionals will become aware of the damage additives and other food chemicals can cause. - Vicky, Victoria

Last weekend I assaulted my wife and did horrific damage to her face. I have deep regret, humiliation, shame and remorse for my actions. I had been drinking most of the afternoon, then consumed two strawberry sundae tubs of icecream. I did not check the brand so I cannot be certain that the food colours contributed to the way I acted. Although the alcohol is obviously a large contributor, in the past I have never reacted violently after drinking alcohol. However, from the ages 18-25 I experienced panic and violent moods, then I started to look at my diet. Cordials with artificial colours especially red had been a part of my diet and I noticed a link. Since then I have avoided food colours where ever possible, however I simply overlooked the strawberry sundae as I love desserts and was having a good time. I think I have stumbled on to the cause for my actions, but I am not sure. - Graeme, by email

Just updating you on my progress - before starting the elimination diet for my asthma, I was on 500mg of Seretide accuhaler morning and night, I dropped to 250 and was fine so I tried to go off it completely. After a day and a half I was wheezy and tight in my chest so I tried the 100mg dose and have maintained that - which means that I have dropped my asthma medication by 80% on the elimination diet. So far I have passed both the milk and salicylate challenges.

By the way, this has been a great professional development activity that I think will really benefit my future clients. - Dietitian, SA

I just want to thank you for doing what you do. When a friend of mine heard you speak in Launceston and brought me back info, I felt that, at last, someone was speaking my language.

Where none of the health professionals had been of much help, I instantly found answers to my boys' asthma and eczema. I got the cookbook and your asthma book a few weeks ago and am so pleased to have found solid, real, useful guidelines to help our family. We haven't done the full elimination diet yet but with the knowledge I gained from your books I was able to retrace which foods did what. The cause of my 3 year old's asthma became obvious (sulphites) when he would eat something out of the ordinary such as 2 apricot fruit bars (which he had not eaten in ages), come home, run around outside and have an asthma attack, which he has not had in ages. My 9-month-old son obviously reacts to salicylates. He's had eczema from birth and when I introduced solids, pumpkin, carrots and prunes gave him asthma soon after he ate them.

I only wish every hospital, health care clinic and GP had your books! - Elisa Dickinson, Tasmania

I read the story on your website about the soccer player who was eating lots of muesli bars and developed exercise asthma. The same thing happened to my daughter. We thought she had outgrown her asthma but it came back when she started eating muesli bars recommended by her swimming coach. Her asthma got so bad she had to give up swimming with the squad. - Reader, by email

Just reporting in on our 3-year-old - we seem to have got through an attack of asthma without prednisolone. What a break-through! We had another good night's sleep - so rare during asthma bouts in the past, and there is a definite improvement on yesterday. Normally his escalating asthma never turns around without corticosteroids. I guess it is early days yet but I am really getting faith in the possibility of sulphite preservatives aggravating the sensitive airways and adding to the other irritations (virus, allergens, irritating particles) to create asthma. It is great to think that we can have some control over one of the components and lessen the health aggravation. - member of the failsafe3 email group

I am an adult with asthma. I went off milk and sulphite preservatives about 6 months ago, I have not had asthma since (unless I am 'naughty' and have some sulphite). - Elizabeth, ACT

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