I thought you might be interested in this story from our group. One of the boys was exhibiting forgetfulness, inattention and memory lapses so noticeable that he was referred for brain investigation of suspected epilepsy. However, he never reached the tests - he stopped eating preserved bread first, and his problems stopped. – by email, Victoria

I have a 2 year old son whose diet I have recently changed due to the behavioural problems that we were experiencing with him. My son was a big bread eater. While I was pregnant with him I was eating 10 slices of bread a day with 282 bread preservative and by the age of 18 months my son was eating the same amount. He was always a very difficult sleeper and has been having seizures since he was 18 months old. Since changing his diet to preservative free bread , he has gone from a monster to a reasonably placid child, he sleeps well, and his seizures have improved remarkably. Update: in the last 6 months he has had only three seizures. – by email, NSW

When the doctor recommended ADHD medication for our 4 year old daughter, I was reluctant because she was already on high doses of epilepsy medication. Instead, we decided to try the elimination diet. Her behaviour improved out of sight and her general overall health improved ... changing her epilepsy medication to colour and flavour-free was harder than it seems as most kid size doses come in flavoured syrup. – by email

I am scared for my friend and her one year old breastfed baby. While she is breastfeeding, there are many times when the baby seems to "clamp down" on the breast and briefly stay motionless. Doctors have only recently suggested that these episodes are actually seizures. My friend is addicted to a particular red soft drink (artificially coloured of course) and drinks several litres per day. Could this cause the problem? She refuses to give up this drink and doctors are now saying there could be permanent brain damage. – by email

We have been additive-free for over a year. We were able to drop my daughter's epilepsy medication and she enjoyed more than a year trouble-free until experiencing a seizure after eating Strepsils throat tablets during a cold. A call to the pharmacy revealed that all Strepsils tablets contain artificial colours and this particular product, Honey and Lemon, contains Quinoline yellow artificial colour 104, not permitted in Australia (at that time), and not listed on the label. – by email

(After this episode I complained to the TGA that Strepsils with an unlisted artificial colour not permitted in Australian food could be purchased from supermarket shelves next to foods that require artificial colours to be listed on the ingredient label. The TGA official who took my complaint laughed. Soon afterwards, quinoline yellow 104 was approved for use in Australian foods – and colours either artificial or natural still don't have to be listed on the labels of pharmaceuticals according to TGA regulations. – Sue)

I've done 14 day of strict elimination, and am now doing the salicylate challenge.

So far, I have had relief for so many symptoms, the main one being a 'drugged' feeling in the morning, even after 10 hours of sleep ­ felt I needed another 6 or so hours..... Within a few days of starting elimination, this ridiculous lethargy is GONE! My 18yr old daughter has the same symptom, and inspired by my result, she is now doing the elimination diet also. She has also had relief from feeling 'drugged', after a few days.

My biggest triumph is with my bladder though. All my life (I'm now 45), I've had a dodgy bladder ­ urgency and frequency. Often managing to produce only tiny amounts of urine, but have to go NOW. The embarrassments and shame I've endured over the years.....

Anyway, at the end of the first week of elimination diet, I noticed that my bladder was less sensitive. Those 'urgent urges' still come sometimes, but I can hold them off and not have to go to the toilet 3 times in one hour after a cup of tea. My bladder capacity seems set at 250mls though ­ not a lot. At various times, I have tried to do bladder training, which aims to increase the capacity by holding off a bit longer, then a bit longer to 'stretch' the bladder. With my extra-enthusiastic bladder muscles, I just could not manage to do this.

Right now, it's happening! I feel I have some control over my bladder.

I'm hopeful that it will improve more over time, but if it doesn't, I'm very very grateful for the improvement I've had ­ cannot tell you how much this condition has affected my life ­ always looking for a toilet, going 'just in case', embarrassing accidents etc. Bit reluctant to do any challenges, for fear that my bladder will go backwards, even if it's only temporary. But I need more variety of food!

Many years ago, a urologist told me that he couldn't help ­ I'd had all the tests and investigations etc already ­ and he could find nothing physically wrong with me. He said that he saw 6 or 7 women EVERY WEEK with my problem. All of them had, apparently, 'nothing wrong with them'. Yet they still had urgency and frequency.

At various times I eliminated the usual suspects ­ coffee, chocolate, alcohol ­ to no improvement.

No one ever suggested that it was the normal, healthy, every day foods I was eating that might be the problem. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to stumble on a solution and reclaim a part of my life previously spent crossing my legs, rushing rudely away from conversations, desperately hunting for a toilet, desperately queuing for the toilet, weeing in all sorts of embarrassing places due to lack of toilet, actually wetting myself and having to clean up and change clothes, and on it goes endlessly.

I know it is early days yet, but I am just so thrilled to have had the improvement I'm experiencing.

Thank you so much Sue, for your excellent work ­ I will be forever grateful. - by email

 

Our baby was waking up to 15 times a night, but Tresillian wasn't for us, it was too harsh, it wasn't doing anything. We were supposed to stay until the Friday but we left on the Wednesday. They are supposed to help mothers with new babies but they don't seem to know anything about salicylate sensitivity - there were numerous similar complaints on the Fedup Roadshow 2012.

My son was recently admitted to hospital due to an asthma attack. While in hospital he was regularly given icypoles to eat. When I read the label, I discovered these contained two preservatives and two artificial colours (even though the asthma pamphlet they hand out in the hospital says to avoid preservatives and artificial colours?!) After I stopped the icypoles his asthma improved and he was able to go home. I have put in an official complaint about this. - by phone on radio

Update by email: I need some advice about how to tackle the completely inadequate response to my official complaint to the Women's and Children's Hospital here in Adelaide. I complained about their use of ice blocks loaded with artificial colours and preservatives (I spoke to you on Belinda Heggen's radio show on 5AA briefly about this). I received a letter from the head of the food services department saying they were reviewing their use of these ice blocks but I smelled a rat and rang the complaints line back again. They then rang the head of the department for me and confirmed that they had no intention of removing those ice blocks from use in the hospital (even though the asthma pamphlet they hand out in the hospital says to avoid preservatives and artificial colours?!) but they are apparently reviewing how many they give to children (my son was given 4 ice blocks in under 24 hours).

I find this response completely and utterly inadequate and I'm not prepared to accept their answer to my concerns. So I'm wondering if you have any idea how I can fight this and get them to start using ice blocks that aren't full of colours and preservatives? - Katherine, Adelaide (suggestions from readers are welcome, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

My mother-in-law suffered from three years of intensely itchy rash, consulted numerous medical specialists and tried everything from lotions to laser treatment without success until she found the Ribo Rash factsheet on your website, removed all products with 600 number flavour enhancers such as stock cubes, packet soups, instant gravy and sauces - from her pantry - and her rash went away. When she confronted her doctor about it, he confessed he had never heard of 635 – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

I am an RN (registered nurse). I run an encopresis and continence clinic and am interested to hear more about what you describe as 'sticky poos'. I obtain great success with her management methods, but I currently have a case where the boy's faeces are so sticky it's like a layer of wallpaper on his bottom." (We would regard this as due to food intolerance – most likely salicylates - and would expect to see the problems resolve completely on the elimination diet) – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

I am a midwife. I came to your talk because of what I am finding with my clients. Those who are having second babies have often left it as long as possible because their first babies were so difficult - crying and unsettled for hours at a time, and sleeping poorly. It seems to be increasingly common. As a nurse, we tell them to eat everything in moderation while breastfeeding but I realise now they may need some more information – from Fedup Roadshow 2012.

Thanks to your book Fed Up I discovered at the age of 17 that my chronic hives were due to dietary salicylates. But it wasn't until I inadvertently took an aspirin tablet at the age of 25 (it was the first time I'd ever taken aspirin - in the UK they are packaged to look the same as a paracetamol packet) - that I realised how sensitive I am. As well as the usual hives, my face and throat swelled so much I had to hold my head right back in order to breathe. (WARNING: salicylate responders beware: it is possible to die from one aspirin tablet. If this happens to you call an ambulance or have someone take you to the nearest ER as quickly as possible.) – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

When I was a little girl, my brother had severe epilepsy with many seizures every day. When my mother finally started us on an additive free diet on her own initiative, the number of seizures dropped by 75%. My brother was able to come outside and play with me for the first time. But it was too late to prevent the brain damage that had already occurred and he ended up in an institution – from Fedup Roadshow 2012

"I developed this terrible itchy rash six years ago. The doctor doesn't know what caused it. He just gives me steroids but it doesn't really help. Sometimes the rash drives me mad ...Yes, I do eat BBQ chicken once a week. No, I've never heard of ribo rash." - senior at a roadshow 2012 talk

WARNING!!! This sounds like a typical Ribo Rash due to ribonucleotide flavour enhancers 627, 631 or 635 used in "chicken seasoning" on the skin of BBQ chickens and many other foods - the rash is delayed and can last for a week, making it seem like a chronic rash not a food reaction - however, we are now receiving the same reaction reports due to cooked chickens with chicken seasoning additives "yeast extract, natural flavours" so it seems manufacturers have found a way to avoid listing Ribo additive numbers. See our Ribo Rash factsheet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/635-msg-boosters-ribo-rash-ribonucleotides-627-631

A few weeks ago I developed burning red spots like tiny bee-stings all over my face, also my mouth and tongue are burning so much it is hard to eat, my tongue feels a bit swollen and even my ears feel a bit the same. People who don't know me just think that I have red cheeks, but I don't normally have red cheeks, and the burning sensation is really painful. I also feel like I have a bit of asthma (I never had asthma as a child). The only time I've had anything similar was when I tried a bite of my boyfriend's crab in an expensive restaurant and straight away my lips started swelling and tingling. I went to a doctor but she just said it was a bit odd and prescribed an antihistamine. The pharmacist said the prescribed antihistamine was old fashioned and recommended a different antihistamine and said I should carry it with me at all times.

I read the Ribo Rash factsheet on your website and thought about everything I've eaten - for each of the last two weeks I've bought a cooked chicken from the supermarket, eaten over several days. I've eaten these before, but it turns out they are now adding seasoning with "yeast extract, natural flavours". I complained about that and they just said it's not them doing it, it's the suppliers. A few days ago I had a meal of tinned salmon and plain rice - I've eaten hundreds of cans of the same product for years with no problems - and the burning seemed to get worse. Now I'm scared that I may have developed an allergy to seafood. I'm 44 years old and before this happened I was perfectly healthy. Now I'm scared to eat anything in case I get worse. - Liz, NZ

(Comment from Sue Dengate: we have previously remarked about the way ribonucleotide flavour enhancers seem to bridge the gap between allergies and intolerances. We have recently received similar reports of reactions to products with an ingredient listing "yeast extract, natural flavours" and wonder whether manufacturers are now hiding ribonucleotide flavour enhancers 627, 631 and 635 under these descriptions. Also there have been reports from consumers who have developed true allergies after being exposed to these flavour enhancers. Ribonucleotides are known to stimulate the immune system - it's good to a certain point which is why they are added to infant formula in small amounts. However, this is a possible mechanism for the development of true allergies - which are basically an overstimulated an immune system - and could account for the rise in allergies in Western societies. Had a similar experience? email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

My classic symptoms are fatigue and pain as well as massive muscle spasm where I get severely "locked up". My muscles go rigid (praying mantis style), mainly my arms and legs are affected. Sometimes even my facial muscles and tongue when it is severe. I can't walk or feed myself when this happens. It happens in degrees and lasts for different lengths of times. Sometimes just my fingers and toes curl. Always my muscles spasms are preceded by pain and almost always severe fatigue and a fuzzy head. When they are really bad I also get tinnitus. My hands go red and hot and very sensitive.

My muscle spasms have been heavily investigated by numerous neurologists - and I mean, numerous! - 20 at a hospital movement disorder clinic and another 5-6 independent ones. When I didn't fit into their pigeon hole definitions, I was then referred on three occasions to 3 different psychiatrists. They all pronounced me mentally healthy except one of them said, "That since there is no known neurological cause for my spasms, that he must conclude that it is psychological" and that I should just demedicalise and try and get on with my life.

When a friend recommended the RPA allergy clinic, I was adamant that food could not cause such a drastic reaction and I started the elimination diet extremely skeptical and determined to prove them wrong. Now I realize that I've always had some food intolerance (family history) as a young child when I used to get aching legs and be so extremely hyperactive at school that the teachers would send me for a run around the school grounds before they let me sit in their classes even in Year 12! Two bouts of glandular fever (at 18 then again at 21) then lowered my tolerance even further.

Since the elimination diet, I've discovered the main triggers are 282 [preservative calcium propionate used in bread] and MSG [flavour enhancer 621]. In 1.5 hours flat after ingesting bread preservative I am in severe spasm with all my classic symptoms! MSG has about a 3-4 hour time lag. The spasms used to last 30 mins - 1 hour (basically till my muscles fatigue) but now that I've virtually eliminated the diet factor and I am so much better and fitter, when I do accidentally eat 282 or MSG then they can last up to almost 4 hours full spasm. My husband doesn't have a hope of moving my arms or legs, they're so rigid. He said that even if I tried myself I could not be so strong other than when I'm in spasm.

Salicylates cause my hot hands and pain but have a delayed effect causing me to spasm only after a while (2-3 days). Amines also have a delayed effect, first causing hyperactivity/insomnia then pain but rarely spasm.

The elimination diet has improved my quality of life so, so much and has introduced an element of control to my life that I haven't had for 8 years. I feel amazingly lucky to have stumbled upon this as the answer! - Tessa, NSW (story received in 2004)

I just had parent teacher interviews and my son is a different kid since being failsafe. Last term he was described as rude, cheeky, wired and running amuck! Now he is a pleasure to teach and has beautiful behaviour. The rewards of the diet are fantastic! Nadine (facebook group)

Thank you once again for the work you two do. I honestly don't know where I would be if I hadn't discovered your website and found your information. I refer to it constantly in my efforts to find a healthful diet I can tolerate. - Susan by email.

I can't thank you enough!! What you are doing is fantastic and you are making a real difference. Thank you.- Sarah by email

My son is on the 'failsafe' program - day 2 and he has been the happiest, most contented 5 year old boy I have seen in a long, long time. – Tracey from facebook group

I have had to take photos... six kids in a house... and SILENCE????? that was my realization after about 3 weeks FS.... playing quietly beside one another....(4 weeks later) just have to celebrate a success... after 7 weeks FS... my previously fruit addicted 4yr old fussiest princess has finally eaten, yes relished, a PEAR! (she has totally refused, gagged, and melodramatically drama-queened her way out of eating virtually every food we have offered her for the whole 7 weeks aside from weetbix). last night i gave her a frozen pear popsicle.. and today she at her lunch box pear at the sitters! came home to declare.. Mum, I LOVE pears, they are so juicy and so sweet.. can i have one every day? and then ate chicken, potatoes and brussel sprouts for tea.... offer offer and reoffer. it works.... (eventually! LOL) – Ries from facebook group

My name is Shane Anthe and I am the chef at Grandma's Place childcare centre in Sarina. I attended your Rockhampton talk 3 years ago. I wanted you to know that we offer additive free, healthy, home cooked meals for the children. Low salicylate or allergen free options are available on request. The kids who are unruly when they start, calm down within 3-4 weeks." www.grandmasplace.com.au  - from Fedup Roadshow 2012

"We started failsafe eating several years ago after going to the pharmacist with a script for Ritalin for my son. The pharmacist refused to fill it. He said 'for oppositional defiance, you need to read this book and look at food'. It changed our lives". - from Fedup Roadshow 2012

Thoughts on "loud voice" - took away breads with 282 preservative and huge difference in volume and improvement in speech for my son. Also we avoid 160b, colours and additives generally....he has no idea he is talking loudly. – Jennifer from facebook group

My encopresis/megacolon/chronic constipation/overactive bladder 5 1/2 year old always talks super loud too, more and more great reasons to celebrate that we are finally trying a supervised elimination diet!! – Michelle from facebook group

Oh yes, when my son has had the "bad additives", LOUD voice is definitely one of this symptoms. Along with whiny higher pitched voice. That is a sure indicator to us that he has ingested something he should not have. – Sally from facebook group

I have a hearing impaired son, had hearing aids for several years. He has the loud voice thing. Thought it was all part of his disability, until failsafe! He now speaks normally, and the first sign of a reaction is the voice! He also is on soy, the only thing that I can't change, as he seems not to tolerate any other milk substitute... tried every one, and gets awful diarrhoea and leaking .. not fun when you are 8 and at school! I think the loud voice is very related, and I DO have a hearing impaired child ... also i am frustrated as all my soy kids have been long term bedwetters! and the non soy kids not so... we are currently RPAH elimination diet, and the compulsive speech also disappeared in this child, he hardly talks and is calm and listens better, and the youngest who is 2 has had a really odd reaction to removing all the additives...we were able to understand him finally!- (he was previously diagnosed with a speech delay) yet when he accidently had a flavoured drink from a guest... his speech reverted to gibberish again. It happened after a banana, given by a babysitter, and again when an additive was shared by a relative! three times in three weeks, we 'lost' his speech for about 5 hours.... ! (and got all the other behaviours).. so there is definitely issues with the speech centre of the brain, not just hearing issues why they speak louder... at least in my family! – Ries from facebook group

Sals and amines do it for us, as well as the additives. When we are very strict with only a few foods his voice is normal. – Susan from facebook group

My son has always had a very noticeably loud voice which has annoyed many of his teachers and i have had his hearing tested and had him tested for auditory processing all of which he has passed. Its not until we went failsafe that we noticed his voice is now always normal, the big improvement came from removing all artificial colours, preservatives and flavours but now if he has too many sals he gets quite loud again and then we know to cut him back, his concentration and energy levels seem to go hand in hand with it too.- Lee from facebook group

That is our son to a tee. If we stay low everything his voice is pretty normal. If we let a bit of mod sals creep in the voice is one of the first things we notice. If he has more then we notice the reaction and silly behavior as well as testy/ over emotional. Also energy and concentration.- Susan from facebook group

I have started on the diet, currently supported by the book and recipe book. So far it is quite delicious despite the lack of our usual foods.

I have been forced to be free of preservative 220+ and flavours 621+ for over 8 yrs now because of debilitating migraines. My children exhibit various learning and attention difficulties which are inconsistent in nature (think Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). We suspected the little one to have Sandifers (Sandifer syndrome is a paediatric medical disorder, characterised by gastrointestinal symptoms and associated neurological features) as a baby so I went Gluten and Dairy free to help with that and it worked a charm. However I could not figure out if it was the much cleaner diet or the Gluten or Dairy that were a problem. He reacts to flavour enhancers with rashes and difficult behaviour.

Through all our various issues I have had almost no help from the medical profession and when they were trying to help it was usually with reluctance and a lot of talk about how stressed I must be. My hormones, migraines, restless legs and anxiety were always put down to some psychological problem that I knew did not exist. I even had a workers compensation neck and shoulder problem that my then doctor decided was due to stress and not the work desk that I was at. So I have had a gutful of the medical profession and am wary of shelling out more money to specialists.

When I read your book (referred by a friend) I was amazed. It was as though all my symptoms and the boys symptoms were also problems shared by many other people and not a result of my over active imagination. I had suspected our diet for a long time but could not pin it down. I am so grateful just to know that I am not alone in this.

(One week later) On rereading what I have told you it is crazy to think of the issues that I have not even touched on.

This is our second week Failsafe and the seriously awful headaches from the withdrawal seem to have stopped and I am feeling energetic again. I have had a nice comment from the teacher about my middle child - he is being looked at for Asperger's (seriously difficult behaviour) and I thought it would be better to try him on the diet before the $1000 psychologist visit in November.

The Sandifers is hardly ever diagnosed I think. Many of my friends had babies that had similar symptoms but were all told they had either reflux or torticollis. I watched one friend's baby who seemed normal on waking but as soon as she fed him the neck would twist to the side just like my baby had. She asked her health professionals about it and they either had not heard of it or discounted it completely. I think that is so terribly sad.

I will get on to a dietician to start the supervised reintroduction of foods. However the amount of support you have provided is so good we hardly need it.

Keep up the great work – you are making a difference! - Shannon by email.

I am a cook in an Aged Care facility and I am trying to implement an additive and preservative free diet for the home. After observing the effects of failsafe eating with my stepson who suffers from Oppositional Defiance Disorder I am a convert to the cause. - Chris

I am a geriatrician and wondered if the effect of food additives has been studied on Alzheimers patients, due to a porous blood-brain barrier – from the 2012 roadshow

(Comment by Sue Dengate: Interesting question! See our factsheet dementia and the elderly There is evidence that food additives actually alter blood-brain barrier permeability: Nemeroff CB, Crisley FD. Monosodium L-glutamate-induced convulsions: temporary alteration in blood-brain barrier permeability to plasma proteins. Environ Physiol Biochem. 1975.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1213027 )

I've watched your fantastic DVD three times since receiving it. It has made me go back to the drawing board, I think I missed salicylates earlier. You might want to reconsider the title "Fed up with Children's behaviour", it is not just about children I feel, and it is not just about behaviour either. It goes much further. Many people who are not concerned about children's behaviour could still benefit in a big way from the DVD. - Peter, Adelaide

My in-laws have recently moved in with us while waiting for a nursing home. We have been failsafe for years and I have noticed a trend, that whenever my mother in law eats artificial colours and flavours in something like a finger bun with pink icing, or the cheap and nasty cream biscuits, she becomes very oppositional ... more so than usual.

My father in law does not and won't accept the role food plays in our life, and he is the one who buys the rubbish. For our own sanity, we will just have to hide it, then throw it out. I can now understand what living with a child with ODD must be like. I am sure she would have loved to hit me the other day!!!!!!

Given that in nursing homes, a lot of the food has artificial colourings, (e.g. jelly and custard etc), I was wondering if any research has been done on the effect of food AFTER dementia has set in. There are plenty of websites that tell you how to AVOID dementia , but it is too late for that.

So far we have noticed greater oppositional defiance after the ingestion of food that has additives e.g. Farmland Cream biscuits - the two occasions she had ONE, there was a reaction later that day.

Yesterday I think there was also a reaction to salicylates (some tomato sauce she was given at lunch time). Her husband makes most decisions for her ... and I was at work. During the afternoon she tried to put her used control pants down the toilet, rather than in the nappy bucket ... but she was aware she had done something wrong ... it was the first time she had done that. I will try and keep a food diary from now on, although I am not in control of what she eats while I am at work.

Ten days later: I kept a food diary and limited the types of food that my mother-in-law had over the previous week. Then at the weekend she had an iced donut (with artificial colours and probably other additives) on the Saturday and Sunday. The upshot is that last week was TERRIBLE ... she was introspective, restless, agitated, didn't do what was asked ... and ultimately she had a fall. She is now very depressed. There is no way we will give her a donut again! Cheryl, by email

Do salicylates have the same effect on adults as they do on children? When my grandson eats salicylates in fruit he is irritable and has a vile temper. The doctor says my husband should take an aspirin every day for his heart but since he started he has become grumpy and forgetful. We've been married for more than 50 years but the way he is now, I don't want to live with him any more. - Gail, NT (Yes, salicylates can have the same effect on adults. For salicylate sensitive seniors who need blood-thinning medication, clopidogrel is a suitable alternative. For those wanting to try the RPAH elimination diet, discuss this with your doctor first , see p115 RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook – S)

The Sunshine Coast is a strawberry-growing area. My visiting daughter gave me a blender for Xmas and bought me daily supplies of bananas and strawberries. I was consuming half a punnet a day. After several days I was struck by severe gout, and it was excruciating, making walking from the car to the doctor almost impossible. Several passersby stopped to ask me if I had gout, and laughed at my affirmative saying "You've been into the strawberries, haven't you?"

Astonished, I told the doctor, who clearly was not impressed and prescribed some pills. I ignored the pills and simply gave up the strawberries. Instant cure. Testing the thesis , a few weeks later I tried some strawberries and the next day I had gout in, of all places, my left thumb. Just thought this experience might confirm for you your own conclusions (See gout and salicylates http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/arthritis-joint-pain-and-diet) - Tony, Qld

My irritable bowel symptoms are normally well controlled by a low salicylate diet but five months ago I had travellers diarrhoea that I just couldn't seem to get over. During a course of VSL#3 (which is very expensive!) my symptoms worsened so much that I ended up gluten free as well as strictly failsafe. A pharmacist recommended Naturopathica GastroHealth4 because "we stock this for a regular customer who says 'this brand really works'". After two courses of GH4 I have improved so much I am now able to tolerate gluten again including wholemeal bread and pasta that previously would have been unthinkable for me, can tolerate some moderate salicylates and I no longer need to take probiotics. - Sue by email.

See more including 3 scientific references at http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/probiotics

My blood pressure started to rise about three years ago after a trip to China. Obviously MSG, I would think. I was put on medication and have been OK ever since. Then 5 months ago a naturopath suggested I take kefir for my irritable bowel. In the last few months, I have had alarming changes in my body. I almost fainted after a formal meal and when they took me to the emergency department, my pulse was only 45 and the blood pressure was extremely high 190/90 so they kept me in overnight for observation but nothing sinister showed up.

Over the last month, my blood pressure has been all over the place. Sometimes good and at other times, dangerously high. Last Saturday, it was 198/102 – pulse 50. I tried to think what it could be and worked out it must be kefir. The kefir I'm consuming now is very different from what I started with 5 months ago. Originally, I only had 3 small grains and the kefir was quite sweet and runny but in the last month, with the hot weather, the grains have grown large. I now have a cup of grains and the kefir is quite sour and very thick. Obviously, very high in amines.

I stopped the kefir after the 198/102 episode on Saturday and my blood pressure today (Monday) is perfect – 125/70 pulse 61. I thought I would see if it made a difference and it sure did. I don't want to go completely off the kefir because I know how much good it was doing for me – my tummy is so much better. After talking to you, I will go back on it but with a much modified regime – just 3 small grains which I had originally and make sure it is sweet and runny, not thick and sour. And I am going to take my blood pressure every day. Blood pressure affects so many people and there is very little info out there apart from drug info. I think you are amazing and I admire what you do tremendously. Thank you to both you and Howard. Thank you is not the right word – what you are doing is truly life saving!! - Lorraine, by email

'Too ugly to contemplate' - that was the heading in the news edition email from Crikey.com.au I have just received. I immediately thought it was a news story about someone like me. It fits the way I am feeling perfectly. But of course it wasn't.

And then I had the idea to write about the way I'm feeling. To document this: even though I feel so awful I'd rather just curl up in bed and disappear. I've started writing a work related blog recently and I have received some enjoyment from it, and so I thought I'd try writing about this experience tonight as a way to detach, to get my head out of this space. I have enough wherewithal (and experience) to understand that what I'm going through at the moment is a direct result of the lunch I have eaten. But knowing that doesn't stop me feeling suicidal, it just stops me from legitimising my thoughts as valid, from spending time listing all the reasons why my life isn't worth living, as I once used to do.

I have spent many years experiencing episodes like this and it occurs to me, after "RUOK" day this week, that I haven't seen any information about this particular trigger. I haven't read much about how some people can become profoundly depressed by the foods they have eaten.

I don't want to say which foods set me off, but suffice it to say it's been a long journey to figure it out. I've avoided these types of foods for a while but today was a farewell lunch for a colleague and I wanted to join in with everyone. It was a new restaurant, and I hoped it would be OK.

Within thirty minutes I had the first symptom, which was a dense fogginess in my brain, as though I was barely there, like a zombie, and then I felt a slight head pressure, almost a headache. I knew I was having a reaction to the food but I didn't yet know how bad it was going to be. I haven't had a strong reaction for years. And then two hours later I had the first "what's the point of living, I have absolutely nothing to live for" moment. Within another hour or two rolling fits of blackness came over me; the deep and utter despair, overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and irrelevance and unimportance. I know this will take 36-48 hours to clear my system. I'm glad I don't have much on this weekend.

As I said I have spent many years having episodes like this, through most of my teenage years (if not earlier) and much of my twenties. It was only in my thirties that I heard about food intolerance, as opposed to food allergies, and I tried the elimination diet. I have found that certain chemical numbers and a couple of relatively common food items have a severe negative effect on my mood. There are also other ingredients that affect me which I haven't identified yet, but I know they are in certain sauces so I avoid them just in case. Somehow I have very low motivation to isolate the ingredients to determine which particular chemical is making me feel like I am nothing but a useless, pointless energy sucking black hole on the planet!

I sometimes talk to people about my food sensitivities, and while most people are polite, their response is often one of disbelief. The people who nod vigorously are usually sufferers themselves or they have gone through the process with their children, seeing how they respond to certain foods. It's harder for people who take more than a couple of hours to react to make the link to a certain food ­ for some people it can take days for the symptoms to show, or there are no symptoms until a certain threshold is reached (a little is OK, a lot is not).

There's not any where near enough research done on this.

There is increasing recognition that asthma and eczema are linked to food intolerance/sensitivity, as well as several studies showing that certain foods (particularly additives) can cause hyperactivity, but I have yet to see much research done in terms of foods and links to mood, especially depression. As for me, I'm obviously totally convinced, and I figure if I exist there will be others who have similar food sensitivities, so I thought I'd write about it. I am also allergic to some foods and I have very sensitive skin, so I know there's something about my chemical makeup that makes me sensitive to the world I'm living in.

In general, we know so little about how our bodies react to the world we are living in, and the changes in our food and broader environment have been dramatic in the last few decades. If you suspect this might be relevant for you, I should warn you there is no quick test. Determining your/your children's sensitivities is a long and thorough process but the benefits when everything is sorted are incalculable. – Jude by email

After going to Sue's talk I have read the Fed Up books and cut out salicylates and glutamates mainly. My headaches have almost disappeared in a week! (I have had a constant headache/migraine basically all year!). I have also had loud ringing in my ears, pressure in my head, pins and needles down my arms and hands, fatigue, foggy brain all symptoms are improving. It's amazing!!

I am definitely feeling a lot better avoiding salicylates (mainly all fruits (except pears) & tomatoes at the moment), amines as much as possible (no supermarket meat and careful choices at the butcher), wine, glutamates (making my own stock instead of using "Campbell's Real stock" (which I thought was ok, I didn't realise yeast extract was bad!) and not using any soy sauces etc). Every time I slip up and have something I shouldn't, I get a headache within 12 – 48 hours later. It's quite easy now to trace it back to something I've eaten, which is a good thing as I had no idea what was causing the headaches, foggy head, and ringing in my ears a few weeks ago. I haven't had any pins and needles in my hands now since eating 'failsafe'.

I have also decided to go 'gluten free'. I have suspected for many years that I could be a little gluten intolerant and avoided eating bread mainly. However, I have noticed that lately oats have been upsetting me too! The gluten free muesli, muesli bars and other recipes in the book are fantastic!

My family are really enjoying all the different recipes that I have been trying and don't seem to be missing tomato based sauces (which we had quite often). We haven't come across a failure yet! I love cooking and trying new ideas. We very rarely have take-away food or packaged, highly processed foods so eating 'failsafe' hasn't been a huge, radical change for us. - Jenny (Melbourne) by email

It's been about 6 weeks now that we've had our son eating failsafe. In fact, the whole family to different degrees. Our soon to be 5 yo son was diagnosed with Conduct Disorder over a year ago, however the behavioural problems have existed for two years - hitting/kicking/swearing/yelling/pushing etc. Considerably violent and unpredictable outbursts. We've been to see all kinds of people, Paediatrician, Psychologist, the Children's Developmental Service, more recently a Psychotherapist. All this has cost us a fortune and made some difference, although not significant and not consistent.

This last weekend has been one of the best we've had in two years, we have our beautiful, kind and gentle son back. The change is significant. At his kindy, ALL the staff have noticed, not just his own teachers. If only we had looked more closely at his diet two years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you - Megan by email.

I didn't know about food intolerance at first and thought my girlfriends' kids just needed a kick up the bum. Now I'm their stepfather I realise that their bad behaviour is entirely related to food. Every second weekend we have to send them off to their father to be filled up with the worst junk food and returned out of their tree. It takes a week for them to calm down then we have four good days before we have to send them back and go through it all again.

Here are some of my hints to get blokes involved:

  • for a failsafe barbecue cook the steak briefly on the plate so it is rare - to prevent development of amines don't char or overcook
  • use some pear and leek ketchup on the barbecue plate for flavouring
  • serve with pasta or noodle salads
  • serve the steak cut up into small pieces on a platter and encourage ADHD children to help themselves to as much as they want - they will eat much more like that than if confronted by a single large steak on their plate
  • fathers need to be convinced to give up their tomato sauce, devon and similar foods
  • you have to do the diet with the whole family, you can't expect one child to have to avoid his favourite foods when others are eating it. You can't even have it in the house.

- from the 2012 Roadshow

We were at the theatre the other night and as usual I was hungry! I decided to go with the white magnum as I know I react to amines and thought this would be the safest bet of what was on offer. The next morning I woke up with an almighty migraine. I had the wrapper in my bag and a quick check of the ingredients and a check on your website and now I have learnt I have another additive I need to avoid - 160b. Thank you so much for all of your fantastic work - it is a somewhat tedious journey ploughing through the challenges but well worth it. I am very grateful for the amazing resource you have provided. – Dawn, NZ

My daughter is nearly 5 years old. When we did the elimination diet we found that she reacts to the bread preservative, some other preservatives and MSG. Her reactions to the bread preservative range from temper tantrums to very moody pre-diet behaviour. This includes hitting and annoying her brother and sister if they are trying to do homework or just generally whingy and very demanding behaviour and refusing to do as requested. At night, she wakes up from 1 to 5 times per night and walks the house. When we put her back on to preservative-free bread her behaviour changed back to good behaviour within 3 or 4 days. - Moya, Qld

I have been suffering from various IBS-like symptoms for several years and have finally decided to do something about it. A couple of months ago I went to see a dietitian and following her advice tried a FODMAP elimination diet for a month. Although there was improvement in some areas there was a decline in others. I became VERY forgetful and suffered stomach cramps when eating what turned out to be foods high in salicylates. - Sharon

I'm a coeliac with ME/CFS who is still having major problems with food reactions (particularly gastro-wise; I get so much pain/bloating/cramping/malabsorption etc that my life is severely affected by it) despite following a strict GF diet. I have a feeling salicylates may be a big problem for me, and I can see that my diet is very high in them. I was trialled on a FODMAP diet by my dietician but it made my symptoms so much worse, and I suspect this may be because the 'safe' FODMAP foods are actually those that are highest in salicylates. - Alison, UK

I have been wondering how many other unhappy, 'hormonal' teenagers there are out there who might be helped by the diet. Amines (and might also be salicylates) really affect my 14 year old's mental health and on the diet she is so much happier.

My daughter has always been a very anxious child and teenager. In recent years she has been a glass-half-empty girl, where any outing or party was 'okay' but there was always a negative slant on it. She was always too uptight to sleep in and would have sessions where she would cry for no reason, which I put down to hormones. Essentially, she is a lovely, loving child and we are very close, but she was wearing me out.

Since the diet, she and her sister have barely exchanged a cross word, she takes life in her stride and comes home positive about her experiences. She has a busy sporting schedule but rather than complaining about getting up early and being tired, she gets on with it and has improved greatly since the diet. She sleeps in on the mornings she doesn't go to training, trusting that I will wake her in time to go to school. She will never be a super-confident girl and she still has occasional times of grumpiness, but she is now a happy child. The funny thing is that she couldn't see the change in herself, even though it was so obvious to my older daughter and me. But she did see the effect when she once ate some rubbish they created in Food Tech at school (chocolate, coconut and m&m balls!) and now chooses not to eat those foods as far as it is possible.

Thanks so much for all your work in this area. I found your book in a waiting room and haven't looked back. - by email

Our 7 year old daughter has been living in anxiety and terror at night and also in the day has to be with someone else in the room. I have been trying the diet with her for one and half weeks no amines, glutamates and moderate salicylates only. Last night was her first fear free night. I could cry with relief. - Rachel by email

Back around 1997 I was diagnosed with AF (atrial fibrillation) & TC (tachycardia), my heart at times could literally be felt beating through my clothes It was scary and freaked other people out when I showed them. I had a cardiologist who was great but neither he or any of the doctors or specialists I saw ever mentioned anything about diet, after 3 or 4 goes I was on medication which helped without too many bad side effects. I cant remember how I stumbled across it, but somewhere along the line I heard about how MSG could be bad for your health (experience of a friend/associate at the time I think) so I thought Id strike it out of my diet ... WOW there went half my problems, so I looked further into diet, soon I had struck red food colouring from the list, sports drinks (when not exercising), high caffeine drinks (coke especially), energy drinks went too (although not as common as they are now), highly fatty foods went out the window and through more experimentation (monitoring) I dropped anything with the preservatives starting with 22_ . I have also found that some of this stuff seems to build up in my system as if I don't have any for a long time I can cope with quite a high dose of it in one hit, if it becomes regular in my diet I quickly feel the symptoms after even the smallest amount.

I went off my medication once for two years by maintaining a very strict diet, these days I am back on my medication as it is so hard to keep up with things that are out there (and it becomes hard to eat socially some times). Many years ago I emailed the Heart foundation in anger at them giving 2 minute noodles the heart tick! Loaded with MSG, of which by then I knew other people with heart conditions suffered the same reactions as me These days I have learnt to ignore any labelling on packaging (apart from the ingredients thank goodness) very recently seeing some cups of soup labelled as no artificial flavours yet they had MSG in the ingredients as a flavour enhancer, mongrels.

It's so good to see your site and the work you are doing. I hope some of this may help in some way. It's so good to see the message being spread, for what its worth, from me, WELL DONE!! - Dave, by email

I notice your correspondence is commonly from parents thanking you for the assistance with their children and their behaviour. Well I am 35 years old, and the failsafe method actually saved my life. Who knows how this may have ended, if there was inadequate information out there about the chemicals in foods (in my case particularly the natural chemicals in fruits etc). Thanks for your tireless efforts. - Liz by email.

We are now nearing the end of our third week on diet and have experienced some remarkable changes in our health, weight, moods and ability to concentrate and think more clearly. Thank you, Sue, your work is inspirational - Jane. by email.

The talk inspired our school to talk about food and they now have a better understanding the important role of what food we stock in the canteen. Job well done - we also got the community talking which is fabulous. Keep up ur great work – Ro by email

Thanking you - we are still receiving great feedback from the day. I met a mum in Woolworths whom attended your workshop, she rushed up to me crying saying she had put the elimination diet in place and has a different boy. No more meltdowns and the Preschool even asked her what had she done to Johnnie as he is a different boy at school. THANK YOU THANK YOU - talk organiser

We just had a school disco where we served 300 kids Bakers Delight bread, Failsafe sausages, water & kettle chips - the kids loved it & several parents commented on how good the kids were. Thanks for your words, exactly what we need!  - Deb from Taree

I am so enjoying the many conversations I'm having with people who attended the talk. Many have made changes with huge benefits. One mother told me how she had been about to go on antidepressants for long-standing depression, and after a week of being fs "all the scary voices had disappeared". She also couldn't get over the changes in her children's behaviour, and just how much easier it is to parent them! – Tiffany by email

My son has been off most artificial additives since 2005 and we can really see the difference when we let him have things occasionally such as at birthday parties. He is now 9. I'm sure he would have been put on medication had we not discovered your website. Now I'm keen now to do the full Elimination Diet to check for anything else, and particularly to see whether salicylates and amines have an impact on my other children - they don't seem to react to anything artificial, but there is more anger, aggression and irritability in my house than I think is reasonable so it is worth a try. - Melinda by email.

Thanks ever so much for giving me back the joy of having two children ­ I had lost it for a while I'm afraid due to my 5 year old's horrendous behaviour. He has been failsafe for a month now and it's been great. ­ Denise, by email

Thank you for your fantastic books, they have "cured" me after 40 years of chronic pain. Yay! 40 years sounds like I am old, but I am only just 46 so you can imagine how wonderful and life changing this is for me :) It turns out that for me "dairy" (not lactose) causes constipation and salicylates cause stomach pain and severe bloating and distention. So I am avoiding all dairy and minimising salicylates. - Chris, by email

I know a 78 yr old who has suffered terribly with chronic sinus for more than 40 years and since eliminating dairy is much, much better. Keep in mind his trusted doctor prescribed seven courses of antibiotics leading up to this and when the good doctor was informed that my friend was going to eliminate some foods his reply was 'yes, that's a good idea' !! - Michael by email.

We attended your talk a few months back and it has changed our lives. We have a six year old son who suffers from Aspergers and ADHD and since going additive-free his behaviour is much improved, his social skills are coming along in leaps and bounds and his fits of rage are completely gone.- Heather by email.

We've been following the elimination diet for the past 5 weeks and the changes in my darling son are amazing. Now everyone is seeing the beautiful kind boy I always knew was there! - Lissa by email

 

I am 23. I led a high achieving, healthy active lifestyle until about 6 years ago when Bulimia slowly introduced itself into my normal, happy life, I nearly lost my scholarship and it ruined my VCE which I was unable to complete and was continued by many months of incredible ups and downs.

It then progressed to Severe Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia, hospitalisation and long stays in inpatient facilities for people with similar issues. Everything seemed like a temporary fix, a week after finishing programs I was back to my old habits.

About 18 months ago, with my barely manageable eating disorder, I moved by myself to a new town ... I needed a new start, fresh faces and thought a change of scenery would help and it did :) I met my current partner after the first month of being here and he's been nothing but supportive of all my issues. To look at and meet me I'm you're average bubbly, blue eyed, blonde hair, healthy looking girl and I think it was quite a shock when he first he learned what the "other me" was like.

After 6 months however things started to go downhill with my health - my asthma, hay fever and eczema went crazy - which had only ever happened occasionally over my life (but never all at the same time) as I've had them all since I was a baby.

What really bothered me was a rash on my face that I had never experienced before - swollen lips, eyelids, dark red blotches underneath my skin, which turned to swelling, my skin flaking off and incredible itchiness!! As my self-esteem wasn't that great anyway, this was a huge blow. I quit work, uni, and it ruined my social life.

I thought it may have been the natural environment around me, new town, new plants, pollens etc as it was sometimes accompanied by sneezing. My crazy eating habits were another likely culprit.

I went to the Doctor, he gave me some steroids which cleared it up but kept coming back. Then turned to allergy testing, cutting out certain foods through a nutritionist , gluten, all the usuals etc. Useless. Used all natural makeups, moisturizers, cleansers etc. Useless again ....

I've always known that preservatives aren't good for us, always eaten well in the past and thought of myself as fairly educated about food (that might sound strange when someone has an Eating Disorder but it's very common) but because additives had never been a problem in the past it never occurred to me that they could be the cause.

I found your website by chance whilst researching the issue on the net and along with your website's helpful info, photos and testimonials I knew I had found what I was looking for. I started cutting out the 600 number flavour enhancers and the 200 number preservatives (I wasn't aware that dried fruit could be so delicious but deathly for my skin!! I'd always make sure there was no added sugar but that's all I worried about) ... Anyway, instant recovery ... now I'm trying to cut out the rest of the nasties too - in both foods and makeup.

We have always eaten loads of fruit and veg and always go organic when we can afford to but it's hard trying to buy food that both my boyfriend and I will be happy with as he's an eating machine who's affected by nothing and never puts on weight ;) We're getting used to it ... we're happier.

I myself have SO much more energy it's unbelievable, I'm sure it neurologically changes something in your head. My eating disorder - it was currently Bulimia 1-5 times a day and Binge Eating everyday - has been completely stopped.

It's been nearly 2 months - I feel so free. Where it used to be constant, I now rarely have my crazy OCD thoughts filling my head with foods, food info or body image. I know it's only early days but I'm optimistic and am going to try my absolute hardest ... I honestly haven't felt this good in years.

I've never seen any information about the links between food additives and Eating disorders - I definitely intend to research this further.

Thank you so much for being a revolutionary voice and caring enough to share your knowledge with the rest of the world. You have seriously changed my life and inspired me to take action. - Jayne, by email

I happened upon your site late last year while searching for help for my eldest son who was diagnosed with PDD, ADHD, anxiety disorder and high level language disorder as well as bordering on anorexia nervosa all at the ripe old age of 10. Doctors were not helping and all the drugs they threw at us weren't helping either. I was at a loss as to how to help him as his behaviour escalated out of control and my husband and I nearly split up because of the stress on both of us. It was a nightmare trying to manage all his problems as well as look after our other three children. His behaviour was so extreme that I didn't think diet could help but remembering that I was a Feingold kid for many years myself I figured it certainly couldn't hurt and I had been only too willing to make him take drugs because it was an "easy" option that didn't require a lot of effort on our part.

We started FS in January before school went back and now only a couple of months later my son looks and acts like a "normal" child. We have had easily an 80% improvement in his behaviour, autism symptoms and mood. I say only 80% because I'm still fumbling to get the diet right for him because he seems to be sensitive to just about everything and he is living on the elimination diet at the moment. It's a sharp learning curve though and we pay dearly for mistakes with a slide back into his worst behaviour and autistic traits within half an hour usually and the effects can last for days.

Thank you so much for the work you and your husband are doing for families like ours. ­ by email, Qld

Is there a link between food additives or salicylates and anorexia? Our youngest daughter while off diet is seriously disinterested in food. Between the ages 3 - 9 she was in the lower percentiles weight wise. With the diet partially sorted out her relative weight for her ages has gone up. There were also some indications of her being obsessed with low weight and being skinny. We did the diet for her behaviour - fighting with siblings and extreme jealousy that could not be redirected by anything: force, reason, removal of privileges or ignoring. That fits in with my own experience recently when feelings were controlling and consuming me totally and logic did not have any place in my life. It was very uncomfortable to say the least and it was due to salicylates. ­ Peter, SA

Today is my son's 3rd birthday. He desperately wanted a "Boots" the monkey (from Dora the explorer) for his birthday. We however, have started the elimination diet and I wasn't willing to break it for colourants on his cake. Thank goodness for your recipe book. I made the cake and icing from your recipes and best of all, used your recipe to make the colours from cabbage, citric acid, bicarb and a little imagination. I felt like a magician turning cabbage water red and blue. I have sent a picture of my completely "Failsafe" birthday cake. (The brown is decaffeinated coffee granules). Thank you so much for your wonderful book. Without it my son would not be having his special cake for his birthday. - Claire

birthday01

I notice your correspondence is commonly from parents thanking you for the assistance with their children and their behaviour. Well I am 35 years old, and the failsafe method actually saved my life. Who knows how this may have ended, if there was inadequate information out there about the chemicals in foods (in my case particularly the natural chemicals in fruits etc). Thanks for your tireless efforts. - Liz by email.

We are now nearing the end of our third week on diet and have experienced some remarkable changes in our health, weight, moods and ability to concentrate and think more clearly. Thank you, Sue, your work is inspirational - Jane. by email.

The talk inspired our school to talk about food and they now have a better understanding the important role of what food we stock in the canteen. Job well done - we also got the community talking which is fabulous. Keep up ur great work! – Ro by email

I spoke to you briefly after your talk in Canberra about our Jekyll & Hyde second daughter and the next day I implemented a much stricter diet. She detoxed with escalated defiant behaviour for 2 days, then settled down into a very happy 1 year old for the next two days. Then out of the blue on day 5 she started headbanging in her cot, against the tiled floor, on furniture. It was devastating. She had a couple spoonfuls of a yoghurt that lunch just before it started but I was struggling to believe it would cause such a massive reaction until I remembered she had been prescribed RED Dimetapp for a cold and had been taking 1.8mls 3 times a day from days 2-4. Of course it had to be the Dimetapp, full of colours and preservatives! It has been 2 weeks and she is back to a happy little girl with an occasional attempt at hurting herself, but I can see that becoming less and less each day. I found the facebook page such a wonderful source of support during the worst of the headbanging - where else can you jump on at 2am in the morning with your bruised and battered baby & find others experiencing the same awfulness it was so great to know I wasn't alone and that there was light at the end of the tunnel (and let me tell you I didn't get much support from my doctor - he suggested she take phenergan). - Kirstie by email

I thought I knew about food and nutrition, as I learnt about this at Uni ......however, little did I know, how little I knew....about 6 years ago now I heard that Sue Dengate was on TV talking about food additives and how they affected kids behaviour, so I went to her website www.fedup.com.au where I bought her DVD and books, at that stage purely as part of my ongoing education, as I treat a lot of kids in my practice.

After watching Sue's DVD with my husband, we decided to try the FAILSAFE program, which is based on the program created by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, as we wanted to see if it would help my husband's asthma.

After just a few days of my whole family being on the program we were amazed to find that not only my husband's asthma had dramatically improved, but my son was much calmer, and happier. In addition, we were all sleeping better, and from that time pretty much all arguments have stopped in our home.

Personally, I noticed that I became more calm and relaxed, not that I thought I was uptight or stressed before, but after 5 days on the program I felt incredibly happy, and couldn't stop smiling, I felt as if I was on a yearlong holiday!

I hadn't realised that food intolerances were affecting the way I was coping in life, but now life is so much easier, and I accomplish so much more, because I am even more 'clear thinking' than I was before.

I really notice it in my son......if he eats foods that are not the best for him, he becomes cranky, and emotional, plus he suffers from nightmares and unnecessary worrying during the day. But when we are careful with his food, which is most of the time, we have a happy, relaxed boy who sleeps well and wakes up with a smile.

Over the last 6 years I have recommended many of my patients to try the Failsafe program, and most of them are amazed at how it changes their lives. A side benefit, for people suffering with back pain, is that many back pain sufferers, as well as migraine sufferers, actually have less frequent bouts of pain when following the program. I personally experienced this as well....after having Chiro for many years to help my bad back, I was relieved to find that by simply eliminating problematic foods for me, I became pain free like I had never done before. Today I still have Chiropractic for preventative health reasons, but knowing about the food side of things and how it affects my health has truly made such a change to my life.

On a very personal note.....my husband and I were constantly arguing before we changed what we ate, we had years of trouble and were seriously considering divorce. After 5 days on the program we suddenly had peace between us. Very quickly our relationship was rebuilt without the negative effects of food intolerances affecting our moods and attitudes to each other. I will be forever grateful to Sue and Howard Dengate for making this information public, apart from our massive health benefits, both my husband and myself firmly believe that the Failsafe program actually saved our marriage. When we look at what we have today, a strong happy family living peacefully together, we have to pinch ourselves, as it is so far from the reality of our lives before we learned about our food intolerances. We are incredibly grateful for Sue and Howard's work, we believe it has saved our boys from having to live in a split family, and has saved us from the stresses ad sadness that would surely have come from our divorce. - Kellie Dawson, Chiropractor, Springwood, QLD

'As a parent of two children who are on the Failsafe diet, the work you and your wife are doing is incredible, life changing and so valued. I continue to spread the word as much as I can and enjoy your facebook page on a daily basis.' - Sarah by email.

'Thanks for all you have done in setting up this great information and support network, we've have massive improvements with the boys when we suddenly twigged about what we were eating and now my wife and I are much happier and healthier too' – Daniel of Bywong

'I already can't quite believe how much calmer our 5 month old is in the last few days, and is sleeping much better than a week ago. I wish I'd heard about this before I was pregnant!' - Fiona by email

'I feel like we wasted 2 months doing Feingold when we could have done a 3 week elimination diet and known for sure!!! We are 1 week into the elimination diet and have seen more changes in that week than in the last 5 years of dietary interventions. I hope more American nutritionists will look at Failsafe instead of Feingold because it is much more complete' - Anna, USA

'Thanks for the Mistakes sheets. Wonderful! All 3 feel like pure gold! Thanks so much for all your hard work.- Tracey by email. (You can request Amines, Salicylates or Glutamates Mistakes sheets from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

'Failsafe has been our saving grace. I was at my wit's end with my son - the diet has helped me like him again.' –Alethea by email.

'We've been using your cookbook for a few weeks and her eczema rashes, hives, and swelling have been more under control than any time in the past two years!' – Jessica, USA

My story is similar to many of yours but it has taken us until Jan this year to work it out!

My daughter is 20 and has suffered bloating, runs, painful wind and, at times stabbing stomach aches which had her writhing on the floor and necessitated rushes to the doctor for pain relief, calls to afterhours drs, and hospital emergency. For the following days she was lethargic and her whole tummy area hurt. These awful symptoms which seemingly came with no warning at all were very distressing for a young girl living away from home in a Uni college, attending university and working part time.

She moved out of college accommodation this last year and has been in a shared house. Her symptoms got worse as the year went on until at the end of last year she was a mess. ( I suspect she was eating 'healthier foods' since moving away from the college.) She didn't want to eat anything as everything she felt all food was the cause of her painful bloating every night, headaches and migraines, not sleeping well (she told me later she was living on panadol and would take sleeping tablets if she had to work early the next day) After Xmas lunch she was in a lot of pain and it was very noticeable she was losing weight.

When i think back we had been to the dr with various symptoms since her birth. In late high school, after a particularly bad stomach attack our dr. could only recommend wind tablets. It is interesting to note that she had glandular fever the previous year in year 11.

During her college years her dr recommended an elimination diet. Yay! Unfortunately it was the FODMAPS elimination diet which is full of salicylates. It seemed to make some difference for a while probably due to less additives and preservatives and of course she fell off the wagon as the improvements were minor.

Our next step was to have her tested for coeliac. We were desperate although from reading I was pretty sure that was not her problem. I was right. Expensive, invasive tests for nothing. She has not wanted to do anything else for a year or so but I did say to her in November last year that when she had finished her exams and moved house she would need to see a dietician. (In the past we had only seen what was really a weight control dietician.)

Late December 2011 I spoke to a friend about my concerns and she said one of her daughters suffered greatly from stabbing pains after Xmas dinner! Her eldest daughter who has just completed a degree in nutrition and suggested her sister might be sensitive to salicylates.

I went into research mode and found a list of symptoms for salicylate sensitivity. All of the symptoms she had been having were there plus many we did not realise were part of her problem. Ringing ears, ulcers in the mouth (at the time she had 5) weeping eyes, irritability (we thought that was hormones) awful rashes under her arm. Just about everything except chronic fatigue and some eye tic!

I continued reading and helped her start the elimination diet. The bucket affect was a revelation. No wonder we could not pin point the problem foods. I read everything and borrowed Sue's books from the library and passed all the info onto my daughter. I will buy the Failsafe Cookbook. She was quite upset as looking at the list of what she couldn't eat and combined with how unwell she was, she needed lots of support. I found recipes and went shopping. She came home for a few days and we cooked and shopped and read labels. So much is just knowing the alternatives. No honey but golden syrup fine, no olive oil but canola fine. So many simple changes that are so easy. We didn't cut out amines as she was upset enough at what she couldn't eat. I thought if she still had symptoms and she was in a more cooperative mood we could cut them out later. Also she had been to Zimbabwe to visit her boyfriend's family and she had been really well. They ate a lot of aged meat and I bet their produce is stored and picked differently to ours. She gave me the food from her pantry she couldn't eat and I sent her back with foods she could eat and patties and dips and muffins.

After about a week her physical symptoms were almost gone. No more bands of heaviness in her head, or headaches, really only some mild bloating when she made a mistake with labels. Not many mothers would be happy to get a text from their daughter saying they just had their second proper poop! But I was.

She has been very busy moving, house hunting, and finishing summer school and had some special social engagements so we have not progressed to the challenges. We planned the social events and she went prepared and still enjoyed herself. She was a little bloated (which seems to be her default symptom) but managed well. She will start the challenges when she is settled. We are looking forward to it as we want to have a better idea of what is actually the main culprit. I know it may be more than one. I suspect salicylate sensitivity, flavour enhancers and maybe some preservatives. She certainly doesn't want to avoid food she doesn't have to!

Last night I got a text from her that said she felt she was not as scattered in her thinking and did not get upset and weird about things. She feels more in control and settled. Wow! These comments were after 3 particularly busy and stressful days. The physical improvements were the most noticeable at first but now the mental and behavioural improvements are showing. This has all happened in a month.

When I think back I think she has suffered since birth. She had reflux and after falling asleep would wake and cry for hours. Of course everyone said colic but even colicky babies settled sometimes. When I look at her baby photos she just looks pained and unwell. After about 4 months my husband joined me at the drs as my health centre nurse was concerned she was not putting on weight (no wonder! All her milk was on my clothes!) He told the dr we had to do something now as things were becoming desperate at home. The dr prescribed a drug that helped keep the flap at the top of her tummy closed after eating. I am pretty sure we also changed to the bottle because I was exhausted and she needed to put on weight. Well, in about a week we had a new child. Happy, smiling, sleeping putting on weight. I always attributed the improvement to the drug but now suspect it was changing to the bottle! In affect I was poisoning my baby!

She was quite good through primary school. Probably there were not as many additives and preservatives in the food and our fruit and vegetables were picked ripe. She did have some aches and pains, a rash here and there and we did joke about her lack of concentration. Nothing that really impacted her life; that was just her.

High school was ok but she was a child that always seemed to some ailment or other. Nothing too serious though. She found Year 11 and 12 difficult as she found it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. Also she had glandular fever. I am actually very proud of her to get through year 12 with an OP 8, work part time and live away from home since she was 17. In fact the part job she has had for the last 2 years has been a guest service agent in a busy Brisbane hotel. It is very demanding. Also she has worked really hard in 2011 in her studies and achieved excellent results. I actually feel so excited for her now as she has done this well with a huge health disadvantage, I can't wait to see what she does from now on. We have a dietician from the failsafe recommended list (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list) who is actually one of my daughters friends mum and she is helping with the challenges and reading my daughter food diary when things go wrong. I have purchased The Failsafe Cookbook.

If my daughter had been born now I am pretty sure we would have gone through the trials so many parents I have come across in my reading and on the DVD. This probably shows how much our food has changed over the last 20 years. At least parents today have to deal with it early in their child's life. I know this has been difficult for them but I think it is better than our experience as it has been over so many years and during some challenging teenage times for my daughter. Then again I have read of people not getting the answers until their later years and I bet many have never come across the right answers.

I really wanted to write my story and also to sincerely thank Sue and Howard and all the parents whose stories I have read. All helped piece the puzzle together. – Sylvia by email

I have an almost 5 year old son who I believe has ODD. I am yet to get this diagnosed (awaiting appointments) but would lay my soul on it that this is the case. He is the youngest of 3 children (all boys - 12, 11 and 4) and has been difficult from the word go. Things are just becoming more obvious and scaling to a higher level the older he gets. At first we were told (12 months ago) that it's a development stage he will grow out of but this just does not seem to be the case.

Our whole house/lives revolve around him. To say he dictates the household dynamics is an understatement. For the last 4 years of his life, my husband and myself have felt it was us who had the problem.

Something we were doing wrong, something we weren't doing enough of. We have read so many self help books to assist us in being better people, more controlled, more patient, more understand towards others and more at peace with our struggles. We have questioned ourselves as people and our abilities as parents everyday of our lives since he was born. Whilst this has not been of waste (improvement of any kind can only be for the better), we are now realizing that it is not us. We are not bad people and not what creates the problems.

After researching what is happening to him and his behaviors, I have stumbled across ODD, which I have never heard of before. He fits this mould to a tea. Not just four of the symptoms, but all of them and not on a weekly basis but on a daily basis, several times a day.

What I would like to investigate is the option of elimination diet to establish whether food plays a part. Definitely there are better days than others which leads me to believe certain foods may be a contributor considering there are variations to his behaviour. I have not documented nor memorized these instances as I had not even considered this could be a contributor.

Could you please help me in my quest to educate our family and assist my son with what could possibly mean a major difference in our lives?

8 weeks later:

The diet has been working really well. We hired the Fedup dvd from our local library and got the whole family to watch it so everyone could understand the effects of foods in health and behaviours and also what we were trying to achieve. We also purchased the Failsafe Cookbook for recipe ideas as well as the many helpful guides around good choice/bad choice products which became very useful when grocery shopping.

We started with small changes that were a daily consumption. Stuff like breads, milk, spreads, cereals, drinks. These items were traded for better choice products. We didn't remove anything without replacing it first with a healthy alternative. It was important for the children to understand that they were not being deprived of anything but instead by being aware of what they were eating and making better choices, they could still enjoy all the food groups including sweets.

The positive results were almost instant. Our problem son was becoming less of a problem right before our eyes. He became more emotionally in control, less aggressive within his outbursts and far more affectionate than ever before. I started getting hugs and kisses and told several times a day how much he loves me (which by the way in his words is twenty fifty hundred - I'm assuming that's somewhere near infinity). Such simple changes with so much benefit. As a family unit, we have all changed for the better. I can't say there isn't a household member who hasn't noticed at least one benefit within themselves or each other.

It brings tears to my eyes to know that something so simply had controlled our lives for far too long and left myself and my husband questioning our abilities as people and parents. I thank the heavens above everyday for stumbling across your website which provided our family with the tools to make the changes we needed for a better, loving life. For the first time in 5 years, we can now finally bond with our son. Instead of being the control of the family, he has joined with the rest of us in becoming part of the family.

I spread the word everytime food is brought up in conversation. Not just for the benefit of children like my son but for the health and benefit of all people. My only hope now is others out there are able to be introduced to this information, somehow, someway.

Thank you for all you offer families and all the best in your quest with educating the world. – Carina by email.

For our son's birthday last year we got him a Border Collie named Jax. We got him from a rescue place and he was apparently about 2 years old - seems he could be younger as he is so bouncy, and chews things and the vet said he may be only 18 months. We had to get a dog trainer out to see him cos he was too boisterous - and what was the first thing she told us? - to change his diet!! Which of course we did straight away and in 3 days we had a much calmer dog. The next week the trainer asked if we had changed - of course we had bought the new food that same night - she was surprised we had done it as many people don't bother changing the diet. Up at the dog park a lady gave Jax a piece of Smacko and of course he went Whacko. We just love the fact we got a dog who is food affected too!! - Anne from Brisbane

Thanks for your research about chilli! I have found I can manage more salicylates e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, rockmelons - but I had a rough night last week when I took some leftover sweet potatoes from the fridge for a snack at work & didn't eat chilli first. That night I was right back to the salicylate reactions - difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, and bad dreams that have plagued me for years – and I forgot about ENO (that's another one, forgetfulness). – Lydia, Qld

I am one of those people that had to work out myself what was wrong with me because all the doctors I went to didn't know. I even had one doctor so exasperated he offered me an anti-depressant! I went through so much trying to find out what was wrong with me. And the doctors were no help at all. After a few years of reading newspaper articles and looking at what I ate I finally worked out my problem - that being preservatives 202 and 282. It was so good when a doctor listened to me, agreed and sent me to a dietician who agreed as well. I was then able to get my life in some semblance of order. - Maria, by email

I'm a mom to a very amine sensitive teen boy and your books, website and DVD have been a big help to us. I think without the knowledge you imparted through your books, there's a good chance my son would have become a violent young man, because under the effects of amines he gets so angry. But, with the diet, he can enjoy life and we can enjoy him! - Kelly

More Articles ...

  1. [1102] Maple-flavoured syrup flavour causes meltdown (February 2012)
  2. [1101] Dietary information should be free (February 2012)
  3. [1100] 621: reaction to the Tony Ferguson diet (February 2012)
  4. [1099] 635: ribo rash from Tony Ferguson weight loss soups (February 2012)
  5. [1098] Vomiting five nights out of seven and we didn't know why (February 2012)
  6. [1097] Headbutting due to salicylates (February 2012)
  7. [1096] 282: bread preservative 282 causes bedwetting (February 2012)
  8. [1095] Salicylate challenge confusion (February 2012)
  9. [1094] Dietitian smoothed the way when having to deal with doctors (January 2012)
  10. [1093] Oh my goodness, the vast majority of whining seems to have disappeared …(January 2012)
  11. [1092] Pain in the bum 7 yo, asthmatic sister with frequent colds and ear infections (January 2012)
  12. [1090] "Our lives no longer revolve around tantrums" (January 2012)
  13. [1089] Soy and lentils contributed to migraines (January 2012)
  14. [1088] Severe anxiety from salicylates (January 2012) COURAGE AWARD
  15. [1087] Getting preservatives out of bread for three schools (December 2011)
  16. [1086] 319: tantrums "it was like the devil had taken him over" (December 2011)
  17. [1091] One-liners (January 2012)
  18. [1085] Soy a problem with behaviour (December 2011)
  19. [1084] Help for Velocardiofacial Syndrome also known as Deletion 22q11 (December 2011)
  20. [1083] The 40 foods blood test (December 2011)
  21. [1082] Diet helps with Chronic Fatigue following bacterial pneumonia (December 2011)
  22. [1081] Our toddler was a little tornado on salicylates (December 2011)
  23. [1080] Additive-induced asthma – from 20 puffs of Ventolin a day to none (December 2011)
  24. [1079] 220-228: Anaphylaxis due to sulfite preservatives (December 2011)
  25. [1078] Hot flushes gone within days of starting a VLF diet (February 2012)