I would just like to thank you for saving us from having to put my nearly 6 year old daughter on ADHD medication!!

I was already known as the food nazi mum, and Lilly wasn't allowed any preservatives, flavour enhancers or artificial colours, but all too often I was seeing behaviour that I knew was a reaction to additives - I just couldn't work out what!!! Life in our house was hell most of the time, and I was days away from taking her to our GP to get it sorted. A friend suggested reading Fed Up, which I've looked at your website many times in the past but didn't know where to start - the idea of cutting more food seriously caused me so much anxiety that I just couldn't do it.

I only had to read a couple of pages to realize that Lilly's diet was REALLY high in foods naturally high in glutamates and bad antioxidants - I knew how badly she reacted to MSG, so I cut those foods right back (her lunchbox used to have a tasty cheese and Ourmate sandwich plus a little tub of cherry tomatoes, then a dinner of Nonna's tomato/mushroom pasta sauce!!) When ever we had takeaways I was fairly careful but it always consisted of hot chips, which I've now realised just how much that nasty antioxidant affected her ... the poor thing, I thought I was doing the right thing but I was just making it worse.

Over the last 5 weeks we have seen our daughter turn into a wild crazy thing twice, once was exactly 48 hours after eating hot chips twice in one day aaaghhh - we had to lock her in her room, she was OUT OF CONTROL!!!! The second time was after my mother in law took her to the royal show- I'm still waiting on a list of foods she ate, but it was again 48 hours after! I always used to think she reacted immediately, but I guess she had so much crap accumulate in her that it just seemed that way!!!

Oh and the whole family have switched to A2 milk, and I have now just realized how sick and bloated normal milk makes me feel!!!

Anyway thank you again!!! After the last mega tantrum my husband was so amazed at the difference it has made he has decided to cut out lots of the bad foods he eats at work, he was also a child like her and figures it must be affecting him now in much the same way!! (He is quite the stubborn one that if I had suggested it there is no way he would have made the changes, hehehe!!!).


The difference in Lilly’s behaviour is that she has gone from throwing major tantrums over very small issues which used to result in her being locked in her room until she calmed down - mostly for our sanity because she was just wild, it could last anywhere from an hour to half a day sometimes!!!! She would disagree with everything, talk back, never do what we asked- including simple things like going to the toilet, so she used to constantly wet her pants instead, or she wouldn't get dressed for school- even though she absolutely loves going.

Before diet everything was a battle - I used to look at her and think if she was someone else's kid I would avoid spending time with that person because of how hard she made everything, so I of course have been carrying around a huge amount of guilt from having thoughts like that. I also couldn't work out why my 2 kids were so different, so I've spent a few years blaming myself for this thinking it must have been something I did whilst I was pregnant or breastfeeding etc. Its been really hard, I've been on medication for anxiety for the past 6 months - surprising I didn't start taking something years ago considering how badly I felt I was coping with these issues!!!

Now we have an ange l- the transformation is truly amazing!!! If she does misbehave it actually only takes a 1-2-3 and she usually does what needs to be done or said, the few time she has gone to time out, its been for her ten- tens (our timeout rule is she has to calmly breathe and count to ten, ten times- she can count to 100 now so its changed a bit- good counting practice lol) and then she comes out calmly and apologizes etc.

It’s going to be harder to get my in-laws on my side - I gave a list of what she shouldn't eat last week, and Nana returned her with a list of what she ate, AAAGHGH was all I could say. Vegemite sandwiches, croissants, take-away chicken rolls, mini magnum icecreams. So we had a bit of a rough time Saturday night/Sunday - but we coped and at least I knew what it was this time instead of just thinking I'm a hopeless mum!!! - Andrea

We are currently in the midst of an incredible food reaction, brought about by less than a week's worth of lip-balm! About a month ago my daughter had developed a cold-sore as part of the withdrawals associated with going back onto the very basic elimination diet after we'd let a few too many fruits and veges creep back into our diet. Once it healed I decided to get her some lip-balm, as the cold sore was followed by cracked lips. Her behaviour started deteriorating after about three days, culminating on day six (yesterday) in difficulty following instructions, defiance, extreme sensitivity (tears, screaming, sulking), kicking and attempting to isolate herself when upset. Also, a very sore and red vagina (poor little thing). The only thing I had changed was the lip-balm, minute amounts, twice a day (I'd kept hold of it so I knew she wasn't slathering it on). The ingredient list - Coconut oil, beeswax, sweet almond oil, peppermint oil, Vitamin A, lanolin, comfrey root extract, rosemary extract. I had realised that all bar the Vitamin A and lanolin weren't Failsafe, but made the mistake of thinking it was such a small amount it wouldn't matter. Luckily, once we had figured out what was making her feel bad (I always get her to work it out with me, even at four) she decided that she'd give the lip-balm away (literally - "but I love it! I want someone in my family to have it, I'll give it to Uncle Ian..”). I'm going to try pure lanolin, and hopefully that will work out better.

It really high-lights that one small mistake can make all the difference! – Hannah, by email

After reading an article about Sue's talk and browsing the website I purchased the Failsafe Cookbook. I cleaned out my cupboard on the weekend only to discard 6 items, the others all being failsafe, so feel that I am on the way already as I have had a lifetime of intolerances recognised only by me.

The cookbook answers all those questions that no one else can (like why I love over ripe fruit that no one else will eat) and I am extremely grateful. My husband now accepts that I am not mental.....

I am also extremely grateful for the recipes as I wake up some days and wonder 'What the hell will I eat today'. I have already tried several over the weekend and of course my husband is happy to have me 'back in the kitchen' so to speak. – Irene, NSW

I have a 6 yo son who is intolerant to additives. 282 in particular changed my beautiful sweet then 2 year old into a monster. Luckily, because he was basically born with eczema, I had been very careful about introducing foods. I started giving him crumpets for breakfast when he was 2. He would be fine after eating them, however when he woke from his sleep he would be screaming and hitting me, very violent and uncontrollable. I initially thought it was hunger, as I found that when I gave him something to eat he would calm down. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I found out about 282 (in all crumpets and some breads) and cut it out completely. He was normal again!! – Michelle, NSW

My 4 yo son used to wake up complaining of pains in his legs, sometimes they were so bad he would be sobbing with the pain. The doctor said it was just growing pains but after reading your website we tried an additive free diet. We found that he only gets these pains if he has been eating ham and devon (with nitrate/nitrite preservatives). – by email, NT

I was wondering if you could shed some light on how to rid my 9yr old daughters headaches that she has had nearly every Thursday all year, sometimes so bad she has to stay home from school. The doctor said does she hate school but she doesn’t. (Answer: It is very common for people to have recurring headaches on a particular day of the week. What do they eat the day before? In this case the school canteen sold hotdogs only on Wednesdays. When the hotdogs stopped, the headaches stopped.- S) – by email, SA

A few months ago we went over to Europe. When we came back my 6 yo son went back to school and started getting very clingy, crying and not being able to read or write properly and was not able to concentrate. I have had trouble with these symptoms on and off over the previous year and a half. I mentioned this to my friend, she gave me the book and I started your additive-free diet (we did not eliminate fruit/veg or cheese).

After about 1 week everything had improved dramatically. I waited about 4 weeks before I introduced nitrates (ham). He went pretty nutty after eating it, not violent, just manic. The next day he had bad eczema and was unable to read or write properly when I asked. The teacher also mentioned that he was having trouble concentrating again. He was also crying and clinging to me when it was time to drop him at school. The effects lasted about 5 days. I realized of course that when we had come home from overseas he was having ham sandwiches (not something he would normally eat). I then went back to the additive-free diet again. Michelle, by email

My son’s preschool required a letter from a doctor confirming that Charlie couldn't eat salicylates (because lunches were provided).

When I told him Charlie reacts to salicylates in food with eczema, asthma and behavioural problems, my GP said that made sense, since people with asthma are told not to take aspirin because it is high in salicylates.

I was astounded. "Then why don't you tell them not to eat high salicylate foods?”

He replied honestly and from the heart that as doctors, they weren't trained in nutrition and so they didn't know about salicylates in foods. - Helen, NSW

We're 3 weeks in to Failsafe, and I feel as if I've won the lottery!!! 3 kids aged 10, 8 and 5, all extremely active and slightly frenetic. The oldest was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADD at about 6 years of age, but concerns were noted since he was about 4 - very fixated on certain activities, difficulty being aware of his environment, very impulsive etc. He repeated reception as he was really struggling, very highly strung. We cut down on additives with some improvement, but he was still very hooked into his own thoughts and obsessional in thinking and behaviour, talking out in class, struggling academically. He was still incontinent of number ones and twos, as he had such poor awareness of his body, and inability to attend to more than one thing at a time (ie concentrating on schoolwork or a game, and bodily sensations).

He was placed on Concerta (a type of Ritalin) at 8 years of age, which led to a very noticeable improvement in ability to concentrate in school, and less impulsivity. This was the very thing we had not wanted to do with our child, but we couldn’t continue with daily sneaky poos, constantly spacing out at school, and that level of impulsivity was taking its toll on the whole family. While I do believe medication is over-prescribed and should only be a last resort, we had done everything we could, and it did help. I strongly believe parents should not automatically be judged for medicating their children, we are all doing our best, with whatever information we have.

He began to really shut down about 18 months ago, becoming very isolated, spending every school break time alone reading, and not even responding to questions at home, instead preferring to read alone. He was very sullen, on bad days yelling at schoolmates who tried to engage him. He had no friends, and swung between a sullen and angry boy, or a highly impulsive, giggly and inappropriate "in your face" kid.

We had been additive free for some time, and he had a blood test which showed he was intolerant to wheat, strawberries, dairy and cocoa so those were out also. We had done the rounds of psychiatrist, psychologist, social skills training, occupational therapy, etc.

He is now in year 4 and just prior to commencing diet, he dirtied his pants at school and then told a classmate about it! I panicked, I could not pinpoint any additives that would have led to the behaviour, and I felt desperate. I went to the Autism SA resource centre where I found "The Failsafe Cookbook", and I haven’t put it down since!

Our oldest son's favourite foods were tomatoes, and Nonna's pasta and meatballs - he would scoff a whole punnet of cherry tomatoes in one go if he could. Our second child could have best been described as a fruit addict, regularly eating 5 apples after school (I would find the cores littered around the house). He is an academically capable kid, but could be very oppositional, and was diagnosed as having an auditory processing disorder. He was very hyperactive also. Our youngest daughter had an almost normal diet, I think because I was so exhausted from meeting the needs of the older two that I didn’t have the energy to say "No", to be honest!! I did notice that she was much harder to settle to sleep than the other two, especially after eating raisin toast (even with "no preservatives on the pack!), and flavoured snacks, which were given by friends etc.

Since the diet, the improvements have been extraordinary! I had to have a meeting at home with a colleague, and my children played lego together, without arguing mind you, for about 1.5 hours!!! My oldest has dry pants at the end of the day, responds when asked questions, engages in appropriate conversation, and most heartwarming of all, has had several successful playdates with a boy from school. I was able to leave all three with my mother last week while I worked
without her having a breakdown. She was shocked at the difference, and my father reported that my oldest pruned a whole row of grapes for him!

The "fruit addict" is the most changed! He is polite, helpful (someone pinch me, please!). Our daughter is sleeping better, still has made an artform of irritating her brothers, but our home is overall much more harmonious, and I am so grateful.

My husband and I are both southern European, and it seems strange that our children could be intolerant to tomatoes and the like. I'm still a bit puzzled, but I chatted about it to my dad, who migrated from southern Italy in 1960. According to him, my nonna only cooked with tomatoes once a week, for a Sunday lunch of pasta, with the rest of the meals being pasta with beans or lentils, or a vegetable soup. Unfortunately most Italian cuisine now involves a tin of peeled tomatoes and regular flavourings of wine and cheese in almost every recipe, so that's a real challenge for us.

It makes me incredibly angry that even basic foods are laced with additives that are harming our children. I see parents at breaking point and children whose self esteem and learning are compromised, and it is incomprehensible. I for one am TIRED of it.

Thank you so much for your care and compassion in the important work that you do. - by email, Adelaide

(Natural Confectionery Lollies are NOT failsafe due to sals and amines in flavours they are only suitable for people who are additive-free)

A year has now passed since we went Failsafe and I just thought I should drop you and note to say...... Thankyou! The difference this diet has made to my boys is amazing...it was like taking them back and getting them exchanged for ones that worked 'properly' - Miriam by email.

When strictly failsafe, we have a wonderful loving attentive child. Your works have been as no doubt you have heard before life saving for our family. Although considered a little weird at times for his diet, I’d rather him known as weird than that naughty kid, shoved in the too hard basket. - Peta, Vic

Just wanted to inform you of another success story in regards to my 9-year-old. We’ve been on failsafe for 7 weeks now and my son is now calm, settled and an absolute delight thanks to your books. I’ve spread the gospel around my local area with many parents and teachers genuinely interested. His teachers are all very supportive as they’ve seen the metamorphosis right before their very eyes – by email, Melbourne.

My story is similar to many on your website: a 5yo boy and a 2yo girl. We had concerns with our little boy, realising he did not seem happy, energetic, compliant, everything was negative, and a drama. After many bad bad evenings and lots of screaming / crying and being upset that my child was not happy we decided to watch the DVD read as much info as we could and did something about it. Well, we now have a very happy child with a much bigger control on what goes into their mouths and the outcome I can say is also a complete turnaround. So ... thank you - Michelle, NSW.

I was pretty annoyed when I checked the yoghurt ingredients and found 160b in the vanilla. I had been buying the yoghurt for my 4 year old as it is no preservatives, artificial colour, flavour etc. His behaviour can definitely be seen in the side effects outlined in the book! - Cassandra by email

I have been mostly sticking to the low salicylate veggies but had snuck in some Chinese greens last week, and we had some reactions. I had assumed that Chinese cabbage (wombok) was like other cabbage … Never assume! Vera, by email. ((Previously all classified as moderate salicylates, Chinese cabbage (Wombuk) is classed as low in the new RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook (2009), but other Chinese greens now range from bok choy and pak choy (moderate in sals) to Chinese broccoli (Gai Ian, high in sals & amines) to Chinese spinach (Kang Kong) and some others (all very high in sals & amines) - you can request our Salicylate Mistakes information sheet: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

We avoid McDonalds soft serve since our 5 yo son had a reaction in the evening after eating a soft serve with cone in the afternoon. It had been the only thing he had eaten that day that we could think had caused it. After reading Failsafe Newsletter #60, we tried the Maccas soft serve again without the cone (in a plastic cup - upside down sundae lid). The reaction was less severe but still there. He was affected about 4 hours after eating the ice-cream both times (with and without the cone). This, for him, is typical for colours. Our normally quiet son bounces, jumps, shouts, makes silly loud noises, blows raspberries, uses nonsense words, and generally just can't sit still. The acute reaction generally lasts about an hour. The icecream without cone caused a shorter period of the acute reaction, with less volume and intensity. Probably lasted about 35 minutes and was more bearable but still consistent with the typical reaction he gets from colours. Peters Original and other failsafe varieties (eg Sara Lee and the organic ones) have never caused the same reaction. – Susan, Qld

(Can you help: we would like to hear from any failsafer who has observed a reaction to McDonalds soft serve (no cone) – same day or next day? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

My youngest daughter seemed to be the only one that reacted to the 282 (calcium propionate) challenge. By the afternoon of the first day of the challenge she was once again complaining of aching legs. She had not complained the whole time while we have been on the diet, and she used to wake up crying, we had previously put it down to growing pains. – by email

I would like to thank you for your wonderful book and website supporting the diet. Now we are in the full swing of it and have seen the difference, we share your horror at the unnecessary chemicals that are in our diet. I have become the crusader amongst our group of friends (many with preschool aged children) for feeding families "like Grandma used to".

My favourite line at the moment is "You have to think, when our parents were young, they ate apples, pears, maybe the occasional orange. All the other stuff - like Watermelon, Strawberries, Grapes - was a luxury and MAY have been eaten on special occasions". The other is to point out to people that the "Healthy Food Pyramid" that is drummed into us at every turn, that we should be eating, only suggests 2 serves of fruit a day. If this is, for the majority of the time, two pears or a pear and a delicious apple, I am sure my children (day 3 reactors!) will 'survive' in this world!

Update …. You will be pleased to know that we are now almost 4 months into the diet, and are so happy with the change in our children. Not only has their behaviour changed we have now noticed that we have had two other (surprising!) results:

• The boys had recurrent tonsillitis (once every five-six weeks for the past 18 months) which they have no longer have ... we had refused the operation before Christmas (to get tonsils and adenoids out) because we didn't want them to go under a general anaesthetic and were hoping the diet would help. And yay! It has!
• Our boys normally start preventers for asthma at the end of Feb and go through until at least November ... We haven't used preventers, or even relievers once since starting the diet.

So ... whilst we started mainly for behaviour, we have so many great other effects. - Jenny, NSW

I cannot begin to thank you for all your work!!  I am only nearly 3 weeks into our Elimination Diet (sal, amines and glutes) and was suddenly confronted with this!!!  The first picture is an example of my 6 year-old daughter's regular colouring, perhaps 2 months ago. The next 2 are in the last couple of days. I don't need to explain this to you, do I!  I was not paying much attention while she coloured and I suddenly realised what I was looking at. Complete, solid colour. Thought put into which colour she'd use. I would hardly have believed she did it, but I saw it happen!

To be picky, if you look at Spot's hat and the horse's head, you can see that she gets a little 'fast' there.  This was on a day when she was 'out-of-sorts' and she finally told me she'd had a chocolate muffin at school.  As she sat down to colour I was disappointed she'd chosen to finish this one because I felt that she'd now wreck it.  But I see it serves a good little 'illustration' for me.

Something this tangible was fabulous to have as I think I may have converted my in-laws!!!  They felt she just needed more vegies. ha ha. – by email, Melbourne

61drawa  61drawb  61drawc

I have written before about my husband drinking milk and getting a pain like Gout in his foot. Now we just have A2 milk but he had a coffee one morning with Woolies Lite Milk (that’s all he could get and left the A2 for the kids) still got a pain in his foot, next time tried with A2 and didn’t have any pain. Tracey, by email (The medical recommendation for gout used to be avoidance of purine-containing foods - essentially failsafe foods with a few exceptions - but this has been disproved. I wonder whether gout is just another symptom of food intolerance because failsafe families often report the father’s gout improved when they changed their diet. I’d love some more reports: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Nearly two years ago you referred me to a dietitian. My daughter Zoe was under her for approx a year for eczema problems. During that year she did the elimination diet and then the many food challenges. Zoe will soon be 3 and today she is a different child. Before doing the diet the pediatrician had talked to us about doing wet dressings. The diet showed that sulphites, nitrates and food colours both artificial and some natural affected her eczema badly. Sunscreen is also a big challenge for us. Anyway, I wanted to let you know how great the diet has been for Zoe and we can only hope that the manufacturers out there are able to find other alternatives for preservatives and colours. I find the biggest challenge is the byproduct sulphites like glucose syrup and vinegar. People always say to me how hard this must be for her. We are so incredibly lucky that she is not anaphylactic and that she has responded to the diet so well. She may only be 2yrs old but she always comes to us and asks if she can eat what is put on tables at parties and gatherings etc. Thank you once again for helping us out with Zoe and for getting the message out there. My girlfriend showed me the book and if it was not for that then I would still be following conventional medicine to combat the eczema. – Kirsten, NSW

I have a five year old boy who is currently going through the diagnoses and testing for adhd, but who also displays mild asd symptoms as well. I decided about a month before we saw the specialists to try the failsafe way of eating, but I did not put him on the strict diet, I simply printed out the list of additives that are no-go and completely stopped buying anything with them in it. Within two weeks his behaviour still needed (and still needs) a lot of work but has drastically improved. - Anthea, by email (children who improve on an additive free diet may do even better if they reduce their salicylates and/or amine intake too - S).

Some years ago I was suffering from severe sinus headaches, so much so that I saw an Ear Nose and Throat specialist who diagnosed non-allergic rhinitis and referred me to a neurologist for the headaches. The neurologist referred me back to the ENT specialist, so I was left nowhere to go. I continued to suffer from these headaches as well as several bouts of sinusitis each year. It turns out that for me salicylates and dairy are probably the culprits and I have not needed any antibiotics since last September, when I started failsafe. I thought it might worth telling you this, as I was just reading your factsheet about hayfever and allergic rhinitis. I think it applies equally to non-allergic rhinitis - Joanne by email. (see updated Factsheet on rhinitis etc)

I started our 5 month old on solids. She had a few days of farex (ingredients: ground rice, vegetable oil, vitamin c, antioxidant (rosemary extract), mineral (iron)). I noticed that she came out in a rash on her legs, the bubble eczema type rash. She has always had some form of redness behind her knees under her chin and in the creases (wet areas I call them) but this was much more obvious and red. I stopped the cereal and it settled down. I started again yesterday and the rash is back. I am worried that she will have skin problems that may be food intolerance and I want to do the best thing for her from the start. I have a friend whose daughter has such severe eczema and I just don't want to go down that path of creams etc. If I can do the right things for her from the start I will try. – by email (Rosemary is high in salicylates; salicylates are commonly implicated with eczema. You can make your own baby rice cereal: cook plain white rice with water, breastmilk or formula and puree in a blender)

A few months ago, my son developed a sudden, allergic rash that came and went with seemingly no pattern. The rash starts as unbearable itching and then quickly develops into raised welts, like mossie bites, over most of his body, or sometimes, only one part of it, such as his hands. When it starts, as you might imagine, he is considerably distressed by it and often the only sure remedy is to put him into a bath of warm water. This takes away the itching within about fifteen minutes.

We thought of all the usual suspects – things that had been applied to his skin, pool water, clothing, plants and more. We talked to our doctor who couldn't explain it either without going through the full allergy testing drama. Then a friend of mine told me how she had been to see Sue Dengate and directed me to the Fed Up website. We read a bit about ribo rash and thought 'Ah-ha!'.

The week prior to the development of the rash was an odd one for us. We normally eat a mostly organic diet, which began out of concern for the environment as well as health. We still ate occasional takeaway and treats like any family. That particular week, the organics were out the window as we helped our friends renovate – it was a busy week and a lot of convenience foods were eaten. We ate, as it turns out, something with ribonucleotides every single day that week. These included Fantastic rice crackers, ready roasted chicken (several meals), hams and other deli meats, sausages, chips (hot and from a packet) and probably more.

Then our son had the rash for three or four weeks, on and off, while we figured it all out (and of course continuing to unknowingly eat some of these foods). We had to keep him away from school, as the itching was unbearable, came on without warning at any time of day and the only solution was a bath.

The rash also appeared on the place on his body where he was cold, e.g. hands and feet at the beach, at a home pool and in a paddle pool filled with rainwater. The weirdest one was the paddling pool - he only got the rash up to his waist - that was the part that had been in the water.

Finally, when we made the connection, we cut out all foods containing 'the dreaded 600s'. It took almost a week and a half for the rash to completely stop appearing. It appeared less and less severely each day.

I thought that it would be good to try cutting all the artificial stuff out for a short time to see if there was any merit in it. Wow. What a discovery! We thought that his hyperactive moods at the end of each day were due to being 'overtired', in fact, they only happen on the days that he has eaten chemical food additives. Many behaviours that we had previously thought to be 'normal' have turned out to be brought on by chemicals in foods:

• Preservatives: tears, moodiness, unable to be happy, as well as hyperactivity and babbling – usually next day reaction.
• Preservative 282 in bread products – hyperactivity and babbling - about 30 minutes later.
• Synthetic Antioxidants: irritability, opposition to small things, unable to be happy, tantrum like behaviour – about 8 hours later.
• Colours: hyperactivity, babbling, bouncing – about four hours later.
• Flavour Enhancers: rash, itching, recurring up to 10 days later.

We would never have found these reactions without cutting all artificial food chemicals from our diet. We would never have connected a white, McDonald's soft serve (2 colours) with bouncing off the walls four hours later. We certainly would never have figured out that terrible tantrum-like moments were due to eating chips (synthetic antioxidants in the oil) the day before. Since cutting all the 600 numbers out, our son has only had one more episode of the rash – following prescribed medication for croup, which turns out to have several nasty additives and which changed his behaviour too. We are very careful now and can even tell if he has been out with his grandparents and had a milkshake!

The numbers that are a total no-go for us are 620-625 as well as 627, 631, 635. These 'ribonucleotides' are added to most barbecue, chicken or other savoury flavoured things like rice crackers, chips and other snacks, to some hams and processed meats, to sausages, to ready cooked chicken, to hot chips (think chicken salt), even to some brands of 'plain' crackers and more.

A more full examination of failsafe eating has led to the discovery that my son is also intolerant to high salicylates, although moderate consumption is ok. A snack of strawberries or a glass of orange juice is enough to lead to behaviour changes - mainly oppositional. We were all fine with amines and natural glutamates. - Susan, Qld (More about cold urticaria -hives associated with cold - at http://allergies.about.com/od/urticariahives/a/coldurticaria.htm)

Our baby suffered severe eczema for 8 months and was in wet bandages for 4 months straight. We were also using advantan cortisone cream on her every night. At 7 months old both my breastfed baby and myself (mother) did the RPA Elimination Diet which made no difference to her skin condition. She has allergies to dairy, soy, egg and peanut which she never consumed herself and which I stopped eating when she was 6 months old and still breastfed. After the dermatologist from the RCH said that it was most likely a food intolerance causing the eczema (she was 13 months), I contacted you again and then tried removing salicylates from her diet again as she was no longer breastfed. Within about 5 days she went from being in wet bandages, very itchy, irritated and hyperactive to skin almost completely clear and requiring only tiny amounts of cortisone. She also became a much happier baby. We have since discovered she also gets eczema from eating wheat. She is on a very limited diet because of her food intolerance and allergies but we are giving her some Neocate to try to make up for what she’s missing out on. Thanks so much for the tip on salicylates, although it is hard feeding her on a limited diet, it was much harder seeing her suffering, using steriods on her skin and keeping up with the constant bandaging. – by email, Vic

I've been doing a little research about the ingredients in the available toothpaste options for sensitive teeth – they all contain colours and flavours, and about half also contain two benzoate preservatives (which give me throat clearing/coughing for at least an hour afterwards). Most of them contain Potassium Nitrate as the active ingredient. I think this chemical is causing me to feel extremely unmotivated, disinterested in life, sometimes depressed.– by email, Vic. (Potassium nitrate is preservative 252, one of our nasty additives to avoid. It is even used in a particular brand of sensitive toothpaste labelled rather misleadingly "no added preservatives". See the Nitrates factsheet. See also a Nitrates - Alzheimers link in Research, Failsafe Newsletter #61. For prevention of sensitive teeth, see http://www.saveyoursmile.com/healtharticles/sensitiveteeth.html)

Thank you, these information sheets are most helpful. I have been doing the diet with my son for almost 4 years and there is always more to learn. He has been having trouble at school of late and I see where I may have been exacerbated things with my slip ups. I did not realise that not all pumpkin was moderate in sals and that chat potatoes were high. There were also a few other tidbits that was a great help. – Dianne, by email (you can request these updated information sheets from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

For 20 years I have suffered headaches, daily. Rarely a day goes by when I haven’t had one, often quite severe. There's not a practitioner or therapist that I have not seen or test that hasn't been done. Pain management is what I accepted my life to be. I trusted that all these experts knew that there was no identifiable cause. No one ever suggested it may be diet related!!! I didn’t consider it either as I ate a healthy diet! Even after reading Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook, I wasn't expecting my world to be turned around.

After 3 weeks failsafe: I haven't had a headache since last Thursday. It has been nearly 9 years since I went a whole week without a headache. Given my history, there's no way that this is coincidental especially given that my headaches have been quite severe for a couple of months. They didn't just lessen in severity slowly, they just stopped dead! …Failsafe is no sacrifice. I am not missing out. For the last 20 years I have been missing out and making sacrifices to my quality of life … almost everyone I know now knows my brief experience and I will continue to spread the word! I keep saying to myself if only more people knew

After 16 months failsafe …Without a doubt, food is the cause of my headaches! I am now trying to find the main culprits and find a balance as my tolerance threshold is very hard to determine. I completed the elimination diet as recommended by the RPA Allergy unit. The Failsafe Cookbook and Friendly Food cookbooks were great. For inspiration and a bit of variety, I also modified many cookbook and magazine recipes. It took me ages to do the challenges because I felt so good and didn’t want to upset the apple cart. I was completely Failsafe and felt really good. One day however, I met up with an old friend and I decided “what the heck, I’ll have that piece of chocolate cake and wash it down with an iced chocolate!” The next day I woke up feeling sluggish and I had a headache! I decided to do the challenges so I could determine what the real cause was so I could resume eating anything that didn’t affect me. Firstly, I challenged salicylates with no adverse affects. I was expecting amines to be the culprit after what I had read and because of my chocolate cake experience. The next challenge was amines. I indulged in large amounts of chocolate and other amine rich foods as per the RPA diet recommendations. To my surprise and disappointment, there was no immediate reaction. About a week or two later, the headaches came back with a vengeance and lasted for about a month. (Incidentally, I have always had different and worse headaches with my periods. While Failsafe, the period headaches were minor to insignificant.)

After the amine challenge and returning to failsafe, the headaches eventually disappeared. I reintroduced salicylate foods to my diet. I began becoming less strict with amine rich foods as well, like the occasional use of tomatoes in a pasta sauce with a sprinkle of cheese, eating nuts, drinking cola, beer and champagne. The problem is that I don’t get an immediate reaction after eating something so I don’t know exactly what or how much is too much. I figure that I have a threshold that I can build up to. Once that threshold is reached however, the headache can be weeks long, even though I feel that I have just tipped the scales. The good thing is that I know I can go out and not have to make a special off the menu order. I choose the least risky, but if it’s going to contain amines, I just keep to low amines at home for a while to balance things out. Chocolate, cheese and red wine seem to be definite no-nos, but most other things I can handle in small amounts stretched over time. We recently went on a holiday to Victoria. I wanted to enjoy myself and remain headache free. I also wanted to enjoy eating out without fussing too much, so about a month prior, I went almost strictly amine free. Whilst on holiday, I was fairly headache free with only the occasional minor one, even at the MCG with 85000 roaring people! I knew that the delayed affect might occur, but I was prepared to deal with that when I got home and it wasn’t too bad in the end. It’s just about finding balance, but I know if I want to be completely headache free, I just return to Failsafe.

Now that I have control over my headaches, I have returned to study and recently completed 80 hours of work experience as a Teacher Assistant in a noisy classroom. I feared that the stress and noise would make my head sensitive and more prone to headaches, but I was so surprised to reach the end of the day and think “I didn’t have one today!”. There were only 2 afternoons that I had to resort to pain relief. Before Failsafe, I could not have contemplated study or work outside the home. Now I am considering going beyond being a Teacher Assistant and returning to uni to complete a Dip Ed and teach. – Sharyn, by email.

See updated Factsheet on headaches and migraines

I thought I would share with you briefly my experience of treating my wife who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Apart from the Alzheimer's diagnosis, she suffered from asthma, sleep apnoea, was unable to speak more than one word at a time and was going down hill very fast. After a lot of research I decided to put her on to a 90% raw food diet and after one month, she started to speak the odd phrase. This was marvellous and only encouraged me to continue. However the amazing thing was after a few months her asthma symptoms began to disappear and she was able to reduce her dependence on puffers. After six months even the preventer puffer was reduced to almost zero and a year later in consultation with the doctor stopped using puffers altogether. Two and a half years later, she has been symptom free for two winters so confidently predict it has gone forever. Oh by the way her sleep apnoea has gone as well. This experience of curing asthma with raw food is not unique as I have subsequently found out. When visiting your website I realised the raw food diet was eliminating additives. Commercial raw food has other problems i.e. pesticides, growth promoters etc but the experience of using commercial raw food has been worthwhile. Would like to eat organic but currently that's not possible. When visiting, we eat normal food and don't expect others to provide the food we use at home. - by email

• A nine year old boy from the NT suffered from snoring and sleep apnoea. The elimination diet revealed that a few food additives were responsible sunset yellow (110), the bread preservative (282) and MSG (621). When he later developed the problem while avoiding his food triggers, fumes from a new mattress turned out to be the cause.
• A forty something father who had struggled with sleep apnoea and narcolepsy for twenty years discovered through the RPA elimination diet to his surprise that his problems were due to dietary amines.
• My son had chronic apnoea, at 4 we had his adenoids out and ears cleaned in hospital, fixed the apnoea straight away, little did I know I could have fixed that with taking him off cows milk. He now has fresh goats milk from Woolworths.

My fourth baby had the same terrible broken night sleep pattern as the other three. After struggling for eight months, she did start to settle down, waking perhaps once a night. This was great until I started her, at 10 months on bread. She immediately returned to night waking - for no apparent reason- and also had a clear runny nose. I found that the bread had preservative 282 in it so we stopped feeding it to her. Within a couple of nights (I guess it had accumulated in her system) she again settled down to a peaceful nights' sleep! AND her nose cleared up! I can't believe that it could have been that simple!

• Some of the things that have improved on diet: morning cough and rhinitis virtually gone.

• I can’t believe the improvement I’ve had over the last few years since starting the diet – especially getting away from the constant runny nose.

• Our two year old reacts to milk with night cough, dribbling, restless nights and runny nose +++ - it is hard to avoid milk but is easier than always being at the hospital or the doctors and having a sick child!

• I went through 3 courses of antibiotics for sinus problems before I realised they weren’t helping. When I read your book, I started the elimination diet the next day. Within three days the sinus problem completely disappeared - I had had a runny nose, and headache for seven weeks prior to that! It was clear proof to myself and my mum that something pretty big was happening when I ate certain foods.

• My son had an allergic rhinitis type of reaction with red swollen eyes and nose and really bad sneezing attacks to some fenugreek capsules I gave him once because it was suggested that they would help with his allergies. Talk about irony. He also reacted similarly to a chickpea falafel from the kebab shop. This was before I knew anything about salicylates.

I have been a huge fan of your diet, site, book, cookbook and dvd since it helped us sort out why our 2 year old girl was misbehaving. We did the full elimination diet very strictly and passed sals, amines but failed glutamates. We also avoid the nasty additives but haven't formally challenged those.

My little girl is now 3 years old. Her behaviour, sleep and eczema are so much better when she doesn't have glutamate or additives, however I have felt recently that there must be something still in her diet that is affecting her as she sometimes has mood swings, defiance, silly behaviour. I have been giving her home made stock and slow cooked casseroles thinking they are OK because she passed the amines challenge and I thought it was just amines that increased with ageing and cooking time but I recently read in Friendly Food that glutamate does too. – Michelle, Vic

I had been suffering increasing episodes of tachycardia, arrythmia and ectopic heart beats - two to three episodes a day. Despite escalating testing with various cardiac specialists over the past 6 months, nothing was determined apart from the fact I had high blood pressure and was placed on a low dose of appropriate medication for that. No known cause for my cardiac anomalies.

Eight days ago I ate a delicious bowl of my home made potato and leek soup for lunch. I experienced my usual (but scary and increasingly strong) palpitations and (frustrated, a little frightened and upset), I broadly Googled "heart palpitations" on Australian sites. Up came your website that mentioned 'soup' in the first Google lines that came up. Thinking "that's funny, I just ate soup, I'll have a look at that one before I find what I'm really after" I looked at it. Well, that's what saved me. What I found there were countless, comforting, case studies of people just like me, suffering consequences to MSG (635 in particular), just like me, who didn't know what was causing it. Just. Like. Me.

For me, it was a revelation, an epiphany. I was euphoric. My God, what have I been poisoning my family with, for so many years? Weekly, particularly in winter, I lovingly make risotto, casserole, beef in red wine, soup, etc, etc. Thinking I'm making healthy foods for my husband and my children, I've made all these dishes with more than a liberal dash of commercial stock (cube and/or liquid), all of which (no exceptions, I find) are loaded with MSG.

I stepped, willingly, into the world of chemical additives, flavour enhancers, neurotoxins, excitotoxins and ribonucleotides.

I have strenuously avoided any flavour enhancers (particularly 635) and all MSG in its myriad disguises since that last bowl of soup. I did not expect things to settle immediately, but I've gone from having 2-3 cardiac episodes a day and thinking I was going to die like my father, at 46, to NOT ONE EPISODE IN MORE THAN A WEEK.

Gotta be something to this. I'm eternally grateful for the information you have on your website and the comfort and advice it gave me. I think you saved my sanity and my life. Shannon, WA

I have been aware of an intolerance to MSG (621) for many years and mainly suffer with severe headaches, dehydration and nausea. I steer clear of any preservatives and flavour enhancers wherever possible, particularly those with #6 at the beginning. My diet rarely incorporates any packaged or prepared canned foods, I have eaten take away food but not on a regular basis. In a previous life, I did eat packaged and prepared foods!

A few years ago, whilst a friend was cooking a store bought, marinated chicken dish, I suffered blocked nose, mucous throat and headache, not from eating, but being in the surrounding area.

I recently suffered an episode of severely blocked nose, thick mucous in throat and tightness in throat/chest, almost wheezing like an asthmatic. The symptoms started within 10 minutes of eating a Campbells "Chunky" Chicken & Vegetable, Curry with Rice meal in a tin left behind by a guest. Although it claims "No Added MSG No Artificial Flavours No Added Preservatives" it does contain 635. This is my first reaction to 635 as far as I am aware. I am a fit and healthy 54 year old and don't have asthma. I will certainly be checking for this number now. - Lee, WA

After I eat green food colouring, first it gets to my head. It confuses my brain and I can’t get to sleep until 9 or half past 9 (usually I go to bed at 8 o’clock). That night I can’t get to sleep and my mind is set on funny things and I have these weird dreams. In the morning I’m a big tired and miserable. – Six year old talking on our DVD

For more than 20 years I had dreamt vividly and had woken each morning exhausted until I started on the diet and in the last couple of months I have had about 10% of the dreams I used to have. Shona, by email

I started on failsafe ten years ago when I was a teenager. Salicylates are the worst for me. They cause what I call 'salicylate dreams'. They’re like watching a war movie, and I am unable to stop it. – by email

I am a 68 year-old with no health problems except the beginning of muscular stiffness. I’d like to know if [a certain all natural megavitamin supplement with bioflavonoids and strong fruit extracts] contains any additives not noted on the labels. I honestly cannot note any difference except that my sleep pattern has changed. Previously a 'go to bed and drop off' person I now find myself either lying awake half the night or going to sleep and waking in the small hours of the morning– from Questions in Failsafe Newsletter #59 . (It is common for natural vitamins especially when chewable to contain very strong fruit extracts that can cause this kind of salicylate reaction. In a similar report to the same supplements a mother wrote: ‘all four kids reacted for a week - silly jumping around, wouldn't listen, couldn't concentrate, fighting with each other - the little ones were the worst - I couldn't believe it, just from one tiny little pill’)

A nine year old boy from the NT suffered from snoring and sleep apnoea. The elimination diet revealed that a few food additives were responsible sunset yellow (110), the bread preservative (282) and MSG (621). When he later developed the problem while avoiding his food triggers, fumes from a new mattress turned out to be the cause. – from Failsafe Newsletter #1. See http://www.chem-tox.com/beds/frame-beds.htm for hundreds of reports of health problems mostly in adults due to chemicals in new mattresses.

We’d been failsafe for several years when we ate some hot chips (BHA 320) several times while on a holiday. My son’s sleep talking and sleep walking which had stopped on the diet came back again the nights we had chips. – by email See also Failsafe Story [596]

“My sister’s 3 yo son suffers from night terrors. He is a bright, happy boy during the day but his constant inconsolable screaming at night is distressing. He eats large amounts of fresh fruit and vegies.

3 weeks later: “My sister cannot believe the difference. She is making everything failsafe. Her son has had his first week in more than two years, without waking, screaming etc.” – by email

My 6 year old son is allergic to dust, cats, and sensitive to some food additives. So far we have had reactions to 621-635 and 160b and are looking at 282 now. Just wanting to thank you for putting us on the right track to start with. Our son's nose was 90% full of swollen tissue. He was working 20% harder to breath giving him terrible headaches etc. He is now starting to feel better, sleeping better, behaving better (prev we were told it was adhd - have my doubts now) and generally feeling better - by email

A nine-year-old was taking medication for rhinitis that was so bad that he couldn’t breathe or talk properly. When this boy eliminated milk as the last stage of going failsafe, both his behaviour and rhinitis improved dramatically. His mother explained: ‘Our paediatrician was really surprised. He said he could tell the rhinitis was better, because the hairs in his nose have grown back.’ - from Fed Up! (included on the Rhinitis factsheet because rhinitis can contribute to snoring)

Three years ago I started the RPAH elimination diet and discovered I was suffering intolerance (to dairy as well as other food chemicals). Although other symptoms cleared up, there were a few niggling things, particularly the blocked and running nose, always having my sleeve or back pocket loaded with tissues, ready for the inevitable moment. I had always suffered this morning and evening ritual of a running nose so 'just lived with it'.

(Trying the diet again 3 years later) After a week of full elimination, the runny nose persisted. I read and re-read through your checklist of common mistakes and decided to try plain toothpaste which I never did 3 years ago as my dietician at the time said, 'oh you don't have to give up toothpaste if you don't want to - everything else though' and I never really considered it could cause me such suffering.  Well well well.  A truly amazing change has occurred for me. No more nose blowing at breakfast time or when I'm settling into bed at night. The tap has officially been turned off!   (included on the Rhinitis factsheet because rhinitis can contribute to snoring)

I am total agreement with your stories regarding depression etc due to food intolerance. I suffered for about ten years trying all sorts of things. I was depressed, anxious and had a host of strange sensations and numbness, foggy, bad tempered, the list goes on.

The diet I followed was basically to eat non processed foods, and I believe what I was actually eliminating was flavour enhancers, including HVP and other hidden enhancers. I have felt that MSG has been my downfall, although things like other additives are excluded.

I continue to work now at 66, with a clear head and vitality. I am angry at the time I have spent seeing doctors and withdrawing from society due to low esteem and negative feelings. Angry is a little strong and just relieved that I have found relief without drugs/medication of any sort.

As with some of the other people who have written in, I found relief by my own experimentation. Dangerous, but I did it. And it worked. I have relayed my story to many people and doctors, and I would say most of them don’t really believe that this will work, and that is the problem. I understand that, because in my earlier days I would have thought the same.

Following my diet was very difficult with only a little change in the early stages (like the first week), and in the early days, I didn’t think it would work. Luckily I stuck to it. I try to impress people that the diet appears boring but in the end one’s sanity is the objective. It took me about two weeks for a reasonable and significant improvement, and two months for complete and total freedom from symptoms. – Ralph, by email

UPDATE at Fedup Roadshow 2011: ‘I have to give you an update. Originally I thought MSG was to blame, but now I realise it could have been any of the nasty additives and ingredients in processed foods.'

I had to email you to say THANK YOU for saving my sanity!

My 2 yr old was having some terrible behavioural problems, in the form of waking up either from her day sleep or night sleep in an absolute distraught state. She would be inconsolable and it would go on for nearly an hour until I could somehow ‘break’ it. I could never predict what mood she would wake up in and I dreaded it every day. I described her as being ‘locked in’ and I couldn't reach her. Her eyes would glaze over and nothing I did could snap her out of it. All I could do was let her burn out. I knew something wasn't right because why should any child wake up in a tantrum? But it was worse than a tantrum.

Thankfully I mentioned it to the right mums at playgroup who got me onto your book. What an eye-opener!!!! I think every mother should be discharged from hospital with their baby under one arm and your book under the other arm!

After educating myself with your book, I ransacked our pantry and threw away about 50% of what I had. I found the Vegeta seasoning I used nearly every night on our dinner was full of MSG. I found the cheesy rice crackers the girls were having every day were also full of MSG. This was not good.

However, I finally pinpointed what it was that made her so volatile - amines!!!! She was having bananas and grapes every day, some days she would even have two bananas. I quickly banned these two foods and the difference in my child was amazing. She now wakes up a happy child! Recently I let my guard down and let her have bananas again and saw the effects after about 4-5 days of having one each day. I even suspected she was having night terrors. And then I remembered the amines! After three days of no bananas, she was back to her usual self.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! – Pauline, QLD

What is amazing to me is that the researchers don’t seem to be aware that some preservatives and flavour enhancers can also give you asthma or make symptoms worse. I've experienced this first hand. I regularly consumed a so called healthy cereal every day that contained dried fruit which was laced with preservatives. My symptoms of breathlessness, sleep apnea, tachycardia, pins and needles, anxiety etc. kept getting worse. I ended up in casualty at the local hospital several times, but they could not discover the cause. I had heart checks, x-rays, stress tests and still no answers. Finally at a party one of the guests refused certain food and proceeded to tell me about her allergic reactions to food additives. As she was describing her reactions, I realised her symptoms were identical to mine. She told me about your website. I went home that night and threw out everything in my pantry with food additives and I slowly recovered. I'm very careful now, but eating out is a challenge and that is where I get caught out, even when I choose healthy options such as a salad or sandwich. At the airport I had a turkey and salad sandwich and within 20 minutes I was really struggling to breath - Miryana by email.

I have always suffered terrible, debilitating headaches/ migraines! After several brain scans the doctor recommended I take medications as a preventative measure, this would be a life long therapy. Not being keen I went armed with your books and stated I wished to try this failsafe diet first. My doctor supported my wishes with some skepticism. My success has been life changing! I have lost 8 kilos (not that I was looking towards this goal), no headaches until my salicylate challenge and a healthy and happy family all round. Thank you for your time and efforts. – Tania, QLd

My sister ate Thai food 3 days in a row (Fri, Sat, Sun). On Monday morning she had an itchy rash and face that looked like she had been hit (red, swollen, hive type rash). Over the next 4 days the rash only got worse. It moved from head to chest, to legs, all over her body – a different spot every day. Antihistamines had no effect. Eventually she went to the Emergency Department and a doctor thought "not food related" but a nurse suggested it might have been.

They prescribed a corticosteroid (I think) which began to make an impact. But reading the info on your website re ribo rash - it all made sense. She has since noticed the rash on a smaller scale after eating CC's with 621 and 635. – by email, Vic [The 635 in Thai food can be in the soy sauce or fish sauce]

We've just finished a great 3 1/2 week driving holiday around Queensland (7000km with my hubby and my mum and dad - and we all survived thanks to FS food no doubt!). We only went out for dinner twice and we all went failsafe for most of the holiday. We all commented on how good we felt for the whole holiday - none of that feeling of being sick of ‘bought’ food that we used to get and no crankiness or tummy upsets. It did require a bit of planning and pre-cooking and because we didn't have a freezer in the vehicles, we had to make sure to book self-contained cabins with a freezer and cooking facilities so that we could restock the esky every few days. Overall it worked really well but a little fridge/freezer unit in the car would have made life a lot easier. That'll be the next project for my hubby!

The trip was great - it would be fantastic if other people could pass on their experiences about how they maintain their diet when travelling - especially those going gluten-free. – Jodie, by email (send other failsafe holiday reports via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have five children aged 1, 7, 8, 10 and 11. It was the behaviour of my 8 year old daughter which prompted me to try FAILSAFE. Since about the age of 2 this daughter has had what seemed like multiple daily tantrums – consistently over 10 per day. Prior to this she was an extremely easy going toddler, but a reflux baby (as were all my children). She was so easy in fact that I used to call her my calming factor in the family and her daycare carer once described her as a little pot plant that you just placed in the corner, fed and watered her and watched her grow.

Earlier this year I reached a rather scary place where, even though I love my daughter to death, I often didn’t like being with her because the tantrums would start the moment she got up and seemed to go on until she finally went to sleep at night. I dreaded picking her up from school as it inevitably meant her storming out to me at the car and immediately complaining about something which soon resulted in constant sibling rivalry with my 7 year old daughter increasingly becoming
the victim of my 8 year old s assault. The entire household was on edge and her behaviour was extremely disruptive to all of us.

Over the years I have read several parenting books and tried many approaches: reward charts, time outs, consequences, firm approach, soft approach and nothing seemed to work. The bigger she grew the worse her tantrums became, reaching a climax earlier this year when she started to throw any item she could find at any of us. I should also add that over the years my daughter has developed several food aversions.

The turning point for me was when I saw her behaviour change before my eyes after eating food at a party. It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the food she was eating was affecting her behaviour. That’s when I conducted some internet research and stumbled across your website. Despite my family eating what I would call a well balanced healthy diet, I was surprised to learn that there were still several healthy foods which could affect behaviour. The most fantastic thing about your website for people in my position was that I could download The Failsafe Booklet which provided me sufficient information to try the diet out without having to spend money on purchasing books upfront when I didn’t know if it would work or not. I started the whole family on Failsafe following this booklet to the best of my ability.

To my absolute surprise, within 24 hours I had a totally different daughter. After 2 weeks of no tantrums my husband was forced to agree that the diet made a huge difference also. I reclaimed my calm, happy and pleasant daughter which was very emotional for me because I had forgotten how sweet she could be. The entire household was calmer (mainly down to my 8 year old’s improvement but I did notice a slight improvement in behaviour in my other children in terms of
them being less irritable and more cooperative) and I not only looked forward to picking up my daughter from school again but she would actually skip out to the car and greet me nicely - what a transformation. Her teacher reported her concentration in class was better and the sibling rivalry was what I would call normal. At this point I purchased the books and DVD. The recipe book is fantastic and gave me a larger variety of meals and baking options to choose from, plus a much more detailed shopping list.

I have struggled to keep my family Failsafe, mainly due to time constraints, but there are a few dietary changes which have stuck. For example, I bake my own bread now, my 8 year old daughter drinks magic cordial instead of commercial cordial and uses 100% maple syrup on her toast instead of honey, peanut butter or vegemite/promite, and I purchase Failsafe grocery products whenever I can. She doesn’t consume much fruit as this is an area where she has developed several aversions over the years. Overall, we seem to have reached a happy balance whereby we are no longer 100% Failsafe but my daughter’s behaviour has improved immensely.

Thank you for your wonderful website and all the incredible insight into the world of additives. I truly had no idea. – Nikki, by email

I am 60 and since March 2005 (4 years) have been avoiding salicylates and wholemeal bread to help with arthritis and back pain. I have noticed a really big improvement in the long term. I no longer have pain or jangly nerves and no trouble with stairs. The pleasure is back into walking. When my back gets sore it doesn't seem to go into that spiral that it used to, laying me up for days. It complains a bit, but doesn't seize up anymore. I call it an anti-inflammatory effect. Somehow the vicious circle seems to be interrupted.

I think keeping muscles strong is also very important for backs and health in general so I bought myself an electric bike (you have to pedal but you can turn on the oomph if you need it). That represented a big increase in activity as I did two very big hill climbs a couple of times a week over the summer. – Helen, by email

I wrote story 342 (Helpless, hopeless depression due to salicylates: I have suffered depression since at least age 15 and am 38 now …) five years ago when I was relatively new to Failsafe, about a year and a half in. It has taken me a long time to figure out all the finer points, and I'm probably still learning. But it's a journey back to myself. I am now not the same person I was even five years ago, discovering new parts to me all the time, as I take back control. The secret for me is to keep looking, recording what I eat, and asking questions.

When I have too much of the chemicals that I react to (I can tolerate a bit more of the three natural chemicals now) the following happens: amines make me angry, like ODD. Salicylates (now) make me vague and panicky, uptight with others, because I can't think straight. Glutamates make me cry, uncontrollably sad. Synthetic antioxidants make me very anxious, but it's a build up effect. I didn't realise this for a long time, as I very rarely have too much of things like take away hot chips, until a recent long holiday. I also suspect soy and dairy as having a build up effect on my mood, and must be totally gluten free. I only took out gluten about 1.5 years ago, as I still had some unexplained joint pain. Didn't realise it was connected with my moods, till I came off it and had severe withdrawals - headaches, depression, diarrhoea. On challenging it, I had severe depression, disconnection with reality, had trouble making my body respond to my brain, like I couldn't make a decision to move, and terrible anxiety. So even though I was doing very well on Failsafe and not gluten free, I'm doing even better off gluten. My body just doesn't want it back now, and I sure don't either! – by email, Vic

My eight-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with fructose intolerance and while we have seen a dietitian it seems that we have recently hit a brick wall and she is constantly getting tummy aches. I am exploring other causes at the moment but was wondering if you could give me any information about preservatives and spices (which I am suspicious of) that could help me manage her better. The attitude I have had from doctors is here is the diagnosis good luck and seeya later, I really wonder how much they really know. I am literally alone doing my own research and homework …

Three years on: Together with your help, our dietitian and the web, our daughter is growing, is a lot happier and not as sick as often. As well as fructose, we avoid flavour enhancers (MSG 621 and others) and suspect sulphites (220-228), salicylates and cheese are an issue for our daughter too. All in all we as a family are a lot happier, family and friends are now more understanding and accepting of our daughter and her food issues and we are constantly learning. We have also learnt that the key is “listen to your body”. by email, SA.

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  22. [798] 2 years of behaviour problems related to unlisted artificial colour in fluoride tablets (June 2009)
  23. [799] Warning: Perfumes in masks for kids’ anaesthetics (June 2009)
  24. [800] 200, 160b, 320: Big “no-no’s” cause cramping and diarrhea (June 2009)
  25. [801] 202: Potassium sorbate makes my son clingy, crying (June 2009)