Fedup Roadshow 2011 report

This year, we chose 17 talks from 400 requests. Over 2,000 people attended presentations during the 4 week 7,000km tour in 5 states and more found out about food intolerance through frequent print or radio interviews. Many thanks to all the dedicated organisers at each venue who helped this tour to reach so many people struggling with food intolerance.

Reports from organisers and attendees include:

  • ‘the night was a great success’
  • ‘we are still getting very positive feedback from Sue’s talk’
  • ‘lots of people are talking about it and many are going failsafe’
  • ‘the local Bakers Delight have been very busy after the talk & wondered what we did’
  • ‘listening to you speak motivated me to keep my son going on the diet’
  • ‘it was a real eye opener for me, especially as I thought I was very aware of what we eat’
  • ‘it was great to have the opportunity to meet you’

You can see a report on the Fedup Roadshow 2011 with inspiring audience stories and photos below.

Talk by Talk report


  • Artificial colours are still a problem in Australia
  • Annatto natural colour 160b use is extending to fruit products …
  • Most parents can’t recognise MSG or ‘health food aisle flavour enhancers’
  • More people are recognising the diet-depression link
  • Many parents at our talks are doing ‘2+5 reversal’
  • Regulators are failing to protect Australian children

End of tour feedback

Thanks especially to publicist/journalist Jan Nary for her help with media for this tour.

Coffs Harbour NSW 8 August

To our surprise, this talk was booked out two weeks in advance and 'could have sold those seats three times over'. Why?

  • 'The reason I came is that my neighbour has a Down syndrome kid and the diet has made a huge difference, he is much easier to manage,' said one member of the audience.
  • Another explained: ' You're my hero – I came to your last talk and did the diet. It has made a huge difference to my family' - and many others repeated this theme with variations.
  • ‘I had severe migraines all my life. Then I came to a talk eight years ago – as a stall worker, not to learn anything. During the evening, I realised that my migraines were due to amines in my favourite foods - chocolate, cheese, avocado and cheesecake. Now I avoid those and I don’t have migraines any more’.

It was lovely to see an 11 year old failsafer in the audience – I can tell when children are on diet, because they sit so still, quiet and attentive through the whole presentation.

Many thanks to Judy, the enthusiastic and supportive organiser from Coffs Harbour Library, who also provided a failsafe supper.

Brisbane QLD 9 August

As the first event in a new hall, we soon found neighbours for blocks around could hear the presentation due to a quirky PA system. 'Do them good' muttered a supportive grandfather in the front row.

Audience stories of the evening:

  • a 10 year old who used to go the bed every night crying with growing pains. 'He really likes his diet and wants to stick to it', said his mother
  • another whose son's psychiatrist had set her on the diet path by giving her one of our blue brochures
  • the mother of a 6 year old who reacts to salicylates said, 'when he eats salicylates, he can't control his emotions and cries all the time'.
  • Audiences laugh when I tell them ADHD medication makes children better able to focus on being oppositional, but that’s what one family was there for: 'Ritalin makes him focus, he annoys the hell out of other people and doesn't give a s..t', they said, requesting a diet for oppositional defiance

The host school bought a box of yellow magnifying additive cards from the talk proceeds, to send one home with every one of the 350 children in the school. This is a great way to help parents and we were impressed! Many thanks to St Thomas' Catholic school in Camp Hill, especially Leona who is president of the P& F for her amazing organisation, helped by Penny and Ginetta on the night.

Thanks also to our Brisbane support group contacts Anne and Brenda for providing a failsafe display and samples on the night, and supportive dietitians Julie Masci and Lynette Lamb who chatted with parents afterwards. Julie has been on our list of supportive dietitians for years, while Lynette is a new entry in Stafford. Failsafers often say they like their dietitian to have attended a failsafe talk because they understand the parents’ point of view. You can email for our list of supportive dietitians: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Taree NSW 10 August

The highly successful Taree talk was organised singlehandedly by failsafe mother Deb Saunders, assisted by her husband Andy on the night, with over 160 people crammed into the West Taree club.

From the first mother I met who exclaimed 'you're my guru', audience comments included:

  • ' I came to your talk 8 years ago in Taree and it changed our lives. I've just come for an update'
  • 'I just tell people to eat out of your shopping list and recipes, I don't think it's hard and it has made a huge difference to our son'
  • 'we're here about our 9 yo son with oppositional defiance, we've already realised tomato sauce is probably bad, he lives on it. Also wraps, he eats those all the time. We'll be checking the labels when we get home.'

There was a big audience reaction when I talked about 'nutritionists recommend 2 + 5, 2 serves of fresh fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day, but most mothers who come to my talks are doing it the other way around – unlimited fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit and fruit flavoured products but don't worry too much about vegies because "fruit's so healthy"' ... that's what a lot of people do and it leads to a very high salicylate diet, not good for children with food intolerances.

One of the great things about our roadshows is that I learn so much from other people that I can pass on . During this roadshow I have been suffering from sensitive skin seemingly exacerbated by Brisbane tap water that contains a high level of recycled water. Deb and Andy described how their son's severe eczema which is related to diet and contact chemicals, including even Omo sensitive washing powder, does best with an oatmeal wash: add oatmeal to the bathwater (you can put it in old pantyhose, or just blend it up really fine and add it to lukewarm water). When I tried this it worked really well – the colloidal oatmeal normalises the pH of the skin, stops the stinging and provides non soap cleansing.

Thank you to the amazing Deb and Andy Saunders. As well as organising the talk, Deb put together a failsafe food display. Thanks also to helpers Neesha and Cal; local failsafe contacts, sisters Tina and Susie from the Great Lakes Food allergy and intolerance support group, who appear on our DVD and came on the night to chat with mothers; and to Amanda for the fascinating Thermomix display (failsafers who have Thermomixes say it saves heaps of preparation, cooking and cleaning time).

Newcastle NSW 11 August

At this venue, we gave an evening presentation and met parents at the Childhood Expo the next day.

Some audience stories:

  • 'I failed Tresillian', said one mother, and we heard the same about other baby management centres. Typically, there were extreme sleeping patterns – e.g. sleeping for 30 minutes at a time - with reflux, breastfeeding difficulty or other problems. Yet none of the mothers who spoke to us were warned about salicylate intolerance. This breastfeeding mother was eating a diet exceptionally high in salicylates through foods and supplements.
  • ‘We’ve been on the GFCF diet since October – it has helped a bit but over the last 2 weeks he has been really terrible again – angry and throwing his train set around the room’, said the mother of a 4 yo autistic. We worked out that Soylife vanilla yoghurt was introduced 2 weeks ago. This yoghurt (but not Soygurt brand) contain annatto 160b. (A US study earlier this year showed that the GFCF diet alone does not work for autism and this is just one example why, you have to avoid a lot more than just gluten and casein). ‘We're about to start the RPAH elimination diet', the mother said.
  • ‘I thought sultanas were okay as long as they are sulphite free’, said the ADHD mother of an ADHD son. Wrong! Sultanas are one of the worst foods for a child with behavioural issues, and diet won’t work if you make daily mistakes. I sometimes wonder if the best use of Ritalin could be for parents with ADHD so they are better able to be focus on doing the diet. (Some information in stories has been changed to protect privacy).

For failsafers in Newcastle, Elermore Vale Meats will do failsafe sausages ph 4951 4611 and see more in the Failsafe shopping list.

Thank you to another amazing singlehanded organiser, Lenora from the Hunter Alliance for Childhood, as well as Ruth Moxy from longtime supporters Gymbaroo who sponsored our talk. In Newcastle we now have another local contact: Anna (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Sydney NSW 15 August

During the tour, I did heaps of media interviews. You can see the excellent Sydney Morning Herald article, thanks to journalist Paula Goodyer:

It was good to have two supportive and experienced dietitians at the Sydney talk: Liz Beavis (now offering a food & symptom diary phone app www.aheadinhealth.com.au) and Paula Tazzyman (who works at the Autism Specific Clinic in Weatherill Park, also Fivedock and the Hills District, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); as well as ten childcare workers from a childcare centre in Penrith.

Dietitian Liz Beavis from Newtown Sydney has worked with a developer to produce an iphone app that helps you to work out if the food you are eating is making you feel sick. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-sick/id454685095?mt=8 - we'd appreciate feedback from those who trial it.

  • ‘I’m too embarrassed to tell parents that their children have eaten instant mashed potato’ said one child care worker at another talk. ‘If they ask, I just say they’ve eaten potatoes.’ Yet 'instant mashed potatoes' may contain sulphite preservatives and MSG type flavours – this is important information for parents trying to work out why their children have problems, for example, from story [395] about stuttering and speech difficulties.
  • My daughter reacted to annatto in fish fingers with 'head banging, rocking and making whoop whoop silly noises - this lasted for about three days, every time she tried to concentrate, the headbanging, rocking and noises would start up again' said the mother of a 6 year old
  • 'Help, I don't know where to start', said the mother of a 3 yo with suspected autistic spectrum who has been asked by her dietitian to do the full RPAH diet including GFDF. We can email Ethan's Recipes, a booklet from the mother of an autistic child – it's what 4 yo Ethan ate during his full elimination diet and improved spectacularly (to request the booklet: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • ‘We haven't switched toothpaste, but most of it goes in the sink, would it affect him?’ asked the mother of a 6 yo for whom ‘the diet is working but not fully’. YES. Especially as they were using a children's toothpaste with artificial colour (it can be listed as a CI number or the American system, e.g. red 40). See alternatives /failsafe-shopping-list/personal-medications-and-supplements

Canberra ACT 16 August

  • ‘Put your hands up if you think Australian food regulators are failing to protect our kids,’ I asked our audience. You can see the response to that question (photo above). There was an official representative from Australian food regulators, FSANZ, in the audience.
  • ‘How can these kids expect to progress when one in four 11-year-olds in London is functionally illiterate?’ asked mayor Boris Johnson, about the London riots happening at this time. I wish he knew about the New York schools low additive study: removing additives from school meals for a million students over 4 years resulted in 75,000 children no longer being classified as learning disabled http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/NewYorkCityPublicSchools.pdf
  • ‘My son has severe eczema’, said a mother, showing me a phone photo of her 3 year old’s terrible rash. What does he eat? High salicylate products such as honey flavoured cereal, strawberry jam and strawberry yoghurts … we hear over and over again that salicylates are a major contributor to eczema, yet many mothers do not know about this.

Thank you to the wonderfully supportive host Principal Jan Walsh at Monash Primary School; organisers and local failsafe contacts Eleanor, Helen, Sheryl and Darryl and teenager Grace whose supreme technical competence on the ticket and book tables helped the talk run smoothly.

'How do you manage smells while travelling?' one mother asked, 'we had to buy a camper van because of smelly chemicals and needing to cater for ourselves'. I agree, it can be difficult: carry our own non smelly items such as soap, shampoo, dishwashing liquid and towels and use our RainbowAir ozone generator if we need to clean the air. We have been staying in Canberra Motor Village for years, where the perfumed toilet paper (pictured below) has frequently driven me mad – it's subtle and you don't realise what it is at first. Now we've identified the problem, we carry our own perfume free toilet paper too.

Shepparton VIC 17 August

The Victorian orchard town of Shepparton has been an attraction for failsafers for years due to a Factory Outlet selling cheap cartons of canned pears in syrup (not juice) as recommended on the Failsafe shopping list, see photos.

Audience reports:

  • ‘Salicylates and preservatives including sulphites - in dried apricots - turned out to be the major problems for our son’s severe eczema’, said one mother.
  • ‘Even though tests showed my daughter had grown out of her egg allergy, her eczema improved when we took egg out of her diet again, as well as salicylates and additives,’ another said.
  • ‘My son has been on the FODMAPs diet for 4 months without any improvement. The dietitian put him on it’, said the mother of a child with behaviour and irritable bowel symptoms. The FODMAPs diet is only intended for IB symptoms, not for behaviour or other symptoms of food intolerance and doesn’t work for everyone. For a dietitian who will supervise the RPA diet, ask for our list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Shepparton support - For failsafe sausages in Shepparton, talk to Kaye at Country Select Meats in High Street. In Kyabram: failsafe sausages are available at Jackson's meats.

New local contact: Adriana would like to hear from other failsafers for coffee mornings, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dietitians: there are no Shepparton dietitians on our list of those who will supervise the RPAH diet but there are others if you are prepared to drive.
Many thanks to Larissa and her family - husband and in laws - for hosting this talk. It certainly was a family affair, in the excellent GOTAFE auditorium.

Albury VIC 18 August

This was our fourth talk in Albury’s friendly Commercial Club and we had to keep calling for extra seats. One man stuck his head in, listened for a few minutes then fetched his wife for the rest of the talk.

Some stories:

  • ‘I came to your talk a few years ago and switched to preservative free bread – we saw an enormous improvement in our son’s behaviour. Then we went ahead and removed more additives and natural food chemicals, and saw even more changes,’ said one mother.
  • 'My 18 month son has severe eczema due to salicylates. He was getting into the strawberry garden and eating not only the ripe strawberries but also the green strawberries, leaves and plants - his eczema improved when we fenced the garden’
  • ‘My new baby is turning out to be restless, unsettled and a poor sleeper’ - this mother was the mother of the 18 month old with eczema above, and didn’t realise she was looking at a different version of salicylate intolerance. Food intolerances run in families, and salicylates (like other food chemicals) can be transmitted to babies through breast milk, causing unsettled babies with sleeping and sometimes feeding difficulties and/or reflux.

Great local article in the Border Mail http://www.bordermail.com.au/news/local/news/general/alter-diet-to-alter-behaviour/2262245.aspx

New local contact in Albury: Anna, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Failsafe sausages in Albury: The Jones St butcher will do sausages with only mince, salt and garlic. They are delicious and failsafe. - thanks to the mother in the front row

Many thanks to the wonderfully supportive Cooinda Family Services team (Sue Pringle, Kerry, Lizzie and Angela) pictured, and to the cook at the Commercial Club for providing failsafe, gluten free pear slice for supper.

Then we got a weekend off to walk in Mount Buffalo!

Melbourne (Berwick Fields) VIC 22 August

Before the evening talk at Berwick Primary School I gave a one hour presentation to 52 teachers. Some were sympathetic, some were not. I have seen 10 year old failsafers sit stiller and quieter through an evening presentation than some of the young teachers at the back of the room. Parents often complain to us that their kids are not exposed to junk food until they go to school, so it is important that the nutrition education of our kids rests in the hands of people who understand the effects of food.

At the Berwick evening talk, there was a good mix of beginners and old hands.

  • 'Your book saved my life,' said one mother, and several more agreed. There were also a number of mothers who said their children could manage salicylates, who had changed their ideas by the end of the talk.
  • 'Thanks to this talk, I've realised my son's problems are due to mandarins', said one mother.
  • 'Should I do the diet for only the difficult child, or the whole family?' asked one mother. I recommended the whole family because they are all likely to be affected in some way, and it is too hard for the difficult child; fathers and teenagers can choose to break their diet outside if they must. When I asked who agreed, about 30 hands went up.
  • 'My asthma has gone since we started the diet' said one mother. 'It started when I finished my nursing degree, moved out of home and started buying processed foods. That was 13 years ago, and I've spent the last five years on preventers. I was able to give up preventers one week into failsafe.'

Many thanks to the enthusiastic talk organisers Toni, David and the very helpful assistant principal John Painter at Berwick Fields primary school.

Melbourne (Mulgrave) VIC 23 August

This Melbourne talk was particularly supportive due to the high proportion of failsafers, members from finM (the Melbourne support group), and dietitians available to chat to parents.

  • 'We've been following your books for 3 years and it saved our lives' said one couple. 'I know others say that, but it did'.
  • ‘Now we realise what diet can do for our child, we’re going home to start immediately', said another couple
  • ‘It was really helpful to meet others with children at the same stage’ said the mother of two late teenagers who have been failsafe for many years
  • 'We have been on our diet now for six weeks' said a mother in the front row. 'It took my 2.5 yo daughter a full 3 weeks to improve. (I was glad you said in your book that some parents get despondent in the second week). It had got to the stage where I loved her but I didn't like her and neither of us were enjoying our day. Now she is more compassionate, sympathetic, helpful, cooperative, listens to instructions and follows them, and stops when asked.'

Many thanks to the Mount Waverly Brumbys who had kindly donated a selection of foods suitable for failsafers. These can be pre-ordered from their store: pear scrolls (my favourite), fun buns (a kid friendly smaller sized version of white iced finger buns), sugar donuts and mini donut balls.

Thanks also to the fin-M support team for the failsafe display and supper, see photo: from left: local contact Jenny (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Theresa and her husband, Caroline, Judy, Kathleen, me, Robert and Sharon and Robert, dietitian Jenny Tresize from www.allergytrain.com.au and dietitian Alison Walsh with the baby in the frontpack. Don't forget, Jenny and Kathleen run supermarket tours and give local talks.

Barwon Heads VIC 24 August

There were some particularly interesting audience stories at this talk.

  • 'We read your website and only made 3 changes – took out Vegemite, margarine, and switched to A2 milk. And all our son's problems went away. We are going to pursue it further - but I still find it hard to believe food can have such a huge effect.' This father had been referred to our website by his young son's paediatrician for possible autistic symptoms, and told his story with utter amazement
  • 'Thank you, I am blown away by your information. My son just loves his fruit' - mother of an 11 yo with encopresis who had been avoiding additives but didn't realise about salicylates.
  • 'We didn't realise we'd been feeding our kids such junk – shapes, rice crackers, flavoured snacks. We're going home to read labels!' – two mothers with 4-5 year olds

Q. ‘Could a new car cause an increase in food sensitivity?’ The parents of a sensitive 2 yo with allergies, food intolerances and perfume sensitivity had purchased a new car so that their daughter wouldn't be exposed to old cigarette smoke or pet dander, not realising about the effects of VOCs (toxic chemicals that smell, such as fragrances, cleaners and 'new' products).

A. A CSIRO analysis of three new cars found levels of VOCs nearly 130 times as high as the recommended Australian exposure limits and the levels lasted for up to six months. Since the purchase of the new car, their daughter has become more sensitive to everything, with behavioural reactions and feeling tired all the time. Typical of VOC exposure, this collection of symptoms can be called sick building syndrome or sick auto syndrome. More information on our Fumes and Perfumes factsheet and http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17323251.000-sick-auto-syndrome.html

We are embarrassed that three of our talks have been in brand new school halls and would like to apologise. High VOC emissions are not suitable for food and chemical intolerant audiences or - in our opinion - for school children. Next time we will say ‘no new halls’. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/renovations/renovations-green/gas-emissions-from-building-products-pose-threat/article308068

Many thanks to the very helpful support people at this talk: dietitian Hilary Hoevenaars at Bellarine Community Health who has helped many failsafe families over the years; Clare Bucek RN from Geelong who organises small groups for families doing the diet so they can have support and information as they need it (what a wonderful idea, I wish this was more widely available!), organiser Pip who is the new local failsafe contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and supportive principal Darren Roskosch at Barwon Heads Primary School. We are always appreciative when the school principal and other teachers attend the talk.

The name of the diet-supportive paediatrician mentioned above in the Melbourne/Geelong/Ballarat area is on our list of dietitians, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ballarat VIC 25 August

This was our fourth talk in beautiful Ballarat. Some audience stories:

  • ''I'm story [814] ‘Ralph by email’", said one man, introducing himself (Story [814] is about adult depression lifting when the writer stopped eating processed foods). ‘I have to give you an update. Originally I thought MSG was to blame, but now I realise it could have been any of the nasty additives and ingredients in processed foods.'
  • 'When we read Sue's book we thought she must have had a hidden camera in our house because she was describing our family so well' – comment from a mother.
  • ‘My 6 yo son has dental enamel problems. The dentist said it was very rare’, one mother said. Dental enamel issues in a young child can be due to gluten intolerance. We have received 3 reports of this problem in children with coeliac relatives. Research shows that relatives of coeliacs often do better on a gluten free diet. http://www.everydayhealth.com/celiac-disease/understanding/dental-enamel-defects.aspx It is now thought that gluten intolerance may affect one person in 100.

Many thanks to organiser and long term Ballarat failsafe contacts Kylie and Leanne, and Kylie's husband Darren for organising this talk (sorry we didn't get your photo!) and supportive principal Laurel Donaldson and assistant principal Sonya Jardine at Alfredton Primary School. We always appreciate it when the school principal and other teachers attend the talk.

‘What do you eat while travelling?’ asked one mother. It's pretty simple because we are always in a hurry and have limited cooking facilities.

  • Breakfast: porridge and canned pears in syrup (there's another SPC factory outlet in Ballarat with pears in syrup at $6 per case)
  • Lunch: poppyseed buns (Brumby's or Bakers' Delight) with egg and lettuce or cream cheese, cucumber and celery and a little carrot (peeled cucumber and carrot are moderate in salicylates) On previous tours when gluten free, rice cakes not bread.
  • Dinner: failsafe chicken and vegetable stew on rice - finely chopped chicken thighs and shallots sautéed together then add finely chopped potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, swede and a tiny amount of carrot covered with water and simmered until tender - or lamb stew from the FS Cookbook. Howard makes these in big batches when we have a stove and freezes it in containers – enough for about 4 meals
  • Snacks: raw cashews, Salada crackers or plain rice cakes with pear jam, Nuttelex and golden syrup
  • Drinks: spring water, decaf, G & Ts (preservative-free) on the weekends
  • and the occasional failsafe treat such as pear slice, Brumby’s pear scrolls or iced finger buns or cup cakes when available at talks.

Mt Gambier SA 29 August

Due to plentiful underground water, good rainfall and fertile soil, Mount Gambier – famous for its crater lakes – is surrounded by green fields, healthy vegetables, contented cows, and is the home of Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese. When we ask ‘hands up if you like Brussels sprouts’, about 95% of the audience respond, compared to about 75% on average and less in Sydney.

Some stories and comments:

  • ‘I remember our son about 18mths to 2yrs thumping his head on the ground or wall to the extent that he would end up with bruising. At the time his favourite food was Shapes flavoured crackers. It wasn’t until the first time we saw your talk in which you showed us what had the head banging additive in it that we realised what was happening, and they have never been seen in our house again. – from a failsafe father
  • ‘I’m a food nazi. My kids aren’t allowed any sugar but when I look at the screen, that’s what I feed them – flavoured Rice Wheels’, said one mother whose son has suspected ADHD. Many mothers think rice based snacks are healthy because they are in the health food aisle. We recommend plain, unflavoured rice cakes and rice based snacks.
  • ‘Your cookbook is my saviour!’ a mother
  • Thanks to your last talk, I have been able to get my wife to eat brussels sprouts mixed in mashed potato like you suggested , it is really nice – failsafe father

Many thanks to OPAL for sponsoring the talk, the Rotary Club of Mt Gambier Lakes for their help on the night, and to local failsafe contact Tracey and her husband Andrew.

Adelaide SA 30August

We were very busy in Adelaide with interviews - Amanda Blair at 5AA, Sonia Feldhoff at ABC radio, and an ABC TV crew at the presentation - and over 400 people attended the talk at Concordia College which again turned out to be more like a Mini-Expo. Some audience comments:

  • ‘I heard you on the radio 13 years ago and it changed our lives’, said one mother. ‘When we avoided salicylates, life improved for everyone especially no more asthma for my daughter’. See full story emailed later [1071] below.
  • ‘When my son was 18 months old he did headbutting for 6 months – he would do it on any surface, walls, floor, glass – and it was obvious he was really hurting himself. A friend told me to cut out ice cream - yes, it was Streets Blue Ribbon ice cream with annatto in it - and the head banging stopped,’ said one mother whose son still has behaviour problems. No one reacts to only one additive. If you have ever seen a food reaction, even once, it means there are many others you haven’t noticed.

Q. ’Can preservatives in antihistamines cause asthma?’ asked the mother of a three year old.

A. Yes, of course! Her son takes daily antihistamine syrup with benzoate and sulphite preservatives for eczema and is now developing asthma. There have been reports about such cases in medical journals for decades, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8952792, and ‘A significant risk of exposure to preservatives and dyes likely to induce asthma, urticaria, or other reactions exists for all individuals taking commercial drug products’ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2912321

  • ‘In the 1960s, all pharmacists were compounding pharmacists’ said a retired pharmacist, ‘then the pharmaceutical companies took over’. Medication free of nasty additives can be made by compounding pharmacists. Of over 7000 pharmacists listed in the yellow pages, only 177 are compounding – they will usually take orders by phone and mail.

Many thanks to Concordia College for providing a free, exceptionally beautiful venue and Wayne’s help on the night help on the night; to Adelaide super-organiser Bronwyn Pollnitz, husband Peter, helpers Marianne, Veronica and team (see photo) for talk organisation and a failsafe display; Bruce MacDonald from ADASA (Attentional Disorders Association South Australia) with information on ADHD management; and to Debbie and her son Samuel from Small Food Caterers selling pear jam and other failsafe foods. Samuel (pictured) was helping to sell ‘his’ cupcakes. Special thanks to politician David Pisoni, member for Unley and Shadow Minister for Education, a strong proponent for reducing additives in schools, who attended and introduced the evening, for the fourth time.

Very popular on the night was this dip:

Green dip

1 small crushed clove of garlic
4 spring onions (or 2 + small amount of parsley)
250g cream cheese
2-4 teaspoons water

Place garlic and spring onions (+ parsley if using) in food processer and mince. Add cream cheese and water and mix until the desired consistency is achieved. Add more water if needed. Ensure no lumps of cheese are left.

Clare SA 31 August

The wine growing area of Clare Valley was a happy combination of historic stone cottages and spring blossoms.

  • ‘Could pesticides sprayed on a farm cause asthma in a salicylate-sensitive asthmatic?’ asked another mother. Yes - pesticides can be yet another of the inhaled salicylates or other inhalants that can affect food sensitive children and adults.
  • ‘Before going dairy free, my son had 30 ear infections including 4 in the last two months. This has dropped to NONE in the four months since going dairy free.’ – mother of a 3 yo. Throughout the roadshow, we met many parents who were extremely reluctant to give up dairy foods.
  • ‘When we lived on a farm, we ate our own fresh meat, grew our own vegies and didn’t eat a lot of fruit. After we moved to town, we soon realised it was easier to drive down to the shops and buy something for dinner. A lot of junk (and behavioural problems) have crept in. I’m going to pretend we areback on the farm and start cooking like that again,’ said one mother.

Many thanks to single-handed organiser Danielle, her team of helpers on the night, and the friendly Clare Golf Club venue.


During our tours we can see trends emerging, due to large number of parents we talk to, and the surveys we do by asking for hands up.

Artificial colours are still a problem in Australia, despite denials from regulators. There were numerous complaints about schools that will spend money on new technology to help learning, but are still happy to sell the kids artificially coloured slushies and flavoured milks. However, many parents still don’t understand the problems that artificial colours can cause, see the question below.

Q: 'Which ingredient in jelly beans could cause loud, aggressive behaviour? At the end of last term, for two weeks my son was eating a packet of jelly beans a day - about 30 - and you could see his behaviour getting worse every day. He wouldn't listen, and the teacher was complaining.’

A: Artificial colours can cause that behaviour. That’s why, in Europe, this product would carry the warning 'may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children'. In in Australia, parents are somehow supposed to know this.

Annatto natural colour 160b is becoming more of a health hazard as its use extends to fruit based products. There were numerous reports of annatto-related head banging and tantrums in children due to annatto-containing yoghurts and ice creams, but some adults also reported migraines due to annatto in ‘all natural’ fruit juice and jellies.

  • ‘I’m 37. I only worked out a few years ago that annatto causes my severe migraines. The last one was due to apricot chicken, because the chicken had been cooked in apricot nectar. Who would expect annatto in apricot chicken? …’

Most parents can’t recognise MSG or ‘health food aisle flavour enhancers’ Our surveys showed about two thirds of parents don’t know how to recognise MSG, let alone health food aisle flavour enhancers (thanks to Tina for that name!) She's just one of the many parents we heard from who have found that their children react behaviourally to ‘No-MSG’ health foods.

For example: Healtheries Kids Care Rice Wheels say "No Added MSG" - and it is true, there is no flavour enhancer 621. However they also say on their website "For those who have intolerances to ... MSG ...’. We do NOT agree with that statement because 3 out of 4 their flavoured Rice Wheels contain known ‘glutamate containing ingredients’: yeast, yeast extract and/or hydrolysed vegetable protein, as well as other possible glutamate containing ingredients such as tomato powder and cheese flavour ( http://www.healtheries.com.au/product/kidscare-rice-wheels/). We recommend plain, unflavoured rice wheels and rice cakes. If you want extra flavours, add your own, see the Green Dip recipe under Adelaide above.

Many parents at our talks are doing ‘2+5 reversal’ Nutritionists recommend 2+5, that is, 2 serves of fresh fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day, but most mothers who come to my talks do it the other way around - unlimited fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit and fruit flavoured products but don't worry too much about vegies because ‘fruit’s so healthy’. This can lead to a VERY high salicylate diet. One mother wrote after the tour:

  • ‘We were one of those 2+5 reversal families - my son used to live on fruit, especially sultanas. I got your book and did what it said, and we have seen a huge difference. You have changed our lives forever and we are very grateful’

More people are recognising the diet-depression link – in every talk there was someone commenting about food related depression, like this mother below.

[1070] The real surprise: depression in my 12 yo was due to amines (September 2011)

I came to your talk last year for my 8 year old son who was a little rascal and full on at school. We started the diet as a family for him- and his problem turned out to be artificial colours and some other additives.

But the real surprise was my 12 year old son who was suffering from severe depression and had just started with a psychologist. He started slowly getting better and at first we thought the psychologist was helping but it was because we had changed our diet. His severe depression turned out to be due to amines and is gone completely on the diet. He is now a beautiful, happy boy. It wasn’t until we ate the old foods again that I realised what life had been like, and saw the difference. I would tell others to stick with it and persist because improvements can be subtle and gradual. My boys are achieving so much more at school. Your work has changed their future, their lives and ours forever and we are profoundly grateful.

Regulators are failing to protect Australian children The popcorn packet (see photo below ) says We DON’T put nasty preservatives and junky stuff in our popcorn. In my opinion, ‘junky stuff’ would include artificial colours but no, the popcorn contains artificial colour tartrazine (102). In Europe, it would require a warning may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. We asked people to put their hand up if they thought Australian food regulators are failing to protect Australian children. You can see how many did (at least 95%) – in the photo below, and it was the same everywhere.

End of tour feedback, stories and questions

Now the feedback is arriving, thanks especially to those who write with dietitian feedback, it helps us to help others.

  • Your seminar was great. I have had my 5 year old ADHD son on the diet now for 2.5 weeks. His tantrums that had been occurring nearly every day at school - kicking the teacher and often spitting and having to be carried to the office - have stopped, and I believe that 160b in yoghurt has largely been the issue. He is now sitting and reading his reader in one go which for us is a MAJOR change. We have eliminated all additives, colours, and only have low salicylate and no amines or nitrates, we still have dairy and wheat. We had positive results by the end of week one with continuing improvement so plan to stick with the diet. We are attending the group you recommended.
  • Thank you for the list of recommended dietitians. Our GP was able to refer us under some kind of a "Plan" which was recommended by our dietitian’s admin staff, so we now actually get a medicare rebate for our appointments. Our dietitian has supported us on a Moderate Elimination diet and we have just gone through an Amine Challenge with a huge increase in behaviour issues. She is very accommodating, even doing a phone consult when I requested this, as well as being very knowledgeable and working well with our 4 yr old daughter. I highly recommend her!! thank you for having her on your list!

[1071] This was the answer: SALICYLATES (September 2011)

My daughter cried a lot as a baby and suffered with severe asthma from a few months old. When I sought a doctor's advice there was not much support with the excessive crying but she was prescribed medication to treat the asthma. The medication did relieve the breathing but it hyped her up and caused agitation. At about the age of two I took her to a different doctor, she was really sick and he even considered that she may have Cystic Fibrosis due to the severity of the condition.

I breastfed and I now believe that breastfeeding may not have been the best option because our diet often consisted of tomato based pasta dishes, and also fruit and vegetables that I now know have a high salicylate content, which of course would have filtered to the baby.

As the years passed we were dealing with agitation, temper outbursts and ADHD-type behaviours although I never considered that she suffered from this condition and as a mother I always felt compassion and concern, and was desperate to find out what was causing this behaviour and severe agitation in this beautiful little girl. On the rare occasions that I would address the problem with a doctor in many ways I was relieved that a diagnosis was not offered because I did not want her on medications that are usually prescribed.

When she was 10 years of age I decided I needed to address this once again. Here is what turned out to be the answer:

I had made a doctor’s appointment to have one last go at getting to the bottom of this. I once again hoped the doctor did not suggest medication because even though I wanted help I really did not feel comfortable going down this road.

I was finishing my preparation to leave for the appointment. I had the radio and SUE DENGATE came on at that moment to speak about food allergies and intolerances. I could not believe it, I hadn't heard of Sue before but I thought "I have to listen to this", so I quickly turned the volume. Sue mentioned various additives and preservatives which affect many people but I still did not totally think that was what it was for my daughter. Then Sue mentioned SALICYLATES, immediately I found a pen and wrote it down (I had never heard of it before). I listened to the remainder of the radio presentation and then walked out the door.

The doctor still really did not have much to offer. So I asked him "have you ever heard of Salicylates?" He said he had, so I further asked he had any lists of the foods that contain salicylates which fortunately he did and gave it to me.

Reading about salicylates and learning where they are helped me to eliminate the foods from her diet and this was the answer. Life soon improved for everyone especially our daughter, including no more asthma. This is my story and I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to Sue for her wonderful work. – Lisa, SA

[1072] The Amine/Salicylate dilemma (September 2011)

It was great to have the opportunity to meet you at the Brisbane roadshow. It felt like I was meeting my all time favourite rock star. I was quite awe struck. Listening to you speak motivated me to keep my son going on the food plan.

After the presentation, I made an appointment to see the dietitian you recommended. It was a lengthy trip but well worth it. For the next month we are transitioning my son to a gluten and dairy free diet, increasing his protein and calcium intake (protein has been difficult as we are vegetarians) and stopping the soy products as well. I agreed to allow him to try some chicken (your suggestion) and white fish. As our dietitian pointed out, it's a trial. Some children improve, some remain the same but at the moment it's a question mark regarding my son's behaviour. We started the transition last Thursday and the Vitasoy Rice milk, added with a teaspoon of icing sugar (dietitan’s suggestion) has been a huge hit. Calcium intake no longer a problem.

To be completely honest I was hoping she would tell me the Amine/Salicylate dilemma was all rubbish so I could go back to living on Easy Street and feed my son all his favourite behaviour changing foods. When I asked her opinion she merely looked at me and asked what were my results from the challenges we had done. Aggressive, out of control behaviour with Amines and restless, silly behaviour from Salicylates. Not just my observations but also that of his Kindergarten (he is there for his second year). No more said really.

Thank you once again for all the effort you have put in regarding food intolerances. – Liz, Qld

Q. Are there any flavour free or natural flavour children's antihistamines? My 4yo son needs an antihistamine during the pollen season He experienced major night tantrums for the 3 days he was on children's Telfast (raspberry), but the antihistamine itself did work. We are now using Zyrtec (banana flavour) but still can see behavioural changes.

A. According to RPA, tablets are better than syrups for children because liquids contain colours and flavours. Recommendations from the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook include Claratyne, Telfast, Zyrtec, Zadine and Zyrtec Oral Liquid Drops for children. One mother reported that her dietitian suggested Zyrtec tablets (half per day) for a 5 year old. Another option is to ask a compounding pharmacist to make up a syrup free of nasties.

Q. Does a low salicylate diet help with symptoms of menopause, especially hot flushes? – you did mention that it helped with premenstrual symptoms. I’m already on a low fat diet and it isn’t working. Also, is there any medical evidence?

A. Some failsafers have reported huge improvements in menopausal symptoms due to the elimination diet. This can include hot flushes, restless legs, difficulty falling asleep, frequent night waking and irritability. However, you have to stick to the diet very strictly (avoiding whatever it is that challenges show affect you e.g. salicylates, amines, dairy, additives etc,) and some people find they have to go VLF (very low fat) as well. For medical evidence you can see the diet research for hormonally related symptoms by Dr Neal Barnard (he recommends VLF vegetarian) but many of the symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance are the same as have been reported for other symptoms with the RPAH diet, see more in our Women’s Health Factsheet

Note that some of the situations mentioned above have been changed to protect privacy.