I put myself on the diet five years ago as I was suffering severe hot flushes, was continually tired, felt sick most times after I ate, felt fuzzy in the head, got cranky for no reason and did not sleep well at all. My life changed - I now sleep well, I am not tired all the time, the hot flushes stopped, my head is clear and I very rarely get sick. If I have a lousy day or night I can always trace it back to something I have eaten the day before or two or three days before. The worst offenders are additives and salicylates. I have always been a big fruit eater especially watermelon, and it has been one of the hardest things to give up, however if I do binge on fruits high in salicylates especially watermelon I pay for it with hot flushes and a sleepless night. I also get hot flushes if I eat chicken that is not organic which I avoid at all costs now.

I see a lot of women I work with suffering with menopausal symptoms and I think myself extremely lucky that I found and was prepared to give failsafe eating a try. Unfortunately you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. These women as many other people I talk to don't believe it could be that simple and are not prepared to give it a go, silly them. - by email

We have seen some huge improvements in my 6-year-old son’s nocturnal eneuresis. He had not had any dry nights since he was 3 years old.  After making the changes below he started to have some dry nights (3-4 a week). Now he has been dry for the last 9 nights.

•     we have started him on A2 milk

•     we used to have a jug of diluted orange juice in the fridge, now the kids drink mainly water with the occasional magic cordial.

•     he was eating broccoli almost every night and we have not had any for 4 weeks now

•     I have been more diligent in not buying any products with preservative 282 in it

•     generally more aware of products full of additives, colours and preservatives since hearing you speak and reading your books

•     our son did love to eat salami and ham (deli), so he has not had this for 4 weeks.

His bladder capacity is so much bigger and he can hold on for longer in the day. His mood swings are virtually resolved and you can reason with him if he is wanting something that is not appropriate, food or otherwise. My husband and I can both see that he is more confident in himself and sociable, making him a lovely child to be around. He usually has redipred once or twice in winter for exacerbation of asthma symptoms, but so far has not required any this winter, despite having a cold last week, so that is looking positive. Thank you for motivating me to review what I was putting in my family’s mouths. We don't have access to fast foods living in the country, so that was never an issue. With a few simple changes to my son's diet, the improvements have been remarkable. The whole family is now reaping the benefit of these changes and so will continue to be more aware of what is in the food that we are eating. Thanks again for your passion and drive. – Paula, NSW

We have been on failsafe eating for just over 2 weeks. I am already starting to notice an improvement in my 6-year-old’s behaviour and picking up on certain foods that send him off the wall. I attended school last Friday with him for a picnic lunch and had to ring my husband to tell him how great our son was and it was actually a pleasure to be there with him. It is like I have my beautiful boy back again. I noticed he has been laughing at things on the tv which I haven't heard for a long time. Even his older brothers have said they thought he has been better.

By the way my 14-year-old son who thought it was all a conspiracy theory between mothers to get their kids off junk food came home from school and said ‘mum I know I didn't believe you but I actually had the best day at school today, I felt happy I could concentrate and had heaps of energy, maybe there is something to this eating programme’, and that's from my cruisy easy going child. – Maria, NSW

I just wanted to tell you about the startling difference we have seen in my son since removing salicylates. He is now 18 months old and the difference is profound - removing apple alone reduced nearly all of his night wakings, and removing avocado and corn as well has stopped his moodiness, screaming and irritability. His reflux is more under control and he no longer screams during the day and most especially at night. If he does we know it means either he or I have eaten something we shouldn’t by accident. I’ve also determined that he reacts to a lot of additives as well. 160b produces aggressiveness, defiance and screaming within 24 hours. I now have a really happy well behaved little boy. I was pushed to control cry my son due to his poor sleeping, but I knew something deeper was wrong. I'm SO glad I went with my gut instinct that it was food related. – Taryn, Vic

We have a six-year-old son with life-threatening multiple food allergies to nuts, dairy, sesame and egg.

We are concerned about the lack of allergy awareness in our state. While peanut bans initially sound like a positive move they are actually not recommended by ASCIA as they set up a false sense of security. It may only take 1/2000th of a peanut to kill. It takes up a huge amount of our time with phone calls and food label reading to try and establish what foods contain traces of nuts - and in our case other allergens. The ban is impossible to enforce, puts other parents offside, some parents and teaching staff refuse to adhere to the bans and it overshadows other allergens which are growing in number and severity like dairy or egg.

The most common allergens vary from country to country and city to city. For instance in Sydney the most common and deadly allergen amongst young children is egg. Unfortunately our child is not going to school at this stage as our local school’s idea of protecting our child from an anaphylactic reaction was to stick up a nut-free zone sign. This is cheap and an easy solution.

Rather than bans, we'd like to concentrate more on students being encouraged not to share food and to wash hands after eating. We hope these preventative measures would eliminate the needfor the next step of using the epipen, but of course we would also require teachers to be knowledgeable in this area and be comfortable in using an epipen - something that was not in place at our school.

Some big changes in NSW and VIC occurred after deaths from anaphylaxis at schools. Luckily deaths have not occurred in our state yet and hopefully they will make the necessary improvements shortly and not wait for a death to occur before they do. – Geoff, by email

(To see Geoff’s suggestions – a letter sent home to parents and an allergy awareness page - note that nut bans are encouraged in childcare centres where children are too young to understand)


•     We have been failsafe for two weeks and my shopping bill has gone down by about $100 per week with no junk or frozen convenience food anymore. – Maria, NSW
•     I wanted to try the elimination diet for my stepsons but they go to stay with their mother every second weekend and she would not support such a diet (she gives them cordial now, just because I have said to the boys they shouldn't have it) - by email
•     I enjoyed your recent presentation. I took my mother along who until that night could not believe that I was not allowing my son to eat fruits and vegetables, which are all good for you!!!  Now she asks what he is allowed and we are achieving so much. –Sandra, Qld
•     My 8-year-old son has improved so much in the past month (additive-free) and is so much calmer that my husband thought he must be ill, because he never sits around so calmly usually! – Julie, by email
•     I think your book is fantastic and should be on the six o'clock news, especially for all those poor parents who don't know what is wrong with their children! – Joanne, NSW
•     I just purchased your updated cookbook and I am having a ball with it. I made my husband the custard (he loves custard and buys commercial custard) and he had to admit it was pretty good. -  by email
•     I have a 24-year-old son who had ADHD and could not believe the change in him when we controlled the colourings in his diet - FRUIT LOOPS should be banned. – Carol, by email
•     I have changed to A2 milk and no longer get any 'bloating' which pleases me greatly. - Jane, by email
•     Thanks for your comprehensive and life-saving website! – Rita, by email
•     Being failsafe has given us the power to question so much more now about what our kids eat and what medication they take. – by email
•     We started our 1-year-old on the elimination diet, and it has been an absolute bliss. He changed from being an irritable, screaming baby, to a content playful little boy. - Jeanette, by email (see full story [651])
•     Watching your DVD was like sitting in a dark room and having someone open the blinds to the let the sun shine in’ - Carmel, by email.

•     Our daughter was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two. I could not understand how we could eat an incredible diet, mainly organic, loads of fruit, vegetables and wonderful food, and she would cough and wheeze all night. Since I found your books our lives have changed. It turns out our daughter (now four) reacts to salicylates, anything artificial, and smaller reactions to amines - Naomi, NSW.
•     We can totally relate to the Prickly Princess in Sue's latest book (which by the way is FANTASTIC) - Julie, by email.
•     My boys can now play like the other kids without getting asthma - thanks to you - by email.
•     My son hasn’t been hospitalised with asthma since we started failsafe two years ago but I have just found out that his urticaria can be caused by food, especially annatto as he accidentally ate quite a bit at vacation care over the school holidays - email, NSW.
•     Preservatives seem to be responsible for my son’s megatantrums. Before I was aware of the impact of preservatives, he was having two or three screaming tantrums per day. Now we are failsafe, I have noticed his reactions are around 24 hours later - by email.
•     Our son is coming ahead in leaps and bounds with his school work since going failsafe. It also makes a huge difference if the teachers tell you he can't see and hear properly - glasses and grommets being inserted do wonders as well as the diet has - not just labelling the child as "Difficult" which is what was happening – by email.

We have gone failsafe before but I never managed to get to get to the bottom of the problem for my son’s asthma/allergic rhinitis. I knew it was food, and suspected colours and preservatives. The dietitian you recommended was very good and we had good results with the elimination diet. Because of the asthma she wouldn't challenge MSG, preservatives or colours. It turns out our son started to wheeze about day 6 of the salicylate challenge. After two days of the amine challenge we gave up because he was so ANGRY (but not wheezing). Since then we have been to an allergist and discovered he is allergic to dust mites, some grass pollens and horse hair (we knew this one). We know we can minimise his symptoms and reactions to these allergens by keeping his diet failsafe, and are considering the de-sensitization path for at least the dust mites – email, Vic.

Just wanted to email you to let you know how helpful I found your book, Fed Up.  I recommend it to all my friends. My son was diagnosed with ADHD over a year ago now and we have always had major problems with him every single year around Easter time. He is now 11 years old and we have known for a few years now that chocolate and food colouring effect his behaviour dramatically.  It doesn't matter how many times you tell people please don't give him, lollies or chocolate, they just don't get it.  He went to his friend’s house yesterday, was very irritable last night and has totally lost control today. I begged him to tell me what he has eaten and he said he ate 4 medium sized Easter Eggs.

I think it is a real pity that other people and schools don't take these food additives seriously. He is a joy but a handful on the best of days. I constantly refer to your book and he has pulled it out of the bookshelf today to make some homemade butterscotch.

He is a prime example of how food effects children and I can guarantee everytime he has food colouring or chocolate that we will have a raging bull on our hands the next day - Suzanne, email.

I just thought I’d tell you that although my cardiologist never questioned my diet, after two hospitalizations in emergency for ventricular arrhythmia, and nearly two years of fearing for my life, feeling my heart jumping all over the place, and being miserable, I finally linked a very bad episode to a wedding and consumption of red wine, and then to the foods in my cupboard. Since eliminating sulphites, I have had NO problems. None of the medication I was given worked, (medication rarely does for arrhythmia). I wonder why didn’t anyone mention this, not when I went to the doctor, not when I was in hospital fearing I was going to die. I’ve tested this three times, having been ‘arrythmia free’ for months, and then drunk champagne or wine, eaten foods (everything you would normally eat and drink at a function) and each time, 4 to six hours after, my heart goes crazy and I can’t sleep for the whole night. It’s like I’m ‘buzzing’ and restless, with my heart banging around. This is the honest truth, I have no symptoms, and I’m medication free, and even felt so good I’ve got back into exercise without fear of dropping dead! It’s been six months (since the wedding that triggered the biggest attack ever, and the linking to red wine), that I’ve been 220 free, and free of symptoms (apart from the three ‘tests’ which were one night tests). The link was obviously cumulative, the more 220 over the day the worse the problem that night and the next days.  Alcohol with 220 is a big trigger - so much for drinking red wine every night for your health! My normal diet was toxic, I was eating Vegemite, sun-dried tomatoes, dips, fruit juice cordial, I ate cereal with dried fruit (and 220) every morning, and sauces (it’s in everything) and consumed dried fruit as snacks, thinking it was ‘good for me’. Only asthma is mentioned on the official government additive information site, but this is a message I wish could get out, so others could at least try it, as it won’t cause harm to avoid this preservative - Michiko, WA (has anyone else experienced a problem like this with sulphites? - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

I know I am sensitive to preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide), but a few months ago I ate a slice of fruit cake (which I love). As soon as I ate it, my throat felt as if it went down the "wrong" hole and my throat seemed to close a bit. I ended up with a sore throat, cold like symptoms; runny eyes, blocked nose and sinuses, persistent cough, mucus and my ears kept blocking. Oh my face broke out too. This lasted for a week. Recently, I ate a fruit mince pie. The first one tasted great so the next day I had to have another one. Now I am suffering. I have the same symptoms as above and it's been nearly a week. I said to my hubby it was a reaction from 220 but (being the expert he is) won't believe me. I've scanned the internet to see if it's common - to prove a point - but with no luck. Does anyone else have a reaction like this to 220?’

And a reply: I'm responding to an email in the newsletter ("Can you help?" - March 2008) regarding preservative 220. I've had the exact same reaction to eating fruit cake, and also reacted to sulphur-containing eye drops. The first time I reacted my throat felt swollen and closed a bit; the second time I ate quite a bit of fruit cake and my throat closed a lot - felt as if I couldn't breathe. This was followed by sore throat/"cold" symptoms lasting a few days. I haven't pin-pointed it to 220 as I haven't re-tested.

Richie's original story ([402] March 2006) described how limiting his intake of preservatives and sulphite containing foods such as mince meat, prawns, pizza, processed meats etc had helped him with breathing problems he’d suffered for over 20 years.

His update in April 2008 reads: You probably get many emails of thanks and I have sent one or two previously but what the hell, I'm going to send you another one just to let you know how much my life has improved since taking your advice. I thank you with every positive emotion I have for who you are, what you stand for and for changing my life. I have no more breathing difficulties, no more sleep problems, no more anxiety and all this leads to no more stress. No money can buy this. I have been educating the people in my life on how damaging additives, preservatives, sulphites etc. are and sent links to your site to everyone in my address book - Richie, Vic.

My son had been diagnosed with ADHD last year but I have refused medication. After picking him up from school early again, I thought I may have no option but to consider medication as a serious option. I google searched and your book popped up and from the afternoon I started my kids on the diet. Amazingly the results were seen the next day when my son actually completed a test at school (and received 100%). He never would sit at a desk long enough to even start a test let alone ace one. His teacher asked what had I done to my son because she never had seen him so engaged in the classroom. I purchased the book the next weekend and started to try to learn more about the options available. It is difficult and easy at the same time, and well worth it. Today my children had a treat (slice of non-failsafe shop-purchased cake) and I could see the adverse effects almost immediately, I know I have to continue with the diet if my children (especially my son) are to succeed and I believe I am lucky I found failsafe - Victoria, ACT.

A few days ago I had the most wonderful son all day. Just a little mild irritability, nothing major in the morning and evening and then the most delightful child.  He was fun, and calm and for the first time I have ever observed, patient.  He was keen to learn, and produced interesting drawings. He was working quietly (yes quietly) on a computer game, and managed to persevere with a difficult problem without giving up after the first or second attempt screaming. He was considerate rather than demanding.  I asked him if he liked how he felt and he did. I told him that the new food he was eating was helping stop his tantrums.  He said I was very clever for figuring out that food was the problem and that he didn’t like having tantrums. My son was such a joy that it was like someone had given me a different child in my son’s body.  For the first time, I enjoyed being a mother and loved spending time with him - Miranda, Qld.

I have been so inspired by Failsafe, I feel like I have a different child from the utter brat five weeks ago. My seven year-old had got to the point of having no friends, was to be suspended from school, was continually at the principal’s office, hitting and biting both parents etc. I had numerous meetings with his teacher, he was seeing the school counsellor, psychologists, psychiatrists, social skills training, but no change was occurring. My husband and I were in constant disagreement with him and each other over his behaviour. This is the 5th week he has been on the diet, and he is becoming the lovely child I always knew he could be. He's affectionate, quietly spoken, well behaved and non-violent. Games and toys which were banned due to his anger have been given back to him, he's keen to converse and work hard at school. He has stated that he doesn't hear the voices telling him to be bad any more, and his eyes are clear and focused. Best of all, he has fully embraced the diet, mainly as it consists of many of his favourite foods - pikelets, french toast, pancakes, white chocolate  and vanilla icecream. Knowing that he was allowed to have these on his diet was a great selling point.  He will check if he is allowed to have something and is happy if the answer is 'no'. I try to offer alternatives to him, to keep him happy and to show him that it's not a punishment to be on the diet, that there are alternatives. He had an outing with his father last weekend, and said that he had Macdonalds, and enjoyed the look of horror on my face, only to tell me he was joking. He's even helping me to cook his favourites - Merrill, by email.

My 9 year-old daughter has a severe reaction to flavour enhancer 635. The first time she came into contact with this additive was eating BBQ flavoured rice crackers. At the time she was 6 years old. She ate four crackers and complained that her tongue was feeling all 'tingly'. I advised her to stop eating the crackers. Her taste buds had swollen to around four times their normal size. I allowed her just a few crackers a few days later to see if she had a similar reaction which she did (thankfully it didn't affect her throat but I did warn her to let me know if she got breathless etc). I then banned anything to be brought into the house with this additive number. We then tried cheese-flavoured crackers - no 635 but did contain 631 and 627. Again the same reaction. I have since learnt from your website that these two additives make up the combination known as 635.

I now carefully check all labels and have advised anyone else who may be feeding my child (birthday parties included) that this is a major issue with her. I am just very grateful that I didn't need to seek outside medical advice as I know not all doctors, hospitals etc will accept this verdict. I have tried her a few more times on these additives and we always have the same result. I always ensure that we have a Ventolin puffer and antihistamines handy before trying these foods. After having these additives she feels terrible for the next two days - feels sick in the stomach, headaches, occasionally also feels ‘shaky on the inside’. She had a similar reaction to a Pluto Pup (battered sausage on a stick) but I couldn't get an ingredient list. I only assume that the additives were in the food - by email, Qld [For anyone with symptoms like this, I recommend total avoidance of 627, 631 and 635 as some people have progressed from symptoms like this to life-threatening anaphylactoid reactions  S]

After only 2 weeks of making a thin edge of the wedge start on failsafe, we are seeing drastic improvements in our 4.5yr son, 2.75 son and 1yr old daughter, and me too. No rages, no nightmares, easy to bed, sleeping all night till a reasonable time and no 5pm meltdowns. My mother visited for the first time in about seven weeks – she is interstate - and couldn't believe her eyes. The conflict between the boys - normal! - is short lived and resolved mostly unassisted and she said that she thought they were great kids who simply got tired and a-copic (my son, 4.5 - he is so articulate - would sometimes scream 'I don't know why I am upset, I have run out of coping today.') in the late afternoon. Now we know that a fabulous salicylate platter - I mean fruit platter! - every afternoon was just stacking the deck against them. My 3pm to 7pm is now very nice indeed and at 7.05 my husband and I look at each other with all 3 of them asleep in bed and can't quite believe that the house is silent. Thank you for battling to make this information accessible to us all. We are grateful - Becc, NSW.

I started failsafe eating a week ago in absolute desperation with my 14 year-old son who was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at the age of 6 years old. He progressed well on medication until we had a car accident last year and he suffered minor brain damage. After the accident his behaviour became worse and he has attempted suicide several times. Last Wednesday I took him to hospital for sedation after he broke windows and several holes in the wall with his head. Thursday morning I searched the net for a solution and came across your website. I started the diet that day. Today I have a son who obeys, talks to you face to face, calmer, quieter, he smiles and has got himself a job part time which he loves. If he is offered food at work he says no and takes his own or waits until he gets home.

One week later ... Today is day 15 and he is still going great. We have just had the best school holidays with our two sons playing instead of fighting physically and verbally. At work, his boss doesn't even know he has ADHD and ODD. He did eat a piece of chicken at work and advised me his brain felt funny and would not eat anything that is not on the list. I'm glad he tried something off the list in moderation and noticed the difference. Your Failsafe Cookbook has been a great help and I do not leave the house without the list of basic foods and list of additives. I call this my bible. Not only has his behaviour changed but also his stomach pains and migraines are a thing of the past. The television has gone from a volume of 60 to 15. Thank you for your website that changed our lives and made my teenager happier. The difference has been unbelievable. - Janelle, Qld.

I have done an extensive amount of research about the various fish oils available and found Xtend-Life from New Zealand to be very forthcoming with information about their product when emailed queries. We have tried it with the three children and myself (all amine, salicylate, lactose, and everything artificial responders) and found it to be fine (although I can’t say I noticed any benefits, I certainly didn’t notice any deterioration either). It is only available directly from them, not through stores. The website is as follows: http://health.xtend-life.com/product/Omega_3_~_DHA_Esters.aspx. [we welcome feedback]

My daughter was taking fish oil capsules prescribed by our homeopath (and yes, I have taken notice of your comments in the Checklist of Common Mistakes about homeopathics possibly causing more problems, just what I didn't need to hear) and within days she became an insomniac!  It took us several weeks to come up with the connection and as soon as we stopped them, sleep returned to normal.

•     My daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was three. By the time she went to school, at five, she was crippled with it. She's now 25. Three weeks after she started her elimination diet, she told me: ‘Mum, the pain's gone. For the first time in 23 years, I have no pain’. - by email, NT
•     My mother, grandmother and aunt all have arthritis. I've been failsafe for six years and I'm pretty sure if I wasn't failsafe I would have arthritis too, because I can notice my hands get stiff if I break my diet and eat too many salicylates. - by email, NT
•     My 8 year old daughter has rheumatoid arthritis. It's hard to believe, after three weeks on failsafe foods, she is free of pain for the first time in years. - by email, NT

The most remarkable story comes from Bernard in Wollongong. Now active and virtually arthritis-free, Bernard suffered from painful and crippling arthritis for nearly 30 years. In 1994, he was told that if his arthritis was not controlled by daily use of medication, he had 'only four or five years of active life left'. After extensive reading, Bernard opted to try an elimination diet against the recommendation of his specialist, and achieved remarkable results. He warns that arthritis sufferers may need extra time. Bernard wrote:

'If you think that the time span of the food effects on children and their behaviour is long you should try solving the rheumatic and inflammatory disease problem. You are looking at an abstinence time of up to 12 weeks before challenges, symptoms that could take more than a week to identify, and challenges that could take four months or more to complete. I am still improving after eight and a half years on low chemical foods. NOTHING will make me eat the foods I once loved so much.' ...

When Bernard challenged salicylates, on the morning of the eighth day he found his arthritis had returned with such a vengeance that it took him an hour to get out of bed. Artificial food colouring took two days to aggravate his arthritis.

After so many years of needless pain and suffering it is not surprising that Bernard and others like him feel angry about misinformation from experts. When a well-known Australian nutritionist wrote that there is no truth in the rumour that people with arthritis should not eat tomatoes, Bernard added his own comment: 'like hell there isn't!'

You can read about the effects of additives and natural chemicals in fruit and vegetables in Bernard's ‘My life with arthritis’ story: ‘I have suffered with the pain and swelling of arthritis in my arms, hands, neck, back, legs and feet for almost half of my adult life. At times my condition was so bad that I was only able to walk about 50 metres without a rest. The constant pain I suffered was unbearable ... ‘ see this entire amazing story at http://www.fedup.com.au/images/stories/Bernard's%20arthritis%20story.pdf 

UPDATE 2019 at the age of 84: My wife and I are doing fine we think, and thanks to being basically failsafe for nearly 23 years … I  now have had 23 years virtually without pain.

I began the elimination diet after reading Fed Up with Asthma [now out of print, the asthma information from this book has been incorporated into the 2008 edition of Fed Up]. I was pregnant with our second child. My first pregnancy was fraught with pain from aching joints, hips especially, from which I d never suffered before. The pain was very great and continued after childbirth, though not troubling me much, just now and then. My joint movement continued to be impaired. In this pregnancy the pain began in the first trimester, whereas it had begun late in the previous pregnancy. I suffered much sleeplessness and worried how I would last 9 months like this. After 2-3 weeks on the diet (dairy and gluten-free as well) I no longer needed ventolin at all, just one puff daily of my preventer (I'd been using ventolin up to 8 times daily with little effect and 4 puffs of the preventer). Also, no joint pain at all, and the return of a normal range of joint motion. - Elizabeth, by email

My arthritis started after a car accident at the age of 19, also ringing in the ears. The arthritis was to the point where I would soak my hands in hot water each morning to get them ok to work. Both my arthritis and ringing in the ears disappeared totally on failsafe, it was incredible. Four years on, it remains largely stable, is clearly affected by mainly salicylates and sulphites and to a lesser extent amines and MSG. Medication was generally ineffective. - by email, Qld

From the age of 15 I slowly became more and more tired and foggy headed. Gradually I found it impossible to walk to school anymore, and regularly got 12 hours of sleep or more a night. I found out a few years ago that gluten does awful things to my energy levels and brain function, I wish I had known that when I was at school as I'm sure it held me back. In the last two months I was put on a rotation diet where I had to eat a huge variety of fruit and vegetables but could only have each every fifth day. I have NEVER felt so foggy headed, had such blurry vision or had such awful joint pains. All from eating loads of fruit and veg. Consequently, I have high hopes for Failsafe!

Keep up the absolutely fantastic work, you will be vindicated and become a mythical hero in the future (she-who-fought-the-beast-before-we-even-knew-it-was-there) ;-) – Roman, by email

My friend’s son who had suffered for years with fierce rashes on his body is now completely free of sores. I am totally in awe of your program, you are saving many children from a life of misery. – by email

Attention to preservatives and colours, particularly in sweets, like Neapolitan ice cream, jelly and flavoured milk has resolved my son’s bedwetting problem. – reader, NSW

The diet really isn't as bad as we first thought, now we know how much it helps. I've just come home from carols by candlelight at my new school, it was brilliant, but you should have seen all the red ‘Christmas’ food they were selling - I hate to think what the kids will be like tomorrow. Most of them were misbehaved and cranky on Friday. We weren't though. – Anita, aged 10.

We have managed our daughter's salicylate and amine sensitivity with failsafe eating for almost seven years now and are happy to report that her problems with salicylates are now much reduced, although amines are still a problem for her. (They tend to give her stomach pains and mood swings). She is now able to concentrate at school and has a circle of friends. We would like to thank you for your work and we are pleased that we never had to resort to medication for a girl
who could easily have been diagnosed as ADHD. – Gabrielle, Vic

We have been eating failsafe for nearly a year now. Our daughter is both amine and salicylate sensitive. Although we don’t always have things perfectly controlled, our lives are infinitely better. The improvements we have seen has meant my daughter and I could salvage our relationship which I had feared was being permanently, irreparably damaged. We now see the loving, compliant, creative, intelligent person that was trapped for so long. - Sally, by email

The paediatrician gave me your web address and I am so grateful. We have six children and I am amazed at the difference in all of them in the three weeks that we have been doing the failsafe booklet - I have even helped my husband and myself and my baby with problems I have no idea were food related. I borrowed Fed Up with ADHD from the library. It is like reading about my own children. - Sue, Qld

I cannot thank you enough for helping me and my family with our food-related illnesses. I feel like I finally understand the roller coaster that I have been on since a terrible case of food poisoning in 2000. Your book The Failsafe Cookbook is helping all of us be a happier and healthier family. My 2 year old is finally sleeping through the night and my husband is elated to have me ‘back to normal.’  Carolyn, NZ

I simply wanted to write a quick note to say thanks for your work. I have read and watched your website and interviews/DVD and find everything you say to be completely common sense. In fact, today on Christmas day I had my 74 year old Dad sit down and watch your DVD, so he can appreciate why we live and eat the way we do - and to help him see why we avoid treats like the ones so often given. I was raised on a dozen of soft drink, chips, meat and three veg and chocolate!!

We are very conscious of what food we eat, have an organic food box delivered weekly, and minimise the consumption of nasty foods to parties and the like for people who know no different (and aren’t about to listen!!).

We realise that our children behave differently when they have certain foods (mostly manic crazy behaviour and a complete lack of ability to listen or focus, lots of running around, shouting, and animated hand movements) but find it so hard to eliminate it completely from the homes of others. Luckily many of our friends eat in the same way as we do.

I wanted to tell you a little story about our oldest son. He is four this coming March and I asked him ‘Do you know what McDonald’s is, mate?’

‘Yes’ he said and laughed at me and told me that I was a duffa for not knowing. ‘It’s old McDonald had a farm!!!’

He is yet to go to the Golden Arches for anything more than a water at the drive through and has no idea of the marketing pull those companies have, as we avoid mainstream TV and instead have some quiet time every now and then with chosen DVDs appropriate for their age.  We are so lucky to have such wise little people in our lives, who are happy being nurtured on fresh whole foods (as they know nothing else!) Thank you for helping us feel safe and happy in our decisions, and to know that we can happily be different based on solid scientific evidence that we are doing a great thing for our children. – Donna, Vic

I have four children: two adult children, and two under the age of 5 years.  My adult children muddled along in the world, not knowing much about all the bad things in particular foods.  However, looking back I can see they too would have benefited from this way of life.

My youngest two though, have multiple intolerances. It is just amazing to watch. Because I had a 17 years gap between my children, I have seen first hand the difference between the years. What I grew up with was home cooked things. My adult children had combination of home and 'very occasional' takeaways. However, my youngest children, both know all the main take out places ie Maccas, KFC, Hungry Jacks etc. It shows the difference in how we live now.

I have started on three separate occasions with the elimination diet with success each time. It has only been through inconvenience that each time I have gradually allowed the bad items to creep back in to their diet. Once it gets crazy around home again I realise I must stick to what I know they can and can't have!

This time around, both children and one granddaughter have been ‘detoxing’ for fours days, and the improvement is out of sight yet again. I actually had a peaceful drive for 15 minutes yesterday. Usually I am repeatedly telling them to stop the unruly behaviour, the silly noises, the repetitiveness, the fighting, the whining etc and the list goes on. Yesterday I had to look in the mirror to see if they were asleep!  How nice.

I just want to thank you so much for showing an interest in not only what was happening in your own family, but to extend that and show all who want to listen that what is happening to our children (and us) is not normal. That we can help what is happening to our bodies. – Cathryn, Tas

A few years ago I was suffering from dizziness, especially going down stairs and an inability to remember numbers and facts. I also felt like I was on the verge of getting the flu because my glands in my right arm were always sore.

Given I am a scientist, the loss of balance and remembering ability was freaking me out big time. I was only 30 at the time (I am 34 now) and was too scared to tell anyone. I was writing notes that I would read and re-read to compensate for the inability to remember large strings of data. Bear in mind remembering a 20 digit number had been no problem for me and all of a sudden remembering 2 digits was difficult.

I had been on a diet to lose weight and kept my calorie intake below 1600 calories a day. I was also working long hours therefore was eating a lot of quick foods like noodles (with those flavour sachets). I would get woozy but it would never occur to me that there was something majorly wrong.

I was in a Chinese restaurant with friends and ordered the Chicken and Corn soup. Within ten minutes of eating the soup I started getting pains in my arms, chest and face. I thought I might be having a heart attack (what did I know?). I felt like my face was swelling and then I crashed. I was soooooo tired. I only ate white rice after the soup. It was almost as if my body was demanding it. It was a friend at the table who had an intolerance to MSG that told me what was happening. I
asked the waitress, she laughed and told me it was the MSG.

The first thing I did when I left that restaurant was buy four bars of candy and a bag of jelly belly candy. I can eat a lot of sweets but never as much as I ate that day. I was lying down on shop stools because I was so tired. It took four days for me to be able to stay awake for more than a few hours.

I would cry whenever I saw soup stock cubes or anything else that contained MSG in my kitchen and would quickly throw it away. The wooziness and dizziness slowly disappeared as did the persistent swollen gland feeling in my arm.

Why am I telling you this? It is the remembering ability. It was not mentioned on any website that I have looked at. About ten months after I stopped eating MSG I was working on an instrument in France and looking for a phone number and I actually remembered it. It was ten digits. I sat there and stared in wonder.

I might not have been able to remember facts a year before but all of a sudden I could remember 10 digits again after having looked at the number only a couple of times. I still cannot remember 20 digit numbers but my mind improves everyday.

If MSG was affecting my ability to remember in my ‘old age’ of 30, and I was not exposed to it on a regular basis as a kid, what is it doing to kids in our schools? What is happening to their little brains? If I had my way I would ban all additives in foodstuffs. There are other ways to preserve foods that do not include additives. Furthermore, fresh is best and is it really that hard to prepare a meal? No. I just wanted you to know exactly how bad MSG can be affecting young minds. – by
email, Germany

I recently purchased a bottle of liquid Chromium Picolinate supplement which I was told contained water and the mineral. I took 1ml of the liquid with my lunch - 5ml is the correct dose but I always need to be cautious. Within 10 mins I started to feel spaced out and then over the next 2 hours had blurred vision, heart palpitations, was disorientated and needed to lie down. My tongue and throat had the feeling of swelling and breathing was slightly laboured. After a few hours my joints became swollen, inflamed and painful.

My husband phoned the telephone number on the bottle to see if there was anything added to the liquid other than those things stated on the bottle. He was told that it has a preservative in it called Methyl Paraben or Methyl 4-Hydroxbenzoate [preservative 218]. There is nothing on the bottle to suggest this.

I am intolerant of many preservatives, additives, salicylates and amines etc. but never before have I had such and quick and violent reaction. Today 24 hours later I'm feeling much better but certainly nothing like normal.

My reason for writing is that the firm did not take any responsibility for not having the bottle labelled, were unconcerned about my condition and refuse to credit us the price of the product which cost $16.50. To whom can I write and complain about this appalling breach of labelling and also warn others of its danger? [answer:Consumer Adverse Medication Events Line: Ph 1300 134 237, http://www.tga.gov.au] – by email

Through the elimination diet and challenges we found out that annatto 160b causes a severe reaction in our 7 year old daughter. Symptoms include migraine, loss of fine motor control, head banging, violence and aggression, screaming and yelling, loss of rational thought and temporary memory loss, beginning 24 hours after ingestion and gradually diminishing over two weeks. Luckily for us (and by chance) I seldom purchased products containing annatto prior to the challenge, I shudder to think where we would have ended up if she had been consuming annatto regularly all her life. – reader, Qld

My husband used to suffer from recurrent stress fractures in his shins. This turned out to be a nutritional deficiency in zinc, vitamin D and certain amino acids (also causing low hormones) due to his undiagnosed gluten intolerance. He was as stunned as I was at our reactions to the challenges following the elimination diet and now actively avoids additives and gluten as he has experienced how they affect his well-being. If not for the diet, he would still be an incredibly frustrated sportsman sitting out the remainder of the season after his shins flared up yet again.  – by email, Qld

Our older daughter was well within the scope of a 'normal' child before the elimination diet.  The only reason she did it was because the whole family did it to support her sister.  We would never have sorted out why she was always covered in bruises, got such growing pains and frequent headaches, why she was always restless and talked loud and why she was so skinny. All these disappeared on the diet. Thanks to our dietitian we found she is, among others, intolerant to gluten. – by email, Qld

Tim was our first child and at the age of 6 months was doing well on breastmilk, formula and Farex. On the advice of the community nurse, we followed the usual recommendations and one of the first group of foods to introduce was potato, banana and avocado. After trialling potato and pumpkin very well, we then tried avocado which he did not like and started to get a rash around his mouth. After a couple of days and not thinking much of it (just teething?) we then tried banana. Within minutes, Tim’s rash around the mouth returned and he kept spitting the food out. After a couple of hours when we put him to bed, Tim started to vomit 2-3 episodes, very distressed and turning beetroot colour. He also had swelling and welts around the mouth.  We rushed him to the hospital and were later referred to the RPA allergy clinic. Pin-prick tests showed allergy to peanuts, moulds and some others, and we started the elimination diet. Over the next couple of months, we soon discovered he was intolerant to amines, because everytime we tried an amine food eg. paw paw, chocolate, fresh cheese, he would immediately or a couple of hours later, vomit and these hives and welts were visible.

Over the next year, every time I tried Tim on fresh cheese (mild and tasty cheese were completely off the list as Tim would not tolerate these at all), he would fall sick with gastro, vomiting and very distressed. He was still highly intolerant to amine foods. We also had a blood test for banana performed and discovered that he also has a true allergy to this fruit and it was rated as high on the scale.

We visited my parents one day and they had blueberry jam (which Tim can tolerate if it's IXL brand) but the brand was different and one hour after eating it, he vomited.

When he had just turned 3, he came down with pneumonia and was hospitalised for a week. During this time, the nursing staff gave him children's panadol which was orange flavoured. Every time they gave it to him, he would vomit it immediately. Eventually we found that the cherry/vanilla baby panadol was the only one he could tolerate. I also had to speak to the catering staff and give them copies of what foods and cooking processes he could manage. It certainly was
challenging and we did have to bring in our own supply of meals because the hospitals couldn't cope with the particulars (especially the hidden ingredients in foods).

Since then we have always been very particular on the types of food bought, made and at parties because of Tim's reactions. We learnt early to cook our own bread, buy only food without amines, buy fresh white fish and make his own party food to go to places. Many people thought we were going overboard and being too picky but we didn't want Tim to always be sick and we wanted to give him confidence in eating nutritional foods rather than always being wary.

Tim is now five years old and attending full-time school and I am finding it a challenge regarding the availability of foods without additives and spices etc. He loves sausages, but our butcher has admitted that the meat and additives in them aren't perfect. Tim is very tempted in trying new foods that his mates bring to the school and we know there will be times when he will try and not feel so good but we are educating him to the best that parents can. - by email, Qld

I have to thank you for your support and time around 12 years ago with our daughter who is intolerant to salicylates. It took us a long time to work out the problems and then finally we were put on to a paediatric dietician who recommended we read your book Different Kids. I spent the night reading your book crying and laughing the night through and knew that this was my daughter and we had to follow through with the dietary program. We have always been great with fresh food and little use of preservatives in food, once reading this book we realised that it can be good food that can cause our problems. We spent the next 6 months working through all the things that she was intolerant too and living a much happier life. My daughter is now 15 years old and has now become aware of her own intolerances and works her diet out accordingly. It made such a difference to our lives and hers. We could not thank you enough for the inspirations and understanding that we were not the only people with this problem.  It still brings a tear to my eye when I remember that night reading your book and a whole new world opened up to us.  We have talked about that night to many people who were having problems with children’s behaviors.  We just could not commend the elimination diet enough, it changed out lives forever. – Kathy by email

I have had my 7 year-old daughter on an additive free diet (eliminating colours, preservatives, flavour enhancers and synthetic antioxidants) for one week and I cannot thank you enough. I have got my beautiful girl back. Looking back now I can see that she has probably always been intolerant of additives. The dramatic change in her in nothing short of amazing. Getting to sleep was always a major problem. Extremely emotional outbursts were constant, this is only to mention a couple of problems we were dealing with. The last two nights she has fallen to sleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.  It used to take anything up to 2 and a half hours (frustrating for both of us). This morning I was able to brush her hair without tears for the first time in her life.

Two months later … She is still going along really well and we have been able to add back some food back into her diet. The main ones she had reacted to are orange flavour and Twisties and any take-away food along the lines of McDonalds burgers or Hungry Jacks.- Kerri, by email

Since birth, my son Noah had trouble with sleep it didn’t matter what I did or what time of day or night it was, it would always take him at least 2 hours to get to sleep, and then if I put him down in his cot, he would wake 10 minutes later screaming. Then it would take another 2 hours of pacing the dark hallways before he’d doze off again. In the end, I spent the first 12 months of Noah’s life sleeping in the rocking chair with him, just so he would sleep. I nearly went crazy with fatigue and
confusion. I tried everything I (and everyone around me) could think of.

In the end, I insisted that there was something going on because the times he wasn’t crying, I could see that he really had a very social, gentle and loving nature that was at odds with the furious, red screaming insomniac he was the rest of the time! He was breastfed and everything got much worse when I introduced solids. I was advised by a homeopath to stop eating dairy and give him slippery elm powder to help settle his guts. Everything got so much worse after that. The only thing he could have been reacting to in the slippery elm was salicylates so she put me on a low-salicylate diet. Noah improved but I didn’t take it fully seriously I was naughty a lot! I continued drinking coffee and some other things like that. Finally, when Noah was 18 months old, I discovered your website. It changed my entire life, and you will never truly know how indebted I am to you for the work you do. – Alison, Qld

I just had to tell you!!! For the last two months I’ve had no additives, no kiwi fruit, no oranges, no strawberries, no tomatoes, no juice and have had 7 weeks without a mouth ulcer. Usually I only go about 2 weeks pain free before the skin on the roof of my mouth peels, the tip of my tongue becomes extremely sore together with a badly infected ulcer anywhere in the mouth. Last week I ate 3/4 tomato - within 24 hours I was starting to get an ulcer. Fortunately, this time it hasn't developed into anything nasty - probably because I went back on the strict diet. - Di, Vic

I started my family on the diet three months ago – successfully - for my son. After a weekend away, just me and my hubby, eating all the things we haven’t eaten for some time, most of all flavoured chips, I got mouth ulcers back again. This is something I have suffered with for many years, I have often feared it to be cancer, and had swabs taken etc to no avail. I hadn’t really noticed that they had gone away, till they came back again within 2 days - unbelievable! – Rachael, by email

We are currently doing the elimination diet and challenges with our son. Interestingly enough, I have discovered that every time he has a food reaction I find it very hard to understand his talking and he also seems to drool more. Just thought these were interesting side effects... – by email

Our six-year-old son is intolerant to many preservatives, colours, flavours, gluten, dairy and food chemicals. Unless we control what we feed him on his very restricted diet, he reacts behaviourally and cannot learn at school or go forward in his treatment by his paediatrician.

In early 2007, we started giving our son a gluten free bread mix which states on the packet, ‘preservative free’. We had reason to trust this product because it was listed on the ‘safe shopping guide’ issued by the Australian Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, supplied by our dietitian.

This product was wonderful with it being so versatile in producing pancakes, bread, crumpets, wraps and pizza bases all from this one mix. Our son was able to enjoy more variety without feeling deprived. Once I increased the dose of this product for our son, i.e. pancakes for breakfast, French toast for lunch and a wrap for after school, within a day he displayed explosive behaviour and was unreasonable.

We did not suspect foods as it was listed as safe and the company was a reputable company.

We rang our paediatrician who advised us to cut down on his supplement. After a week there was no change, even at school our son’s teacher was noticing a big difference in behaviour and learning. The paediatrician advised a blood test, another week passed for the results which in turn came back within normal range. Only then did we suspect foods. The Food Intolerance Network always advises their members to check products containing fats or oils for hidden synthetic antioxidants. I rang our supermarket to double check if there were any changes in their sunflower oil that we use, and they advised there were none. I then rang the bread company and spoke to their Quality Operations Officer. I asked if there were any synthetic antioxidants in their product in question, he said he was pretty sure there wasn’t. We insisted that he double check because we were at wits’ end and we were ready to have our son’s head scanned because he was so aggressive and erratic in his behaviour. The man rang back in shock and was very apologetic, because the oil which was supposed to be ‘pure canola oil’ as stated on the ingredients list, in fact had synthetic antioxidant 319 in it.

We were relieved but angry, our son was put through four weeks of hell, not to mention us as well, because he could not control what he was doing, and it took well over a week for the affects to wear off. We had our good boy back and he even said, ‘Mummy please don’t give me bad food any more’!

When our son has had foods with hidden synthetic antioxidants in them, we consider the reaction our son displayed as life threatening, for example, when our son becomes enraged with fury, usually over something trivial, he has run out onto the road. Another time when I was driving down the mountain on hair pin bend roads, enraged, our son got hold of my hood on my jacket and was pulling on it while I was doing my best to manoeuvre the car down the road without hitting the guard rails and going over the cliff. We believe that these antioxidants should at all times appear on the label. – by email, NSW [Thanks to this mother and the helpful people at Laucke’s, their gluten-free bread is now free of nasty antioxidants]

My 10 yr-old disabled daughter was on neocate advance which she didn't tolerate and I was told she was past the hospital’s expertise so they didn't know what to do with her. She was getting sick, looked shocking and her behaviour was very hard to manage (especially as mentally she is about two-year-old) so I gave her ricemilk instead of neocate advance. After four days I realized she wasn't tolerating ricemilk. So in desperation I tried A2 milk after seeing what it did for a friend’s son - his behaviour improved dramatically, he stopped screaming, his ear infections stopped and he started to talk.

My daughter has been on A2 milk for a week now (due to underweight issues she is tube fed over a litre a day) and she looks heaps healthier. Since commencing A2 milk the diarrhoea has stopped and nappies are becoming more solid, no vomiting, rashes are gone, wheezing gone and she is wanting her tube feeds - and more - plus solids, usually we have big problems getting her to eat orally. In a week she has gone from 18.2 to 19.4kg (400g being in the last 2 days) that's the best weight gain she has ever had. Her behaviour is wonderful. She is so calm and she has started to talk (she was non verbal before). She even sat with her baby sister for an hour and actually played with the baby’s toy with her. That's amazing as usually she hasn't got a very good concentration span - one minute if you’re lucky is all I've managed out of her - and she doesn't play, never has done - so her changes are amazing and very strange as she doesn't tolerate cows milk so I don't understand do you have any idea … – Catherine, Vic [For research about the effect of a peptide called BCM7 in A1 cows milk on neurological symptoms, see the book Devil in the Milk: illness, health and politics, A1 and A2 milk, by Keith Woodford, 2007. High levels of BCM7 have been found in an elemental infant formula but we don’t know about Neocate – it is usually but not always well tolerated.]

My reaction to red coloured ibuprofen is an insidious slowly building feeling of being unwell, stuffy head like the flu, but no nasal symptoms, and a queasy stomach like eaten too much rich food. The effect is slow growing over several days. When I stop the coloured ibuprofen it takes several days for the symptoms to clear up till I feel well again. It was difficult to diagnose. I have learned much of the last five years thanks to your work. When I take the white Brufen I am OK. The red ones were available on prescription thus cheaper but as I found out cheaper is not better. To get the right dose (200 mg) I take half a white tablet. – Steve, by email

My son began getting diarrhoea and severe stomach pains from tomatoes and other high salicylate foods upon introduction of these foods from 6 months. My GP wasn’t concerned about my son having constant foaming revolting smelling poo for three months but I certainly was! Thank you for your wonderful website which helped us to sort out this problem. He has shown similar reactions to salicylates in foods as he has to Nurofen – stomach pain that makes him scream for hours in agony and diarrhoea within 24 hours. This was when he was quite younger and we now know better than to give it to him. – Kate, by email

My husband has had a serious tooth ache on the weekend. He has taking Panadol and needed more relief, so I gave him some Nurofen. Well, within 5-10 minutes, he was irrational and aggressive, along with a huge anxiety attack. He then took some more two days later with the same reaction. – by email

I was diagnosed with asthma last year. I am 43 years old. This year I took two Nurofen tablets - after eliminating them from my intake last year when I went on the elimination diet - before a minor medical procedure. (I had not related Nurofen to my asthma at this stage).  Within two hours of taking the Nurofen and while I was still in the doctor's surgery I had an asthma attack. Both the doctor and I were very surprised. The asthma attack lasted for four hours!  I had had no other introduction of foods etc in the lead up to this minor procedure, and the doctor told me that many asthmatics are finding that they can not take Nurofen. I have added Nurofen to the 'don't take' list. – Kathleen C, by email

I was horrified when I served up some grapes for a snack and noticed that the packaging stated - 'these grapes may have had contact with sulphur dioxide'.  I had felt a little asthmatic over the days since I bought the grapes and once I read the label it solved the mystery of my unwell feeling. – by email

My 4 year-old daughter has had eczema and asthma since she was 12 months old. Once a month she would come down with a cold and have to use her Ventolin and she was constantly scratching at her skin. Six months ago I concentrated on removing preservatives and MSG from her diet, and have noticed a huge improvement. We have not had a cold since and her skin has cleared up. – Kate, by email

Our food journey started with me picking up your Fed Up with Asthma book from the bookstore after our three year-old had just experienced a bout of wheezing. I read it all in one sitting and was left both horrified and hopeful. We decided that since we had nothing to lose that we would try the diet as a family in an attempt to pinpoint the trigger of our daughter's asthma. I was optimistic about finding a trigger but not really expecting to find it. Grace did the sulphite challenge with an apricot fruit bar as recommended by our dietitian - she had no reaction to the salicylate or amine challenges. I gave her the bar at the start of a short car journey. Within 5 minutes of finishing the bar, her breathing had become so laboured and wheezing so loud that I had to stop the car to give her Ventolin.

Over the next few months I repeated the challenge with a different brand of fruit bar, berry flavour and again with 4 dried apricots. Same results each time. Prior to the diet she would eat dried fruit, sausages and non-organic grapes quite often and was on a substantial twice daily preventer medication regimen as well as Ventolin about 1-2 times per week. Funnily enough it had never occurred to us that ‘healthy’ food could possibly trigger asthma.

We had been told by the paediatrician that Grace had severe and unpredictable asthma and required aggressive preventative treatment to avoid the life-threatening attacks that she had experienced. Obviously we now strictly avoid any sulphites and Grace no longer requires Ventolin or preventers. We have found that her asthma is indeed predictable and is treatable without any medication. I would even go as far as to say that she no longer has asthma, she merely exhibits asthma-like symptoms in response to sulphites.

Grace’s growth had been stunted by her asthma medication. From her growth chart you can see the month she swapped to the stronger medication and also when we took her off it (post-diet). She grew 1cm a week for two months after she came off the meds. Her rate of growth is now normal .– reader, Qld

We did the elimination diet for my 13 month-old son (see story [634] Silent reflux, gastro, extreme nappy rash – months of needless medication). The other amazing thing is that after two weeks, my husband is a completely different man. He is no longer depressed, low, moody, disengaged, angry at everyone, abusive to himself (putting himself down). I had been on the verge of asking him to see a GP who is a specialist in beyond blue stuff but now there is no need. Since the diet, he is helpful as anything, has positive comments, is physically touching the kids so much more, is enthusiastic, has initiative and is just an all round changed man!!!!!  He can feel the difference himself as well.  My mum has been blown away with his changed attitude to everyone. – Fiona, ACT

I have had depression since a late teen, which got worse with each of my pregnancies, to the point where after my youngest was born I was told by a leading post-natal depression psychiatrist that my depression was incurable and medication resistant. He said I would require weekly ECT (shock-therapy) treatments in order to lead a normal life. I said no and didn’t see him again after that. Another doctor prescribed an anti-depressant that I hadn’t tried, which kept me alive. The milk allergy manifests in me as depression, mild to moderate oedema and headaches - not your usual allergy symptoms, which is why it wasn’t diagnosed earlier. Without milk in my diet I suffer no depressive symptoms whatsoever and do not require any medication (and the associated side-effects). If not for your book, I would still be popping happy pills morning and night. – by email, Qld

Fragrances have been my bugbear for years, and I find if I go anywhere where there are fragrances, I am usually ‘unwell’ for 2 - 3 days afterward depending on the length of time of exposure. As a consequence, I try to avoid doing my shopping myself, and also avoid attending church in the hot weather, as this increases the effects of the fragrances in the air. – Merryn, Vic

When I was a child I used to be unreasonably uncomfortable when in the hairdresser, and could not handle being around people with strong deodorant or aftershave or perfume, and I still can't. -  Michael (now 25), NSW

I always get a rash from perfumes but never suspected that perfume could be the cause of my headaches too, until I read your website. -  Marilyn, Qld

I read in your newsletter about a mum who has trouble with her kids when she enters shops and toilets – in the past I have bought various ‘Impulse’ type body sprays, and within a few minutes I feel anxious and very touchy. – Michelle, by email

I posted very early on when this site first started with my son's story of very severe eczema (on the soles of his feet) which took three months to clear, and was related to salicylates. We started Failsafe though because of behavioural problems and had the added bonus of the eczema clearing up completely. He also reacts badly to heavy chemical fumes such as chlorine, ammonia etc (airborne salicylates).

Anyhow, recently he had a major behavioural reaction, I was absolutely sure it was not food related. He was attending Vacation Care at the time. Recently he came home and just happened to mention that one of the ladies had sprayed something on the table he was sitting at, and when he asked what it was, was told ‘Don't worry Chris, it won't kill you’ (grrrr from me - what if he had been asthmatic?). Anyhow I decided to investigate this, as I could find no food reason for the deterioration of his behaviour.

Turned out that they had been spraying Dettol (or something that smells very similar) on the lunch tables, and regularly spraying air fresheners. (I have since talked to them and they now make sure he is nowhere near when they are spraying stuff around, and he has been fine since).

Anyway, that was the same time he started complaining that his feet were sore - I checked and there was eczema on the soles of his feet again (first time in two years of being Failsafe). Just thought this might be helpful to some out there! It can be more than food! – Jenny, NT

More Articles ...

  1. [634] Silent reflux, gastro, extreme nappy rash – months of needless medication (February 2008) WINNER OF THE COURAGE AWARD
  2. [649] Arthritis one-liners (February 2008)
  3. [650] Bernard's arthritis story (February 2008)
  4. [582] ‘Sensitive ears’ in an 18-month-old (November 2007)
  5. [583] 160b: Head banging and annatto (see also Annatto factsheet) (November 2007)
  6. [584] 160b: ‘Croup cough’ from annatto (see also Annatto factsheet) (November 2007)
  7. [585] 102: Lifethreatening asthma from artificial colour 102 (tartrazine, yellow #5) (November 2007)
  8. [586] 631: Racing heart beat after flavour enhancer 631 (November 2007)
  9. [587] 635: Ribo Rash from 30-year-old traditional recipe using a packet soup base (November 2007)
  10. [588] 635: Long distance hiker and ribo rash (November 2007)
  11. [589] 635: Possible Ribo Rash in a 19-year-old (November 2007)
  12. [590] 635: Possible Ribo Rash in a 74-year-old (November 2007)
  13. [591] Help from compounding pharmacists (November 2007)
  14. [592] Grandparents notice temperament change after 28 years of marriage (November 2007)
  15. [593] Additive-free improvements in Generalised Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks (November 2007)
  16. [594] Amazing changes in difficult two-year-old (November 2007)
  17. [595] Filling our house with laughter (November 2007)
  18. [596] From ‘severe inattentive ADD’ to ‘normal’ due to diet (November 2007)
  19. [597] One liners (November 2007)
  20. [598] Australian of the year nomination (November 2007)
  21. [599] Anita’s speech: a 10-year-old tells her school about food intolerance (November 2007) WINNER OF THE COURAGE AWARD
  22. [575] Vocal tics, word and phrase repetition due to salicylates and additives (September 2007)
  23. [576] Vocal tics related to non-failsafe 'treats' (September 2007)
  24. [577] Motor tics related to amines (chocolate) and additives (lollies) (September 2007)
  25. [578] Tics related to salicylates in summer fruits (September 2007)