You would be absolutely horrified to see the tuck shop at the school I am working at. Lollies, slush puppies, etc. etc. etc. It is a tough school with lots of behavioural problems. I am reassessing what I am doing. I am not questioning teaching and learning but am thinking about what sort of setting I want to do it in. I have real compassion for those with learning difficulties and much prefer working with those who need remediation work. Perhaps because I was a 'slow learner' I understand where these kids are coming from.

I value my time too much to waste it on people who aren't receptive. I do not want to spend my whole day managing behaviours that are influenced by many other factors beyond my control. Does this seem selfish?

... more news from the family whose story appears in Fed Up, page 329. After enjoying their 3000 km holiday through the Kimberley and the Gibb River Road so much, this family of four have taken time off to travel around Australia and New Zealand - how do they do it?

We are in a truck and a caravan set up so that we can get work along the way. We have two boys aged seven and eight. The eight year old is the food intolerant one whom we thank for showing us the way into learning so much about foods and our own intolerances and how the problems can be solved, even though at first we cursed the situation that he "caused" but now we know better ... and are still learning so much about these situations.

We always stick to the elimination diet or failsafe foods as that is the only way we "survive" so to speak. We have containers in one of the van cupboards with all the raw ingredients such as sugar, milk powder, flour, oats, rice, noodles, rice bubbles, etc and we carry the tinned foods and the bread maker along with the right bread-making mix. It's not hard at all and is quite cheap as it's all the old fashioned cooking ingredients.

We make up many different meals with those ingredients such as pizza, stir-fry with fresh/frozen meats, noodles and the right vegies. We often use cabbage, leek, shallots, green beans, red kidneybeans, rice - and we make up chicken rolls with pastry. We usually only eat meat every second night and our only take-away foods are hot chips once every so often. I try to make muffins and bikkies when I can and we have sponge/butter cakes along the way too. We use a small amount of shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Our meals usually just emerge from what we chop up and cook. We use fresh garlic and we also make up a pot of chicken stock using just chicken carcass, leek, shallot and lotsa water. Then we freeze this all down in recycled Philadelphia cream cheese containers (we have lots of those!) and it stays frozen in the van freezer part of the fridge (two door fridge) even when we are on the road all day and the fridge/freezer is off power. I didn't think they would remain frozen all day but they do which is wonderful.

Travel lots - it's great for everyone - the "travelling eliminators"

Thanks for taking the time to write such a great book. I am reading "Fed Up" as fast as I can, which isn't fast enough. My seven year old son shows all the classic signs of a child with a sensitivity to foods.

Last week I started by taking him off fruit juice and fruits except pears ... the school called me and asked why my son was different. Now we are into the diet full swing and hoping for good results. He is missing his tomato sauce but there are no other complaints from him. Thanks again!

My name is Julie, and our family consists of my husband Ian, our daughter Sarah aged seven, and our sons Callum aged three and Devon aged 16 months. Last year in April Sarah was diagnosed as autistic and in November Callum also received a diagnosis of autism. Pretty interesting year, I can tell you! I knew nothing about autism, all I knew was there was something about my daughter that just wasn't working as it should. Both the children are what they call "high functioning" autistic. Which in everyday terms means that there is no intellectual disability and they have a lot of skills.

I remember now people commenting on how 'busy' Sarah was as a toddler. As she was my only child, I never knew any different. She very rarely slept, we used to be up until 1 or 2 am rocking her, pushing her, anything to get her to sleep. When she did sleep it was only for a few hours at a time. She started coming out in terrible rashes over her arms, legs and torso when she was around fourteen months old. I went to a naturopath who placed her on a very restricted diet and everything cleared up. Sarah's behaviour improved and I thought I had cured the problem. I now realise we had taken most of the problem-causing areas out of her diet. We were told that after Sarah's immune system had time to recover we could more or less resume a normal diet which after 12 months we did. The rashes never returned and we thought we had it licked.

But all that happened is the symptoms appeared in a different manner. Sarah became withdrawn, anxious, and suffered severe night terrors. When she was three, Sarah started Montessori school and then we started to notice other things. Sarah was exceedingly shy, she would not communicate with other children even after she had known them for a long periods of time. She had no recognition of colour and never described anything by its colour. We had her eyes and ears tested, but nothing showed up. When Sarah was four, Callum was born. When he was three months old we moved up to Tom Price in Northern Western Australia. We are fairly isolated here, our main centre being five hours drive.

Sarah started preschool and would vomit for no apparent reason in the mornings before school. She was tested and pronounced hypoglycaemic. I was told to feed her more often. Grade 1 presented more problems, huge anxiety attacks and night terrors lasting two hours. I would pick her up from school and find her sitting crying under her desk. Still I was told it was developmental and she would grow out of it. In desperation I rook her out of school and went back to Perth. I put Sarah back in Montessori and everything stopped - no anxiety, no night terrors, no vomiting. I eventually had Sarah assessed and we received a diagnosis but not a lot else.

Later that year Callum started repetitive behaviours such as pushing his head along the floor, staring at fans, complete withdrawal, no eye contact and delayed speech. By the time he was diagnosed I was drowning. I wanted to go back to the city, anywhere where I could get some help. I even withdrew from life myself. It was too hard to go out, I got sick of people staring, making helpful or unhelpful suggestions, it just all got too hard.

Then in November 98 a friend gave me Sue Dengate's book Fed Up. I started that day and on the first night of the elimination diet my two children slept through the night. That was the first whole night's sleep I had for nearly seven years.

I am convinced! Sarah is managing mainstream school without the stress of last year. She has made friends. Her communication skills had improved so much within two weeks of starting the program that her teachers asked me what had changed. Callum now makes eye contact with people and laughs and talks. He is just getting better and better, his vocabulary is so vast now it makes me gasp! He enjoys playgroup and is even starting to play with others.

I know a lot of autistic children will only eat a limited amount of food, and Callum is definitely in that category but I believe that it is so very beneficial to make the food they eat failsafe. I also found that after they withdrew from our previous diet, which with Callum took around six weeks, their tastes had completely changed so they didn't mind the failsafe food at all. In fact, Sarah has asked me never to give her food that isn't good for her because it makes her body feel bad.

I am grateful to Sue for writing her book. I has completely changed our lives and it has, I'm sure, completely changed my children's future. - Julie

Part one

Having just finished reading Fed Up I felt compelled to speak to you - your book struck such a chord! For two years now we have been battling with our daughter's health and behavioural problems and have been fobbed off left right and centre. It was such a wonderful relief to speak to you and read of your experiences and know that we are not alone in this.

Right from the start Emily Rose was a 'difficult child' - never slept for longer than two hours at a time at night and had only two short catnaps of about 30 minutes during the day. She cried a great deal, wanted to be held constantly and often woke up screaming. Clearly this was going to be a challenge. After four months the sleep deprivation really hit home and we began doing the rounds of the doctors in an effort to establish the nature of the problem. We had no answers apart from maybe it's colic, watch your diet, cut out brassicas, fruit juice, yellow stoned fruit, onions and garlic. No one mentioned cutting out dairy, tomatoes or tea!

We thought we ate healthily - no pork or processed meats (having worked at a food company and seen what goes into sausages, ham, bacon etc, we came off them in 1994), drank herbal tea, didn't drink coffee or fizzy drinks, had very little alcohol, didn't eat much in the way of processed or preprepared foods, don't eat take-aways and had a high proportion of fresh fruit and veg in our diet with little in the way of fried food. At one stage we stuck to the Fit for Life Diet for at least 18 months. We struggled on and wondered how it was possible to have a baby like this - did parents survive such an experience without going insane or committing infanticide? Here we were, both with post graduate degrees, fairly competent people, reduced to grovelling wrecks - the baby running our lives. Thank God, my husband David was very supportive I can't imagine how much worse it might have been had he not been there for ER and I.

During her first nine months, Emily Rose had three ear infections and was put on antibiotics. Although we do not believe in antibiotics we were desperate enough to give it a go. The problems with her sleep continued. We insisted on a referral to a paediatrician in an effort to establish whether there was a physiological cause. The paediatrician was most unsympathetic, of course ER was as good as gold there and didn't exhibit her usual crying or fretting, she gave Emily Rose a cursory examination and pronounced her a 'bright' baby (began to crawl at five months and proficient at getting around by six and a half months, sticking her hands into everything within reach). Her whole attitude was 'look, I have a three year old and he still doesn't sleep well, so just learn to live with it!' We were referred to [a health department facility for mothers and babies] and had a day stay as well as two home visits - the upshot of that was we were told we had a 'naughty baby' who should be taught to sleep (controlled crying etc and left in her cot for up to an hour at a time, very distressed, crying and screaming). I couldn't believe that at five months a baby could be naughty (it went against the grain of all my psych training and experience) and the controlled crying etc was nearly the undoing of me. We stopped using [the health facility] or their advice - I refused to be made to feel guilty and did not like the implication that we were bad

Finally when Emily Rose was about 11 months I contacted the Government Audiologist and asked for his advice and a referral - she had just blown a fourth ear infection and I was not satisfied with the doctor's comment that this is normal for young children - 'they have an average of 13 infections in their first year!' We were put into contact with a GP who specialises in distressed infants and it was the first turning point. This doctor's hypothesis is that some infants from families with histories of allergy/intolerance exhibit sensitive tissue which overreacts to irritants. This view is unfortunately not well accepted in the wider medical circles here in Perth. However, we thought it made sense in our case as we both have history of sinusitis and I am subject to migraines. Emily Rose's reflux caused irritation of her oesophagus and the lower end of her Eustachian tubes setting up an environment ripe for infections. It was a relief to find a reason and to be able to begin to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Whilst we are very grateful to [this paediatrician], it is my personal belief that she does not emphasise the food intolerance aspect enough and tends to concentrate on the antibiotics and grommet course of treatments.

On her initial visit, Emily Rose was given a tympogram and we found that both her ears were effused - obviously she had been in significant pain for most of her life. She had probably had more ear infections than we were aware of as she exhibited asymptomatic otitis media. No wonder she did not sleep well, if she lay down for any length of time, the pressure built up in her ear drum until she woke crying/screaming. More antibiotics, and we were advised to move her off milk based formula for her complementary feeds to a soy based formula. I breast fed her until she was just under two but we had to start complementary feeds at about nine months - I think I was too exhausted to continue on my own. We used soy formula for about four months during which time her bowel motions became increasingly loose. Eventually we agreed to the grommet route because we did not want to continue with antibiotics, she was looking ill and peaky with dark circles under her eyes, and when read stories about children going to bed would clap her hands over her ears (we took this as an indication that she associated bed with pain). Within two weeks of her operation the difference in the child was astounding - she gained some colour in her face, the dark circles receded and she began to pick up weight.  parents!!

However, her irritability continued and in fact began to get worse. We began to explore whether her behaviour was in any way related to food and took her for vega testing. We were astounded by the results: wheat, dairy and soy intolerant as well as sensitive to salicylates. Controlling her diet more closely produced even better results. In May 1998, when we took her off the soy and reduced her fruit intake, her irritability subsided, the runny nose also began to clear and she began to look healthy and rosy!

Over the last few months we began to slowly reintroduce wheat and dairy into Emily Rose's diet. She loves her rice milk and is a good eater when she is well and has an appetite. She eats a broad range of fruit and vegetables and is not what I would consider a fussy eater - apart from not liking chicken! On reflection I realise that we did not have enough information about food chemicals such as salicylates and this is where we have gone off the rails again. Thinking we were doing the right thing we introduced cranberry juice into her diet to provide her with vitamin C and gave her crushed almonds for calcium.. She loves olives and will go the fridge to help herself to them. We tend to eat a lot of home made tomato sauce on pasta and rice and lavishly pour olive oil on our steamed veggies and salad! We made sure Emily Rose had at least two - three pieces of fruit a day: watermelon, apples, grapes, nectarines, pears or banana.

The slide into the intolerable behaviour has been so insidious that we did not make the connection with food. Emily Rose has become increasingly obstructive, obstinate, defiant and plain horrible. This is more than just the terrible twos! The tantrums started about six weeks ago and are unbelievably dreadful - she will cry and thrash about for over an hour and on one memorable day had three tantrums! There is no identifiable behaviour which triggers the tantrum nor a particular time of day when they occur. What upsets us the most is the fact that she tries to hurt herself during the tantrum either head banging or biting her arms, wrists and hands causing bad bruising. Time out in her room was out of the question as it resulted in bruises and egg sized swellings on her head (banging her head on the closed door) as well as split lips and blood all over the show. We have learnt to sit and restrain her, all the while talking her through the episode. Very debilitating for all concerned.

We seriously wondered about the wisdom of our even considering having a second child when we obviously couldn't handle one! Needless to say David and I are both exhausted and somewhat depressed - our life revolves around how ER is behaving. Is it going to be a good day or one of those horrors? We don't seem to have any time to ourselves as we spend so much time and effort trying to deal with Emily Rose. She continues to be difficult to get to sleep - it can take us one and a half to two at night to get her to go into a deep sleep. We have very few uninterrupted nights - sometimes she will only wake once, other occasions it is at least three or more wakings. None of our friends seem to have these difficulties with their children. My sister has a dream child - you wouldn't even know that her daughter is in the house. Why us ???? As migrants we have no family support or the gaggle of houseservants we had at home. My greatest desire is to have a whole weekend of uninterrupted sleep whilst ER is farmed out somewhere!!!

The light dawned as I read Fed Up - this child is very sensitive to salicylates and we need to cut out all those foods. I now have enough information on what foods contain salicylates to begin to do this in a logical and constructive way. Previously when we went for the vega testing we were just told to cut out certain foods but not given enough information as to why or how. I am now very motivated to start on the elimination diet and finally establish exactly what her problems are
... David has said he will also do the diet in an effort to sort out his recurrent sinusitis so this will be a family effort.

Part two

We are on day two of the elimination diet and I must admit that I am finding it hard going especially as we are also dairy, wheat and soy free. Emily Rose is already so much better, not as good as she could be, but an improvement. Since withdrawing the cranberry juice 10 days ago we have been tantrum free - just crying fits which are easier to deal with. The other great thing is that her snotty nose has cleared up for the first time in months. She is still very irritable and easily frustrated but I am sure that will improve. We just have to hang in there for the next three weeks and will challenge with wheat first because I reckon cooking will become that much easier if we can have wheat! - Simone

Part one (after four days on failsafe foods)

"Our 4 year old son Simon is an extremely active child that we have suspected of food intolerances for a long time. I had a miserable childhood, labelled as a "Trying Child" at five years old and spent most of my school life outside the teachers office. When I was 11 my parents put me on a preservative-free diet which did wonders, but was very difficult as 20 years ago no food was labelled.

Simon is extremely volatile at home and little things set him off, for example a rollerblade through the plaster in the wall because he could not get the knee pad done up properly. He is a perfect angel when things are going his way, but explodes when he is challenged or things do not turn out how he wants. We have always been proud of his "mature palate" and his weekly diet would include foods like pesto, tuna, anchovies, olives, salami and parmesan cheese. He generally melts down in the afternoon at 3 pm. As he has never eaten sweet foods we thought he was not reacting to foods in an obvious way. He also eats heaps of bread, all with preservative 282 we discovered.

For four days we have been in heaven. Simon has done things that were just never part of his personality (washed his hair, flushed the toilet, picked up toys) and already he is much more communicative, following me around the house just chatting. He has been challenged by things not going his way a few times and had a couple of tantrums, but they are less severe and over very quickly.

The best thing is that I have been eating the foods he eats and I feel so much calmer and able to deal with him ... My husband and I consider we are reasonably intelligent and rational people but we have been at a complete loss about our son's behaviour.

Part two (six months later): Simon is at school now and has settled really well. We went to see a behavioural paediatrician before school started and he stressed that these behavioural issues cannot usually be solely dealt with by diet ... but he was very impressed with our details about Simon's change in behaviour and his diet, supported by testimonials from the day care centre.

We have had our first parent teacher interview at the school and we went along all defensive and ready to hear tales of mass destruction in the class room and were overjoyed to hear the teacher describe Simon as the "Model Student", courteous, hard working, able to concentrate. We were so overwhelmed that we did not even find out if he is intelligent or at the bottom of the class, because, quite frankly we do not care!!!! As long as he can sit still ... he still is very excitable in the playground, but not aggressive.

The next week he was awarded a "Special Effort Award" for "Excellent Cooperation in the Classroom", and had to go to the front of Assembly to receive it, and all this from a boy who six months ago we did not think was going to cope.

We are still identifying things that really affect him and we do not touch olives, cheese, tuna, meat pies and soy sauce now. We have had a couple of incidents with sausages and sausage rolls which have resulted in snitchy behaviour and bed wetting ...

We have been really pleased with the response from the school. They do not have a tuck shop and we have written to Simon's teacher about food sharing. There have been two birthday celebrations and on both occasions the parents have contacted me about what party food Simon can have, so the whole class has gotten sponge cake and lemonade icy poles.

The child care centre has recommended your book Fed Up to a number of families that they feel might need to address their children's behaviour through diet. They also have a low to moderate food chemical diet for babies room based on the Friendly Food book from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit. They do not eliminate everything but are aware of not giving multiple serves of "high" salicylate fruits to the children and the menu is very low in amines. Again we have been very impressed with their help.

Thank you for your help, we have another appointment with the paediatrician next week to follow up Simon's progress at school. He was going to contact the school and work through some management strategies for Simon if the wheels had fallen off when he started school. Now it seems as though his unmanageable behaviour was a bad dream and that it was a completely different child to the reasonable, mostly rational and adorable 5 year old that we now have.

Part three

Although Simon was not a "basket case" before Failsafe foods, everyone we know has commented on his behaviour improvement, even though some did not think it was an issue previously and it was not an issue for us every single day. His change in general demeanour has made a HUGE difference to our lives, just the ability to communicate daily without the general crankiness has made us a much happier family. I think that many people do not realise what a difference it makes just not to have to battle over every issue and every point with someone who often realises they are being very unreasonable but cannot manage their responses, and that children do not need to be on the verge of being put on medication to greatly benefit from diet changes.

Part 4 (June 1999)

(This family was one of the first to buy Fed Up and started an elimination diet soon after when their son was in preschool. Here is the follow up after nearly a year on failsafe foods with Simon now in school.)

We have just had Simon's first school report and teacher interview. We were over the moon when we saw his report, he is doing really well in prep, has no difficulty concentrating (no more than other 5 year old boys), and is on track with reading and writing. AND - he scored in the highest category for "polite and considerate" and "cooperative in class"! We are so pleased at how well he has settled into school and how responsible he is with his food. We have maintained a failsafe diet for nearly 12 months now and we have never been happier. My husband and I have given up wine and beer (now we stick to gin) and this has added to the benefit. We cannot thank you enough for your book and your help. - anonymous

"Jessica was born a normal healthy 7lb baby. One of the first problems we had with her was with vomiting after breast-feeding. My sister, who came to stay with us when Jessica was 3 months old, asked me whether we had noted that she vomited after I had eaten certain foods e.g.chocolate cake one day meant that she was vomiting the next. We had noticed this.

We returned to NZ from Germany when Jessica was 5 months old and continued to have problems with her. She was very active, tiny and walking at 9 months. By the time she was one she was constantly wanting food but would eat very little of anything and would hide the rest round the house. She hardly ever slept through the night, crying for attention a lot. She seemed genuinely distressed. We were still concerned about the amount of times she vomited and the crying but were told that we were neurotic. It got to the stage that we thought, as there was nothing wrong according to the doctors that we must have hygiene problems. Her high chair was washed with hot water just before she sat in it (always using a clean cloth). The plates she ate from were rinsed with hot water before the food was put in them. But she still used to be difficult about eating and vomit a lot. Two things that we noticed her having difficulties with were yoghurt that her older sister loved - after two spoonfuls she became grizzly and refused food, and fish fingers that most children loved. Some nights my parents-in-law would keep her for the night just so that my husband and I could have a night's sleep.

By the time she was two I was expecting our third child and as I desperately needed rest we put Jessica into daycare three mornings a week asking them to give her lunch there as that removed the battle from me. This continued up until we left NZ even though she was so often sick during the afternoon when she came home from daycare. For me that bout of vomiting in the afternoon was worth it if I could have some rest in the mornings.

When Jessica was 27 months we borrowed my parents' caravan and took a holiday in the Bay of Islands. While we were there we took the children to visit a dairy farm we saw a cow being milked and Jessica drank some of the milk. Unfortunately being her she did pick up a bug from this and started vomiting and having diarrhoea. She very quickly started dehydrating and we took her to the local doctor who suggested that the best thing to give her would be Raro sachet drinks mixed up as that way she would get some energy and fluids. Over the next 18 hours we tried to get her to drink this but the more she drank it, the sicker she became, her temperature was so high that she seemed to be hallucinating and was having fearful screaming fits. We stopped the drinks and went back to plain water. The next day the doctor reluctantly agreed to prescribe stemetil to stop the vomiting and suggested we return to Auckland to be nearer a hospital if it was needed. The medication did work. We later realised that these Raro drinks were full of food colouring.

Over the next few months we settled back to our pattern of broken nights. The doctor did suggest to us that occasionally we should give her Junior Panadol to help her sleep. I told him that I thought she might not be able to have it, as she seemed to vomit it straight back after taking it. His reply was that she was difficult and we should hold her down and make her swallow it. Much to our shame we tried this and found that it did not matter how long we held her and made her keep her mouth shut for she would end up vomiting it back up within 20 minutes. Junior Panadol at this stage had the colouring E102 in it.

The weekend that our youngest daughter was born is one of our worst memories. Jessica had been quite difficult that week and on the Friday night David got up to her in the night as she was vomiting. At the same time I realized I was going to have the baby any minute. So we left her with my parents-in-law and dashed to the hospital. The next day she was still not at all well so David rang the doctor who said give her fluids but as she did not have diarrhoea as well they would not
see her. On Sunday afternoon David carried her into the hospital to see me and I was shocked as she looked all teeth as she was so dehydrated. I found out from my husband that his parents had said yoghurt was good for settling stomachs and given her yoghurt. I begged him to make sure his parents were very strict and careful about food and gave her fluids. My mother-in-law told me they found Jessica in the bathroom with her toothbrush getting water as she was so desperate for fluids and then she was sick afterwards. As happened many times she was vomiting mostly bile as there was nothing left to vomit. Finally on the Monday somebody suggested that she try lemonade ice blocks as a way of getting fluid in slowly enough and that was a big breakthrough.

Six weeks later we left NZ and shifted to Germany where we had some frustrating times with feeding Jessica but also made our biggest breakthrough. For our first year there Jessica's life went on as before - she was always on the go, always hungry but would not eat all sorts of things and was often sick. She was still not sleeping through the nights.

We had awful trouble keeping home help and babysitters as nobody could cope with her at nights or understand her eating patterns. She continued to gain reasonable amounts of weight during this time. By the time she was five she weighed 21 kilos and was still very difficult at nights while her older and younger sister slept calmly. The vomiting was starting to get worse and we were having to eliminate a lot of foods with cream or fat from her diet. She was also refusing to eat any of the sliced breads that could be bought in the supermarkets in Germany.

Christmas 1985 was a nightmare, she had not been well with a nasty cough and started vomiting but did not seem to get better. While she kept some foods down her weight was dropping and over three weeks her weight dropped to 18 kilos and she had vomited 21 days in a row, although she did keep some foods down.

By this stage we were with a new doctor who was very sympathetic to our plight and said that she could not continue like this and agreed that we start looking more deeply into the problems. We did find out that she was allergic to chocolate but as that was something that had been suggested to us by several people and Jessica was not eating it anyway as it made her sick. She eliminated many more obvious things with blood tests and then said that she thought the problem was
additives to which I replied " but we don't eat many additives." We were amazed when we took a closer look at everything and realised how many additives she was getting.

Our doctor first of all put Jessica on an elimination diet and within 2 weeks she was sleeping calmly through the nights. We all used to stand at her bedroom door in wonder and watch her stretched out calmly instead of being the tense little bundle we had had for years. It took no time at all to convince us that additives must have been our problem but I was not sure that I believed that you had to eliminate every additive from children's diets so I asked the doctor how we could find out which ones were the problem.

As our doctor knew of somebody else wanting to test additives for an adult patient of theirs they decided to approach one of the university hospitals and see if they could have capsules made up of different additives to use for testing. Once a week we would take Jessica down to the surgery with an empty stomach and they would feed her a capsule every hour and test pulse, blood pressure etc during the morning. It soon became clear that she showed no alteration in temperature, heart beat etc. and that there were three main causes of her problems.

The day she was given benzoic acid she stopped eating for several days because her tummy felt funny. The same thing occurred with a blue colouring. Two yellow colourings had no effect but tartrazine produced the most interesting reaction. After the first dose she became a little restless and would not play games with us or read. After the second dose she kept on taking her clothes off as well getting even more grumpy. By the time she had a third dose she was running round wildly and throwing things at the walls. We decided that a fourth dose was unnecessary. One of the foods we had noticed that was upsetting her was pre-packaged breads in the German supermarkets. These breads had a long shelf life. We cut these out and bought a bread fresh from the baker in our village. This was a plain loaf that would not keep longer than a day. We never had trouble with bread in NZ.

On reading some information that the doctor gave us we eliminated yoghurt, nutmeg and cinnamon from her diet as well as it was suggested that if she were intolerant of benzoic acid she would also have difficulties with them.

These tests made the most tremendous difference to her life and ours. We now eat many additives that we know she can tolerate. She leads a normal life, keeps healthy and active but sleeps well. Because she had vomited so much over the first few years she was having gall bladder problems and could not tolerate cream, milk fats etc. This is why she vomited so much before they started testing. Once she was on her additive free diet we were able to get her gall bladder back to normal too. Sometimes when we are out she will unknowingly have something she cannot tolerate and she is very quick to notice. There are occasions when two mouthfuls are enough for her to know that she needs to be careful." - Anonymous

"Trying to help my husband to get our new business off the ground in the last twelve months has meant that I have tried to balance on one foot while answering the phone, keeping the kids quiet, educated and entertained while cooking with one hand and cleaning the house with the other. I lost interest in cooking as it was too time consuming. Yes I opted for prepacked, frozen or take away. This as you can imagine was probably the beginning of the end.

My son has always been a problem sleeper, bedwetter, easily angered, always blames others when things go wrong in short impossible to live with. The new school had started to help but then I stopped cooking and everything fell apart. I did not know what to do. I blamed myself for not giving him the time he needed for tutoring (paying someone else is not a financial option). So I started to take a long hard look at myself and decided that I as well as my family needed to start eating better, to exercise more and to spend leisure time together.

The next step was to seek out help from books ... to guide me through the changes I wanted to make. One of the things on my list was a book on nutrition so I stopped at a bookstore. I'm sure that my guardian angle nudged me towards your book "Fed Up". At a glance I knew I would find some answers. I did. Your Rebecca sounds just like my Alex. I thought it was the way we had raised him that we, I, had done something terribly wrong. Scream it from the mountain tops he could have food intolerance. So could Sarah (10 year old) - she has that nasal drip down the back of her throat. Emily (6 Year old) has memory problems like Alex and she constantly chatters on and on and on until I scream for her to stop and they fight all the time.

Well, I purchased your book 22 hours ago and have read it cover to cover. I am going to ease them into the elimination diet over the next week so that they don't get too upset and so that I can diminish my current food stuffs without blowing out our budget. After reading your book and your easy simple recipes I am sure that with this and other life changes that have been set in motion that the light at the end of the tunnel is not as far away as I had thought." - Anonymous

"I have read your book Fed Up and it has proven a godsend to our lives and I can't thank you enough for putting your experiences in print. My daughter would have been expelled last year (1st term Kindergarten) for her aggressive, violent and unruly behaviour. Many times I sat in the principal's office in tears of disbelief as they told me about this horrid monster that was my child - I couldn't understand. GPs, specialists and paediatricians could find nothing wrong. She even attended a behavioural management unit for 20 weeks at the request of her school. Of course no-one wanted to believe that her access to a different range of food that she normally would not be given was at the same time her behaviour went off track. The school had not seen her pre-canteen.

We know that she is intolerant to additives, salicylates and amines and we are living on the range of foods recommended in your book. We have tested some foods and know basically what we can't have but have been very hesitant with the challenges particularly when reactions may occur later when she is in class. School holidays are our windows of opportunities.

The problem we now have is other children sharing food. We are approaching the school today regarding this as she ate a packet of noodles with the chicken flavour sprinkled on top yesterday and then reacted severely to the point of injuring her favourite teacher twice and being suspended for a day. This isn't the first time she has had someone else's food and although my daughter is so good most of the time, temptation is always there and luckily we have been able to pinpoint each time she has taken matters in her own hands and done her own little challenge. From this we seem to have found another problem - other people innocently undermining what we have achieved ... someone shared a packets of lollies and she came home proudly saying that blue is OK, the reaction is all here (pointing to her head). 5pm that night blue was not OK.

... I ran into a friend the other day who I hadn't seen for ages. During the catch up he mentioned the diet they are now on and even though it eliminated processed and natural foods the difference in his eldest's (4yo) behaviour was well worth it. The look of relief on his face was priceless when he realised that I truly did understand and wasn't just nodding my head ("ah, Sue Dengate's Fed Up" I said). I think it has given him even more determination to stick it through." - Alex