I have just read the IBS misdiagnosis story ([537], Jan 2007). After countless examinations, a colonoscopy, a couple of (very nice) women's physios, being told by a "bum specialist/surgeon" to lose weight and get fit (I lost 13kg, got fit), I still have my IBS. The basic solution I was offered by a specialist physio was to reduce stress, avoid cream, butter and rich, spicy food - a couple of failsafe tips there, but not enough. Yet another '"bum specialist/surgeon", not gastroenterologist, suggested a good dose of Epsom Salts to clear any backlog (not a regular occurrence, just when needed) and glycerine suppositories to relieve constipation. I and my kids have some other signs of food intolerance. Looks like I'm in for a rough time until I adopt the full failsafe regime and find out what our intolerances are – by email.

I'm just reading the latest FIN newsletter (#51) and came across Reader's Story [539] “The school counsellor … went on to tell me that it is coincidence that withdrawing a food substance or chemical would have a positive effect on our daughter. She then proceeded to tell me that Lily probably has Aspergers and that the paediatrician probably didn't want to tell me that. I am feeling so enraged. She hasn't even met Lily.”

As a Psychologist who used to work in education, I am so disappointed for this family. There seem to be a number of responses that I would hope were the exception rather than the rule of a counsellor's professional practice. Diagnosis should never be made without interaction with the person in-question. Theory and empirical-based study are important, however that "importance" should be balanced with a few other thoughts - 1)  the causes/criteria for illness are frequently "refined" over years despite each change being based on the alleged omniscience of empirical data, and 2) life on earth has never been 100% contained and explained by research based theory - there are always exceptions, and to dismiss the possibility (particularly when the individual has possibly never done a literature search on the topic themself) is to choose ignorance. Carl Jung made a profound statement on this - "Learn your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of a living soul." I know the difficulties I face getting parents and other professionals to even consider diet as a factor in their children's behaviour and/or learning challenges. I want to commend and encourage these parents for their intentional pursuit of their child's wellbeing. Perhaps a respectful suggestion to visit (or provision of) the extraordinary list of research links on the FIN website might open the eyes and mind of this counsellor. In the end, it is still our responsibility as parents to make decisions (albeit informed decisions) for our children - not doctors, not teachers and not counsellors. Well done for standing firm. – Psychologist, by email (Note that we now have a number of failsafe-sympathetic psychologists on our list of health professionals – you can obtain the list by emailing Howard: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

I am a New Zealander living in the Middle East as the climate and lack of huge amounts of trees, flowers and grasses makes my quality of life much improved. Unfortunately, foreigners are arriving and corrupting the food practices here by introducing all the things we are trying to have removed in processed food, as well as bringing in all the junk food and fast food chains. Currently the food producing companies coming from Europe have introduced synthetic antioxidants into all the types of oil, including safflower and sunflower, which used to be available in abundance unpolluted. – by email.

My daughter, now in her late 20s, first got asthma in her early teens. Recently she told me the story of her very first asthma attack. She was away from home camping with friends, when they treated all the children to a soft-serve ice-cream. Within a short time she was having troubles breathing. The other adults identified that she was having an asthma attack, severe enough that they were contemplating taking her to hospital. Prior to having this first attack, my daughter did not have many additives in her diet. I just didn’t let my children have lollies, cordials, snack foods, etc as I didn’t think they were healthy, and I did a lot of home cooking. Soft-serve ice-cream was just not something that she had ever been given. Over the years, she noticed for herself that if she had soft-serve ice-cream, or drinks and lollies with a certain yellow colour in it, that this would quickly trigger an asthma attack, and that if she didn’t consume these things that the number of her asthma attacks were less.

With hindsight (isn't it a wonderful thing) all of my children have got asthma as a result of additives. It was only watching your "Fed Up" DVD that let us work it out. My daughter already knew that certain ice-creams and 102 gave her asthma, but we hadn't realised that other additives, that don't give such an immediate effect, could also be involved. Asthma is in their father's family and their grandmother gets bad asthma, so I was expecting that at least one of my children would get asthma as well. When none of my children had any symptoms of asthma I was relieved. That was, until all three of them got asthma about the same time. My daughter was aged about 13 and the two boys were about 10 and 8. It was very confusing at the time as why all three would suddenly get asthma when none of them had had any symptoms previously. The only thing that changed about that time was that all three of them were getting access through their friends to types of foods that I had never allowed them to have before, like processed snacks that I have now learned are high in additives. At the same time as this, realising that I was not going to be able to stop them from eating whatever they wanted to when they weren't at home, and because of other family pressures, our diet was changed at home so that the snacks, foods and drinks that I now know are full of additives began to be consumed at home. The change was therefore from a largely additive-free diet to the average Australian additive-packed diet. So three asthma-free children changed to three asthma-prone children who all needed to be put onto medication. If only I had known then what I know now.  – by email

Our oldest son reacts to Vanillin.  His reactions are behavioural. He stops listening or following instruction and becomes disagreeable. We also see really distinct rough behaviour towards his younger brother. We usually notice a reaction the next day and it lasts for quite a while compared to his other reactions. After Marshmallows it lasted a week!  It also doesn't seem to take a very high dose to start the reactions. For us it is an absolute avoid-at-all-costs additive, we never compromise on this as we do with other things. It is simply not worth it.

I've heard so much conflicting info about this additive, so many people seem to think it isn't a bad additive. Sadly, I must disagree – Ruth, by email.

I'm 51-years-old. Tonight I went to Subway and purchased a Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap. I hadn't eaten a low-carb tortilla in sometime and had forgotten the affect one had on my stomach. It wasn't until I finished eating that I, unfortunately, remembered. Every time I eat one, I have severe spasms in my stomach, with some nausea and gas. Tonight, it was so severe it felt as though a knife was cutting into me. I see your web site focuses on, mostly, children. I just want someone to be aware to the fact adults can have the same intolerances as children. – by email [see the Subway ingredients list on http://subway.com/subwayroot/MenuNutrition/Nutrition/frmUSIngredients.aspx).

I have been so inspired by the stories of others that I felt the desire to share my "salicylate intolerance discovery" story. I had been sick for many years and when I think about it probably since birth. Back in those days not many topical products had herbals in them so my salicylate intake was confined to food and aspirin products. And my symptoms were mainly digestive, brain fog, and numerous bouts with asthma. When I grew up and flew the coop things became increasingly worse. For years I have been in and out of the doctor’s office (I am in the military health care system) and all tests ran negative, of course.  And so the multiple diagnoses began - arthritis, mental illness, fibromyalgia and so on.  A few years ago one of my co-workers disclosed to me that she had fibro and referred me to the guai-support website.  I knew that it would be hard to convince the military doctors to put me on the Guaifenesin treatment so I decided that I would pay for it out of my pocket if it would give me back my quality of life.

On any given day I was experiencing 10-15 symptoms daily and was hardly functioning - it was very, very difficult. There were days I could not walk and my husband had to carry me to the bathroom. Just lying in bed was painful - the good days were marked with a raging fever, flu-like feelings, and a ringing headache. I did get to a point where I got used to the pain and learned to live with it - I really had no other choice - live with it or kill myself.

For some reason I knew deep inside that I didn't have fibro, it didn't seem right. But I reasoned what do I have to lose and on a long holiday weekend I set upon the closet to remove all topical sal-full products from my life. Within a week I felt incredible. When I talked to my co-worker she said maybe I didn't have fibro at all but a sensitivity to salicylates I was quite stunned. A few weeks had passed and I felt better and better but I still had some digestive tract symptoms so I went back to the guai-support site and re-read the information and one line jumped out at me - that you did not have to worry about salicylate in food as the body would break it down and it would not interfere with the guaifenesin. That led to another Google search and to other sites. I never had to beg the doctors to put me on the guaifenesin protocol as removing sal-full products and food from my life relieved all of my symptoms (listed below).

But there was still a period of "struggle" for me.  I am a gardener by hobby and trade so I had to learn to cover up my body and wear gloves to eliminate contacting plant salicylates. I also have been growing and eating my own food for years. That was the hardest part and I went through the denial stage for while - abusing my body with foods I knew I could not tolerate. How do you grow vine ripened tomatoes and perfumy exotic melons and not eat them?!  The mind would say - oh come on a few bites won't matter - but it really did matter!  So I finally decided to quit seeing my "problem" through the eyes of a victim (poor me, why me? why am I being punished?) and changed my point of view to a position of personal power. What a huge difference. So I can't eat some food and wash my hair in botanical goodness - so what. When I totally eliminated the foods/products that caused me trouble I felt so great that I could not believe that I could deal with
that much pain. And I never want to feel that pain ever again!

The nice thing about giving up the victim role is I could reclaim that negative energy and put it towards something else - last year I bought myself a motorcycle and began riding - something I had been wanting to do for years (I rode trail bikes as a kid and loved it) but couldn't do when I was ill. Regaining my quality of life and being able to work, exercise and play again (and I am quite sure my husband is happy that sex no longer hurts) is worth giving up "bad" foods.

For all you new to this I know it can seem just miserable - take it one day at a time, be gentle and forgiving with yourself, and know that life can be rewarding and fun without some pleasures of food, drink, and beauty products. Wishing you good health -  by email (with permission from another group)

Mind, emotion and behaviour symptoms: accident prone • anxiety • anger for no apparent reason • blankness • brain fogging • clumsiness • confusion • depression • detached/unreal feeling • difficulty waking up/getting out of bed (due to lack of sleep and aching muscles) • disorientation • dyslexia • hearing without comprehension • inability to think clearly • indifference • irritability • memory loss • mental exhaustion • mood swings • panic attacks • poor concentration &memory reading • restlessness • slow to process information • slurred speech • suicidal feelings

Physical symptoms: abdominal pains (thought I might have IBS) • acne • asthma & wheezing, tightness of chest • athlete's foot • bad breath • bloating (lost three dress sizes when I gave up the sals) • blurred vision • breast pain • constipation • crawling/burning sensation on skin • diarrhea • insomnia • itching • joint pain, stiffness & swelling • fatigue & lethargy (thought I might have CFS) • menstrual problems, pre-menstrual pain • metallic taste • migraines • mouth ulcers • muscles - aching, weakness, tremors & cramps nausea palpitations & racing pulse • poor balance • rashes • difficulty in swallowing • dizziness • eczema • excessive thirst • feeling drained • flushes - both hot & cold • frequent need to urinate • headaches • restless legs • sensitivity to light & noise • sleep disturbances • sore, itching, puffy, burning eyes, stiff neck • temperature fluctuations • ringing ears • weight problems.

I am a 55-year-old woman who recently worked out for myself that I have a muscle spasms as a strong reaction to 220 (sulphites) and minor reactions to others which I haven't identified yet. The muscle spasms are usually in the limbs and are worst when I sleep. I am a very fit and active person, so when I finally sit in front of the TV after tea and relax, this is when I feel the spasms. When mild it is usually any one muscle at a time in my legs and usually every 30 seconds. The affected muscle tightens or twitches and can occasionally jolt my leg or finger etc. When I have a worst reaction during the night, again it is like a tightening of, possibly, a muscle in my chest, or hip, or shoulder, head etc. When it is in the chest, some times it actually knocks the breath out of me as I awake with a jolt. Have you ever had the electrical impulses on your body when you are at the physiotherapist and a muscle tightens - that is how I feel. Sometimes of a night I feel as if I have a "motor" running in my chest or sometimes my head (sounds crazy doesn't it!) I can also quite often get a tingling (or motor sensation) feeling down my legs.

I went to four doctors last year and not one knew what was wrong, with one referring me to a neurologist. I become hyperactive in the evening – full of energy when everyone else is wanting to go to sleep - and have constant insomnia. When I am at my worst my muscle spasms (during sleep) wake me every few minutes and I experience hallucinations or bad dreams. Strong sleeping tablets don't eliminate these muscle spasms. It wasn't until I realised the 220 preservatives were in the "healthy" foods: dried apricots, sultanas, most yoghurts - that I was able to get my health back into order. It took me nearly a year to work out what was wrong with me.  Since watching my diet I am sleeping so well it is unbelievable; I haven't slept like this for possibly 7 years and only have mild muscle spasms resulting in bad sleeps occasionally when I'm not aware of the preservative in the food. I guess I am still finding it hard to check everything before eating!!

The last 12 months have been very scary for me when I didn't know what was wrong - I feel so strongly for our children who also must be suffering and unable to communicate how their body feels. - by email, Victoria.

My mother and I have known for years that we are allergic to aspirin. We both react with ringing in the ears, nausea, vertigo, lethargy, and I even lost consciousness once.  I avoid salicylates in cosmetics and toiletries at all costs, but my health has steadily declined (I am 24). My mother and I both have had doctors mystified for years with strange and debilitating health issues. They told my mother oh you have lupus, no you don't, yes you do, no ... so on and so on. Now they have
decided that we both have fibromyalgia. None of my doctors have ever mentioned that salicylates are in foods. After coming across this information I realised that almost every diet change recommended to me by the doctors has caused my salicylate intake to be astronomical. It's no wonder I've been in and out of emergency rooms.

Everyone made fun of me calling me a "health nut" because of the supposedly ultra-healthy diet I was on. I was trying to follow the USDA guidelines and eating lots of fruits and vegetables - especially citrus, broccoli, and spinach. The heart healthy recommendations include lots of processed tomato products and using as many different herbs as possible (to give flavor instead of salt). I also was trying to eat as many "naturally sweetened" things as possible. I was eating a lot of fresh oat granola, but it was loaded with honey, almonds, and pretty much anything that comes up high in the sals. I also was using olive oil for cooking, salad dressing, and with herbs instead of butter on bread.

It's no wonder that I was getting worse. I was having so many migraines that I only had about two days a month that I could function without excruciating pain in my head, I had chronic tendonitis, chronic fatigue, if I ever did get to sleep I felt more tired when I woke up than before I slept and I was still gaining weight. Now that I am on the right track I have only had two migraines in two months, and I have only had a tendon problem one day. I was diagnosed with adult onset asthma and was using an inhaler every day and now I only have to use it when I get exposed to salicylates. My mother and I have both been improving so drastically that everyone is asking us what is going on. – from the USA

Our 13-year-old daughter suffers extreme sensitivity to salicylates and our 12-year-old son suffers mildly (or so I thought). During Easter we had relatives visit and I had gone for a walk with the younger children. My son had a growing headache when I left, and our care for that is a warm carob and lying down in a quiet room. While I was gone he asked if his aunty had anything for a headache. (Incredibly irresponsibly!) she gave him an aspirin. By the time I returned from my half hour walk he had developed severe swelling of the eyes, upper lip, ear lobes and generally puffiness of his face; also urticaria over his whole body centred on his neck and under his jaw line. At first I didn't know about the aspirin. After much questioning, research and deliberation I came to the conclusion that it could only have been the aspirin. He became very agitated, very frightened, and very unlike his usual self. It took over 48 hours for all the symptoms to disappear. Needless to say, my children have never been given aspirin before, and it will never be allowed in my house again. – by email, see Salicylates factsheet for the aspirin-salicylate connection.

Thank you for helping us to get back the children we were meant to have. We have been failsafeing for about 2 1/2 months mainly for our 4 year old daughter who was defiant, argumentative, oppositional, angry, sometimes violent, sometimes hyperactive, deliberately annoying, and would be awake for 2 - 4 hours after bedtime before falling asleep. The contradiction being that she could also be charming, loving, insightful, enjoyable, happy, playful, caring, enjoy an activity (craft, colouring, building etc) for extended times, clever, calm and inquisitive.

About two years ago we learned about colours and preservatives (from "The Chemical Maze") and pretty much took them out - apart from occasional treats – with good results and we had no idea there was so much more to the food chemical story. I never would have considered fruit etc, I just thought I somehow had to be doing a bad job at disciplining my child and that must be why she is still the way she is. While reading Fed up with ADHD my hopes were ignited for a better life
for all of us as I worked up the courage to go failsafe and give this a try. It was a daunting thought with a new baby as well but we really had no choice as far as I could see so we started! Amongst the initial flurry of the first few weeks the results were incredible as we saw emerge this delightful child and hardly any of the pre-diet behaviour. I now feel it is our way of life and I am learning to manage the work load of the constant cooking, baking and planning around food. My once skeptical husband is a beautiful support and really helps out with the kids and the washing so I can keep up with the food etc. We have seen some remarkable changes but there are still some things that concern me though.

After 3 weeks on elimination, our first challenge was salicylates and we had a severe day 3 or 4 reaction, stopped on day 5 and I think we were just starting to come good after about 6 days from stopping when we had a friend's birthday party the next day. We had been so strict, everything to the letter and the girls’ attitudes toward the diet was so amazing that we thought we'd have a day off and give them a "treat". The party food wasn't as bad as it could've been. A lot of home cooking. But they did have some lollies, fruit and chocolate. The girls couldn’t believe it after about 5 weeks on the diet!  Anyway, behaviour started that evening and it was pretty foul for about three weeks. We also made the mistake of giving her Nurofen for a sore throat in the week following the party but apart from that we were back to 100% failsafe the day after the party.  So after about 3 weeks of reaction type behaviour she started to become progressively better but still with some D.F.Asleep (down to 1-2 hours) and still to many times of defiance and aggression etc. amongst the good behaviour. We are now 4.5 weeks after the party and 5.5 weeks after the end of our salicylate challenge and I feel like we are not yet back to how it was in the first three weeks. – from a country failsafer  [this family is now doing well]. Their problems included daily Sakata rice crackers, accidental exposure to lawn fertiliser, and Nurofen. Although Nurofen doesn't contain salicylates, most salicylate sensitive people have cross sensitivity to it and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxn and diclofenac. You can regard one dose of aspirin or Nurofen as the equivalent of a week’s salicylate food challenge, ref: Jenkins C and others, Systematic review of prevalence of aspirin induced asthma and its implications for clinical practice, BMJ. 2004;328(7437):434.For more possible reasons for diet not working, see Checklist of Common Mistakes]

My son was restless from the day he was born. His paediatrician told me to not feed him dairy or wheat and suggested I feed him meat and vegetables and fruit for the first year of his life. When he was one, I decided to broaden his diet a bit and started feeding him vanilla ice cream. I didn’t understand at the time, but he started throwing the most awful tantrums and head banging. He became obsessed with the colour yellow. He only wanted to wear yellow clothes, draw with yellow pencils and chose toys that were yellow. My friends constantly commented on his yellow addiction. I used to feed him corn and cheese omelettes for dinner with vanilla ice cream and banana for dessert. I’d mix the banana in thoroughly so the ice cream looked more yellow. It wasn’t until 18 months later that I started learning about nasty food chemicals, and learned that annatto 160b natural yellow colouring was causing a lot of problems. When we got together with other mothers, he’d go straight for yellow food and always want yellow drinks. It was a bit of a joke really. He’d choose yellow lollies over other colours and when I asked him what colour he wanted his room painted, he of course said Yellow. I stopped allowing him food with 160b in it, but still let him have it when he went out. My friends thought I was over the top with food.

One day after meeting with my friends, and my son eating their yellow food, he went off the rails. I managed to get him into the car, (which is hard when they stiffen their bodies like a board) and drove him to my friend’s house. He was screaming in his car seat, Let me out, let me out and was struggling like crazy in his seat. We drove up her driveway and my friend said Oh my god, what’s happened to Liam?  I explained this is what happens when he eats bad food chemicals. It was only after this that she actually believed me. I then became strict and totally eliminated it from his diet. His headbanging stopped and his outrageous tantrums stopped also. I then realised that his obsession with yellow was caused from an addiction to yellow food. When I eliminated it from his diet, he began to choose other colours to wear. He’d choose other coloured lunchboxes, drink bottles and hats. I’ve never heard any other parent mention the colour phenomenon, but I still believe it was connected to his addiction to 160b. – Helen, NSW (see similar stories [880] and [983])

In reply to the Reader’s Story [537] in the last newsletter about salicylate intolerance misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, our story started 5 years ago. We have fraternal twins who were born at 37 weeks and seemingly healthy at the time, no problems within the pregnancy was diagnosed in regular scans or when they were born. My first clue, looking back, that twin 2 may not be all right was her failure to use her bowel until day 3. I remember her gagging on day 1 and being told by the nurse that this was common in newborns until they had their first motion.

We then continued on a very long path during her first twenty-one months of life with an unsettled baby. Both twins were breast feed however twin 2 was always unsettled. At 6 months we decided to introduce solids - starting out with farex and progressing to adding small amounts of pureed fruits, ie pear, apple, etc 'all the safe ones'. To our shock twin 2 started to get the most horrible nappy rash with excoriation and bleeding. We couldn't understand it and were regular with her
nappy changes, we also noticed that she would strain whenever she tried to use her bowel. We went to see her Paediatrician who prescribed hydrozole cream and amoxil drops, suggested we try some small amounts of vegetables and sent us on our way.

Four months had passed and we were increasingly worried for our daughter who still suffered from the terrible nappy rash and constant visible straining when using her bowel (most unusual in a baby) and was generally unsettled. By now we had tried cows' formula (which resulted in vomiting) and soy formula (which resulted in diarrhea) and we had also noticed that with fruits the problem was worse. Things didn't improve and after many calls and visits to our GP and Paediatrician we decided to see another Paediatrician.

The next Paediatrician suggested we trial a prescribed formula for 2 weeks of 'Alfare'. This resulted in violent vomiting and trip back to him whereby an ultrasound was performed and we were informed that she in fact had chronic constipation, with a large mass in her colon. Our daughter was now 11 months-old and had to have immediate surgery to remove the mass which resulted in her having a colostomy for 3 months.

We were assured by the Paediatric Surgeon that in fact her problems were not food related and that she was born with an 'anorectal anomaly' and that all would be ok once the colostomy was reversed. To our disappointment as soon as the colostomy was reversed we went straight back to the problems of severe nappy rash and excoriation on her full diet. Our daughter at 15 months was then seen by a Professor at the hospital who diagnosed disaccharidase deficiency (sucrose
intolerance) to be the cause of the excoriation and unsettled behaviour; not the case.

Somehow eventually after breaking down many times and a visit again to our GPs rooms in desperation we were finally sent with a referral to the RPA Allergy Clinic (daughter 21months old). This was like a dream come true, they did a skin prick test for allergies; which showed no positive reactions (as suspected it would by the clinic Paediatrician). We were then talked through food intolerances and naturally occurring chemicals in foods which caused intolerances in some people! The evidence was there in front of us and we couldn't believe it we finally had answers. Our daughter is now a healthy 6.5 year old, on a low salicylate and mainly low chemical diet who continues to thrive and hasn't looked back. We do trial new foods occasionally and are starting to add small amounts of moderate salicylates to her diet and some dairy (her main drink is now rice milk). We know straight away if she has overloaded as this results in usually loose motions or not being able to control her motions. For us the evidence is overwhelming and we are just very grateful we have our daughter and we can now give her answers and solutions so that she continues to enjoy good health and happiness. - by email.

I was suffering with what the doctor said was normal for my age 39, higher blood pressure, heart palpitations, not able to sleep on my left hand side, rash around my groin and armpits that I couldn’t get rid of, weekly headaches and to top it of waking up at 2-3am  every morning with a anxiety attack.

I was attending a anxiety meeting every week and seeing a psychologist but the problem was that I couldn’t identify with any of the other people that came to the anxiety meeting. It seemed all of their complaints of the 100 or so different people that came to the meeting related to cyclic thought process that brought on the anxiety and kept them in that loop. I on the other hand felt a little on edge but was very relaxed about life. I delved into unresolved tensions with my psychologist but still no relief. Yoga and relaxation exercises seemed to help but what it truly did was let me watch my body go through the symptoms while I watched it happen in the third person. Because my symptoms didn’t fit the norm I refused to take any form of medication. I felt it was stupid to compound the problem until I knew what was causing it.

Finally I had yet again another anxiety attack. This time it was unbearable and my heart went over the 199 bpm that my machine could measure. I tried everything to relax but my system went into overdrive. My mother came around and my wife was there to help. I am amazingly good at relaxing my body but nothing seemed to help. I called nurse on call and they called an ambulance immediately upon hearing my symptoms. The ambulance arrived and went through the routine of checking me over and in the time they were there my body stabilised to around 100bpm. They gave me the option of going to hospital and waiting in the waiting room for 4-6 hours or stay at home and try and get over it. I took the wait at home option. The interesting thing from all of that is the male ambulance officer who leaned against the door frame for the whole time they were there said “gee you look like my wife does when she has a attack of 635” I thought he was full of
it and ignored him at the time. I felt like I had run a marathon.

The following day I looked up 635 on the internet and noticed the rash and the headaches that I had were the same but nothing else rang a bell. Having nothing else to go on I looked into what had 635 in it as an ingredient. I was amazed to find my pies, pasties from the local bakery had beef booster and hence 635 + 621 that was Monday nights explained then a lot of chips + crackers that I had for lunch - even ones from the health food section of my local supermarket that state quite clearly on the packaging that 635 is not 621 and therefore is not bad for you. What a laugh! I must stress I had no belief that 635 was the cause of anything but my rash and headaches. I have not changed my lifestyle in any way except for removing 635 + 621 from my diet and only very recently removed 282. But a key interesting note is the 12 hour delay from eating the food to the full blown symptoms.  I still eat selected junk food, I still exercise the same amount, I have even more pressure at work and I still get broken sleep from my now 2 year old.

When I would go to my doctor, her face would drop in that “not you again look” she would listen to me with bored expression and write in her notes, anxiety related. Please also note that my doctor since then acknowledged she has absolutely no knowledge of food intolerance re 635 – 621 and their symptoms. How are you expected to be helped if they are blind to these issues? The way I wish to truly express myself as to how I feel re their mainstream blindness is limited by my overriding desire to keep this letter polite. I have not read anywhere a person with my exact same experiences but I know it is simple. I have stopped eating 635 + 621 and I am back to how I remember the way I used to be.

From that week….

My multiple rashes of many years cleared up completely!

Not one single headache!

I have not had a single heart palpitation!

Not one single anxiety attack!

No hand or body tremors!

No racing heart!

No feeling of tension!

The only exception to this was when I went to a mothers’ group party and ate some salt and vinegar chips laced with 621 + 635. I had a bad night sleep that night. I checked the chips at the supermarket the following day and found the suspect ingredients. I will not eat any food that I cannot check the ingredients. Hungry Jacks will not return my calls to tell me what foods have 635 in, and Nandos will not return my calls as well. It is of interesting note that the American version of Hungry Jacks (Burger King) + KFC list their ingredients but the similar Australian version of the web sites have the ingredients list missing. I FEEL LIKE A NEW MAN – Wayne, by email

•     I sooo appreciate what you are doing - people are starting to believe me that I have a problem and it is not in my head, and many of my friends now make a special effort to provide at least some food that is safe for me to eat – email, NZ.

•     I took my 4-year-old daughter off all additives, preservatives and colours. In one week she has had a dramatic reduction of mostly myoclonic type seizures, down from her usual 2 - 40 throughout each day before" – Karen.

•     Since going failsafe our daughter has changed her afterschool activity on Fridays: instead of having a therapy session with the Institute for Learning Difficulties, she is now attending a gifted and talented program – by email.

•     I have so far not visited any internet sites which have enlightened me as much as yours - thank you! – by email.

•     We are in the process of learning all new foods and additives in the US  - surprisingly and disappointingly, it is not as advanced as Australia when it comes to gluten-free foods and awareness of additives, preservatives etc. – Australians visiting the USA.

•     My kids have some classic signs of food intolerance - tantrums for one and "sads" for the other. – by email.

•     Salicylates make me wired, pee a lot and cause dark circles under my eyes; amines make me very angry and I wake up with palpitations and sweats – email, USA.

•     The information on your website is fantastic and it's great to have support networks provided - it makes you feel like you're not the only one looking for answers! – email, Qld.

•     My sons aged 9 and 4 – now additive free - both had croup in the last week and the younger one even had a cold as well but neither of them had asthma which is unusual for them. – Kylie

•     We just had our Tu Beshvat holiday (New Year of the Trees), ate a good bit of dried fruit, and guess what? - more headaches, asthmatic spasms, gut in an uproar, and the boys nervier – by email.

•     Thank you for all you have done - you have changed, and possibly saved, many lives – email, US.

•     I am a mom of two and have found your book a delight - my four-year-old has improved so much since we started cutting out things in her diet. – by email.

•     Thank you for giving us hope. – email, UK

•     When buying foods I have a problem trying to read the small print (even with new glasses!) - I would love to see these written bigger! – by email.

•     I have an active son, who reacts to food, although like you thought at first it was sugar. I have told so many people about your books, and how it has benefitted our family - and we don't do the whole thing, just some eliminations and awareness.- Cassie.

•     Thank you for your book Fed Up, which I just happened to stumble across at a friend’s house, it has changed our lives and I am now frequently referring to your website - Jane.

Allergy clinic didn't know about connection: I recently had my appointment with the Allergy Clinic and they didn't know anything about the connection that your website mentions between gluten intolerance and alopecia. I first had alopecia back in 1995 very badly and I do remember my diet being very poor and high in wheat and gluten products, I have only been told that it was probably caused by stress but am interested to learn more. I have had small patches ever since, and my general intake of wheat has been much lower than in 1995. I am now doing the elimination diet for the second time and it has been going better. I failed the wheat challenge on the 3rd night and am interested in the connection with alopecia to gluten as I still have some joint, lethargy and lack of focus issues.

Discovered the cause of alopecia areata by accident: I suffered from alopecia areata on and off for many years without having any clue about what caused it. It was very embarrassing and difficult for my self confidence. I only stumbled across the answer by accident after I found out about bread preservative 282 - that was where my journey started. I was staying with people who ate preserved bread so it was easier for me to eat rice cakes instead, and I noticed my alopecia improving. I have been gluten free now for three years and have had no more problems with alopecia.

Led to diagnosis of coeliac disease: Your mention of alopecia areata and gluten in "Fed Up" led to my being diagnosed with coeliac disease. No one else seemed to know anything about it, so I really wanted to say thank you. It has led to a huge improvement in my quality of life.

Another association besides stress: The information on your website about alopecia areata and gluten is the first bit of useful advice I have received suggesting that alopecia could have another association besides stress.

Criminal. It's the only word that comes to mind when I realise that, from the age of 10, I have suffered terribly from asthma; and yet, over the next 23 years, not a single - I repeat NOT A SINGLE - so-called "doctor" ever once asked if my condition might be due to environmental factors", or that it might be caused by the food that I eat... All they ever did was pop a stethoscope on my back, and fill out a prescription for ventolin... "See ya next time, Mark!"

I am so angry and frustrated at the modern medical establishment for their open neglect. For years, almost every morning I would wake with an awful wheeze and a fit of coughing... And it only got worse as my 20's progressed!

When I think back to those days (although I never made the precise connection myself at the time), it got to the point where I would need my puffer after almost every meal! Macca's.. Pizza... Pies... even good 'ole home cooked meals like curries, stews & roasts! As you can imagine, I became very depressed.

I will also confess that I was indeed a smoker as well (I know, I know), but I gave them up around 3 years ago thinking that IT was the main *cause* of my asthma... Oddly enough, I was wrong ... the daily ritual wheezing-fest continued unabated. I was, by then, needing up to 20 puffs a day and my depression worsened. I remember thinking: "I've given up the damn ciggies, so why aren't I any better?! What's wrong with me?" I began to accept that I would NEVER recover from this ailment.

Then I discovered your website, "Fedup!" ... And oh what a life changer!

I bought the video a few months back and have read much of the material on the website, and with what I now know about salicylates, amines, preservatives and additives of all kinds, it finally all makes sense! So far, my family and I have managed to stop the intake of preservatives and additives (That's the EASY part!) with noticeable improvements too, I might add, especially for my asthma! However, I have not completely recovered yet, and my eldest son - although improved - still has temper problems; so, over the last two days we have finally started tackling the salicylate/amine issue... It's harder I'll admit, BUT, I can already see definite positive-changes from my first-born son, and in my own well-being as well.

It's been around 6 months now since we actively started amending our diet, and overall, my asthma is now highly manageable... (I now use the ventolin only rarely, and the morning-wheeze is completely gone!) But, it's not just that: I finally feel "in control" for the first time ever; I feel that there is now real hope that it could perhaps, go altogether! I really do.

Thank God for you, Sue. Thank you for caring enough about human beings in general, to do what you do. Alright, I'm falling to tears now... so I best go - Mark & family, Vic

See update: story [1080]

Without sounding corny, it is like my daughter has been given a second lease on life. 

Our youngest daughter was diagnosed with asthma at 3 years of age and we then spent many times in and out hospital, with still no improvement. She missed so many days of Preschool, could not run without puffing and requiring her asthma puffer all the time, she also had permanent grey colour under her eyes. We really did not think we would be able to send her to school.....it was that bad.

Then a friend of mine from work went to a Sue Dengate talk … and the light went on. I contacted my husband immediately and told him about it, cause we had been so worried and that night I cleaned out all my food cupboard and fridge and made it additive-free.

Our daughter is now 6 and is going into Year 1 and has not been in hospital since the month we stopped the additives. We have a liitle girl who runs, jumps for ages on the trampoline, has lost the grey under her eyes and very happy parents.

Abbey knows that she can't have food with additives and has had to make a lot of sacrifices, but when she said to me a few months after stopping all of that, that she feels better then I know it is all worth it - Kathy, NSW

We have had excellent results with diet for our five-year-old daughter who had severe asthma attacks with daily singulair, ventholin, atrovent and also 3 lots of prednisilone within the space of about 3 or 4 months at the beginning of 2006. Since going failsafe in August, not even a cough. I attribute a big part of this success to eliminating both sulphites and artificial colours in particular.

I always felt that there was something more we could do, but just didn't know where to start. My children had what I thought to be such a healthy diet, no cordials, lollies and lots of fruit and dried fruit for snacks. Now I know better. 

If telling our story assists in being a catalyst for positive change for other families in situations like ours, that will be wonderful - Monica, NSW

One mother reported that her two year old daughter Maya was a “huge dried fruit eater”, consuming two or three packets of dried apricots or similar and two or three fruit bars per week. At three packets of dried fruit per week that’s roughly 250 mg per day, or 20 times the Acceptable Daily Intake for an average two year old (0.7mg per kg bodyweight or half a dried apricot for a 2 year old) set by the World Health Organisation. Sulphites are associated with both asthma and cough. 

Maya had been diagnosed with suspected bronchiolitis at nine months. “Ever since then, she has had bouts of coughing on a regular and frequent basis, often only two or three weeks apart, usually with a cold but occasionally following a slight fever,” wrote Maya’s mother. “The coughing can last all night at its worst - but usually is about 40 minute bouts every few hours. There is no apparent wheeze, although sometimes doctors have found a slight wheeze with a stethoscope. Very occasionally, it will resolve gradually after a week or two but usually becomes worse and requires antibiotics”. When Maya’s cough was diagnosed first as asthma, then as hypersensitive cough receptors, “the paediatrician advised that there was no link to diet and that she would probably grow out of it”. Although her mother had never noticed any connection, since avoiding sulphites Maya has been free of cough – reported by phone.

After years of friends and teachers telling me that my child needed medication (she was a "Jekyll & Hyde" according to one teacher) and doctors who just assumed her problems were hormonal, a girl guide leader noticed my 9-year-old daughter’s behaviour problems (fighting, defiance, stealing etc) after eating certain foods and suggested failsafe eating. Within weeks, apart from a few withdrawals, everyone noticed an improvement and now, nine months later – what a difference! When we decided to do the diet to help our daughter, we didn't realise it would help our 6-year-old son’s asthma too but he hasn’t had an attack or been hospitalised since we started.

Unfortunately my doctor is not very supportive, but I have found a great paediatrician. As she said in the last appointment, the food companies market all of these so called good foods to our children, but she ends up dealing with the backlash e.g. behaviour problems etc.

My son and daughter are now at the stage where they don't ask for "bad” food any more because they know what it does - at a friend’s workplace recently he bought them a huge packet of lollies, to which they politely stated "No thank you". When he persisted as to why a couple of 9 and 6 year-olds didn't want lollies, they said "Because I choose to be healthy" which is what they have learnt to say when teased at school about having to be on this diet.

I know now that what I thought was healthy, e.g bread, devon, tomato sauce etc, wasn't healthy for them. During the challenges, my daughter reacted to amines, colours and preservatives. My son reacted violently to the colours with his asthma mostly but hasn’t had an attack since we started failsafe. My son couldn't care less what the kids at school say anymore. When they open their packet coloured foods, he says "my mum makes better anyway".  When we had a fete at school in September, we had a failsafe sweet stand and the kids loved it. My daughter's 9th birthday went wonderfully - no hyped up kids, a few kids didn't want to come because of the "diet" food, but they missed out. The parents commented on how well they all behaved, even the magician I'd hired couldn't believe how well they played, participated and listened.

My Mum and Dad, Before and After School Care, Church and Girl Guides have been totally supportive of my children’s diets. If they have a party/special day etc they always phone me and either ask me to make food (which I'm more than happy to do) or they will ask for certain recipes and all the kids cook.  My mother-in-law‘s "let's not tell mummy and daddy" attitude towards little surprises changed very quickly when she saw how my 9 year old reacted after a "Happy Meal". Ironically, not such a happy time was had!

We have a wonderful restaurant round the corner from home which we used to go to once per month as a treat for the kids – after the diet I phoned them, feeling a little silly, but as long as I tell them what they can make, skinless chicken, sauces etc, they are happy to do it and we haven't had a reaction yet. 

At school, even though she has come such a long way in 9 months, my daughter is still being stereotyped by certain teachers, and sadly even the principal thinks she's not being given a fair go. So, we are starting off at a new school in January 2007 and are all looking forward to this change.

So many people told me not to be stupid, not to do all of this work etc, just put her on medication - I work full-time, plus do the normal mum and wife things in the home, but no matter what happens, we won't go back to "normal" eating ever again.  I know it mightn't work for everyone, but it has worked for us. 

I would like to say to all parents and caregivers, THE EXTRA HARD WORK IS WORTH IT!!!  If you slip up, these things happen, just keep going!  It has made our lives soooo much happier. To the Schools: help us parents out - stop having so much processed crap to sell the kids, they get used to having homecooked food without the nasties in it and your days will go much smoother. – ‘Maitland mother’, NSW [Maitland mother would like to get in touch with other failsafers in the
Maitland area, please email via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

For the last month, my daughter has been suffering from hives on average about every two days. It is driving me crazy not to mention how she is feeling. It started when we went to a friend’s place for swimming lessons, something that we had done every week for three months. She broke out in hives all over her body, arms, legs, chest, vagina, and bum, everywhere; luckily, it did not affect her breathing. I took her to the doctor straight away and he thought it must be from the chlorine in the pool, my friend then told me that it was a salt-water pool, so then we thought it must have been something that she ate.  Four days later Emma got hives again on her arms and thighs, this time after eating salted peanuts. Two days later again at 4:30 in the morning, my husband and I were beside ourselves as to what was causing this.  Each time it happened, we gave her Phenergan, which made it disappear.  We then went away for ten days, with a supply of Phenergan and Emma got them about six times while away. On coming home, I wrote down every time Emma had gotten hives, and suddenly it dawned on me that it was about half an hour after eating or swimming.  I think I have narrowed it down to additive 635, as that was the common ingredient in all of the foods Emma had been eating.  What I want to know is why this is now present when she was always having these foods, has she built up an intolerance to these foods? [See a similar report of hives from 635 and swimming in story [467]. My understanding is that saltwater pools do contain chlorine, although in smaller amounts than usual - S]

We have been on the elimination diet for 6 weeks using a dietitian from your list and she has been great. Salicylates, well that's our nemesis - I get cranky, stressed and short tempered, my 8-year-old daughter gets teary at the drop of a hat - crying, stressed and the “what ifs”.... . My three year old is extremely sensitive to amines - defiant, disruptive and hyperactive. Antioxidants don't affect her behaviour but her cheeks flare so something isn't right. More than 5 plain Sakatas or
LCM bars send her off the planet.

It’s hard as you would know trying to ensure they have food without the nasties. I am educating Day Care and they are trying to buy failsafe foods as they are sure other children are affected as well, not just my daughter. Next my challenge is going out to Little Athletics where they only sell "crap" icy poles when it is a stinking hot day.  – failsafer, NSW

A reply to the question in newsletter #50: my oppositionally defiant amine-sensitive daughter is having a hard time at the moment and I am wondering if it might be due to spring flowers?

The question about ODD and spring flowers in the last newsletter rang a bell with me. My daughter Louse also gets really cranky and her ODD symptoms worsen during the period when all the wattle begins to flower, and then in early spring when the flowers start to bloom in abundance. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the exact time when she has to be most in control of her temper and emotions due to her Irish dancing commitments - the state and national

This year was particularly bad - there seem to be so many more wattle trees around here now, and they started blooming at the start of July. Louise was extremely bad-tempered - her quality of schoolwork declined, her spelling declined (even though she is now a voracious reader) to the point of going backwards, maths dropped back to grade 3 level (age-wise, she is year 8) and there have been many arguments and temper tantrums with all family members. It got to the point where I was beginning to doubt my sanity! and also, whether she was sneaking non-failsafe food from other sources - but I know my friends wouldn't give her anything unsafe, and her friends just don't like her behaviour when she deviates from the diet, so that wasn't a factor.

I was thinking that the culprit might be pollens. It was totally validated when we went to Canberra in the last week of September for the Australian Championships. One word – FLORIADE - Canberra's flower festival. Yee-hah. All that pollen in one convenient location! Louise’s dancing was shocking during practices, she argued with her friends over the dancing (SHE wasn't making mistakes, EVERYONE else was), arguing with her teacher (who she loves), crying, picking fights, "I wish I'd die, then everybody would be happy, because nobody wants me around" - I'm sure you can imagine the rest!!!

It's getting better now, I've cracked down on a few infractions, and she is asking her friends not to spray their deodorant near her (and at dancing, spraying deodorant, hair-spray or perfume inside the hall is now banned) and she's taking a claratyne daily to help with the pollens. She's definitely a reactor when it comes to pollens and spring! – reader, Vic

As a baby and toddler, my son had constant unexplained “fevers” as part of his never ending list of reactions.  It wasn’t till he was 6 years old and he had had a few unexplained fevers with hallucinations that we found these came from soya beans.  He has always been “picky” with soy products, usually refusing them himself – but mum didn’t always trust him fully - now I know they do him no good!

His hallucinations were shocking to witness – they happened only in the evening or night, usually just after falling asleep or when disturbed in sleep, e.g.picked up for toileting. He often didn’t have a high temperature according to the thermometer but woke in an unconscious way with eyes open and talking and listening.  He saw terrifying things around him and removal to another room with comfort helped a little but only usually for seconds. The only solution that worked properly for us was cool wet towels for reducing fevers round his neck and forehead whilst cuddling him. He usually dropped off to sleep again with these. On a bad night this continued again after a couple of hours.

As usual doctors here were at a loss to explain these and claim them to be most probably fevers related to viruses.  They suggested continued treatment as we do perhaps with paracetamol too keep it at bay. It was only after that I connected intake of soya beans 36 hours previously on the last occasions and I tested it with a very small intake which showed a minor reaction - still hallucinations but for a much milder and shorter period. Consequently soya beans are off our menu and I respect my son’s taste buds when he refuses foods – he is usually allergic or intolerant of them. Allergy specialists here avoid giving soy milk to milk allergics as much as possible due to the close connection of the two allergies and the fact they believe soy allergies develop quicker in such cases. – reader, Sweden

Just responding to question in newsletter #50 about depressive reactions to soy - my daughter reacts the same to cows’ milk as to soy, even small amounts of soy in anything.  Exactly as the question in the newsletter said, "it makes her depressed, intrusive, argumentative and very negative (feels the whole world is against her). She seems totally unaware of this occurring, even when pointed out".  – reader, Vic

Stories [534-532} are replies to the question newsletter #50: “my daughter has tried soymilk several times but it makes her depressed, intrusive, argumentative and very negative (feels the whole world is against her). She seems totally unaware of this occurring, even when pointed out. Is this a reaction you are aware of?”

Whenever my son drinks soy or eats soy products he spends most of his time crying ….often about nothing that he can pin point. He becomes resistive to discipline and is reluctant to do his work at school. He becomes tired and will often fall sleep in the afternoon. I’m obviously not 100% certain that this is what it is but it sure does seem coincidental… - email, Qld

I read in the newsletter that you were interested in reports about improvement in PMT and infertility and the diet.  Prior to failsafe I was having irregular cycles, really really bad irritability for almost two weeks prior to my period and bleeding which sometimes lasted for three weeks for each cycle. I had sore breasts from about day 17 of each cycle, sometimes they were so bad I couldn't hug my little boy without being in pain.  Since being on the diet I no longer have sore breasts prior to my period.  I only have very mild irritability about a day or two prior to my period and I am having 27 day cycles every month with bleeding only lasting about 5 or 6 days and no clotting.  Also, my period pain has lessened a great deal too.

I have been trying for 2 and a half years to conceive and I'm now hoping I will be able to get pregnant if I stay on the diet.  It took 13 months to become pregnant with my first child.  My PMS seemed to become worse after I had my son. – by email

Replies to the question in newsletter #50 – “My almost 15 year old daughter who has had monthly cramps but no period for 4 years suddenly got her period. We have been on the elimination diet for 3 weeks. Is this a coincidence?”

I too have had lots of success in regards to the diet with my whole family but the main improvement for me was dealing with PMS. I am a 28 year old woman and have had two children. As a teen I had very irregular periods and would sometimes not have a period for 3 or 4 months, quite often becoming physically sick when the period did come, not to mention the cramps and mood swings, and I always had PMS symptoms when I was due, whether the period came or not. Having children actually seemed to help my symptoms, but without realising, I was eating differently through my pregnancy and then afterwards because I was breast feeding.

Two years ago all my symptoms started again and six months ago I figured out why. I had gone back to work and was relying on prepackaged food a lot more where I always used make my own, and as a result my whole family suffered. My then six year old had all sorts of trouble emotionally and my then two year old turned into a monster. My husband was diagnosed with irritable bowel and I had all my former problems including depression. Now thanks to a friend who recommended failsafe I am pleased to say we are now back on track and I can safely say that it is all down to food. We tried, through trial and error, all different sorts of treatments to help all our ailments, but simply changing our diet has helped us all.  - by email

I have completed the elimination diet and found that I have an intolerance to salicylates. My father is a gastroenterologist and when first had symptoms of this intolerance (stress, constipation, headaches, sinusitis etc) he thought it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). He referred me to his colleague, who also stated the diagnosis was IBS.  Both of these gastroenterologists never considered that the problem may be related to diet, and they didn't even know what salicylates were! I might add that both of them are very professional doctors and have both been head of the gastroenterology department at hospital - so you would think they would know something about it. It took my dad a long time to recognise that salicylates exist - I had to show him websites and papers that linked it to behavioural problems for him to really believe me. He just thought I was on some crazy diet and that there was no real basis to it!

My concern is this – that there are many people out there, particularly young women, who may have this food intolerance and be provided with the easy diagnosis of IBS.  As you would be aware, an IBS diagnosis really doesn’t help anyone because there isn’t much you can do for it. And unless you keep searching for a solution (which I did, and my GP eventually came up with it) then you may never know you have an intolerance because salicylates are in everything!

Do you know of many other people who have been provided with an incorrect diagnosis for this food intolerance? I only know of one other person, and if there are more, then I think this should be brought to the attention of the national body for gastroenterologists.  – by email [if you are in this category, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your story]

I have 3 sons, aged 11, 10 and 6. I started the elimination diet about six months ago and have seen a great improvement in my two younger sons. The middle son is by far the worst effected by all the things that you say to avoid. At times he will have things he shouldn’t and for the afternoon he is off the planet. When he settles down I ask him how he felt and he'll say he knew what he was doing but could not control it. Now he even tells his grandmother “No, I can’t have that”. Even a friend of his grandmother’s noted how quiet he was. Last month my mother-in-law gave the three boys an icecream as a treat. She is from the old school and didn't really believe what I had said. Within minutes the two youngest were off their tree, so this was a real wake up call.

My husband and I have two lovely children. We have been through the whole thing of oppositional, erratic and violent behaviour and for us the worst part was insomnia and extreme restlessness at night. No-one ever got a rest. This all was cured with the invaluable assistance of your books, and a profound response to the elimination diet especially for our youngest child who is a 7 year old girl, Lily. She is extremely sensitive to everything – salicylates, amines, chemicals - you name it. Our son is affected, but not as badly.

At times I have wondered if Lily perhaps has Aspergers, or is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but we had her assessed at age 4 (after being failsafe for three months) and were told that she is bright, possibly gifted, and that she can be extremely anxious because she is clever enough to be able to think about things and therefore worries about things. We prepared her very carefully for school and so far have had no problems - until this month.

Twice this month Lily has lashed out at school, due in part to chemicals. She started swimming lessons every day and the other thing was a class party with heaps of bad food which no-one helped her to avoid. Today she has been "red-booked "and placed on detention for the second time, for hurting someone. The school counsellor who was called in told me "there are NO studies that prove that food intolerances are in any way related to behavioural disturbances". She went on to tell me that it was all in my head, and that it is coincidence that withdrawing a food substance or chemical would have a positive effect on our daughter. She then proceeded to tell me that Lily probably has Aspergers and that the paediatrician probably didn't want to tell me that. I am feeling so enraged. She hasn't even met Lily.

We follow the failsafe lifestyle to the letter, and are eternally grateful to you and your family for sharing your stories, and for your tireless work. Our family wouldn't have survived without Fed Up and how some one can say the things that this counsellor said belies belief. Our son who is now 13 is easily able to make good food choices and knows only too well what bad choices do to him. He was shocked at the response of the school counsellor. My husband - who was a total sceptic
4 years ago - was absolutely livid with that school counsellor. He knows how bad it was here, and how much work I have put in to making our little family happy and calm. I guess we will just keep soldiering on and spreading the word, but this person nearly got the better of me. – by email, NSW (see comment on this story at [552])

When I originally wrote to you, my three-year-old son had a severe speech delay, many behavioural problems, refused toilet training, was having upwards of 6 dirty nappies a day and the paediatrician was heading towards a diagnosis of autism.

The first two weeks on the elimination diet were "HELL". My son’s behaviour was so bad I was in tears when the day was over and he was in bed asleep. My husband and I were determined to give this a go and we stayed strong together to get him through the rough patch. Four weeks after starting, his behaviour improved each day, the tantrums decreased dramatically, he became calmer, his attention span increased, he was happy to try sitting on the toilet for me, the autistic traits stopped, he would sit and do activities with me and the most impressive of all in one week he said - "Dad", "Mum" and his own name "Sam". He has never called me mum & it brought tears to my eyes - he has since then said love you mum and tries hard to string words together. 

The difference in him is so dramatic the paediatrician was in shock, he is a non-believer of diet having an effect on children, however, after seeing the difference in Sam he was blown away. He said he was pretty sure after the last visit he would end up making a diagnosis of autism for him, now after seeing him six months later he is thinking it is just speech delay and is not so worried about the minor autistic traits.  We are focused on sticking to the diet especially with the progress Sam is now making. He does on occasions slip on behaviour - but he is only three. We feel we have our beautiful little man back. – by email, Qld

I have excluded artificial colours and preservatives where possible and this seems to work with my children however I noticed some reactions over these holidays as I have let them have some treats. Corn chips caused a really silly reaction in my 5 year old son, he was even not able to focus his eyes properly, and the same reaction from a BBQ meatlovers pizza. – by email

Having suffered panic attacks and palpitations on-and-off for years I started seriously looking at the foods and additives I was stuffing into my system. I can now tell you that the prime trouble maker for me is flavour enhancers. As others have done before me I visited doctors and hospitals after bad attacks only to be sent home with a "nothing wrong with you" report. Then one day, I had taken a double dose (flavoured corn chips and kebabs) which well-and-truly landed me in hospital. The interesting point to this story is the specific effect the MSG had. While I was on the heart monitor (for about 12 hours) the doctors and I could see what my heart was doing and we were able to determine the safety of the situation. 

The sinus node (the electrical trigger) was firing and was firing regularly. This was a good thing! The troublesome aspect was the MSG was somehow interfering with the distribution of the signal around the heart. This meant that although the heart was beating/pumping, it was doing so at a reduced flow rate. That is, the contractions weren't as strong as they should have been. Although it was pumping enough blood to keep me lucid/conscious, a beat could not be felt by me in my chest, nor could a pulse be felt at my wrist. NOTE: it felt as if my heart had stopped but in fact was just beating weakly. I tried to convince the doctors this was MSG-induced, but they just closed their ears, their eyes glazed over, and told me they couldn't understand why my heart was behaving the way it was.  

Now I know what my heart is doing, I no longer have panic attacks triggered by a few 'missed beats'. The difference is knowing that the ectopic beats aren't going to kill me, and even though I can't feel the beats, I reason that if I'm still alive and not suffering chest pain etc. then I'm just having another 'episode'.- by email

By the time she was three, my daughter was covered in eczema and watching videos all day as she couldn’t keep up with other children. We now have a healthy five-year- old after one year on the diet. Her energy improved within three weeks of starting the diet. Reading your book was a comfort as I thought I knew lots about allergy and eczema. She had been on the healthiest foods: wheat free, sugar free, chiropractors, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, biocom, skin specialists …

I was exhausted and pretty fed up when I started learning about failsafe foods. One year on we have a clear picture of what we can have and it is expanding every month. Sulphites, benzoates and salicylates are our main problems, but we stay off any preservatives and colours. Thank you for helping us. Reading your book helped me feel not so alone and laugh at some of the crazy mistakes I made. – by email, South Australia

Ho sentito che oggi parlate dell'introduzione in Italia del farmaco Ritalin per i bambini con ADHD. 

Prima o invece di dare Ritalin ai bambini, e' opportuno fare un "elimination diet" per individuare eventuali intolleranze a salicilati, ammine, glutammati (che sono "natural food chemicals"). Inoltre, sarebbe un controsenso dare Ritalin a un bambino che continua a bere bibite colorate!  Anche l'annatto, un colorante giallo naturale, ha un forte effetto sul comportamento di molte persone.  In Italia siamo piu' tutelati rispetto all'Australia per quanto riguarda gli additivi alimentari, ma poco tutelati riguardo alle sostanze inutili aggiunti nei farmaci. - by email, Italy

At present I'm doing Vacation Care for children aged 6-12. I have done this program for the last two holidays and this year I have changed the program so that we provide morning and afternoon tea. From my results so far - a week and a half - it has been fantastic, and the difference in the children is amazing. The parents have been very understanding and have not complained about the extra $1.00 charge per child per day. We cook things from your Fed Up book and the children love the food. When they bring things they shouldn't, they put it back in their bags. We can have up to five children with ADHD or behavioural concerns but now you wouldn’t know they were in the program. – Nicole, NSW

•     "If no one's told you recently, thanks so much for all the work you do - you have changed our lives! It's good to have a asthma free, medication free, tummy ache and diarrhoea free child after many wasted futile hours and $$$$ spent in specialist surgeries!! And even now I've found the answers (thanks to you), still the doctors are not interested in hearing about it. That's what I find so hard to believe! - Fran, NSW.

•     "We've just had Christmas day down at my nanna's who is very very supportive, her traditional christmas "feast" of things processed, bought ready made to save her work went out the window in 06.  We went totally failsafe for everyone and you know no-one missed out, we had what the kids could have and everyone had a top time not like Christmas 05 with it ending it tears etc  - email, NSW.

•     I am a mother of five children who has recognised the benefit of a failsafe diet.  My kids were never really 'bad' just a bit naughty sometimes, and having trialled full failsafe we are now on a preservative, additive, flavours etc free diet and all doing well. – email, Qld

•     My five year old son was a ‘bread brat’ as you describe in your books - as soon as he stopped eating preserved bread and started drinking magic cordial he changed.- email, Tas.

•     I work in health and am constantly amazed that there is not more connection made to food related reactions as I can recognise them a mile off - asthma, eczema and so on. – email, NSW.

•     Thank you so much for everything, without your work my family would still be wheezy, itchy, rashy, cranky and doped up on medication for all these ailments! – by email

Hi. I can already give you some feedback, as my 3 children and I have been on the elimination diet for 3 days. My eldest child is 14 (depression, asthma, sleeplessness, fatigue, restless legs, easily irritated, unmotivated etc): this morning she got out of bed without being nagged, had a shower without being told, all while smiling! I stopped taking antidepressants 2 weeks ago, and today for the first time since, I am not feeling my normal symptoms of depression. My youngest, 3, is hyperactive and today has been a lot calmer. He also normally wakes about 6am, and today slept in till 9:30!!! My elder son, 6, who has a learning delay, woke up teary and temperamental, as he was before bed last night, but he was at out-of-hours schoolcare yesterday and ate apple, cheese and yoghurt... One thing the book 'Fed up with children's behaviour' doesn't address is what to do when in a situation where I do not live with my ex-husband and he only sees the kids once a week, how do I get him to understand that the kids need to try this? He sees their issues as being 'normal' and although none of my kids are extreme in any way I want to give them the best life they can have, now and in the future. How do you convince people that relatively 'normal' kids still can benefit?

(later) thank you thank you!  Despite all of my best efforts, my ex-husband is aggressively sabotaging my efforts with my children, constantly telling them that failsafe foods are 'silly' and if they ask for failsafe foods he gets cross at them. They spent one night at his house (Day 11 of the elim.diet) and he gave them everything he could think of that was on the list of 'Don'ts'. Consequently they came home silly. Neither of the boys (6 and 3) could get to sleep that night, the littlest one crying and rolling around in bed sobbing 'I can't stop, I can't stop'. In desperation I gave them both a half teaspoon of bi carb, thinking 'this isn't going to do anything' (I should know better!). As it tasted so awful I let them chase it with a Werther's. Within 10 minutes they were both asleep....- by email.

Our 3 year old always had puffy eyes, we just thought that was the way she looked. We don't eat whole eggs, I would only use them in cooking such as in a cake or at most a quiche because I used to throw up after eating them as a child. After we started the elimination diet my husband made the home made Mayo in your recipe book and because it uses raw egg, she had a more pronounced response. We missed the first response, it’s so much easier with hindsight!  She mucked up at the dinner table straight away after trying the salad, wouldn't sit still, so we sent her to her room. After 5 minutes I went in and her eye was all puffy, I asked her what happened, did she fall? and she said "yes". But I noticed that the eye didn't blacken like a bruise over the next day or so. Two days later my husband gave her the same salad dressing. Again she mucked up at the dinner table, I took her to her room, but I laid her on the change table and that's when I saw she had hives coming up around her mouth. I knew that was bad so I grabbed her and took her straight to the hospital. Over three hours she slowly reacted, the hives went down and then the eyes started puffing up. We saw the Paediatric Registrar who told us "these things sometimes happen when they have a virus - take her home and giver her antihistamine". At that stage one eye was almost closed and the other eye was well on the way and the doctor had noticed she had a runny nose. I was yet to learn so much. I took her home, the runny nose wasn't from a cold it was her nasal airways closing up. I gave her the antihistamine and we stayed up most of the night to make sure she was okay.

After that I rang the hospital and asked for a referral to get her checked for egg allergy and the paediatrician tried to fob me off. If there is one thing I have learnt with my five year old, it is that I have to be my child's advocate. I stood my ground and pushed until the doctor gave in. When we eventually got to see the allergist some four months later, my suspicion was confirmed. My daughter was very allergic to both egg white and egg yolk. Not anaphylactic, one step away. I have since been to a number of talks and learnt about anaphylaxis. One of the most important things I have since learnt (for us) is that children who have a decent allergy to an item, will often turn anaphylactic if they go on to develop asthma. My husband and I are both asthmatic and are now very vigilant. – by email, and see Nell’s egg free cake recipe in Cooks Corner (Failsafe Newsletter #50).

My story started with an uncontrollable daughter who at 8 years of age was already getting suspended from school and was a horrible bully. The school wrote me a referral to a paediatrician. At the time I thought would only mean having her medicated to control her which I was dead set against.

I have two older boys that were very well behaved so I wanted to find the cause of the problem and not just cover it up with medication. Three days after Christmas 2002 my daughter went off to such a degree that all I could do was hold on to her while she bit, kicked and screamed until she was physically exhausted. That was when I knew there was something seriously wrong so I went to see a child psychologist who fortunately for me recommended your book Fed Up.

Within a month I went from thinking my daughter was destined for jail to thinking what a lovely young girl she is turning into. The results were noticeable that quickly. And from my daughter’s point of view she felt better within herself. She was no longer on an emotional roller coaster every day. Because of how she felt on the diet it made it easy to keep her on it. She was feeling a whole lot more in control of herself.

Since cleaning out our cupboards I noticed that my eldest boy no longer suffered migraines and no longer took so long with gut aches on the toilet. So obviously he also was affected by these chemicals but in a different manner than my uncontrollable daughter.

Now in our family two of my nephews and a niece have also gone on the diet with the same excellent results. One of my nephews went from struggling to get through one reader a week to reading one a night almost instantly.

My daughter is now twelve with her full potential being realised and is the biggest advocate of all for the failsafe diet. We laugh now about what we refer to as her "psychotic episodes" (which thankfully we haven't seen in a few years now). I used to think "what did I do so wrong with my daughter. My boys are good boys where did I go wrong." It was good to learn that it wasn't anything I did wrong as such. It was the food I was feeding her. – email, NT

My daughter is nine years old now and I intend to keep her home schooled for the rest of her school years. Not only is she behaving better because she eats only failsafe food but her concentration has improved, she enjoys learning and is learning more and is a far happier child as a result. I'd strongly recommend home schooling for parents of kids with ADHD. Before we started home schooling, my daughter exhibited strongly ODD behaviour patterns and was becoming a very unhappy and unsettled little girl. It's so good to see her playing happily with the others and being able to hold a conversation instead of fighting and tormenting.

Socialisation is no problem for us. We are already a large family, however, we organise outside activities as well. Our kids do a horsemanship course (their choice) as well as other activities that bring them into contact with others. Last year we tried our daughter with ballet for a while but would have been better with all-in wrestling. This year she's doing trampolining. It's more her style. Largely, I think that kids in schools get too much of the one kind of socialisation. I personally think they develop better if they learn to socialise with people across all age groups.

To get permission to home school is easy, in NSW you download the application forms from the Board of Studies website, fill them in and send them, but there are a few things that need to be in place.

Firstly, you need to develop a plan of what you are going to teach. To help with this, the website of the Board of Studies has a site that tells what subjects have to be taught and what sort of components in each subject you need to address. It's the normal school curriculum that has to be followed. I found this a bit worrying at first but it ended up being fairly easy. I am a trained primary school teacher which did of course make things much easier, but I found the greatest amount of help from other home schooling parents on the internet. You do not have to be a teacher to home school but you do need to develop a pretty good program. I'm pleased to say that the Board of Studies has approved the programs that I've written for my girls and has asked if I would help other homeschooling parents in my area, which I do and I'd be happy to help 'failsafers' with theirs if they need it.- Chris (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

I am a primary teacher and thought I had done everything 'right' to prepare my daughter for school. I was surprised and shocked when the teacher was less than enthusiastic about her first day. Despite her apparent high intelligence, Amelia has progressed slowly and her teacher describes her as inattentive and unaware of what is going on in the classroom.

After three terms of this I finally relented and took Amelia to see a paediatrician. She was diagnosed with ADHD (it is also suspected that my husband had ADHD as a child and has leant to channel his energy into work and sport). I was very reluctant to give Amelia the prescribed dose of Ritalin, particularly as her behaviour wasn't unmanageable at home. (After reading your book, perhaps I have been an 'immersion' mother and have fooled myself by thinking 'my child isn't a bad as that'.)

After much discussion my husband and I decided to trial Ritalin. I only lasted two days before maternal guilt, severe anxiety (particularly after looking at www.Ritalindeath.com) and Amelia's racing heartbeat helped us to make the decision to stop the medication. It was after my husband talked about our experiences at work, that one of his colleagues suggested we look at your website.

That was a significant day in our household. The next day, with the help of my children we emptied out the cupboards and started failsafe. The changes that your suggestions have made to my family are impressive. After 11 days on the diet, I received my first unsolicited positive comment from Amelia's teacher about her work and she also got two awards in the same week.

My 2 1/2 year old son has demonstrated even more dramatic improvement. Even though we didn't think there was a specific need for him to be on the diet, we are doing it as a family. Behaviours that I put down to being a boy – climbing on everything, running everywhere, talking loudly - have all stopped and he is now a gentle, quiet little boy. His day care teacher is amazed by the changes in him.

As for me, the headaches that I have experienced every few days have stopped and the psoriasis on my arms is starting to heal. I have read three of your books and it is if I have woken from a dream. Your description of your daughter in year 1 and husband could be about my family. When I read p38 "She'll grow out of it" Fed up with ADHD I was astounded - that is Amelia!!!! She is also very good at drawing and is a creative, lateral thinker (not that these qualities have been recognised at school).

Sue, I thank you for the years of trial and error that you have gone through to make this so much easier for all the families who are experiencing problems now. Amelia asked me to say thank you from her in this letter. 'Tell Sue I'm not a cranky pants anymore' she said. – email, NSW

Seven years ago at the age of 55 I had a very nasty gastro-intestinal virus which led to CFS and IBS.  Because of the severity of the IBS, I had many tests - some nasty, with scary implications.  Finally, a very helpful dietitian (who works closely with the RPAH allergy unit) put me onto the elimination diet nearly 2 years ago.  We have found that I have numerous intolerances:  lactose, gluten, salicylates, amines, soy, MSG, sorbitol, sulphites, benzoates, annatto - to name a few.... – by email

We are just back from a 5 week trip around Ireland with our three children and my mother. From my experiences there in 2001 and 2003, I must say that it is getting a lot more difficult to find failsafe food in the supermarkets and markets in 2006. I found their labelling to be informative, but you must know the names of the additives as they only print those, not the numbers. My children often picked something up and, because they are used to scanning for numbers, thought the product was safe for us. I am glad that I was familiar with the names for the nasties or we would have been caught out many times. Fresh food is in glorious abundance, but unfortunately a bit on the expensive side. We could only find one brand of bread that was acceptable, with no 282 or whey or vinegar, of course it was the most expensive to buy. There were no crisps that we could find that were failsafe, or biscuits. Cakes were all heavily coloured and decorated, with the results that we ended up cooking our own snacks. Fast food is expensive and very colourful, with virtually no safe choices available - well, for us anyway. I am very glad that we rented a house with a great kitchen. If we were not able to self-cater, I don't think we would have had such great behaviour from the children - can you imagine 5 weeks of being their only companions and not one single argument!! – Sharon, Melbourne

Part one: In the last five weeks our son’s ODD behaviour has been getting steadily worse. A lot of the time he is fine (with flashes of naughtiness), and then BANG, major, violent tantrum. I have just gone over the diary fairly meticulously and noticed that exactly five weeks ago he started swimming lessons in the local swimming school. The very next day after his first lesson, I noted that he seemed to be a bit irritated, and was a bit irritated on a couple of other days that week.

The following Saturday, after the lesson, I noted that he seemed grumpy, but it was short lived and reappeared off and on a couple of days later.  By the Tuesday we had a screaming tantrum (unheard of for weeks and weeks). From there on the irritation was there much more often, and every couple of days he would be in timeout, mouthing off (ODD raising it's ugly head).

The last three weeks have been not good for him (or us) and this morning, I could see it coming on before school and sure enough we had a huge tantrum, where he was threatening to hit me with the toilet brush (he was timing out in the bathroom), he was being really nasty calling me names etc and was out to hurt me.  When I got him to school (he had calmed down and was really sorry by then), I had to warn his teacher.  I was thinking of taking him out of school until he calms down again, or at least until we find what is causing this.

Could this all be coming from chlorine?  Usually after the swimming lesson we would take him to the local pool next day to practice so there's a double dose. He has always swum in our spa and his cousin's pool with no ill effects, however is it possible the swimming school and public pools would be more heavily chlorinated than the normal backyard one?

(Sue: It is common for ODD kids to react badly to chlorine, and yes, the chlorine level in public pools is usually much heavier than home pools. Some people get around it by having the child wear goggles -you can easily absorb toxic chemicals through your eyes - and shower immediately after leaving the pool. Others prefer to swim in fresh water swimming holes, the sea, salt water pools, or low chlorine pools.)

Part two: another look at the diary shows that for the last three weeks we have had a major tantrum on the afternoon following the lesson and then again the next day after the local pool - the reason for the behaviour was staring me in the face, and I didn't see it as I was looking for food triggers.

I have looked back further in the diary, where it showed the last real tantrum was during the last school holidays. I had noted that he had been at the local pool that morning, and lost the plot in the afternoon, so I don't think I need any more proof than that! I wish I had twigged earlier, I kept looking for food reasons.  I'm really pleased it wasn't food. – by email, NT

I suspect my daughter has an intolerance to flavour enhancer 635 because we have noticed reactions to the noodle flavour sachet and since then she has had a few reactions (itchy rash) to other snack-food products containing 635. A recent bout seemed likely to have been set off by eating sour cream and onion flavoured Pringles. Although the tiny print on the box does not list 635 or ribonucleotide, it lists the two other flavour enhancers which 635 is made from (627 and 631). We had let our guard down as she had not had a reaction for some time and begged on the school holidays to have the Pringles. Her rash seems to also flare up when she goes in the swimming pool, so obviously it is more complicated than I thought ... once a few years ago she got an insect bite which swelled, and then for about a week she'd get a rash when going in the school pool or our pool at home. It eventually went away, and she's been fine swimming for years, until now. But the cross reactivity (is that what you call it?) in the past with the insect bite, and now with the 635 (if that is indeed what it is) and the pool water shows how allergy/intolerance ain't that simple. Has anyone else noticed subsequent problems with rash flaring up when going in a swimming pool?  – by email

My daughter Samantha is now eight and has been failsafe for about two years. To begin with we were making a number of errors with the diet and it wasn't until I started referring to your web pages that I was able to better refine the diet and start to work through some of the possible reasons why the diet didn't always seem to be working.

Samantha was always a fairly demanding baby but as she was our first we didn't really know any different.  As a toddler she was not the sort of child that was easy to take out to a café for lunch - sitting still wasn't something that she could do, frustrating but I could cope with that and didn't really worry about it.

The first signs that started us thinking were a little eczema after eating dried fruit and complaining of her skin burning after urinating, which seemed to be much worse after eating oranges and tomatoes.  At about the same time that we started taking note of these I met someone whose child was failsafe and I started reading about food intolerances.  It all started to make sense. Pity that we didn't find your material straight away however we fiddled around eliminating some of the very high foods from her diet. Some improvement on the skin irritations but her behaviour although not extreme was becoming noticeable at times

When Samantha went to school she was displaying some behaviours that were inappropriate. We could never really put our finger on the type of behaviour that she was displaying it was just silly inappropriate behaviour, silly noises, crawling under the desks etc. As she is a bright child we were perplexed about why she couldn't seem to understand and learn how to behave at school.  It was at about this time that we discovered your material although it was not a total success straight away. When Samantha eats food that is not failsafe it seems she displays symptoms of oppositional defiance. It took time to realise just how sensitive Samantha is and to sort out some of the common errors we were making.

We are extremely lucky as Samantha is absolutely wonderful about sticking to the diet.  I grew up on a farm where my mother did all the cooking so I guess I have learnt pretty good cooking skills. As I now cook just about everything, it does seem to be a bit of a bonus. – by email, Tasmania

My amine-sensitive asthmatic daughter has been back on Ventolin daily for the past five weeks. The only amines she gets are from lamb from our local butcher who I know well. When I rang him he said that he changed lamb supplier five weeks ago (the same time my daughter’s asthma commenced) as our local abattoir closed down, and this is complicated by the drought as the butcher will only buy large carcasses and these are not always available in the drought.

I have located another butcher who tells me his lamb is at local saleyards on Wednesday, slaughtered Thursday and they get delivery late Friday. My daughter is better today after nearly a week off lamb and hasn’t required Ventolin for the first time in five weeks. I worry as to how new failsafers would pick up things like their meat not being entirely fresh as it appears harder and harder to get. The safest butchers appear to be the 'one man' butcher i.e. small business operator who runs the old fashioned butcher shop. I have found failsafe eating harder and harder to achieve and I am experienced with the diet. This makes me very sad as I know it is the answer, just hard to achieve! – Susan, NSW

I purchased Sue's book "Fed Up" 8 years ago and tried to implement it into the family but met with resistance. The one thing that all in the family agreed was that our daughter was food colouring intolerant. Now after viewing the DVD the entire family and grandparents agree that she needs further help.  We removed preservatives also from her diet and have seen some amazing results. Not only has she calmed down, but so have her brother and sister. Thank you both for all you are trying to do. We do need to encourage more people about the dreaded inclusions in our diet. I am a primary school teacher and I see too often the detrimental effects of additives on children’s behaviour. Our children are screaming out for help, if only the officials would open their minds and hearts to listen  – by email

My three boys have been avoiding a number of additives for many years now because of obvious affects on their behaviour and health. Last year my oldest son – then 8  years old - was diagnosed with Chronic Tic Disorder which is one step before Tourettes Syndrome. He could not sit still, having tics in his face, neck, shoulders and arms. After a period of time, I realised that this behaviour coincided with an increase in eating hot chips. I stopped my son eating hot chips and the tics went away. I have since tried him on hot chips and the same thing happens. The culprit is the synthetic antioxidant 320 (and/or 319) that appears in most chips and oil used for deep frying. However, manufacturers of frozen chips, and other products such as packet chips/crisps and dry biscuits do not need to list the additive on the label if the oil is less than 5% of the product. Not good enough! How can I help my son be “tic free” if we don’t know when these nasty additives are in certain foods? – by email

Two years ago I made the link between certain breads and my then two-year-old’s out-of-control behaviour. He had been born with reflux, and at 8 months we found he was allergic to wheat, which later became an intolerance. I have endured countless judgements from people regarding my "theories" that even preservative free breads from the supermarket still affected his behaviour considerably. Making my own bread has had a major impact on improving his behaviour, he is like a different child, but I have been struggling to find compassionate people to help me take the next step in assessing his diet further. He is a great child, but is "more excitable", "over active", "emotional". Many words have been used to describe him but I've always been told that I lack parenting skills and I am hiding behind excuses to explain his behaviour. In your website I have found people that understand me and him. In other people's stories I read my own, countless times. After years of difficult days, tears of frustration and questioning myself as a mother, I feel I've finally found people who are "on my side".  I feel validated.  – by email, Tasmania

‘Middle ear infections suck!’ Words from my own son’s lips - he is suffering today, poor darling. So of course it was off to the doctor for some antibiotics and of course they are in an attractive bright yellow capsule. I painstakingly undid all the yellow caps one by one and repackaged them in clear caps. Took me almost 30 min to do 21 caps but well worth the effort in not having diet issues together with illness. Had that issue before and it's not fun. It took my son almost two weeks to get over the "junk" hit the last time he was sick, it was hell. Just thought it might be a good tip for others, providing their children can swallow capsules. Finding pre packaged anti B's in clear or white caps is hard (see clear gelatin capsules on ebay)– Michelle, by email

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