For the past 15 years I have been unable to eat wheat, preservatives or MSG - or suffer the consequences if I do. A life spent suffering headaches, depression, lethargy and other sundry aches and pains is no alternative to avoiding the wrong foods and being able to live life to the full! - by email

I have suffered for years from episodes of fast heart beat. It can be very strong and disturbing, and I have ended up in hospital but it goes away after a few hours and they could never find anything wrong. For a while I was getting it every afternoon. Eventually I worked out it happened on the days I ate bread. A friend suggested it might be the preservative in bread. When I eat Brumbys' bread I have no problems, but when I ate some preserved bread without thinking at my mother's place, I had another episode. - NT

I react to MSG, flavour enhancer 635, metabisulphite preservatives, and yellow colour in cordial. I also have food intolerance to salicylates. From MSG, 635 flavour enhancer and metabisulphite preservatives I get very irregular pulse and atrial fibrillation. The atrial fibrillation settles down after 12-20 hrs depending on how much offending additive I have eaten (in a restaurant it is difficult to tell) - and my pulse settles down faster if I drink lots of water every hour to flush the toxins out of
my system. I've learned to read the labels and carry a reminder in my purse of the numbers to which I react when shopping. I have learned which brands or types of foods are a problem and steer clear of those. - Mary, retired nurse, Brisbane

My cousin has been having horrendous seizures for the past 2 years since she gave birth to her son. I have been trying to convince her to go on the elimination diet, as she's already noticed some foods trigger the attacks. She feels like she is going to die when she has one. She finally read the section in your book about Kerry and has found out that one of her biggest seizures which was triggered by popcorn at the pictures, was probably due to tartrazine (102) - the cinema just changed the company they buy the popcorn from. - WA

My husband has lost weight (he needed to ) and the aching joints he had-post Ross River Fever seem to be improving!! - NT

The biggest thing in my life is that my PMT has gone. I am amazed. I have had this problem for so many years. It was ruling my life and threatening my marriage to the point where earlier this year I started taking Lovan (another name for Prozac) to help me with it. I know you said that PMT disappears on the diet but I must admit mine was so bad I really didn't believe you. Anyway, my PMT has completely gone. I am convinced about this diet now! - NT

I have a 10mth old baby boy who he screamed for the first 3 and half months of his life all day and half of the night until my doc got me onto a dietitian and we tried the elimination diet. Every time I do food tests he reacts by screaming in agony within 24 hours and often gets a nasty red rash on his face and not so severe rash on his back and stomach. Before we tried the diet, we were hospitalised twice because I just couldn't cope. He reacts to most additives but the bread preservative is the worst and he also reacts very badly to amines. - Dani, WA

Restless Legs Syndrome was absolutely driving me crazy. If I forced my legs to be still, they would then jerk with even greater intensity. While I was watching TV, my legs were constantly swinging, because of this urge to move them. They were not itchy - it was just like there was something under the skin driving me crazy. Apparently most sufferers go on to become alcoholics (ref: The Bulletin 2000) which I can understand. American websites about RLS basically fall back onto all sorts of medication, which I do not want to take. Within two weeks of trying the elimination diet, I was able to sit still at night, AND get into bed without fear of tossing and turning all night because of this urge to move my legs. I now know the foods I should not touch - salicylates and additives ... when I eat any of these forbidden foods there is a definite reaction. - NSW

My husband has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for 11 years. We have been following the food lists suggested in your 'Fed Up' book for about a month and I have noticed a huge difference already. He sleeps better and is generally having more good days than bad. When he cheated (not on purpose) by having "junk" food, he suffered for it the next few days, not sleeping properly, and with the usual general aching and unwellness. The week after re-commencing failsafe foods, he is again feeling good and positive that eating failsafe is just the beginning of a great new life. - WA

I've read your book "Fed Up" and it certainly helped to plug the holes that my son's dietician leaves every time we talk. - by email

My daughter Rebecca developed the environmental illness Multiple Chemical Sensitivity when she was close to 2 years of age as a result of poisoning from the common sunscreen chemical butyl methoxy dibenzoylmethane, to which she was allergic. The chemical was present in a 50 ml roll-on I bought. The concentration of BMDM in the product was 3/4 of 1%, and I applied it to the lower half of her face and the back of her hands. She passed out. Her teeth turned orange-brown, her skin turned yellow-brown all over. Her urine was the colour of dark tea. Her skin and breath stank like a sewer. She appeared to be brain damaged. Some of the brown hair on the back of her head grew in pure white.

Rebecca's mental and physical function are now profoundly affected by environmental chemicals, in foods, in the air she breathes, and anything that comes in contact with her skin. She cannot have sunscreen with BMDM used by anyone around her, and we have had to have this chemical banned from her kindergarten this year, and her school for next year. The regulatory authority was notified at the time of the injury, as was the sunscreen company. The product that did the damage was Ego Sunsense Face Milk, labelled "hypo-allergenic". The chemical responsible is sometimes called Parsol 1789. In the USA I believe it is known as avobenzone.

I have also developed MCS as a result of handling the product that hurt my child. I am not as sensitive as my daughter but I continue to get worse. Environmental exposures to BMDM (other people's sunscreen) seem to be responsible for this worsening.  We are trying to get BMDM not only banned but classified as a prohibited substance. Please let other people know that this sunscreen chemical is toxic and incompatible with human ecology.

•     Dianne, BSc (Pharmacology, Biochemistry)

I'm letting you know how I got on with the bread preservative. I did get a reaction but not as bad as the amine test. Enough though to avoid eating it unless there is no other option. By the way, my reaction is always itchy hives. - reader, email

I'm a week and a bit further down the track on the failsafe foods and I am noticing changes already. He's really quite a cute kid underneath it all. Going out has been the biggest hurdle as school is extremely supportive. - reader, NT.

Oh Frabjous Day (the quote comes from Lewis Carroll's poem the Jabberwocky)

Some of you have experienced the joy of a child transformed,

an emergent angel,

an unsolicited "I love you" rather than "I hate you",

and a house in peace and harmony.

I too can (now) count myself amongst these fortunates.

To those who have not yet witnessed this miracle,

take heart, your turn will come.

School is in session again, and our kids

are doing things they couldn't possibly have done last semester.

Mary is bringing home perfect math and spelling tests,

with a commensurate improvement in self-esteem.

As I watch her do homework, I can almost see her IQ improve each week.

She no longer engages in covert antisocial behavior,

such as stealing small objects from classmates, which she did all last year.

"I don't feel like I have to yack with my friends all day long." she volunteered.

Meantime, John is spending most of his day in his mainstream classroom.

Last year he spent 40 minutes in class, story time, and then became too hyper,

and had to return to his special ed room.

That, plus a few extras such as gym and music,

was the extent of his mainstreaming.

He could NEVER perform an academic task in the midst of 23 other students,

or participate in a group activity.

In fact he could rarely do anything at all,

and we often had to bring him home before lunch,

because he was too unmanageable even for the special ed teachers.

But this year is different.

He always spends the afternoon in his general ed class,

and sometimes the morning as well.

He is socially appropriate, and is on-track academically.

The improvements at home are comparable;

I don't have time to go into them all.

As the subject suggests, we are elated.

And what's the secret? Eliminating amines --

easier said than done, as many of you know.

 

There are so many discussions of frustrating setbacks, which is right and

appropriate for this group --

but I thought you'd also like to hear about some real progress.

Sometimes we (parents) don't even see it, day to day,

until we step back and remember where we were three months ago,

or even one month ago.

- Karl from the discussion group, see Karl and Alison's hints for super amine responders on the

website.

Thank you so much for the wonderful, supportive and informative book "Fed Up". I had previously tested one of my children under the guidance of an allergy specialist, but I was having problems with another of my children and was lacking motivation. Your book inspired me to begin the elimination diet with my daughter, before I was at the stage of being unable to cope with her any longer. What a difference in her life, my life and the life of the whole family. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! We now have a daughter who is behaving as her real self - reader, email.

Just thought I would drop you a short note to let you know that everything is going extremely well. My daughter is now at her best EVER, although we still have the occasional hiccup, it is nothing compared to some weeks ago. We challenged Dairy last week for 2 days (only milk) and her nose just gave her too much grief at night so she decided herself to give it the flick for 12 months. She said after not having it for 8 weeks that it tasted YUK anyway. She stated last night that she feels good eating failsafe foods and I must admit that the dark rings under her eyes have completely gone, her eyes themselves are crystal clear and she has no inclination to eat otherwise. We have our second visit with the pediatrician next month. Gee haven't I got lots to tell him. - reader, Queensland

I have a near 7 year old with an intolerance to salicylates. Your book "Fed Up" helped us realise what his problems might be caused by, and since he has been on a low salicylate diet, his behaviour, school work etc have improved dramatically! - reader, email

Parenting courses and books all had wonderful ideas and strategies, but they didn't work for us. However since my son has been on the diet over the past twelve months I have AT LAST been able to enjoy him. The difference that the diet has made to him has been extraordinary. Unfortunately it took much longer than we expected, as we had to eliminate a lot more than the basic elimination diet and his diet is extremely restricted, but it is worth the effort to have a delightful happy boy most of the time. We still have the occasional really bad day, but after six and a half years of trying to parent a terror and feeling that there must have been something wrong with me and my parenting abilities, I finally feel like a more or less normal mum! I can now take him shopping or to visit my friends and be reasonably confident that he will be well behaved and well mannered. Last week I took him to an adult social meeting with me as I needed to meet some new people (we have just moved) and he hadn't started school here yet. He sat fairly quietly, amusing himself with his Lego and allowed me to concentrate and then socialise, without dying of embarrassment over his behaviour, or having to leave early because things became intolerable. The only time he interrupted was to ask where the bathroom was. The other people there would never have guessed what he used to be like..- discussion group member

"I have got into a routine at the moment that I thought I would never get into. Your tastebuds do change and when you go back to something you had in the past you will most likely find that it's not as tantalising as you used to think." - discussion group member, WA

"Three weeks ago I totally spat it with my son as he would only drink milk out of a bottle. So I got tough and threw them away. He won't drink milk now unless he has a bottle - which he doesn't get. After a few miserable days (even though he still asks for a bottle of milk) he has given up milk altogether. He has become a totally different child - a lot more placid, tantrums are very few and far between (from 4 a day to maybe one a week), easily to reason with, a lot more tolerant of waiting for things, less oppositional and a lot more happy (Mum is too). I am not the only one who has noticed as my husband, Mum, Mother-in-law, friends etc have all commented too." - reader, Victoria

"After seeing your book on the TV we bought it. Our 8 year old daughter had been diagnosed with dyslexia and my wife believed that her diet had a lot to do with her behaviour. Your book helped us help our daughter and I am glad I have an opportunity to say thank you." - reader, email

"I haven't been game to write and tell all about how we are going in case it breaks the spell, but I have had my daughter on a FAILSAFE diet now for 6 weeks, and we have been on a high ever since. We never thought we would ever enjoy our family again, but here we are loving every day with her and everything she does. She has slept through since the 2nd week of the diet. She has gradually lost all signs of her rash, she is happy just pottering around without needing to be constantly nursed or consoled, and she is also beginning to 'trust' food again and eat what is offered to her.

I never thought that this diet would ever get easier, or that I would ever just be able to reach into the cupboard and pull out something to eat, but it is getting more and more second nature … I have not yet walked down the challenge road, I am a little scared to give up my darling baby who is for the first time in her life receiving the love and the now obviously more comfortable life she deserves. My family and friends have been extremely supportive, and help me watch her like a hawk at any family or social gathering where there is food present. She is also allergic to a few foods and so this is doubly important, especially for peanuts where she may need an adrenaline injection if she consumes anything with peanut in it, this could be as innocent as any chocolate bar or as obvious as a peanut paste sandwich." - discussion group,

I was at my wits end and about to put my almost 6 year old developmentally delayed son on Ritalin. Fortunately I could not get an appointment until the end of October, so whilst looking up ADHD on the 'net, came across your book, bought it and read it the same day! We started the diet 2 days ago, he said "yes" for the first time in his life today (everything is usually "no"). I haven't seen any tantrums, he has lost his obsession with running water from my kitchen taps (he would spend all day at the sink before, if I let him) and he actually sits down and watches TV and plays with his brothers and sister now. More speech is coming out, his toilet training is going well as he is not urinating so frequently and for the first time in years I can say he's a delightful little boy … As for my other children, I'm half way through the first week of the school holidays, and my household is actually very calm. I'm just so impressed, I can't help telling everyone about the diet. My four year old son, who has had frequent ear infections, grommets, and a severe language delay, actually came up to me this morning and said that his "ear was working now". And we were just on the verge of having to put him through more traumatic surgery plus spend another $1300 to replace his grommets. My other sons were constantly at each other's throats previously, but now act like best buddies! …- reader, email

"I first started reading your book Fed Up a few months ago and was a bit unsure that we could make the changeover to only the foods that you suggest be eaten to start off with. So I put the book away. Then the other day I thought - this is it, we must make the change for our daughter.

I cleaned out my pantry and was shocked to find that I only had 3 things in my cupboard that we were allowed to eat. I went shopping that afternoon with the kids to buy the things that we could eat on the diet, (who incidently thought it was great looking for all of the good food that we were allowed to eat).

I was surprised to find out when I got to the checkout that the bill at the end was actually less then what I normally pay when going shopping, so I thought that that was just great.

At the present time it is going OK although I am finding it difficult to find bread with no preservatives in it and as the kids are big eaters it is tough at lunch times. I would love to be able to talk to other mothers that are on the diet to see how they are coping." [to talk to other mothers on the diet, join our email discussion group, send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] - mother, Queensland

Please add me to your newsletter list … we are up to week 2 of the elimination diet. We slipped up by keeping the pink marshmallows in the house. My son aged 8 found them and ate every one and now I am in day 2 of the violent monster stage !!! Thank you so much, I look forward to getting my son back one day soon. Thanks for your help and for being there when no-one else is - unless they have a drug of some sort that is ! - reader, New Zealand

"You may be pleased to know that I presented your book "Fed Up" to my ADD support group and gave them a complete run down about the diet. … I had to laugh to myself when one mum stated categorically that her son (extremely hyperactive) "is not affected by foods". Yes, I once thought that about my son, only to find how very salicylate sensitive he is!!" - reader, email

"I have gone down the dietary path since 1990, knowing myself to have allergies, but have struck many a blind alley with doctors and paediatricians. I am a science teacher, and a scientist, and consider that I can tell what is obvious with my child - but so many won't listen. I was so pleased to finally read your book only recently …" - reader, email

"I am a new mum, my baby is nearly one year old. I am reading your book Fed Up and it is making a huge impact on my life. My daughter was a challenging child in the early part of her life and this created a lot of stress for me and my husband. I felt strongly that the food I was eating upset her through the breast milk. Could this have been why she was so difficult to get to sleep???? We have finished breast feeding and I plan to follow the FAILSAFE diet as much as I can … Thank you and keep doing what you're doing." - reader, email

"I was recently told about your book Fed Up by my dietician. I have food intolerances to salicylates and amines and I am now going to test for the bread preservative. I am in my 60s and have suffered with itchy hives for over 10 years. At last after reading your book I seem to be getting on top of it. My daughter has put two of her children on the elimination diet with excellent results. Thank you......" - reader, email

"My friend has followed your diet and had only one small reaction (and she admits to "cheating" some that day) in the last 11 months. Before that, she was speeding to the hospital in an ambulance about every 10 -14 days. Now she has not done that in nearly a whole year - THANKS to your book and food lists. She has also reduced the antihistamines that she takes by more than half ... Her own allergy doctor is very impressed with her current health and has sent for "Fed Up" also. It seems weird that she has had to find her own help and that doctors seem to have little knowledge of her allergy to natural aspirin. Thanks again for your help. She is my close friend and lives alone but now I don't fear for her safety because the life threatening reactions have disappeared. Her overall health and energy levels have greatly increased. Without your website, current correct information, and books, coping was so difficult". - reader's friend, USA

Right from the day she was born, my third child was a difficult baby. The sisters at the hospital commented on day one that she was acting like a day three baby - all unsettled because of the milk coming in and hormonal changes. At 6 weeks she was diagnosed as having reflux and was given suitable medicine, not enough, at 8 weeks she was prescribed a herbal medicine to have in between doses (peppermint base), at 9 weeks she was diagnosed with colic as well and we treated her with all three medications to no avail.

By 12 weeks somebody suggested she will be fine once she starts on some solids (she is obviously just one of those really hungry babies). She cried all the time, she would not go to sleep, she would not stay asleep, and she was only happy if she was being nursed, if you could call it happy. I feasted on my saviours, champagne, burritos, curries (well, Indian babies survive!), and treated myself to a strip of licorice just about every day. I knew she did not like me drinking champagne, but I joked about being in denial about it, thinking I deserved it.

Our new baby had a fine rash covering most of her body, we all thought that makes sense, her big sister has eczema. Her irritability was I thought lactose intolerance maybe, I am slightly lactose intolerant. She had 7 ear infections in 5 months and had grommets put in at 8 months, but I had ear problems, sinus problems, and grommets as a child as well. We went to a sleep clinic to try and get her to learn how to go to sleep, we thought that maybe she did not read the book about how third children are supposed to fit in to our routine and lives. FINALLY after many trips to the doctor and an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, my clever doctor suggested a salicylate- free diet for our baby (not me though because the sensitivity was not really the problem just another thing to try).

Things improved, sleep was achieved when she rolled over on to her stomach, and crying was reduced from 50 minutes of controlled crying to now 20 minutes of controlled crying, every night, every sleep, 4 to 6 times a day. Hell hath no fury like a mother of a child who does not sleep, if baby is woken up. She was still waking up at night like a clock-watcher, and was usually unable to be settled without a breastfeed and then not usually under an hour.

12 months old... still having problems. We have now discovered she is allergic to milk, eggs, bananas, peanuts, Keflex, BBQ spices, and is still on her salicylate free diet (well low salicylate anyway, because it's not really a salicylate intolerance it just makes us feel like we are doing something). She is still waking up at night, but getting better to settle. Some nights she actually sleeps through.

After 12 months ( plus the 5mths I suffered with indigestion during pregnancy) of sleep deprivation, the rot had finally set in and I have succumbed to many illnesses that I could not fight off, so, I gave up breastfeeding.

Well you could knock me down with a feather. The child sleeps. Goes to sleep. The rash disappears. Her first plasticine poo ... 14 months old ... where do we go now? It seems that her new food allergies are becoming more frequent and more aggressive since I stopped breastfeeding.

This brings me to you. I found your book!!! I sat down and started reading your book, not in order, and found her symptoms all over the place. I also found my 8 year old, who scored 3s on eczema, growing pains, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, night wakings, anxious, vague, concentration, unmotivated, disorganised, easily distracted (she scored a 5 here), moody, irritable, and 2's on fidgety, "jumpy" behaviour. … What I have benefited most from so far is the relief that I am not crazy, nor the only person in this situation. Thank you for taking the time to write your book.

P.S. Can you tell me if McVities Hobnobs biscuits are okay? The ingredients are: Rolled oats, wholemeal flour, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable oil, partially inverted sugar syrup, raising agents(sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate), salt. [There are probably antioxidants (310-321) in the vegetable oil, so you would have to limit the quantity].  - reader, email

Although my child had never been diagnosed as ADD or ADHD, he was just a very active little boy who did not sleep much or very well. He wasn't interest in reading, writing or drawing and I was becoming very concerned about how he was going to cope with going to school next year.

After two weeks of eliminating all fruit (except pears) and preservatives from his and our diets he is a changed person. He writes his own name and started to write other letters and is very happy to sit and draw for at least an hour! (he couldn't sit still for at least 5 mins before the diet). His new favourite word is "preservatives".

I attended your talk in Canberra in June and was considerably impressed. I then purchased "FED UP" and am now proceeding to read through it … I have a 5 year old girl with numerous problems both behavioural and learning without, as yet, having been given a diagnosis by her paediatrician. However, my reading has defined ADHD with learning disabilities. Her paediatrician tends to agree, though is unwilling to diagnose at such a young age. Like you, I've pursued behaviour training, as well as speech therapy, occupational therapy, attended early intervention preschools, obtained 2nd opinions from paediatricians, had blood tests and seen a geneticist. All with little luck. Her extreme hyperactivity saw me retreat from almost all social activities as she was unwelcome and I was always on edge with her unpredictable and extreme behaviour. She is now in kindergarten in a special learning support unit. Her Ritalin medication is reasonably effective, but there are days when it doesn't work. I'd like to explore fully the effect of additives in food and as such, am now intensely interested in what you have to say both in your books and via the internet/email. When I have completed your book I will try the elimination diet. I thank you … you have given me a new area to explore.

I am a 20-year-old mother with a very restless, hard to manage 18-month-old son. He has been hard to manage from the start with colic, chronic wind, constipation, reflux and eczema. He would have us up usually every 2 hours just screaming the house down for no apparent reason and my doctor stressed NOT to put him on soy products as "in his opinion, they were of no help", so my son remained on an AR formula to help his reflux. As he gets older, he is very active, running every where, bouncing off walls and furniture, falling over all the time ... more trips to the doctor, nothing mentioned about diet.

It wasn't until my parents saw the article on A Current Affair that I even thought about diet other then lactose intolerance and they both encouraged us to try it. I was sceptical at first and then one night he had me in tears and, being pregnant with our second child, decided to give it a go anyway.

It has been 8 days now and there has been a noted change in his attitude. He is slowing down enough to smell the roses and his attention span has lengthened a little. although he is still waking up at night, I am a lot more rested from not chasing him around all day! What brands of bread are best for him? I have asked around at small bakeries and they either can't tell me if there are any preservatives or admit that they do ... I am getting a little frustrated at their ignorance. [Brumby's is FAILSAFE. Other than that, can you buy Vogel's? Read the label carefully. In some places they do not add 282].

Thank you once again for your help and for bothering to try to make a difference when no-one else really cares!!! Reader, email

"told my wife yesterday that you have given us more personal attention and assistance than any physician here in our home state, and all without compensation. There is either something wonderful about you, or something terrible about healthcare in the States, or both." - reader, USA

I saw you on A Current Affair recently and started reading your book and couldn't put it down until I had finished it.

What a difference it has made! We are in the process of eliminating all preservatives and additives from our diet. It has been a hard struggle but we are getting there. We knew we had a problem when my four-year-old was given chocolate and within five minutes he would be jumping up and down on the spot while he was talking to you. Also, he would be so wound up before bed time that he couldn't lie still - his arms, legs and body would be jumping all over the place. The diet has certainly helped.

I have been trying out all of your recipes with great success … Once again thank you for writing "Fed Up" . It has been truly inspirational and has certainly answered a lot of questions for me. "Fed Up" is my bible and I never go anywhere without it.

Even though I thought we had pretty much eliminated most additives and preservatives from our diet I was appalled to learn that we could do more. I've always made our meals from scratch, baked my own cakes and bikkies, and for the last year have made my own bread. Then to learn that the tomato-based meals such as spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, lamb ragout and even the soups I made could be the cause of our 11-year-old son's incredible temper made me feel completely inadequate. Until recently, his ADHD has been fairly well controlled, but for the last year he has been almost unbearable at school, although his behaviour at home has remained fairly constant. In desperation, after searching the internet, I decided to try him on Efalex, and his behaviour at school really improved. We noticed that he reverted to this old behaviour when I ran out of the capsules and he hadn't had them for a week, so quickly decided to keep up that regimen. Then your book was recommended to me by a fellow parent who had been having great success with it for her daughter. What a revelation. Both my husband and I have family histories with asthma, skin rashes, allergies, rhinitis, sinusitus - you name it. My son embraced the program and being the person he is read the book even more thoroughly than I did and was a great help with the shopping and preparation. Tell me, do they sometimes have some kind of withdrawal? [yes] We started the diet on the holidays, so we had a good chance to get everything under way with little distraction, and as always he was off his Ritalin. He almost literally was
bouncing off the walls, woke every day as grumpy as a bear which was unusual for him, and was easily annoyed by everyone around him all the time … I also found that my sinuses were really blocked and I had an almost continual headache from day three to day 7. Just as my patience was stretched to the limit, and I'd come to the conclusion that we may have to scrap this or see what we were doing wrong with the diet, my son woke up the next morning his usual cheerful self and was much calmer and less excitable than he had been the previous week. My sinuses also cleared up. My daughter who is 13 has been having a ball making all the lollies as she has a sweet tooth and they have always been a restricted item in this house. Our biggest drawback came the day of our youngest's birthday. I had all FAILSAFE foods except for the cake … even though I allowed my son the smallest imaginable piece with very little icing on it the effects were catastrophic. He raged and ranted and the tantrum was like nothing I've ever seen with swearing and screaming - well you get the general idea, and this was 5-6 hours after eating the cake!!! I never imagined anything so bad. But the next day he was as sweet as he could be with no other ill effects, other than a father who wanted little to do with him. Luckily all the guests had well and truly gone! … Thanks again …Reader, by email

I am currently reading your book "Fed Up". I have a 3-year-old as well as an 8-month-old whom I'm breast-feeding. Both my children have suffered with severe colic and reflux as well as skin allergies. I have been convinced for a while now that it had something to do with their diet. I did not know where to start in finding out what may be the cause as every doctor that I have been to see just wanted to give me more medication. I have started both my children as well as myself on the elimination diet. It has been three days now and I am noticing a big change in my 3-year-old's behaviour where she is not depressed when she wakes in the morning. My 8-month-old has stopped vomiting. Last night I actually got to sleep six hours straight without having to see to the baby two or three times … I would like to seek help from a dietitian who agrees with the elimination diet … Thank you so much for your book. It makes so much sense to me.

I have a 2 year old son who has had many problems with behaviour (including being kicked out of the local creche at the age of one), until I read your book and did the elimination diet. Even my doctor is amazed at the difference. - reader, email

I have a five-year-old son with a General Developmental Delay and we have been on your diet for three weeks. This has greatly improved his behaviour. He also had skin rashes that we attributed to insect bites all this time, but now we've seen it's a reaction to food. His 8 year old sister who was struggling at school has also improved.  - Reader, email

My son is still clearing his throat but I have noticed that it is getting less and less the longer I have him on the FAILSAFE diet. He does not have too much dairy as I cut that out at a very early stage. From 3 months old he started having really bad ear infections and would sometimes take antibiotics twice a month for it. The doctors then suggested grommets and that's when I went to visit a naturopath who told me to take him off all dairy. Since then we have not had one ear infection. - discussion group

My son is 6 years old and was sort of handleable until he started school then the problems really started. He had no concentration, was violent, destructive, uncooperative and withdrawn at times. The only thing that was getting him through was that his teachers, both last year and this, are angels. How anyone could have that much patience is beyond me. ADD was questioned but a psychologist I saw said that was not the answer … In your book Fed Up you list a number of therapies you tried for your daughter. It was like reading about my life for the last 18 months. Everyone kept saying I was so good to keep trying but what was I supposed to do? Give up, let him be classed as another unteachable kid. I couldn't do that. He is one of the most intelligent people I have met and had too much potential. Anyway someone told me about the story on ACA and I bought your book. I read it in one night as it was the first thing I had read that made total sense and fitted my son to a T. We started the elimination diet four weeks ago. I took my son off dairy. My son didn't go too well for the first three weeks. His behavior deteriorated to the point were the school actually rang me one day at lunch and asked me to pick him up as there was no point in him being there … I must admit that I felt like there was no hope and thought that maybe he needed Ritalin. That day I picked up your book again and reread some pages. I decided to go one step further and take him off wheat. The change has been amazing. This week he actually had three "normal" days at school, finished worksheets etc. I believe he got worse because he was actually eating more wheat as I was baking biscuits, cakes and muffins. Now I use wheat and gluten free flour. We haven't done any challenges yet but will be starting next week. I believe your book and diet have helped my son and I more than you can know. Thank you.

3 months later: My son reacts to just about everything! Salicylates make him "high", amines make him "low", antioxidants build up in his system and make him "high".

But he had his 7th birthday last weekend. Some children from school attended and he was a "normal" kid with lots of friends over to play. Every parent has come to me and told me what a great time their child had. This would not have been possible 6 months ago. We did eat chocolate at the party but everything else was "FAILSAFE". He still has his moments but he can now concentrate at school, when with the occupational therapist, and while playing basketball. I was watching home video the other night and almost cried watching my stunningly magnificent son at one and two years old and thinking of all he has been through unnecessarily. If only we had known. Matt also suffered from 'glue ear' which is also being blamed for a lot of his gross and fine motor problems. He was three years behind when he started with the O.T. In three months he has caught up 12 months. His Eustachian tubes are now clear yet the E.N.T doctors just said he was "in the too hard basket". I believe that food intolerance is responsible for most of my son's problems and that if I had known he would not have wasted four years of his life. It makes me so angry the way we mothers are treated by health professionals. There was an article in the Sunday Herald Sun magazine just recently which was an interview with a mother who said the diet helped her son's asthma. On the same page there was an interview with the head dietitian at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne saying that the relationship between heath and behavior was debatable and that it really hadn't been proved. BULL!!!!! … It can be really hard (I am a single mother without a great deal of father support) but really rewarding at the same time. Laughing and crying at the same time makes life interesting. I wouldn't swap my son for the world.

We had also seen a paediatrician at Royal Children's hospital … I told him that I had begun doing the diet and that there was improvement - his comment was that I must be sure to give him a balanced diet and not eliminate too much. [The whole point of the elimination diet is to eliminate everything that is causing problems. If you don't eliminate enough, the diet will be ineffective. No wonder some specialists in Melbourne think the diet doesn't work! We have the names of some
dietitians and a paediatrician in Melbourne who will support an elimination diet.]

I was at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne today and was so pleased to see copies of Fed Up just inside the door of the child health information centre in a prominent spot and a book list of recommended reading listed Fed Up and Friendly Food. I wish it had been there when I was back and forth with my son as a baby getting no help at all from the so-called 'specialists'!

After a lot of trying to find someone down here in Melbourne to help me through the diet, my son and I went to the RPA Allergy clinic in Sydney who were really wonderful. We have been on the diet now for 7 weeks and already have had great results. Some foods have been forever banned from this house. The change is remarkable both in behaviour but also how my son himself feels. He now sits quietly, will read for himself, and has stopped the loud and endless chatter. Given the choice now he will not eat or drink anything that is not on the lists and asks if it will make him feel "all upset". Indeed as the amount of planning involved is quite detailed. The whole house now eats from the FAILSAFE lists and all of us feel heaps better.

My family of 6 lives in a particularly small wheatbelt town in Western Australia, and by using your book 'Fed Up' as my bible, I too have seen changes in attitudes and behaviour. So much so, I am now helping other local families with recipes and menu plans that I have found successful. For a township of 350 people, 'Fed Up' has been the most asked after book at our local newsagency! - reader, email

I am an American living in Australia who, by chance, saw a report about the "Elimination Diet" and its positive effect on children with aggressive behavior and ADD. At the end of the report they gave the name of your book "Fed Up", which I bought and have read from cover to cover.

How I wish I had been able to have this information when my children were growing up, specially my son, who was told by teachers constantly that he was lazy and what a shame that was because he was so smart. He was finally tested and diagnosed to have an ADD when he was 18 years old. This test was done only at our insistence and expense because school officials insisted there was nothing wrong with him. He was offered Ritalin, which he refused to take. Needless to say he failed when he decided to go to College. He is now married and his oldest son (now three years old) is already showing some of the behavior my son showed at that age. I could give many examples about family members with allergy, either environmental or food related. In other words, I am convinced that many of us would benefit from this diet. If you think it's difficult to get someone to listen about it in Australia, you have no idea how hard it is to get someone to listen about it in the U.S. - reader, email

I read your book - it's fabulous!! Lots of the symptoms you mentioned in the book sounded all too close to my 5 year old daughter. We have been worried about my daughter's behaviour for some time and her "angel one minute devil the next" behaviour leads us to get professional help for her late last year. Didn't really help much. Can't say the same about your book! Great ! Since a change in her diet as per the suggestions in your book she is absolutely a new child! Happy all the time! Her change in behaviour was almost immediate and we are never going back! Even at 5 years old she can remember how she used to get and how she couldn't stop herself being like that and she hated it. Can't thank you enough and I have been spreading the word around here so I hope you have been selling lots of your books! -reader, Canberra

I've been idling with the diet for a few weeks, just replacing a few things here and there, avoiding the obvious colours preservatives, bread etc .... until the big birthday party on Saturday. My goodness what a hangover the kids have - really notice the difference in my four year old's concentration span when she practices the violin - it is as though she can't hear me! She does not have ADHD, in fact she's been accepted into a program for the gifted. I'm truly disgusted - by the lack of clean food. I reckon the GST is a good thing. - reader, email

I am currently reading your amazing book, Fed Up. I must commend you on a job extremely well done. I honestly never realized that there could be such an emphasis on the food we eat contributing to a range variety of illnesses and behavioural problems. As a mother of two - a girl 6yo and a boy 3yo - I have noticed an extreme difference in the behaviour of my son just by changing the bread which we eat to not include preservative 282. I am sure by the end of your book and after implementing the Elimination Diet there will be many changes - all for the better.

Thanks again for making me more aware and for your great recipes - they are a treat for the whole family - reader, email

"Everyone in our family is doing much better on the diet. We have been able to get our son off Ritalin, and my little one potty trained at last. She is coming along in leaps and bounds. My husband actually can stay awake and has a personality again. And my blood pressure is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!!

PS. I think we should send a copy of Fed Up to Oprah! Imagine if she got behind FAILSAFE????

- reader, USA

I bought your book, "Fed Up", yesterday. I read half last night, and am very anxious to start the elimination diet. My daughter is 9mths old. I have not enjoyed one bit of those months. Every night is miserable, and days are small catnaps. I was told she had reflux, but I believe that it is the result of something else. Everything I have read in your book has made sense. I intend to start the eating program asap ... I know there is a beautiful child inside ... - reader, email

I am the mother of a four-year-old boy who we always suspected of being a little too lively. Lately his behaviour has worsened with very loud and frequent tantrum type behaviours, and despite all the tactics employed such as ignoring these outbursts we were having little success. Last week our local G.P who suggested that we should try a diet ... our son's behaviour has noticeably improved even with the few changes we have been able to implement so far and we are thus eager to continue on this successful road. Our son has not been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as most of the time he is just wonderful with no problems with attention or concentration etc. Yet these outbursts are very acute and sudden in onset and we are obviously concerned to go out too often as when this occurs as other people disapprove of our management as parents. On one occasion when our son threatened to run out onto a busy road in front of ongoing traffic I yelled out to him to get away from the road as I was not close enough to physically remove him. His tantrum continued and the next day we discovered some person had reported us to the child protection agency as being unfit. As you can imagine this has been the most upsetting part of trying to control his behaviour ... as often people ignore our explanations of his outbursts and refuse to believe a child can act this way. I believe we are excellent parents. My partner is a teacher and I am a nurse yet neither of us are feeling very successful in these roles at present in relation to our own child. Educationally he is doing wonderfully ... it's just this aspect of his behaviour we are concerned about. - reader, email

My son, Drew, was always a challenge. He was a difficult baby. I remember a paediatrician smiling at me one day and saying "oh he's advanced". I was quite pleased until I realized this meant "hyperactive"!

He never slept, had colic and frequent ear infections. He also had child hood allergies. At 6 months my milk dried up (probably stress related) so I decided to put him on a bottle and was advised to try Nan formula. He was never a good feeder and it took me hours to get him to take to the bottle. There was no help from the infant nurse unless I wanted to continue breast-feeding. I was basically told I was on my own. Finally, success, he drank from the bottle. I put him down for a snooze (wistful thinking really). About 10 minutes later he was up crying and covered head to toe with hives. He had reacted to the formula!! I could go on but I suspect you can fill in the blanks about his early childhood.

Anyway, trouble really started half way through pre-school. He was constantly in trouble and his teacher held concerns about his ability to cope with school. I decided at this point to go for the head in the sand approach, you know, ignore it and it will go away. Well, that didn't last long. I spent most of his kindergarten year watching my beautiful happy loving boy turn into a resentful angry defensive child. He ran away, hurt the other children, destroyed his work, threw things at the teacher and so forth. Like your daughter (yes I've read your books) he could also be one of the most beautiful charming little people, a real contradiction. The school believed in sending the child home and lecture the mother on her poor parenting whilst making no effort at all to try and help. Every time I tried to enlist their help they hid behind POLICY!! I did many parenting courses, had a hot line to the parent support line (once when I was really upset as he had taken to urinating on his 8-month-old sister they said "hmm sounds like a discipline problem" ) and also enlisted the help of a paediatrician. It got to the stage that I wouldn't put the bin out for fear that the school would call whilst I was out. In his first two years at school I lost count of how many times I had to front up to collect him. A friend of mine (I wouldn't have survived this time with out her ) kept telling me how much Drew reminded her of her son whom at that time had been diagnosed with ADHD. I kept saying "Yes, but he can concentrate when he wants to" and "But he's not always like this".

Year 1 started with promise. He seemed to settle down a bit and for the whole term I didn't get any calls to collect him, that is, until about 2 weeks into term 2 it all started again but this time with a vengeance!! It occurred to me that his worst terms were in autumn and spring. I had thought "Allergy" before but been discouraged by the paediatrician (I didn't understand about allergy and food sensitivity in fact I had never heard of food sensitivity). This time I insisted on allergy testing, Drew lit up like a Christmas tree - all grasses, dust mites, cats, peanuts, in fact just about everything except cockroaches he reacted to! My paediatrician was surprised at the result hence my introduction to the big wide world of food sensitivities. With the aid of a dietician and my paediatrician I embarked on the elimination diet. To sum it up, that term Drew was invited to the principal's lunch - the highest honour - and yes I sent him with his own food. The trials showed
that most of his problems were to do with salicylates (he used to eat a lot of salicylate rich foods) also some food colourings and preservatives his tolerance was reduced during spring and autumn due to the added problem of his environmental sensitivities.

Unfortunately for Drew diet alone wasn't enough. I found whilst I could guarantee bad behaviour if he ate the wrong things I couldn't guarantee good behaviour if he didn't. A week into term 4 and still on a controlled diet he got into trouble. I shan't air all my grievances about that school but after one I believe unfair suspension and yet more calls to collect him I withdrew him from the school. When I told the school that he would not be returning, the deputy head said, "Well, I think we will all feel a lot safer". However hurtful her comments (made I might add in front of my son) it did serve to make what was a difficult decision so much easier. I kept Drew out of school until the following year when he started at a new school.

I fell in love at first interview with his new wonderful head mistress. I had made them aware of his problems behavioural and academic (he was well behind). But I was not prepared for the caring and support that this school offered. Within the first week the counsellor - another gem - had run a WISC test discovering that whilst Drew has no learning difficulties per se he had difficulty with oral instructions (common I now realize among ADHD children).

She also lent me a book soon to become my saviour: "Different Kids". It was through reading this that finally the pieces started to fall into place. I read up on ADHD. It was really quite spooky the number of times I thought, hey, that's just what Drew does. I also attended yet another parenting course, this time however it was "Parenting your ADHD child". It was wonderful to talk to other mothers. The more I learnt the more I realised that Drew did have ADHD.

The new school was not a solution to all Drew's problems by any means. He still had his trouble. The first (and only) time he ran away, he came all the way home. I was speaking to the principal when he turned up she said "well bring him back"... I was stunned but not nearly as gobsmacked as I was when I brought him back and she gave him a pep talk to let him know that she had faith in him and she was going to help him. Within minutes the defiant look was gone and she had him eating out of her hand. I went home with my mouth still hanging open, I was so used to schools telling me to take him away it was bizarre to have one actually tell me to bring him back!

It has taken a long time and a lot of work including sending him to a behavioural center (yes he had food sensitivities and ADHD but he also had years of being the bad kid always in trouble. He used to cry to me that "I try to be a good boy but I don't know how. I'm just not a good boy".) For the first time in years I am starting to see my beautiful happy loving son again.

I recently joined the ADHD support group and I was delighted when I found out that you were going to be speaking. You are an amazing woman who has given so much to so many people. I am sure I am not the first and I know I won't be the last to say THANK YOU!! You helped me to see in language that I could understand (without a Ph.D. that is) what was happening to my son and how to help him. I would like to speak to others about food sensitivities if I can prevent even one child needlessly suffering as my son did. Once again, thank you for all that you do. - Deborah, Canberra

Our 8 year old son has been on the elimination diet for almost 18 months as a result of my wife reading your book and discussing "what the hell are we going to do with the little #@$%^$#" with our doctor. The turnaround was to say the least amazing (I expect more so from his teachers), although nothing surprising as far as you're concerned, I'm sure. Keep up the good work. - reader, email

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  9. [039] "They said we would be wasting our time" using diet for ADHD and ODD (May 2000)
  10. [040] The preham and postham sandwich pictures (May 2000)
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  21. [037] 635: Minutes away from death: life-threatening swelling of lips and tongue from 635 (April 2000)
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