•     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

•     After seeing your DVD, we immediately cut out all dried fruit and muesli bars from our two-year-old’s diet and were absolutely stunned to see that her persistent cough that usually kicks in around 11pm each night, and has for the last four or five months, suddenly ceased!

•     I first read Fed Up seven years ago when my then 3-year-old was suffering severe eczema.  I started eliminating additives and colours and her eczema went in a week and has not returned.

•     We solved my father-in-law’s severe eczema after visiting your website. He was using Wintergreen and Deep Heat to relieve joint pain symptoms and dermatologist couldn't cure his problem at all. Since following the low salicylate diet, he is 100%. He can not believe that the stiffness, aching joints and bad eczema have all disappeared.

•     We are attempting to do this in a split family. When I first started my son’s dad was not on board, however, he is now seeing the amazing changes and is slowly becoming more failsafe as time go on.

•     My three-year-old son has been on the diet for three months now and it has been a miracle for our family. He has no eczema, his behaviour is fantastic (the sweet gentle caring child I knew was hiding in there somewhere), his faeces are back to normal, he has not had a runny nose since starting the diet, no abdominal pain and he goes to sleep and sleeps all night with no night terrors (we were dealing with three or four a night). WOW, what a difference. We have found he is sensitive to amines and salicylates.

•     Thank you for providing such an informative website without requiring payment to view the information - it shows that you all really care about helping these kids and their families.

•     My 10-year-old daughter recently started becoming tearful and depressed sometimes - I was amazed when she worked out it was a reaction to sharing her Dad's chips - 'It's the flavour enhancers Mum, they just make me want to cry for no reason'.

•     You were right about salicylates! My six year old son has improved so much more now that we are avoiding them.

•     My hayfever has completely disappeared and my two children have become angels on this diet - my 2 year old has stopped her temper tantrums and is sleeping better and my 5 yr old son is like a new boy, happily playing on his own for hours, drawing, building blocks. He realises that "food with colours and chemicals make me silly" - I can't believe he is actively trying to avoid those foods because he feels so much better!

•     Your information has helped me overnight. After 36 years of difficulties and the last 5 years of stomach problems I am in a state of euphoric bliss. I have read so much on health over the years but have felt I was fighting a losing battle, I can’t believe how simple this has been to fix. Thank you for it is an amazing journey this life which I am sure I will (permanently) no longer feel like ending. I’m off for failsafe toad in hole now with a big smile on my face.

Some time ago I found some corn chips (Viva brand) that advertised having no MSG.  I bought them a few times before connecting with them a very uncomfortable feeling of restlessness, agitation and panic, heart palpitations, hot flushes and a "buzzing" sensation; I thought I was having a panic attack.  Since recognising the link I bought the chips once more to test the idea that this was the cause; after about 5 chips I started to feel the ‘buzzing’ and threw the rest of the packet away. - Kathy from Adelaide.

I have been getting heart palpitations for about 18 months. Saw a doctor who said it was anxiety attacks. Rubbish. So I started to take more notice of the foods I was eating. I noticed that it was instant after certain foods - corn chips, Sanitarium vegie sausages and some chinese foods (fried rice etc.).

I know its 635 because the palpitations come within half an hour of eating those foods, and are quite strong for about 2-3 hours. I'm still trying to figure out if it lasts to a lesser degree for a few more days, or if I've eaten something else in the meantime that I don't react well to. – by email.

I had suffered from a slight temporary problem now and again which seemed like an extra beat of my heart but couldn't pin it down to anything so put it down to probable after-effects of a cold or flu but one morning after enjoying a very large multi-course Chinese meal while on a works outing dinner the night before, I felt terrible and quite ill! I could sense an irregular heartbeat that seemed to be every second or third beat, I was going dizzy and feeling faint now and again, had a funny
tingling feeling going up my neck into my head and scalp and felt very weak. I honestly thought I was dying. It was so bad I even wrote a quick note to the wife and kids. Obviously I sought medical treatment, had various tests and an ECG which all showed up normal...the irregular beats were intermittent now and I got to feeling a little better, the doctor said everyone suffers from irregular beats now and again, it’s a benign condition and no problem!

Anyway I decided it may have been to do with the amount of alcohol I had drunk at this works dinner and gradually the beats got back to normal and I put this down to my now 'sensible drinking' . ....a few weeks later my wife and I arranged to meet up with a couple of friends and have a Chinese takeaway at their house...you guessed it … in the night and next morning the same feelings came back and the irregular beats ... I now dismissed the alcohol connection and thought it could be something I had eaten, so being a bit computer literate I looked up on a search engine the phrase 'heart problems after eating chinese food'. I was amazed at the search results, that so many people suffered from this and that largely doctors were ignorant of this! One web site even referred to it as Chinese restaurant sydrome!......so knowing the problem and after extensive research on the net I know if I can avoid MSG as much as possible I do not get these heart flutters!...even a packet of hula hoops (potato snacks) can give me slight heart irregularities.

Two years later: I still get irregular beats even after a packet of corn snack type crisps. I find that the irregularities with MSG kick in after about 12 hours and around 24 hours after eating 635, and that the 635 tends to hang on longer than MSG. With me the effects of MSG last usually a day sometimes two, and with 635 it’s usually two days sometimes three. – from the UK

This is about a mother's struggle with her daughter's epilepsy and what it took to give her daughter's life back to her. (from Andrea Collins' epilepsy list)

"My daughter is 7 years old. She has development delay, autism and was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome at the age of 2. She began the Ketogenic diet Jan 2000, and came off of it July, 2003. She was on the diet for 3 years and 3 months. She became seizure free 14 months after the diet was started. (It took 9 months to wean her off all the drugs and another 5months to take out all the foods that were causing her problems.) I found the diet very difficult as I didn't have the medical backup to see me through it. Found a Paed 3 months before she became seizure free who believed in what I was doing. A mum off this list was my only support. I would not have done it without her. I was so tired and felt so sorry for my daughter being on such a restricted diet and yet still having seizures but I had to see if the diet actually worked on its own. Her last seizures were all occurring during her sleep and I thought "at least she's not hurting herself" but I was forever running into her bedroom to help her get through her seizures. I was so frightened that I had done the wrong thing, weaning her off of all her drugs and the seizures were not getting any better. I was lucky to find a Paed that believed in what I was doing. She actually advised me not to reintroduce the drugs. The best thing I ever did was getting rid of the drugs altogether because I was then able to fine tune. What I did find however, that whatever she ate really affected her. Two days before she became seizure free I removed carrots from her diet because that was the only food I was giving her in the last meal that wasn't "failsafe" and a miracle happened. The following night she had a cluster of 20 very slight myoclonics and that cluster was the last seizure she ever had (April, 2001) and has been off the Keto Diet since July 2003, however she remains on the Failsafe Diet and Dairy free. I have since tried her on carrots and found her to be having staring sessions (were they absence seizures??) and keep her off of foods with beta-carotene. It's paid off in the long run. She is talking, doing well at school, playing with other children, enjoys her food (although I still have her on a mild diet watching what she eats) and is generally happy 100% of the time. I don't know what I would have done without the Ketogenic Diet and Failsafe foods."

My 14 year old son goes off his face with food colouring but it only lasts a couple of hours so we can put up with that. Salicylates aren’t too bad either, at home, although it must be terrible at school. He gets bouncy and silly. In class he wouldn’t be able to sit still or listen to the teacher. He would be too busy poking and prodding the kid next to him. Amines are the really big problem though. When he eats amines it’s World War III at our place. We need an air-raid siren. He’ll get up in a foul mood, kick the wall, swear, throw things, yell. Absolutely revolting. After we started the elimination diet we had five months of a perfect child but when we started our challenges that was the end of our wonderful existence. With his amine challenge he took nearly four weeks to calm down again.

This father who was doing the elimination diet to support his son chose to do the amine challenge first because he thought he wouldn’t react. ‘How wrong can you get!’ he wrote in his account of the challenge:

'I had a violent reaction within a few hours and have never felt so awful in all my life. Here are some of the symptoms: depression, suicidal tendencies not just thoughts, melancholy, looking for an argument, feeling the whole world was against me, lethargy, shakes, pressure on the skull and tingles in the extremities, feeling of hangover, inability to focus on thoughts, ringing in the ears, inability to sleep. The hungover feeling lasted until the next day. Not the best 24 hours but at least I know there is a cause for symptoms that I have experienced in the past.’

I am now 46, and have lived for most of those years with dreadful eczema all over my body, some times much worse than others. I went to many skin specialists, all who told me that diet was not linked, not to scratch, bathe in the sea when possible, not to use harsh soaps and apply cortisone creams. My eczema never got any better. I started the elimination diet a few years ago with my daughter, who suffers migraines, and not only did her headaches decrease, but my eczema also faded to almost nothing!  Amines were the trigger for her migraines, and with keeping off amine rich foods in our house, I have not had any eczema problems since, and I no longer need to apply creams to any parts of my body. What a relief!

Maybe as parents we should take our children into these places, give them the harmful products and walk out and say see what happens and good luck.  Then they might start listening. I did this to my son's school recently after they thought I was a mother overreacting to my son taking part in morning tea that was brought in by other students in the class.  The Principal actually commented that "you need to let your children have a bit of fun in their lives".  So I decided to let him join in the fun!

They got the shock of their lives when they saw the reaction they got in my son.  His teacher made a comment to me that she was shocked at the change it caused in him.  He was totally uncontrollable.  I said "yes, I am not a mean mum just a caring one".  She then said that she had discussed it with the Principal and they know that I am trying with him.  It's amazing how they change their mind when you show them. Unfortunately he had to get into trouble to get their attention.  But I think I have well and truly got their attention now - Tania from WA

I complained to the Adverse Medications Events hotline (thru your website) about the fact that the label on a particular brand of fish oil supplements says free of salicylates and amines and they were most sympathetic and helpful. They asked the Queensland Nutrition Council to investigate and discovered that not only does the lemon and lime flavouring contain salicylates and amines, but so does the tuna, and how high depends on whether the tuna is fresh or canned. As I told you, my son had an horrific adverse reaction to it, and was waking up through the night on it - in fact, he asked me if he could stop taking it. I tried lowering the dose to a teaspoon in the morning only (two teaspoons recommended morning and night), and it made no difference, so I stopped it. The AME spokesperson told me she had written to the company involved asking them to justify their claim. She also told me the product has been withdrawn in the United States, but she didn’t know why. I’m still investigating, but it would appear from my research that the US Federal Trade Commission ruled that the company made unjustifiable claims that it helped kids with ADD. Later the company was ordered not to make these claims without scientific evidence. (Complaints after January 2006 to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).- father of a six year old

When we had our son Tim assessed for Asperger's, we found that his way of viewing the world was different from ours. The tests highlighted his strengths such as maths, eg he scored 17 out of a possible 19 for this area, comprehension and reading skills. They also highlighted his weaknesses in motor coordination and his differing ability in various social situations.

Tim's world can be black and white. He doesn't cope well to change and is like a sponge soaking up written information. He was described as a little adult trapped inside a child's body. This can vary from day to day, depending whether Tim is in what I call 'child mode', happy to play with trucks and toys and his brother, or 'adult mode', needs specific jobs to do, be busy, needs to know and plan ahead.

Tim's overall score fell just a few points short of the criteria for diagnosis. When this happens, the person is described as having shadowings or ghostings of Asperger's, that is, enough of the traits to be a huge concern. This has helped us to find ideas and strategies to cope with his condition.

An occupational therapist with a special interest in sensory/tactile areas explained such things as why Tim likes to wear specific clothes, bounces up and down, spins (though this only happens every now and then) and why his hearing and sense of smell are so acute. These actions and sometime making noise help Tim balance himself. We were advised not to stop these actions, but find ways of directing them into a more socially acceptable form eg bouncing on a trampoline.

Overall, if we can improve his motor skills, his social skills and behaviour will improve.

Tim struggled socially at school last year, but this year things seem much better. We have had friends around to play, though I'm always on hand to help direct the play and social skills needed for a happy afternoon, and I can honestly say Tim is not the lonely little boy he was eight months ago.

My advice to other parents who feel there is something different about their beautiful child, but no one will seem to listen: don't give up. We were patted on the head by doctors for three and a half years ('he's just highly strung, he will grow into himself ' - what a great help that was!) and it was my own sister who suggested Asperger's due to an article she had read.

Having put a name to and found a reason for Tim's behaviour has empowered us to help our beautiful, bright and unique child to be happy. Tim seems sensitive to any artificial products, either additives or smells. We have seen him react to smells such as air fresheners and roadwork smells such as tar. We were also told to watch if his ears go red as this can often be a warning that something is not agreeing with him chemically and we have found this to be true. He can eat salicylates but is limited on amines. - Elaine

I have been on the diet for nearly 4 years. It has helped me a lot because when I was eight I was really naughty such as screaming all the time and hitting people and hitting my head on the wall. It felt so bad but now I am on the diet I feel so much better - I don't get headaches or pains in my side and feel sick in the stomach all the time. When I first found out about the diet and Learning Connections explained why I was acting and feeling the way I did I was so happy - happy that it wasn't me that was naughty or bad inside - it was the food I was eating. I can't eat takeaways now but I don't mind because my mum cooks nuggets and chips. I used to be sad that I couldn't eat my favourite fruit but I am used to it now. I haven’t been able to eat lollies that other people can eat but mum cooks me lollies ... (mum does the smashi lollies ...no longer trading unfortunately) – from Qld

On occasions my tongue would swell and my eyelids would swell up and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I’d been to doctors and a naturopath and I was still getting it, and then I read an article in the Sunday Sun, and it was all my symptoms on 635 and that the reactions would take 48 hours or so to come out. I thought “that sounds like me”, so I eliminated them from my diet, and then I ate them again, and within two or three days the reaction came out, so I stopped it again, and to
be sure, I ate it again, just to see what would happen, and it came out again, but I also get what I was told was spasms of the oesophagus. I started off thinking I was getting indigestion, and it would just pull really tight across my chest. It would last for hours, and I thought I was dying. - verbal report after presentation.

More Articles ...

  1. [444] 635: 'Knotting' in the oesophagus due to 635 (August 2006)
  2. [445] I wanted to hurt my son because he was driving me nuts (August 2006)
  3. [446] The 12 days of salicylates (August 2006)
  4. [447] ‘Fear of the dark’ really a food reaction (August 2006)
  5. [448] 282: Identical twins react differently to bread preservative 282 (August 2006)
  6. [449] 635: Severe rash due to 635, we didn’t realize until we saw it on TV (August 2006)
  7. [450] Mostly failsafe at boarding school (August 2006)
  8. [451] Severe eczema and cradlecap in a fully breastfed baby (August 2006)
  9. [452] One liners 2 (August 2006)
  10. [453] One liners (August 2006)
  11. [454] 'Wanted to warn others' about fish oil capsules (August 2006)
  12. [431] My daughter gets eczema and asthma from salicylates (July 2006)
  13. [432] Eczema and sulphites again (July 2006)
  14. [433] Preservatives including sulphites (July 2006)
  15. [475] 635: Severe irritable bowel symptoms (June 2006)
  16. [410] Thank you so much for giving us our darling little man to us (May 2006)
  17. [411] Within two weeks of altering his diet he has become happy and affectionate (May 2006)
  18. [412] Chocolate paranoia (May 2006)
  19. [413] Relentless dry cough - I was unaware of the food-asthma connection (May 2006)
  20. [414] Gastroscopy results and the failsafe approach (May 2006)
  21. [415] The only good thing to come out of this … we are now absolutely convinced it’s his diet (May 2006)
  22. [416] Eczema is so much better (May 2006)
  23. [417] Colour 102 tartrazine and anaphylactic shock (May 2006)
  24. [418] My son is a state ward (May 2006)
  25. [419] One-liners (May 2006)