Sue's Blog

Fedup Roadshow 2015 blog

SECOND LEG August 2015

Newcastle NSW Monday August 10


Our Newcastle talk was held in at the Macquarie Club in Argenton on the edge of beautiful Lake Macquarie, with a very friendly, interesting group.  Thanks to organiser Claire. See comments and questions below.

  • MSG affects me. I get headaches. They can be really bad. And I feel odd. It’s hard to describe – I just don’t feel well. Salicylates are the same but not as bad - male, 30s

Q. I’m a teacher. We agree with you about diet affecting kids, but only a few parents are prepared to do it. The majority just want to do what’s easy. The lunchboxes are full of packets. So what can we do?

A. One school introduced a no-litter policy that resulted in improved behaviour-  students were only allowed in the playground with unwrapped food in their hands, no packets (otherwise they have to stay inside until they have eaten).   Another option: recommend packets with no nasties from our shopping list.

Q. I developed adult-onset psoriasis at the age of 37 after a year of pigging out on KFC because I was doing a lot of travelling to work and there was a convenient KFC at the midpoint. I’m convinced the KFC caused it. What is your opinion?

A. According to RPAH research, triggers for food intolerance can include illness, medication and exposure to environmental chemicals. As far as they are concerned, the effects of additives are transient and reversible. However, that research was done before the introduction of MSG boosters (the ribonucleotide group of flavour enhancers 627-631-635, known to affect the immune system) into our food supply.  Many of our readers have reported permanent allergies and intolerances that seem to have been triggered by exposure to 635. These additives are probably used in KFC, so you could be right. See

Q. I’m an adult and my skin breaks out with acne if I eat too many salicylates.  It makes me wonder whether this would apply to teenagers?

A. After decades of denial, medical researchers now admit that acne vulgaris is linked to the Western diet. Studies show that nearly all adolescents and an increasing number of young adults are affected by acne in westernised countries whereas acne is virtually unknown in nonwesternised populations such as the Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea. The question is, which aspects of the Western diet cause the problem?  So far, there have been some contradictory results in the medical journals, but overall, processed foods, high fat and dairy products appear to be implicated. As usual with the effects of food, it appears that people differ.  Of our readers who say their acne improves on the diet, some relate the improvement to low salicylates, others to processed food or specific preservatives.  One way to find out for sure is a 3 week trial of the elimination diet.  See more on our acne factsheet

Q. My son still has a few problems on diet, but he has come 100% good a few times when fasting due to illness or 2 days in hospital for a procedure – he was fantastic for 4 straight days after that.

A. Families often report this. It means there is room for improvement on the diet, see our checklist of common mistakes

Sydney (Castle Hill) NSW Tuesday August 11

FUR2015Sydney01   FUR2015Sydney02

Held in the marvellous Castle Hill library, one of my all time favourite venues, thanks to the exceptionally helpful staff especially Erica once again.


  • I came to your talk here 5 years ago. Since then we have been following your recommendations for our son, then aged 4, and it has been so worthwhile!

  • We started the diet as a family a few months ago for our young daughter, but the surprise was that it only took 3 weeks for all of our son’s problems to go away completely: sleeping problems, outrageous behaviour, anger and aggression. For years, he was so bad that we just wanted to give him away or put him up for adoption. Now I regret that we lost so many years of our son’s life because we didn’t find this sooner.

  • MSG gives my husband a major asthma attack. He ends up in hospital with an anaphylactoid reaction including diarrhoea.  (MSG is the mostly commonly used additive in the world, although most people don’t realise they are eating it. While the food industry denies that MSG causes asthma, some of our readers are certain that it does.  There is a similar story on our MSG factsheet about American David Livingstone who nearly died from unintentionally eating MSG in restaurant soup.- S)

The Strawberry dialogue

MOTHER: My daughter’s favourite food is strawberries but she has all those behaviour problems you’ve been talking about, so which berries can she have?
ME: All berries are very high in salicylate except for blueberries – but they are not much better, high instead of very high. So you can occasionally have a few. You have to forget about eating a whole cupful at a time.
MOTHER: But that’s what she does – she eats the whole lot in one go, she loves them.
ME: Whatever you are most reluctant to give up is most likely to affect you.

Q. You mentioned limiting sugar?

A. From the food intolerance point of view, white sugar is very safe as it does not contain salicylates, amines or glutamates. However, sugar can contribute to obesity. If gaining weight is an issue for you, we do not recommend sugar in drinks except for small amounts on special occasions because sweetened drinks have been shown conclusively to contribute to weight gain. Similarly, the RPAH recommendation regarding sweets is to limit them to a few small pieces a day (p85, elimination diet handbook). The best way to eat sugar is in moderation as part of a balanced meal or snack that contains some fibre and other nutrients. Or you can choose to avoid sugar and eat non-sweet foods instead e.g. pasta, vegetable muffins, sandwiches.  See more on our failsafe weightloss factsheet.

Q. My daughter had cytotoxic tests and they told us everything she had to avoid.

A.  There is no scientifically credible way of testing for food intolerance other than an elimination diet. If you take anything out of your diet that leads to fewer additives you are likely to see improvements. The people who market vega testing in the UK admit this in their statement: "We have an imperfect system that works in the end because people eliminate certain things from their diet. It may just be the discipline of sitting down with somebody and agreeing to cut out the nasty things in their diet." But see  reader story 1083 about unnecessary avoidance of wheat due to dodgy tests.

Q. I’m doing the elimination diet. We are travelling overseas soon and I’m worried about the food.

A. You can see some helpful hints by failsafers on our factsheet Additives around the World

Wyong NSW Wednesday 12 August


At Wyong Public School under the CCSaSS scheme – Central Coast Schools as Community Centres, thanks to organiser Karissa.


  • There’s such a lot to learn – I organised this talk because I just wanted to hear Sue say it all – Karissa

  • We’ve been failsafe for 4 years – your book is our bible!

  • I came because of my son’s behaviour but asthma is a huge problem for him. No one ever mentioned diet. (See asthma factsheet for more).

[1366] Seizures due to salicylates (November 2015)

I started on this journey after attending one of your talks five years ago. My son was having seizures and was on anti-seizure medication.  After learning about the diet, I decided to ditch the medications, which weren’t working anyway, and attempt the elimination diet with challenges.  It was the hardest thing I have done in my life. It took us 4 months to complete, because when my son had a reaction to a certain group, it was a major reaction.  From this we found salicylates were the cause of his seizures.  As soon as these were reintroduced, the seizures returned. Remove the salicylates and the seizures went.  He also had an extreme reaction to sulphites, which I would never have known anything about unless I had attended your roadshow – mother who attended Wyong talk Fedup Roadshow 2015

The Fragrance dialogue

ME to the mother of an autistic boy, after the talk: Have you thought about going fragrance-free? I hate to say it, but you are wearing something perfumed right now that makes me feel uncomfortable.
MOTHER: But he’s never complained about it.
ME: They don’t complain. These fragrances are like additives – they can be addictive, so children will actually seek out the perfumes that are bad for them. (In a study where autistic children did a diet while in a sealed ‘clean room’ with its own air supply, they sought out microplumes of fragrance due to tiny pinpoint holes. When the holes were repaired, their behaviour improved.)

Q. My autistic son is “living on” mashed potatoes and bread. He eats up to a loaf a day. We mash the potatoes with milk and the cheapest margarine and buy the cheapest bread at IGA.

A. Those can be good foods but you have to check for additives

- use Nuttelex original margarine rather than the cheapest that almost certainly contains preservatives or synthetic antioxidants such as 320
- make sure the bread is preservative free: this means avoiding preservative 282 or “cultured” anything in bread, even if they say “no preservatives” (it’s a food industry dirty trick). Kids who are affected by 280-283 can be addicted to it and want to eat nothing else, I saw that in my own child, when you avoid the bread preservative he will probably eat a wider range of foods.
- some autistic kids are affected by gluten and/or dairy, though not all. It would be best to see an experienced and supportive dietitian from our web list under Support.

In the meantime

- switch to A2 milk, this can make a big difference for some children
- note that large white potatoes thickly peeled are low in salicylates
- see the free booklet Ethan’s recipes -  a set of GFDF failsafe recipes used by the mother of an autistic child who achieved dramatic results within 3 weeks on the elimination diet

Canberra ACT Thursday August 13

FUR2015Canberra01   FUR2015Canberra02

At Kambah school – another great venue! Many thanks to Sheryl Sibley, our Canberra contact, for yet again organising an exceptionally friendly talk.

For anyone who was wondering, the goodlooking and helpful young man working on the front desk is a longterm failsafer. He is now 20, and still sticking to his diet. He appears in our DVD but you probably wouldn’t recognise him (I didn’t) because he has grown so much. Thanks also to dietitian Paula Tazzyman who attended the talk. This is the 4th of my talks that Paula has attended. She is always happy to chat to attendees and extremely supportive about food intolerance.


  • I’m a foster mother with 3 children. This is the 3rd time in 4 years that I’ve attended one of your talks. I need a refresher and I always learn something.

  • I was told to come tonight by my son’s occupational therapist. (We were amazed at the number of attendees who had been told about the presentation by their occupational therapist or speech therapist.  – S)

  • Ribo rash update: my daughter had her first reaction to 635 at age 4 due to corn chips given to her at the childcare centre. At that time she also became very sensitive to environmental factors such as a grass allergy. Six years later she still reacts if she eats 635 by mistake, and for a few days she will be very, very sensitive e.g. develops hives instantly even from dipping her hands in cold water.

  • I’ve been failsafe for years. This year, I’ve lost 15 kg in six months by combining Dr Michael Mosley’s Fast Diet with Failsafe, as you recommend on the  Failsafe Weightloss Factsheet

VFUR2015Canberra   Watch 2 hr video of presentation (thanks to Jude)

Melbourne (Ringwood) Monday August 17

FUR2015Melbourne01   FUR2015Melbourne02


Another great venue, the Maroondah Federation Estate is a community, cultural and arts facility in the former Ringwood primary school with a very welcoming feeling.

Many thanks to organisers Leanne of Swift Fitness and Jenny Ravlic (on right of picture above) of Additive Education who told her own story in her amazing introduction. Thanks also toTeresa Bowley in centre of picture above - so many people rely on her accurate responses on the facebook group, and here she is!

Diet prevents suicide

Our daughter would not be here with us today if we hadn’t found out about the RPAH diet when your book fell on my foot while I was in a bookstore. She suffered from severe depression for years and made lots of suicide attempts. She’s now 20 and doing really well. We are extremely grateful. (You can see Sarah’s story in her own words - “within a week my depression vanished, basically the diet saved my life”. It’s a 1minute video clip on our Depression factsheet )

The Mental Illness dialogue

WOMAN: What forms of mental illness respond to diet?
ME: Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD …
WOMAN: Should I stop my medication?
ME: You need to consult your doctor– medications for depression usually have to be reduced gradually, because they are addictive, no matter what big pharma says. You can see more about it in our depression factsheet under antidepressant side effects and withdrawal symptoms, and also in the following website  It would be best to read our factsheet on depression , then consult one of the supportive and experienced dietitians listed on our website. 

Failsafe & Fodmaps – too hard!!!

Many of the Melbourne audience were having a hard time with diet because they had been told to combine the fodmaps diet with failsafe.  This is not easy. We were alarmed that so many people had been put on fodmaps first.

In our experience for most people it is more effective and much easier to start on the RPAH diet and then add fodmaps if necessary. Fodmaps only works for IBS, not behaviour or other food intolerance symptoms. Some dietitians do not understand this. Any dietitian who tells you that fodmaps is a low salicylate diet so you don’t need to try the RPAH diet doesn’t know what they are talking about – if they are on our list, please let us know.

For one boy with antibiotic-induced IBS plus all the symptoms of oppositional defiance disorder, a doctor recommended fodmaps with one piece of fruit per day – so the child was eating mandarins or apples. No wonder it didn’t work! The latest thinking to prevent or treat antibiotic-induced IBS is to take a concurrent course of Saccharomyces boulardii probiotics, as even recommended by our local pharmacy.  See more on our blog


Q. I get IBS symptoms from Macca’s. The hash browns are the only thing that I can eat. McMuffins are the worst.

A. Sausage and egg McMuffin contains the bread preservative (282), sorbate preservatives (200), annatto natural colour 160b and hydrolysed vegetable protein (basically, MSG). For bacon, add nitrate preservative 250. Could be any or all or a combination of those. You could find out exactly what is affecting you by a 3 week trial of the RPAH diet with challenges.

Q. I’m in my 50s, (male), never been affected by food before. Recently I had a reaction to a mudslinger (Southern comfort, orange juice, coca cola). I was sipping it for over an hour, when I developed travelling hives, massively burning and prickly rather than itchy, lasted for a few hours.

A. Food reactions are often delayed so it could be that your reaction was to something you had eaten at the last meal or even the day before. Or, if it was to the mudslinger, this is what Wikipedia says about the original recipe of southern comfort  "An inch of vanilla bean, about a quarter of a lemon, half of a cinnamon stick, four cloves, a few cherries, and an orange bit or two … and honey" ALL of the ingredients in Southern comfort – and mudslingers - are high in salicylates. Reactions to salicylates are usually delayed or build up over several days, so it could be that you were eating a lot of salicylates for a few days and the mudslinger was the last straw. It seems that sensitivity to salicylates can be provoked at any age by e.g. a course of medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Albury (Jindera) Tuesday August 18


A large talk held in the amazing and very welcoming St John’s Lutheran school – the only school I’ve ever seen with some classrooms in a train in the schoolyard!  Thanks to Principal Sharon Kotzur, who as she said in her introduction, has a very unusual link to us. Sharon worked as a cleaner for us years ago when she was a student and I was a young mother struggling with a new baby and difficult child due to food intolerance, before we discovered the diet.

For Howard and me, this was an emotional evening due to the outpouring of gratitude from established failsafers, see some of their comments below. We were extremely touched and feel very privileged to share people’s stories like this. Their gratitude makes the effort of these roadshows worthwhile.


  • I just wanted to say thanks you for your books. They changed our lives. My brother now aged 18 had been completely out of control, and heading for prison. He’s now in his final year of school, doing really well, and heading for university.
  • Your books and website have changed our lives. We are so very grateful.

  • I’ve watched your DVD over and over – I find it so inspiring.

  • In my opinion, your ebook Fed Up with Food Intolerance is my favourite – I just couldn’t put it down.

  • I find it easier to listen to what you are saying – if I read it, it feels like too much, but when I watch the DVD, it seems easier to understand.

[1367] Medical ignorance of the role of food in alopecia areata (patchy baldness) (November 2015)

My younger sister aged 8 has alopecia areata (patchy baldness) but it has turned into almost alopecia totalis (complete lack of body hair including eyebrows). She has tried going gluten free, but it’s hard. There are two coeliacs in the family. Doctors say it is nothing to do with diet and won’t do a test for coeliacs - woman at Jindera talk, Fedup Roadshow 2015.

Sue's comment: I find this extraordinary. Medical journals around the world are packed with articles about the link between alopecia and coeliacs. The point they make clear is that the gluten free diet has to be scrupulously gluten free – no mistakes – for at least several months. I know it’s hard, but that’s what you have to do. Perhaps you could print out the following articles to show your doctors.

Coeliac disease and alopecia areata in childhood, Feesatou et al, 2003. Researchers found that administration of a gluten-free diet resulted in complete hair growth.

Reappearance of alopecia areata in a coeliac patient during an unintentional challenge with gluten, Viola et al, 1999.  Describes a patient with coeliac disease whose alopecia was the only symptom. The alopecia disappeared completely after a few months of strict gluten free diet and reappeared after an unintentional prolonged introduction of gluten. After a strict gluten free diet, hair regrew. The researchers concluded “The possibility of a direct relationship in some cases, between coeliac disease and alopecia areata is confirmed”

Factsheet on Alopecia Areata


Q. I have a 7 yo daughter with episodes of tachycardia (SVT, abnormally fast heart rate) on exertion. We think it is due to food. The doctors say no, and want to put her on beta blockers. An ECG shows nothing wrong.

A. Howard was annoyed about this one. “I had that problem when I was a kid,” he said. “I was put on medication with nasty side effects unnecessarily. I know now it was due to food”. I recommended our heart symptoms factsheet – readers have reported heart rhythm problems due to MSG, MSG boosters, sulphite, propionate or benzoate preservatives. I also recommended talking consulting an expert at the Sydney clinic that specialises in food intolerance 

VFUR2015  Sue Dengate interviewed by WINTV in Albury during Fedup Roadshow

Gunnedah NSW Thursday August 20

FUR2015Gunnedah01   FUR2015Gunnedah02

Thanks to Sheree from the preschool for organising this talk at the very welcoming club where we also spoke previously to a very grateful audience.

Comments and questions

  • I’m a teacher. There’s a child in my class who was addicted to flavoured rice crackers - the brand  you mentioned in the presentation (Fantastic). He would throw tantrums if he ate them but he was so addicted he would also throw tantrums if he wanted them and didn’t get them. They were like a drug. His mother couldn’t control him at all.

  • I’m a salicylate responder. I see all the time that people who think they are eating the very healthiest meals don’t know about salicylates.

Q. My son is 9 and he still wets the bed copiously. A nappy can’t begin to contain it. We have tried everything (except diet). When we tried the alarm system it woke everyone in our family except our son. How long would it take for diet to work?

A. “2 days” said another mother.  When I ask readers what triggers bedwetting they all say something different because everyone IS different. That’s why you have to use the elimination diet as a diagnostic tool to find out exactly what the triggers are in each case. People say it can be   artificial colours, bread preservative, salicylates, amines, or dairy foods. Bedwetting is exceptionally easy to work with because it is so obvious. See more on our bedwetting factsheet

Q. I have this strange problem – every so often I suffer from a croaky throat for a few days.  It’s hard to say how often it happens. Maybe once a month.

A. Usually I would say that the best way to find out exactly what is affecting you is to do a dietitian-supervised trial of the RPAH diet. But for infrequent symptoms it is possible to figure out what’s happening by keeping a diet and symptom diary –  as long as you can identify the foods that contain additives, salicylates, amines and glutamates. We had a pilot once who was reluctant to see a health professional because it would go on his work record. So he kept a diet diary and figured out for himself that his problems occurred the day after eating lasagne or spaghetti - his two favourite meals. They are very high in salicylates and amines and glutamates due to heaps of tomato-based sauces and cheeses. If he avoided or limited those meals, his problems went away.

FUR2015Gunnedah00  Carla's family interviewed for local newspaper


FIRST LEG June 2015

The Roadshow kicked off with an ABC radio interview with Michael Spooner in the Coffs Harbour studio



Woolgoolga NSW Wednesday 10 June, home of Whale Watch Headland

whale     FUR2015Woopi01


We are seeing a change in audience attitudes this year: people are confused and worried that they don’t have enough information to choose healthy foods. No wonder! This is the result of Big Food’s “Clean Label” strategy, where every packet is slathered with misleading claims. The way supermarkets are going, every consumer should learn how to read labels and see our display of commonly used Dirty Tricks. As Frillypants said on our facebook group:

“Bloody food labelling. It really is up to us to be smarter than them. Read the label and then read between the lines. And... and... don't be sucked in. Be cynical”

The highlight of this talk was the mother who stood up at the end and gave an unexpected testimonial:

“I discovered your work when my son was in grade 5 at this school and we were having a lot of trouble with him. He was very difficult but thanks to the diet he became a different child. He’s now 24, with a good job. He’s an independent, caring adult and I am very proud of him. It might have all turned out very differently if I hadn’t found your book.”

Other comments from the evening:

“I’m going to go home and clean out my pantry …” (surrounded by a chorus of agreement)

How healthy are wraps?

“I send my daughter off to school every day with a wrap, I thought that was healthy”

The audiences had been  stunned to find that most wraps contain at least bread preservative 282 - sometimes listed as “cultured dextrose” or “cultured whey”-  and one third of the audience were giving their children wraps that contain 2 preservatives, 1 synthetic antioxidant, plus 2 artificial colours if buying the spinach flavour.  One wrap per day can be enough to cause longterm learning difficulties.

Womens health issues

Q. During your talk, you mentioned that diet can get rid of premenstrual symptoms. Does that also apply to symptoms of menopause such as insomnia and hot flushes?

A. Yes, absolutely. But getting rid of the additives and problematic natural chemicals may not be enough.  For hot flushes and night sweats, you may have to try a very low fat diet (VLF, or 10% of calories from fats, that means no added fats) as well. Dietary fat is known to increase circulating oestrogen levels - which is the last thing you want – so a VLF diet makes sense, and it worked for me within 3 days.  See scientific evidence and how to combine failsafe with a low fat diet at

Many thanks to Gail and the other exceptionally friendly staff at St Francis Xavier School for hosting this talk. We had been warned that thanks to the internet, people no longer go out to attend talks, and we should expect much smaller numbers. Yes, we are certainly finding that, but the upside is that the people who do come are highly motivated, chatty, and we are able to have much more interactive – and thus rewarding – sessions.


Coffs Harbour NSW Thursday 11 June, Home of the Big Banana

banana     FUR2015Coffs01  


I love giving talks in the Coffs Harbour library because it is so relaxed. The obliging staff had arranged a failsafe supper, and one mother whose breastfed baby was unsettled was able to establish her base on a rug on the floor, leaning against a shelf of books.

Some comments from the evening

Misleading food labelling

“How do they get away with it?”

A visitor from NZ had mistakenly purchased Dairy Farmers milk thinking it was A2 due to the “naturally contains A2 protein” claims on Dairy Farmers milk, see more

The paleo diet

”We put our son on the paleo diet and he went ape, that was our first sign that salicylates were a problem”

This is a commonly reported problem on our facebook group and there were several similar reports during the evening regarding both adults and children. One 3 yo’s daily diet included dried fruit, prune juice, olives, almond flour and apple cider vinegar (VERY HIGH in sals) plus apples, honey, coconut oil (HIGH in sals), MOD sal vegies,  and very few low sal foods.

Artificial colours in toothpaste

“But that’s the one I use…”

said one mother when the slide came up.  The audience was horrified to find that most toothpastes for children contain artificial colours these days – and they are easily absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth.

Q:” …but the toothpaste from your dentist should be OK shouldn’t it?” 

A: Absolutely NOT. Dentists in general don’t know or care about food additives. Our dentist is a lovely person but he gave us a toothpaste sample containing blue beads containing one of our additives of concern:  artificial colour E133 also called brilliant blue, Blue 1, and CI 42090. It’s also used extensively in toothpastes for children.

Still on the subject of toothpaste, later that evening:

“I am a dentist. Children should use a small smear of adult toothpaste, that’s what studies support as being effective for preventing dental caries. Children’s toothpastes have 400 ppm of fluoride but the real effect is 1000 ppm.  I agree with you that children’s toothpaste shouldn’t taste like sweets, because you don’t want them swallowing it. “

- see more on our website factsheet 

Ten year story update

“I met you ten years ago at a book signing in Dymocks bookstore and it changed our lives. My son who was the problem then - oppositional and doing badly at school -   is now doing so well, I am so proud of him. He is now studying engineering at university.”

Many thanks to the Coffs Harbour Library system for hosting this talk and especially to organiser Judy who has previously shared her experience - Judy attended one of my talks years ago as a library staffer promoting the library, but halfway through the evening realised that amines were the cause of her lifelong migraines so she is now an enthusiastic failsafer. Thanks also to the GP and dietitian who attended and were happy to chat with audience members afterwards, see our list of supportive health professionals at

 Special thanks to Cassie and Amanda for preparing an (almost) failsafe supper and for stepping into the breach when organiser Judy took a tumble down some stairs. Get well soon!


Bellingen NSW Monday June 15

FUR2015Bello02     FUR2015Bello01

We always enjoy talking in beautiful Bellingen.  This evening talk was held in the golf club with a lovely view of the river. Thanks to the Nambucca Valley Early Childhood Intervention (NVECI) for organising this talk and the three following.

Reactions to annatto 160b natural yellow colour

“My son has huge reactions to artificial colours 133, natural colour 160b and salicylates. With 160b in particular he reacts with aggression, massive meltdowns, and just can’t listen – it’s as if he’s possessed.”

Problems with the diet

”I’m a failsafer. I’ve been sticking to the diet strictly but it’s not working very well … (after the talk) … Now I know why it’s not working! “ - this person had identified the following problems: coconut oil (high in sals and amines), the infamous Helga green wraps (5 additives of concern including 2 artificial colours); using ginger, turmeric and spices for flavouring (all high to very high in sals). It is common for people on the diet to make mistakes.


Mother: “By fragrances, do you mean stuff like perfume in roll on deodorant?”
Me: “Yes”
Mother (determined): ”I thought so. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to do it.”

Nambucca - Macksville NSW Tuesday June 16

FUR2015Macks02     FUR2015Macks01

People came from all over for this talk because it was the only one scheduled during the day. Thanks to Tracy and Bernadette from NVECI.


In my experience, people who come because they are dragged by others end up finding something for themselves.

“I was dragged here by my friend” said one woman – the only one who didn’t raise her hand for being interested in the effects of foods on children’s behaviour.  By the end she was taking copious notes about asthma.
“I’m so glad I came, I can’t believe I thought we were eating healthy foods”.

Coeliac disease

It is common for coeliac disease to remain undiagnosed for decades but this story is the worst I’ve heard of. One reason why doing the full RPAH elimination diet including gluten free could be a good idea:

“I’m 47 and I’ve just been diagnosed with coeliac disease. I felt so much better by the end of the first day. I couldn’t tell anything from my family history because I’m adopted.”

Medication and diet

Q. I’m intending to do the diet but my son has just been started on medication for ADHD. It’s working brilliantly, but will it interfere with doing the diet?

A. Members tell us that medication can work like magic at first but after a while the effects are not so good.  Doing the diet can be hard when combined with medication because families are not so motivated to do it properly, and the effects of the medication can cover up food reactions. Some families start the diet during drug holidays – e.g. the longer school holidays, in the middle of the year or on Boxing day. People say that children who start the diet at a young age are more likely to learn self control and choose to stick to their diet later on.

Cheap Thermomix look-a-like

“I don’t have a Thermomix but I have a cheap copy that I bought from Target called Bellini. I have been able to make all the failsafe Thermomix recipes that I find on websites, including grinding rice grains into rice flour. “ – see more

Weight loss

The RPAH elimination diet is not a weightloss diet, it is a weight normalisation diet:

-    skinny underweight people are likely to gain weight
-    overweight people are likely to lose. 

At this talk I heard from a mother who had done the RPAH elimination diet for her baby’s health problems and lost weight while breastfeeding , then after weaning gone back onto her normal eating and gained 35 kg. “I think I should go back to failsafe eating”, she said. The school principal in the additive free school trial video we show during the presentation went additive free to support his students, and to his surprise he lost 11 kg, I presume this is due to avoiding highly processed foods. More details in our Failsafe Weightloss factsheet.

Kempsey NSW Wednesday June 17

FUR2015Kempsey02      FUR2015Kempsey01

We didn’t know what to expect at Kempsey because it was State of Origin night. But the audience came anyway, including some marvellously supportive men. Thanks to NVECI organiser Debbie for this talk.

From a Family Day Care Educator

“I’ve been to your talk before. I can see that food affects these kids so much – I want to know all I can about it.”

Itchy rashes

“I’m doing the diet for my baby son with eczema and severe itchy rashes. I can’t tell you how awful it was – I never took photos when he was at his worst. We’re doing it with an excellent dietitian (soon on our list for Kempsey).  Challenges have so far shown that salicylates and glutamates are a problem. The diet has changed my son’s life.”

FUR2015preFSbreast Pre failsafe, breastfed only

FUR2015gluchallenge Glutamate challenge response

FUR2015FS Now failsafe. The scab was left from glutamate challenge

From a grandmother

“I’m sending my daughter to your Brisbane talk!”

Fussy eaters

Q. My son has problems with textures and is generally a fussy eater

A. There have been many questions about fussy eaters – it is common amongst food intolerant children, e.g. some kids become addicted to preserved bread/muffins and don’t want to eat anything else. Likewise salicylates. They may become “clean plate men” just by doing the elimination diet. Some of our listed dietitians specialise in fussy eaters, for example, Emma Blank from The Allergy Medical Group Brisbane is an Accredited Practitioner for the SOS Approach to feeding. This is a multidisciplinary approach to picky eating and feeding problems in infants and children.  Emma conducts food therapy sessions with families to broaden the repertoire of ‘safe’ foods children will accept.  She finds this approach complementary in treating infants and children who also have food allergies and/or food intolerances. Over the past 5 years Emma has completed specialist training to assist families with children who find eating a wide variety of foods difficult.  Read more tian 


Q. What if you can’t drink water? I just live on coke.

A. It is common for people to report addictions to products like cola drinks. That is why people experience withdrawal symptoms during the elimination diet.  If you only want to make the switch to water, there’s an excellent summary of how to deal with addictions at


On the subject of fragrances, accommodation while travelling is often a nightmare for us, because we are both sensitive to perfumes and need to find well-ventilated accommodation with cooking facilities but without airfresheners, strong smelling cleaning products or sheets washed in fabric conditions. Thanks to the Sunshine Big4 tourist park at Arakoon, we stayed in a brilliant gumnut ecocabin that was perfect for our needs. It can be done!

Question on silly noises by email after talk

Q. I attended your recent visit to Kempsey, and you covered 3 types of problem areas each listing signs for children who are reacting to food yet being labeled naughty. One of the fact sheets had makes noises,  squeals etc, could you please direct me to the fact sheet that was involved in as I have an eleven yr old always suspended and he has silly behaviour,  squealing, armflaps and constant interruption' he is also overweight and eats Macca etc

A. Silly noises and silly behaviour would be covered by "the restless ones”:  irritability,restlessness, sleep disturbance, restless legs, difficulty concentrating, loud voice, tics, ‘severe temper, disruptive, tearful, moody, silly noises’. All of these symptoms are similar to ADHD-like symptoms, but many parents find they can be controlled by diet and don't need ADHD medication. You can see more on our ADHD factsheet

Port Macquarie NSW Thursday June 18

FUR2015Port02     FUR2015Port01

Over 100 people turned up at this talk, including a dietitian, three NVECI organisers (special thanks to Cheryl), some supportive men and a good number of teachers and healthcare workers.

How healthy are wraps?

During this roadshow, it has become obvious that most consumers think wraps are so healthy they don’t bother to read the ingredients label. From the additive point of view, this is wrong. Most wraps contain preservatives. A dietitian who attended a talk added that from the nutrition point of view, wraps are generally NOT healthy because they are:

•    “hideously” high in salt
•    high in fat
•    low in fibre

See more about healthy foods for diabetics (but that means for all of us) at

“Whatever you are most reluctant to give up is most likely to affect you”

Fragrances “When you said that I suddenly realised that my son (with autism) loves to shut himself in the bathroom and spray all the smelly stuff. None of the rest of us can bear to go in there afterwards because of the stink. We are going to have to look at the added fragrances in toiletries”

Apples “We took out additives. To be honest it didn’t make a huge amount of difference. When you said that about what you are reluctant to give up I realised that  my daughter lives on apples – she eats them all the time. We are going to have to look at salicylates.“


“My daughter has autism and we’ve tried GFCF – didn’t make much difference - but I’d never heard of salicylates before. I can see that this could be the problem.”

You can see more about diet for autism on our DVD in the parent interviews – Darani talks about the dramatic improvements in her child’s communication, reduction in repetitive behaviour and stimming, and more. She has also provided a booklet  of the highly nutritious foods and recipes she used during the strict elimination diet (including GF and DF), you can request a FREE copy of “Ethan’s recipes” from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In general, very few men attend our presentations. Some women say this is because partners are being supportive by staying at home and minding the kids. Thank you both to those who are babysitters and those who attend, we have met some extremely supportive males during this roadshow – and thanks to the guy who did impromptu tech support in Port Macquarie. However, some of the mothers at talks have shared their fear about getting partners, particularly ex-husbands, to cooperate. As one mother said:

“I can’t see how I can do this diet. When his father looks after him, he feeds him all the wrong things.”  

This is a common problem, frequently discussed in our support groups. You can see suggestions from our members such using an antidote as a coping strategy; how to encourage your ex to continue with the diet; strategies to help your child understand the reasons for being on the diet; hints on how to get blokes involved in the diet from a supportive stepfather, and more at

Why it is best to see a dietitian

“Where can I find the diet?” is a common question. Some people see huge improvements do it by reading my books and using our shopping lists and recipes, and the hints in How we did our diet.  If doing the full diet, it is best to see a dietitian on our list -not just any dietitian, someone who specialises in food intolerance.  It is easy to make mistakes and challenges can be much trickier than you think. We will shortly add two new dietitians to our lists (Bridget Plunkett in Kempsey and Cally Sumpter Port Macquarie) since the roadshow began. 

"As a dietitian who uses the RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet in my everyday practice, I can assure you that it does work brilliantly in the majority of cases, in infants (via mother's breastmilk), in children and in adults as well. However, it needs to be done properly .... The diet should be supervised by an Accredited Practising Dietitian with experience in food-chemical intolerances and conducted as a test diet, for a limited period of time - usually only 3-4 weeks in duration. Occasionally it may go longer, but the dietitian ensures that nutrients are adequately compensated for. The challenges are then performed in a timely manner and the diet refined to be liberalised as much as possible, while only avoiding the problem foods long term. I have many, many satisfied clients who were fobbed off by other health professionals in the past, because they didn't 'believe' in food-chemical intolerance". - A letter from Joy Anderson (a recommended WA dietitian from our list) that appears in the June 2013 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia InSight .

See our list at

Hearty chicken, veg & noodle soup (golden oldie)

When three year old Ethan went on his dietitian-supervised strict RPAH elimination diet (failsafe,  GF&DF), a nutritional analysis of his diet showed that his daily intakes of calcium, iron, A, B and C vitamins and other nutrients were all above the recommended intake, especially folate which was more than four times the recommended level. In particular, this hearty noodle soup/stew that was a mainstay of his diet - he ate a serve nearly every day - was found to be highly nutritious.

1 whole free-range chicken
1 leek (halved lengthways)
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried red lentils
12 brussel sprouts or approx 1/2 cabbage
1 swede
4-6 sticks celery
4-6 shallots
1 cup frozen green beans
375g pkt Orgran rice and corn spaghetti noodles (or 2 cups white rice)

Place chicken in pot with leek and enough water to cover, add salt, bring to boil and simmer until cooked through (about 45 min). Remove chicken and allow to cool a little. Strain stock, return to pot and add red lentils, then washed and finely chopped vegetables. Gently simmer until well cooked (about 1hr). Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from chicken, finely chop or process and return to pot with veggies. Add noodles or rice and cook for a further 10-15 min.

This usually makes enough to fill about 8 rectangular Chinese take-away containers (2 serves in each for a 3 yo), which can be frozen and used as needed. Soup is very thick, more like stew really, and can be watered down a little if preferred. - (from “Ethan’s recipes” booklet  now available FREE)

Brisbane (The Gap) QLD Wednesday 24 June

FUR2015Gap00   FUR2015Gap01

FUR2015Gap02   FUR2015Gap03

 The Gap school where we talked is in the Western suburbs of Brisbane and some of the audience had come a long way. This was an outstanding talk - a small audience on a cold night with many successful failsafers and heaps of stories to tell, including the two exceptional stories mentioned below, from Herman (eczema hell) and Ursula, whose story has resulted in our new “Tell a health professional” campaign. Attendees commented on the amazing attention span of one 10 year old failsafer in the audience.

Janelle the organiser joked she got some negative feedback: “ALL parents should have attended this talk!”

There were numerous positive comments and one family brought a card:

“Thank you for your years of dedication to the Failsafe way of life. It has helped our family enormously and also in unexpected ways.”

This email came in the next day:

“Thank you for talking to me last night.  I am in awe of you and Howard and what you are doing. You have changed so many families’ lives, including ours!”

We also heard Herman from Singapore’s amazing story about his daughter’s 4 years of eczema hell that was cured in 2 weeks with diet (due to salicylates):

“The 3rd and 4th opinions from the best medical practitioners in the country also produced the same conclusion: ‘eczema’ and the solutions revolved around  steroids … The message from the medical professionals, like an orchestrated symphony, were the same; it cannot be cured, it is hereditary, it is not food related and long term use of steroids was the only option for her to lead a normal life … without the steroids, the rash was intensely itchy, red, hot and inflamed, much like a chemical burn …

We started FAILSAFE on mid May 2015, two weeks later, the rash got worst (withdrawal) and subsequently the skin cleared completely within another 2 - 3 weeks. It has remained clear ever since. Somehow it is making sense now, the apples, avocados, sushi vinegar, apple cider vinegar, broccoli, sweet potatoes were her favorite foods. The outbreak of intense itchiness on scalp and skin after consuming Ibuprofen when having fever. These products are all high in salicylates.”

This is a short version  – you can see the full, fascinating, carefully-written story at\

Herman is one of the increasing number of Asian failsafers we are seeing in our audiences. As one woman said last year “We don’t want to eat MSG and those other chemicals either “.

Most popular answer to a question (in the entire roadshow)

Q. What should I do if my paediatrician says he doesn’t believe in food intolerance?

A. Find a new paediatrician who does!

This answer was accompanied by lots of attendees agreeing and calling out names of supportive paediatricians. You can see our list of supportive dietitians and other health professionals on our website and we welcome more suggestions! (send names to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Most popular audience suggestion in the entire roadshow

“We need to get food intolerance recognised as a diagnosis by providing feedback to every medical professional we see.”

Many thanks to Ursula for this idea, which was enthusiastically backed by the audience. You can see Ursula’s brilliant letter about her own experiences and a sample letter to a medical specialist:  

[1341] Ursula’s story: “I will write to every health professional … to get food intolerance recognised as a diagnosis” (July 2015)

After nearly 4 years of significant sleep problems with my son, we now describe both our children as very good sleepers, and this is entirely due to diet.  My son is also doing extremely well in school, again entirely thanks to dietary changes.

Like you, we did the rounds of GPs, paediatricians, psychologists, social workers, OTs and child health nurses, and all the interventions and treatments helped a little, but nothing led to any significant improvement.  Not once was diet mentioned beyond ‘does he eat well?’

 We had a long appointment with a paediatric sleep specialist who went through our entire lifestyle and bedtime routine with us, before apologetically telling us that we were doing all the right things, and that he didn’t know what else he could suggest.  He made no reference to diet.

Having seen the extreme improvement in sleep following dietary intervention with my son I was very keen to write and tell him, because I think he genuinely wanted to help us and couldn’t, and I could hardly believe that he had no knowledge of the significant impact diet can have on sleep.

On further consideration, I decided that I would write to every health professional we had consulted with, because time and time again we were met with utter bewilderment.  My son’s behaviour looked a bit like OCD, ADHD, ADD, ASD, ODD and sensory processing disorder, but it didn’t quite fit the diagnosis, and the treatments were ineffective. If only food intolerance had been on someone’s list of differential diagnoses!

I posed the question on the facebook forum a while back, ‘how did people come to the realisation that diet was the issue?’  For most it was random chance, a friend of a friend had a child who had improved hugely from diet, or a class teacher had mentioned something. This is not how the diagnosis should be made.
I am attaching an example/suggested format for a letter that could be sent to health professionals (see below).

I will be writing to every health professional I have encountered in an attempt to both assist them in helping others, and to get food intolerance widely recognised as a diagnosis. - Ursula, by email


Dear Dr <name of doctor>

Re: <Name of child>  DOB: <date of birth>

You may remember that we consulted with you around six months ago regarding our son John.  John has had a history of sleep problems since birth, including taking 2-3 hours to settle to sleep, night terrors, insomnia and excessive movement during sleep.  At that time you were unable to offer us any advice or treatment regarding these problems, which had remained unresolved despite behavioural intervention, careful attention to night time routine, and consistent age-appropriate bedtimes.

Following our consultation, we stumbled across the idea that sleep problems can be linked to food, even some foods which are normally perceived as healthy.  We have now been working with an accredited dietician for four months following the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Elimination diet.  I am very pleased to report that as a result of this intervention we no longer consider John to have any sleep problems whatsoever.  He now settles calmly to sleep within 15-30minutes, sleeps through the night, waking only very occasionally, maybe once every six weeks or so.  He also no longer suffers with night terrors.

I wanted to write and tell you about our experience in the hope that this information might benefit some of your other patients in future.  You can find more information about the RPAH elimination diet on their website:, and also from the Food Intolerance Network: which is a voluntary organisation promoting the RPAH work and providing evidence-based information regarding food intolerance.

I hope this information is of use to you, for us, it has been life-changing.

Yours sincerely,

<your signature>


Crows Nest QLD Thursday 25 June


FUR2015Crows01   FUR2015Crows02

 For our second talk in this small town nestled high in the mountains behind Toowoomba , the welcome was a friendly as on our last visit. Year 10 students from the Special Studies unit had provided a wonderful failsafe supper, see photo, and Blondies recipe below. Some comments:

"When you said “Whatever you are most reluctant to give up is most likely to affect you”, a lightbulb went on in my head, because that’s my son. We’re already failsafe but he loves his milk. I’m going to take it seriously now.”

"My daughter is very sensitive to both food and fragrances. We found it so hard to travel that we have bought a caravan. It’s fantastic. We have all our food with us, can cook for ourselves and don’t have to worry about fragranced products in places we stay in.

On the subject of 1,2,3 – Magic for behaviour management

ME: Discipline doesn’t work with food-affected children. Once the diet has kicked in (after withdrawal symptoms), you can use behaviour management and it will double the effects of the diet. I have found the 1,2,3-Magic behaviour management program is the easiest to use
HELEN JONES, special studies teacher: I’m an accredited 1,2,3-Magic instructor and I do courses here in Crows Nest.
ME: And do you agree, it’s the best program around?
HELEN JONES: Absolutely. The parents all enjoy the course and use the program.

Further reading: 1,2,3-Magic DVD or book by Tom Phelan -  try your library OR

[1342] Massive behavioural reaction to Hydralyte Ready to use Lemonade Flavoured Colour Free Electrolyte Solution (July 2015)

Our son has been failsafe since your talk last year and we have seen a huge improvement in him. We know he is very sensitive but when he had a mild gastro bug recently we  bought a lemonade flavoured colour-free electrolyte product thinking it would be okay. Bad mistake!!! After about four hours he was “wired” – restless, extremely agitated and wide awake for hours in the middle of the night, he couldn’t get to sleep, just like he used to be before the diet. The hydralyte drink contained preservatives sodium benzoate (211) and potassium sorbate (202) and a natural flavour. We won’t be buying it again!

NOTE: You can make your own, see our rehydration drink recipe:

According to the DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia), studies show that flavoured sports drinks with added carbohydrate and sodium assist in preventing dehydration, particularly for high physical activity or in hot conditions. To avoid nasty additives, you can make your own sports drink. For more information and how often to drink, see For guidelines for eating & drinking before and after sport, see

For rehydration
I litre water
2-4 tbsp sugar, glucose or similar such as Polycose
¼ tsp salt
PLUS for flavour
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp citric acid or to taste and another from WHO

Q. I’m worried about diabetes because everyone in my family has it. I need to go failsafe for my son’s behaviour but want to know if it will reduce my risk of diabetes?

First, it is best for you to do the diet with your son under the supervision of one of our experienced and supportive dietitians (see our list). Second, can diabetes type 2 be caused, prevented or managed by diet? Yes, the science shows that it can. See our blog on artificial sweeteners and the updated factsheet on sugar free sweeteners


Salted caramel blondies with salted caramel sauce

This recipe was provided for supper after our talk at Crows Nest school by Dave the organiser. He says “This is what we always take any time you need to take a plate. Everyone loves it.” Believe it or not – the recipe does not need to be altered in any way to make it failsafe

from Brown Eyed Baker

Brisbane (Sheldon) QLD for ECTA Conference Saturday 27 June

FUR2015ECTA02   FUR2015ECTA01

This highly successful conference in Brisbane was attended by more than 600 early childhood educators. We ran one of the many concurrent sessions, and had to be moved to a larger room due to the unexpectedly large number of bookings.

Comments included:

•    “too short – would have liked to hear more” (it was a 90 minute session)
•     “half my students are juvenile delinquents” – early childhood teacher
•    “their lunchboxes are full of packets …” - early childhood teacher
•    “I came for my job but learned heaps about my own family”
•    “I’m from Melbourne. Lots of schools where I teach have your book and are implementing your low additive recommendations”

Q. Are you saying there is a cure for autism?”

No. It’s not a cure. The science shows that diet plus VOC avoidance can be so successful for managing autism that the children in the program “returned to normal”. However, this involved the children being in a sealed room with no access to outside smells -  even their clothes had to be changed. It is hard to imagine how a family can implement anything like this without school support . I am offended that some schools aren’t even prepared to remove airfresheners from the children’s toilets, insisting instead that fragrance sensitive children should use staff toilets (this is very embarrassing for 6 year old boys). Further reading SLIMAK

Q. Can you give me some references about diet for ADHD? The paediatrician wanted to test my son for ADHD but on diet his school work has progressed. His teacher can see the difference and is very supportive. I do hope I am not being negligent and in denial about his behaviour.

A. You can see scientific references about the effectiveness of diet for ADHD on our ADHD factsheet as well as some shocking new links about experts who believe that the dramatic rise in ADHD diagnoses is simply to make profits for the drug industry. In particular, see the NY Times article below about American psychologist Dr CK Conners who has been working for 50 years to legitimise ADHD. Now, he calls the rising rates of diagnosis “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” 

ADHD factsheet
NY Times article about Dr Conners: The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

Three other stories that have come in so far following the first leg:

New products that we encountered during the roadshow


Republica organic decaf (Coles and Woolworths) – not cheap, but worth the expense in my opinion - hard to believe it’s not caffeinated …


Vitastic Sorj wraps available at Woolworths – additive free, low in salt and fat


Fragrance free soaps
from Woolworths - 2 brands


Fragrance free dishwashing liquid detergent by Abode and dishwasher tablets from Eco Store


Organic Instinct Sensitive shampoo Hypoallergenic and Fragrance free from Terry White pharmacy, contains some botanicals such as aloe vera but no essential oils and does not have a strong smell – I am sensitive to perfumes but find this one acceptable

See you on the second leg of the Fedup Roadshow?

 Newcastle, Sydney (Castle Hill), Wyong, Canberra, Melbourne (Ringwood), Albury (Jindera), Gunnedah - see details