Failsafe 97 August - December 2020


The Food Intolerance Network provides information and support for people worldwide using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems.


Antidepressants. Or diet?

Trump: food-induced oppositional defiance?

Fed Up with Children's Behaviour DVD now free to view

Food allergy and intolerance tests

Research: Irritable bowel, dementia and diet; Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS); A1 milk predisposes to asthma and lung inflammation

In brief: Reduce virus particles by a factor of 10 with a Wein personal air purifier; Survey on orthorexia; Food unregulation - in 10 steps

Your questions: Can I try that coloured or flavoured gin?; Can you tell me more about 'yeast' in some products?; In the new Friendly Food book it states both protein shakes and rice protein powders are high in amines. Would pea protein be high in amines too?

Success stories: [1565] – [1577]

Failsafe shopping list: Food Intolerance Resources from RPAH; failsafe sausages list; HopperHQ; FoodSwitch app; SPECIAL OFFER on Friendly Food

Factsheets: over 100 science-based information sheets on symptoms and additives. See also video resources. See also story collections: NEW! 220-226 sulphites/sulfites

Support community: Failsafers talking to each other. New and updated dietitians.

Cook's corner: New recipe for Pea-green sauce; Latest At the Failsafe Table - it is fantastic

Thanks and admin:



Hello everyone

As Covid-19 continues to dominate our world, Howard and I would like to thank failsafe facebook group members for their continuing support and kindness to each other.

Coronavirus-related topics in Newsletter 97 below include an article about the dangers of antidepressants and the link between diet and depression. Positive feedback includes this comment from Julie: “As a veteran on the subject, this wonderful article shows, if read thoroughly, carefully and without bias and with professional medical investigation, that people's lives could potentially be revitalised by something as basic as food 💗”

As usual, the reader stories are so interesting.  My favourites this time include Sarah's story:  "I  gradually slipped back to eating foods I know I can't tolerate ... During lockdown I reached my worst ... migraine, sleeplessness, moody, irritable, always waking tired and unmotivated all turned around within 3 days of getting back on track" [1572]; and Terry's story in the facebook ruminations thread: "I have struggled with all of the obsessive rumination feelings most of my adult life...I am now strict diet, I have patience, feel joy in life and look beyond every issue to see the positive, nothing gets to me..." [1569]


Other fascinating facebook threads include the effect of salicylates on appetite, eg: "I am a hungry hippo when I eat sals. Within a couple of days without my appetite drops right off" and "As a 48 year old ... Always having a battle with obesity. I too cannot find enough food in the house when I eat too many sals" [1574]. Plus the question What made you go failsafe? with a range of answers such as "Amines makes my 5yr old aggressive, sals make her adhd and very defiant. Both affect her sleep" [1573].

There's a new sulphites story collection - we were surprised by the number of heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation. Also in this newsletter, latest research including A1 milk linked to asthma risk, a much-read article about how our food 'unregulation' system actually works for food additives, answers to reader questions about gin and others and a recipe for yummy Pea-green sauce in Cooks Corner.

And some good news! - our DVD Fed Up with Children's Behaviour is now available free on youtube. We really enjoyed this feedback after the Newsletter came out "Thanks for everything you do. It makes a MASSIVE difference! May you be blessed, also for putting your dvd available free!!" - Diana

Now read on...and stay safe.

 - Sue Dengate

 Antidepressants. Or diet?

ratanxious“Why are so many people on antidepressants these days?” a failsafer asked.

It’s true. Antidepressant use has increased dramatically in recent times - nearly 65% over 15 years in the US - and again this year due to Covid-19 anxiety.
This is a worry because antidepressants are not as safe and effective as previously thought.

New studies have shown that antidepressants seem to have minimal benefits, can double the risk of suicide and increase the risk of violent crime while reducing the chance of long-term recovery, while withdrawal symptoms are more common, more severe and longer lasting than previously thought.

Such findings have led independent experts – those with no financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry - to suggest these drugs do more harm than good:

There are proven non-drug options that have been found to work as well or better than medication. These are fully referenced in a detailed blog with helpful links to talk therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), exercise, meditation, meditation plus exercise, Tai chi, yoga and the RPA elimination diet that we support.

Researchers commented:

“Clinicians should be aware of the possible syndrome (food intolerance)
and that it may be worsened by psychotropic medication”

 – from Treatment-resistant depression: When antidepressant drug intolerance may indicate food intolerance. (Parker and Watkins, 2002)

 Read full blog...

people who have been prescribed antidepressants should not suddenly stop taking their medication. Gradual tapering is advisable. Anyone considering altering the dosage of their medication, or withdrawing from it, needs to seek medical advice first.


Trump: food-induced oppositional defiance?

“We have a three-year-old in the Oval Office,” wrote an American journalist this week, describing Trump as “our infant-in-chief” for his handling of the current racial, health and economic disasters in America.

Then there are the tantrums

“A toddler threw a self-pitying tantrum on live television … he was 73 years old … and running the world’s most powerful country.”

Read full blog which explores

  • Other Trump behaviours
  • So, is ODD a worry?
  • Effects of food on ODD
  • Trump’s diet
  • What would happen if Trump went failsafe?

Maybe it would have the same effect on him as on our readers, like this [1327]?


Fed Up with Children's Behaviour DVD now free to view

Sue Dengate's famous presentation “Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” is now available to view for free (1hr 12mins) (subtitles in 6 languages can only be seen in purchased version)


Laboratory tests for food allergy and intolerance

Many food allergy and intolerance tests don't work – and the consequences can hit more than your hip pocket according to the Australian Consumers Association Choice Magazine.

Apart from the cost, adverse outcomes following some unorthodox tests and treatments include:

  •  Major dietary restrictions, due to misleading results, that may impair growth and cause malnutrition, particularly in more vulnerable groups such as young children
  •  Delayed access to more effective diagnostic tests and treatments, with lost productivity from inadequately controlled disease
  •  Individual and public health implications, due to substitution of homoeopathic vaccines for those with proven effectiveness (or even discouragement to undertake vaccination at all)
  •  Impact on employment and social functioning, due to unnecessary environmental and chemical avoidance, creating a perception of allergy when there may be other causes of symptoms
  •  Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in people who have severe allergy and consider themselves protected from exposure, after having unorthodox treatments.

More info from the point of view of allergies (not intolerances) from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Irritable bowel, dementia and diet


Four years ago, a study found that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had a higher risk of developing dementia. Now a new study has found that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease - have more than twice the risk of developing dementia and are likely to be diagnosed seven years earlier.  On average, they were diagnosed at age 76, compared to 83 among people without IBD and the greatest risk was for Alzheimers.  Read full blog with references and reports where readers have reported success with the RPAH diet for IBS.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

Now also known as Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI).

RPAH say that about 40-50% of people with food intolerances also have MCS/IEI. Melbourne research by Professor Anne Steinemann identifies over 1 million Australians with this issue and it is increasing as summarised in this blog See also recent research on Australian prevalence and a national register at  Idiopathic means we don't know what causes it, but some causes are known in fact - read more in Factsheet on fumes and perfumes.

A1 milk predisposes to asthma and lung inflammation

See authoritative blog on the latest science with references. New findings published by prestigious Nature Research demonstrate how A1 milk predisposes for asthma and lung inflammation, which should bring the A1 milk issue back into focus for both consumers and farmers. See factsheet.


Reduce virus particles by a factor of 10 with a Wein personal air purifier

When I go out, I wear my Wein personal air purifier. If you are breathing air with virus particles, you may be inhaling say 1800 particles an hour. A mask may reduce this to 450 particles an hour. But a Wein plus a mask and the count may be reduced to 45 particles an hour or only 10 in a room! See science The bottom line is that use of a personal or room ionizer will markedly enhance the effectiveness of a surgical mask alone in protecting against viruses such as the coronavirus. See more

Survey on orthorexia

Orthorexia is the term for a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet. Orthorexia sufferers often display signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders that frequently co-occur with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders. A group of LaTrobe University Dietetic Honours students are looking for participants for their project examining the prevalence of orthorexia in people with IBS, people with eating disorders and healthy controls. For more information or to register, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Food unregulation - in 10 steps
This is our view of how our food regulation system actually works for food additives:

  1. define safety in a very narrow range of easily measured acute physical symptoms. Do not include any chronic, learning, mental, behavioural or non-acute symptoms even though people may suffer from them (see tag cloud at
  2. get industry to pay you and tell you whether their additives are safe against this narrow definition. There is apparently no need for alternative views other than those you are paid to assess because who pays the piper calls the tune
  3. don’t require testing of food additives on children (“it wouldn’t be ethical”) or the elderly, as both groups have weaker blood/brain barriers and so might be affected full blog from Howard Dengate BSc (Food Sci UNSW), PhD (Plant Sci LC), Cert Plant-based Nutrition (eCornell)


Q: Can I try that coloured or flavoured gin?

Clear gins are well tolerated. The botanicals in clear gins are either in the boiler with the alcohol and/or in a basket in the vapour path and as such the distilled finished product is clear. Clear gin is considered failsafe. This includes Bombay Blue Sapphire (it is the bottle that is blue!). Coloured/macerated gins like PIMMS (where the botanicals are soaked in the spirit AFTER distillation) will not be failsafe. From the FedUp website pantry list Drinks: alcoholic: gin, unflavoured vodka, whisky (Scotch or Irish e.g. Jameson's - not bourbon or American whisky) - thanks to Simon for this clear answer.

Q: Can you tell me more about 'yeast' in some products?

A: Where yeast is added to a product to rise or leaven it, as in bread, then it is failsafe. Where it is not obvious what the function of 'yeast' or 'dried yeast' is in a product, be careful as it may be a source of MSG (621, 'free glutamates'). You may need to contact the manufacturer. We were reassured by Laucke's Mills recently, who told us about the 'dried yeast' ingredient in some of their bread mixes: "Inactive Dry Yeast is a component of the Bread Improver we purchase in as an ingredient in our Bread Mix formulas. The improver content is 0.2%, of which the inactive yeast is a minor component again, therefore the quantity is extremely low. The Inactive dry Yeast is dead bakers yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which does contain glutathione peptides, which have a small functional effect in flour dough by acting as a reducing agent."

Q: In the new Friendly Food book it states both protein shakes and rice protein powders are high in amines. Would pea protein be high in amines too? - Krystal

A: I have read what RPAH have to say about protein powders in their latest Handbook and in Friendly Food. They say little, but I think that they tell you to avoid protein shakes because these too often contain added flavours, herbs and other chemicals which are not failsafe.

  • Rice protein powder is made using an enzyme which would break down some of the protein and produce amines, so I would think that it is not failsafe
  • Pea protein powder may also contain amines depending on how it is processed but from my research there is no enzyme step, just dry milling and sieving, so I think these would be well-tolerated. RPAH do say that yellow dried peas are failsafe, and these are the usual source of pea powders. I can find no references to pea protein amine content but something about their nutritive value here

As with any food intolerance, if you know what your reactions are you can try it as a challenge and look out for reactions.

You can scroll through the full text of all stories: for every story we report, there are probably another 10 that cover similar issues. And these are just the ones we get to hear about. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Success story collections: organised by symptom or by additive keywords are proving the most popular downloads from the website. They'll be added to as time permits.

People tell us that stories are so useful and positive!

[1577] 250: nitrates and migraine - reactions from facebook (July 2020)

I suffer chronic migraines and my Neuro has suggested I avoid foods with nitrates. My head is constantly foggy, difficulty concentrating, always tired. Looking at getting some ideas on what to avoid - Jen

I suffered from migraines my whole life until I completed the elimination diet. Definitely nitrates for me but also other chemicals like sulphites and amines and glutamates. It’s best to do the full diet as it could be nitrates or another chemical – May

Migraines are why I am failsafe. I react to the whole lot – sals (salicylates), amines, sulphites, nitrates, glutamates – Sue

For me the migraines disappeared when I eliminated all scented products. I had no idea they were the trigger. Perfume is the most common allergen ... and can also be linked to diet – Michelle

Avoid processed meats - Sarah

I react to glutamates hugely. Seem to be fine with the others however – Sandy

My son in law tried everything for years, but once he went gluten-free he only gets migraines when he accidentally eats gluten - Georgia

Gluten for me too, so gave up and (have been) free from migraines for the last 20 years – Eunice

Amines are a trigger for my migraines look into that too - Cassie

I did the RPA Elimination diet for 4 weeks, my migraines completely stopped and shoulder/hip/neck pain dropped from 9/10 to 1/10. My physio couldn't believe the reduction in inflammation throughout my body. Found and contacted a dietician suggested on the RPA website and she is helping me do the food challenges. Salicylates are a huge problem and are the cause of my migraines and pain. Just working out a tolerable level of salicylates for me atm - Jo-anne
Personally I get migraines from cocoa (milk & dark chocolate), oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, peas, green beans, peanuts (sometimes almonds and cashews), perfumes and some scents. Once I started failsafe diet, I then started developing a sensitivity to chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, chokos, cashews- all of which are allowed on RPA diet. If I avoid all those foods it helps – Naomi

Most of the above for me, I also found after switching my breakfast from toast with butter to plain porridge with milk, it really helped. Not sure if it's the gluten, wheat, or yeast, but there has been a noticeable difference. My migraines are hormonal too, which makes an additional impact – Trish

I get migraines from essential oils, sals and amines. Most especially dark chocolate and meats also yeast extract – Lara

I get migraines from fresh tomatoes only. Not cooked. Only fresh. I can’t work out what it is in them that effects me - Kirsty

It is at least one food that you are intolerant to in my experience. But eat that and that causes migraine. You may not react for a couple of days after you eat it, or you may feel the migraine or headache coming on, almost as you eat it. Foods I avoid that used to cause me headache, and migraine are dairy (particularly cheese), gluten, citrus, chocolate, eggs, coconut.  The amount I eat makes a difference, and eating more that one of these at a time makes it much worse - Maggie

See factsheet on nitrates

See factsheet on headaches and migraines

[1576] 621: "grand mal seizures and memory loss" (July 2020)

We recently figured out that my husband's sudden bout, at age 69, of grand mal seizures and memory loss are caused by MSG.  The 3 different seizure meds they prescribed for him made him feel drugged and "out of it".  We don't know if they would have helped with the seizures because he wouldn't take them long enough to know.   Taking MSG out of his diet has stopped the seizures, most of the hand tremors he had and the auras and dizziness he would get. The work you do is incredibly important, keep up the great work! - from USA

See MSG factsheet

[1575] 220: "Sulphites/sulfites put into Atrial Fibrillation" (July 2020)


Sulfites put me into Atrial Fibrillation within 45 minutes.  Liquids, like wine, will do it within seconds, foods take a little longer.  Every time I go into Afib I end up in the hospital being cardioverted (shocked) back into rhythm.   I don't think all people's Afib is caused by sulfites.  However, I doubt I am the only one.  Most people have no idea what they are and what foods they are in, so they would never make the connection - Carey USA

See sulphites factsheet

[1574] Anyone noticed a correlation between salicylates and appetite levels in children? – facebook thread (July 2020)

We’ve been on elimination diet 2 wks with Mr 3yr Old and his food intake has decreased considerably – Fay

Yes, the more sals (salicylates) I give my 5 yo the more food she craves. Same for myself - one of my biggest reactions to sals after challenging for a week was uncontrollable eating. It was horrible I knew I didn’t need the food but I couldn’t stop until I stopped the challenge and detoxed – Jay

10 fold less food; on low sals she is satisfied with food and content. High sals levels and I could feed a house and she still wouldn’t be satisfied. 10 years old – Tina

For me I find one of my reactions (not specifically to sals, just food chemicals in general) is an increased appetite. Which over time can lead to weight gain – Rose

Same with my child. The more sals the more food he craves! – Vera

I get very hungry from sals. Even have to get up in the middle of the night when I overdo them. I have to eat something to be able to sleep again – Yvonne

My girl is low salicylate foods for 3 weeks and her appetite has increased greatly – Gia

As a 48 yr old I discovered this for myself. Always having a battle with obesity. I too cannot find enough food in the house when I eat too many sals. Some baby tomatoes are enough to set me off on a huge binge. I love tomatoes – Isobel

I get hungry with high salicylates, but it's a 'nervous' hungry, and my food just tends to sit there, not get digested well at all. Since going low sals, the gastroparesis is improving – Don

So great to hear this, I am a hungry hungry hippo when I eat sals. Within a couple of days without my appetite drops right off, I don’t even think to eat snacks – Sarah

Factsheet on failsafe weight loss

[1573] What made you go failsafe? – facebook thread (July 2020)

I’m wondering what you’ve seen with your children to make you go failsafe? Was there an existing diagnosis? Did your child’s behaviours/ symptoms resolve completely with failsafe? - Fiona

Amines makes my 5yr old aggressive, sals make her adhd and very defiant. Both affect her sleep. She is fine on low chemical, above that we have a problem. We knew immediately when we tried to introduce food. My LO (loved one) has had a brain bleed and had major problems with reflux diagnosed with cows protein allergy and major intolerance to soy and has this chemical sensitivity – Deb

My 2 yo would wake up screaming at night and nothing we did would settle him. When we went into him he actually got worse. He also has bigger meltdowns and would soak through nappies, his clothes and bedding. All related to salicylates, within a week or so of starting the elimination diet he started to sleep through the night – Sara

My 2 year old had loose bowels and rash on cheeks that we could never pinpoint. Also is much calmer now - Jen

Salicylates made my 6yo so defiant. Probably didn’t help that he was eating about 5 apples a day but he is a different child. We were seeing OT’s and looking at a diagnosis for ADD & ODD and he is so amazing now – Kath
Bad eczema. Not resolved but under control – Emma

We started for eczema. Then the bed wetting and night terrors stopped within a fortnight, and she was getting to sleep easily and sleeping through. Then she just calmed, completely, and was more focused. Then we saw that her bottom lip reduced in size - we’d never noticed that it was always enlarged because it was constant. It’s now our first indication of many reactions – Tracy

My 11 year old gets aggressive with amines, he actually transforms before our eyes into what can only be described as the incredible hulk’. Sals give him ADD symptoms – Sue

Within 3 days of being on the elimination diet my 6 year old started sleeping through the night, was not as non-compliant and his stomach cramps eased considerably. Taking out all milk products from any mammal helped to cease the tummy issues and the rashes he’d get. After a period of being salicylate and dairy free we tried challenges - the instant reactions meant that for the next 10 years he remained on the elimination diet with occasional treats over holiday periods so that any reactions were dealt with whilst at home – Diana

Long term reflux and bad attitude with my 8 yr old and self-regulation/ eczema/ post nasal drip with my 3-4 yr old. We were already mostly dairy free, then saw a huge difference in these symptoms after the elimination. We started a year ago.... I notice the symptoms returning as we slip up which has happened this term as I have been unwell. It is hard and takes a lot of headspace especially with school and socialising and explaining to others. I mainly was doing it for my daughter but noticed how much my son benefitted especially with concentration levels at early intervention. He has a moderate hearing loss and it made me realise that the post nasal drip was affecting his hearing and learning. I need to remind myself of this when I get off track. So I learn all the time, I’ve realised egg really affects him as well. No one is perfect, we do our best, it’s helpful to remember that for me and my children. Salicylates and artificial colours and flavours are our main triggers – Ella

[1572] “You can't tell me food isn't the problem” (July 2020)

People who don't believe in food intolerances need to speak to me.

Over the last 6 months I have gradually relaxed and slipped back to eating foods I know I can't tolerate. During lockdown I reached my worst, pretty much eating everything wrong over that couple of months.

I have been back on track for a week now, after having the worst migraine (hadn't had one the whole 2 years I have been failsafe after suffering monthly for 20+ years). I decided enough’s enough. For the last 4 nights I have been sleeping through the night again. Sleeplessness is one of my reactions. I had been having broken sleep over the last 6 months, moody, irritable and no tolerance and no energy always waking tired and unmotivated. I am starting to feel myself again and it all turned around within 3 days of getting back on track. You can't tell me food isn't the problem. 😀😀 - Sarah

[1571] Telling others about failsafe – facebook thread (July 2020)

That thing where your housemate is in tears because her four-year-old is being so horrible, and she thinks it's because she's a failure as a parent, and you have told her about failsafe and sent her the links and she just looks at you blankly :( - Kylie

I don’t understand why people don’t listen to our experience. I want to save the world there would be so many happier kids and families but no one wants to listen 😔 - Beth

I've lived the difference it makes. Everyone I know who has tried it has seen massive improvements in their kids with bonus identification of food triggers for themselves. It's not alternative medicine - I point them to the RPAH site. There's no other obvious reason for the child to behave badly and the mum should not have to feel like a failure :( - Kylie again

I often wonder if it would make a difference if they changed prison food to failsafe... how many have been struggling with behaviour issues since childhood till it became ingrained patterns and they ended up violent because they couldn’t control their tempers or self-medicating with illegal substances?  Not to mention the children in my class who can’t control their behaviour no matter what you do! - Mary

Wish I has known about food chemicals when my daughter was four – Rosemary

People come to things in their own time - there is no shortage of well- intended and often conflicting advice for overwhelmed parents. Be kind. Be patient. 🙏 - Sue

My friend’s boy reacts to food. She said she has done a diet but when I speak of failsafe she has no clue so I'm assuming she must have done something else. When I first started it went right over my head so I don't blame anyone if they don't want to do it. Sometimes I would just rather give medication - Skye

Kids have suffered, even surgeries or significant medication and even adult friends who suffer, and yet they are unwilling to even trial this. Our lives totally changed by diet but I can't imagine putting something in the too-hard-basket if it would help my kids and family 😔 - Anne

I'm in a group for parenting spirited kids, and I swear 90% of them would be helped by failsafe. Even a teensy bit. One day, maybe people will realize how much food changes us - Irene

Often just eliminating issues like bread with no 282, artificial colours/flavours can be a good starting point. You could suggest this as an easy way to start to help tone down the meltdowns. When people see this is working, they may look further – Teresa

Have you tried suggesting that she trials just eliminating food additives? It's a much simpler process than heavily restricting one's diet – Maria

I’ve had people say, oh I don’t want Salicylate sensitivities! Come to think of it, neither do I! My husband doesn’t want pancreatic cancer either!  Hello folks step right up and choose that ailment you most prefer!  🙃 😆 I can change the colour of my hair but not the size of my feet. I can choose to treat my sensitivities but I did not choose to be sensitive? 😆 - Kimberly

Wait, we get to choose which shit we have to deal with? I'm going ailment shopping today, and plan to trade mine in on some others that suit my lifestyle better - Wendy

[1570] What was the best thing you got out of reading Fed Up? (July 2020)


Confirmation that I wasn’t just a naughty kid growing up - Ruth

It was the light bulb moment after reading this that this is it. This is the answer. It made everything my body was doing and reacting to make sense – Angela

I was mortified that we are so blind to what's in our food.. and immediately wanted to share it with everyone but especially parents! - Penny

It opened my eyes to what was happening with myself and my 3 sons. I thought I was reading it to help me with my eldest child and after reading Sue’s book I realised it was about all of us. I have loaned it to a number of people over the years - Melissa

Changed my life for the better. Finally got my baby to sleep and identified source of my own migraines and health issues – Tashi

Changed my life 20 years ago and talk about the book, Sue's and Howard's work for us all. I thank Sue silently, now weekly, for the first 10 years, daily - Nat

'Author Sue Dengate throws a lifeline to frazzled parents who suspect an association between what their children eat and how they behave' - Auckland Sunday Star Times - see book in store

[1569] Rumination and diet – facebook thread (July 2020)


(Rumination is internal activity focused on past events. It is preoccupation with perceived mistakes, losses, slights, actions taken or not taken, opportunities forever lost.  The feelings associated with obsessive rumination are guilt, regret, anger and envy, low self-esteem, under-confidence and often anxiety)

When my 8yo son is eating the wrong food (at this stage we think gluten and salicylates) he will not stop until he gets what he perceives as revenge for something or someone that he thinks has wronged him. He obsesses over computer games and if he decides he’d like to do something he’s not happy until he has been able to do it, which may be days later. He is absolutely unreasonable, cannot listen or concentrate and seems to have no control of his emotions or actions. And then we change his diet and I have my caring, affectionate, understanding, very intelligent and helpful boy back - Sarah

I get these issues with amines. If I have overindulged I can work over any slight that I have felt has occurred against me. I’ll escalate and run through scenarios and build up from there. Issues at work are another area that seems to set me off and it can be quite mentally exhausting. If I do have a little too many amines I often isolate myself from others if I can to limit bringing others into “the drama “. Reflecting back on the years, my late teens were a particularly bad time for these issues and I was unaware of my intolerances until I was 30 - Maria

My eldest was thought to be autistic due to quite obsessive behaviors when young. I felt it was diet related (he also had many severe digestive issues) and a week on a strict diet made a massive improvement. Then we had about 3 years screen free due to obsessive behaviours and huge melt downs. He is still on a strict diet but see milder versions of these behaviours, very strong versions when he doesn't follow the diet or we've tried certain amines. He will obsess over being able to watch a show, investigate something, and needs to know how everything works. His teachers have commented that sometimes he just has to have an answer to how something works or can't possibly concentrate at all - but once answered he's calm and has gone well at school academically and behavior - Megan

This is still a problem for me and I am 70 I find that an overload of amines and salicylates and I am awake all night continually reliving things that have happened and worrying over things I have no control over - Lee

I have struggled with all of the obsessive rumination feelings most of my adult life but never realised it was food related. I undertook diet changes due to the worsening of symptoms after breast cancer treatment 2 years ago and found severe reactions to salicylates and amines (possibly more, still haven’t tried challenging all). I now know why I was ruminating. I am now strict diet, I have patience, feel joy in life and look beyond every issue to see the positive, nothing gets to me. When I am not on-diet, I can’t even appreciate my gorgeous 7 year old son being around me, I get cranky and defensive about everything. Makes life so hard - Terry

Yes my daughter ruminates. We've been very lax with diet lately and something that happened a year ago keeps coming back in her mind, where she can't let go of it. Feeling bad, sad and guilty. Over and over - Robin

Amines for me – it is one of my alerts that I’ve had too many amines as I’ll find myself remembering issues with my past career and getting just as upset even though it was 10 years ago!! - Jane

This helps me understand my mother's behaviour when she was alive. She was diagnosed late in life with celiac disease, and I strongly suspected that she, like me was dairy intolerant, and probably, like me intolerant to many other foods. I have been avoiding eating foods I know I am intolerant to, for nearly 40 years, but I couldn't persuade my mother, or other family members that this could be a problem for her despite her difficulty eating many foods. She would constantly ruminate over problems from the past, which I found very stressful to listen to. Trying to get her mind away from those problems and focus on a pleasant current situation, seemed impossible. She'd get angry with me for trying to change the subject - Margaret

My daughters looping thoughts and rigidity was much better when we were gluten/grain and dairy free - Alice

I think rumination is very common with both salicylates and histamine issues. My anxiety and rumination go down when salicylates/histamine are lower -- and go sky-high when they're not - David

I’ve definitely been calmer since being on the elimination diet. I think my teenage daughter may be salicylate intolerant, however she won’t engage with the diet. She has obsessive behaviours and ruminates a lot – Lee

Amines definitely increase my tendency to ruminate - Anne

Amines and artificial colours... salicylates too – Jay

I had these sorts of thoughts when I was undiagnosed coeliac, so for me I think it was related to gluten and extremely low iron and B12 levels - Carey

Ruminations in our house: our son goes to an annual movie/pizza night at karate. Every time he comes home from that he obsessively remembers the one time 6 years ago he hid from a friend in our court and thinks he’s an awful person. He also laments how he has no purpose in life and cries. He has now been to four of these events and always the same. Both kids are on moderate failsafe diet and our son is lactose intolerant. So it’s definitely a reaction but I still can’t pinpoint the cause because he has had other pizza at other times and not had this reaction and it happened on a couple of other occasions not associated with pizza – Cary

[1568] Oats and food intolerance (July 2020)

Anyone’s children have issues with wetting themselves when they eat oats? My 5 year old has SPD (sensory processing disorder) so that complicates things but he has wet himself numerous times since we reintroduced oats. I am hoping not but I can’t think of anything else. He is ok with mod to high sals, otherwise not good with amines, glutamates, egg, soy and dairy - Rosemary

Yes, for my daughter it’s the protein called avenin in oats, which is similar to gluten. Many gluten sensitive / coeliacs respond in the same way. It causes interstitial cystitis for her - bladder inflammation which feels like abdominal pain, burning and stinging urine and increased urgency and frequency. The last time she ate oats was 3 years ago. She was 5 and had just got dry overnight. The oats set her back to six months of wetting at night again even after I worked out the trigger and eliminated them again. She was already gluten free at the time and this was a trial of the wheat free or “uncontaminated” oats - Mary

Is it possible he’s in the middle of a regression stage? I have noticed that just before a leap forward in development (of an ASD child) there is often a regression that can go on for up to 1-2 months. It seems to go on just long enough that you can get worried (!) but then stops and you suddenly see another developmental leap forward. It’s like all the thoughts/processes turn inwards for a while to work on the changes. Could it be this? - Wendy

Rosemary again: last night we hit new heights so I am going to withdraw them. When you hate bedtime because of the aggression that ensues you know it’s time for a change.

Rosemary again, one week later: It was definitely the oats. After weeks of toileting issues, incredibly aggressive behaviour and difficulty with translations we stopped the oats. Two days later and my little boy is back to his normal (very active) self.

See factsheet on bedwetting

[1567] One-liners (July 2020)

The diet has helped my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis about 95 percent. I started the diet for migraines, bad upper abdominal pain, nausea etc. so it was a bonus really! Stick to it and you’ll see results! - Mary

Update after 5 years: the RPAH diet has helped me a lot … I still have Crohns disease diagnosis but … I haven't had symptoms since I started the RPAH diet … - Anne

I hope that is helpful. I would be lost (and probably have a medicated child) without the research you two have made available, thank you - Jan

Love your work, has changed our lives for the last 7 years 😊 - Karina

[1566] Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) overcome on failsafe (May 2020)

Just wanted to share something unexpected that has happened to me. For several years I had trouble swallowing food.  I had gastroscopies to eliminate a diagnosis of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) but everything was completely normal.  My doctors all assumed it was an anxiety symptom, even though I didn't feel anxious about anything other than having difficulty swallowing food.  I saw a psychologist who helped me accept it so I just stopped being particularly bothered by it. Friends just figured I was a slow eater.

I started the failsafe diet in August last year on the advice of my dietician. I had a bout of gastro in late 2017 that gave me awful digestive complaints, and low fodmap hadn't helped. Gluten free helped some but not enough, so we decided to give this one a shot.

Now I have no trouble swallowing food. It wasn't a sudden change, but at some point it just started gradually improving and now it's completely normal. Go figure.

I had assumed my doctors were right about the anxiety, even though I wasn't anxious. Only my husband was sceptical, and he was right.

I've realised something important about myself: when in doubt about the cause of anything weird going on in my body, it's probably food - Thea

[1565] Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and amines (May 2020)

When I’m anxious I definitely have more problems with swallowing, so staying strictly amine free  helps a whole chain of reactions. It took me many years to realise how much more anxious I feel when I have gone off-plan with amines in particular. I knew they gave me abdominal migraines, but didn’t make the anxiety link for ages – Viv

Don’t forget, you can search for stories/symptoms or scroll through all current stories 


Food Intolerance Resources from RPAH at 

The following resources have been made available on the condition that they are for personal use only and may not be distributed:

  • Elimination Diet shopping guide
  • NSW & ACT butchers
  • Toiletries & Personal care products
  • Medications
  • Nutritional Supplements

NOTE the failsafe shopping lists on is being regularly updated to reflect changes. If using the shopping lists, check for a current date at the bottom of the list.

The failsafe sausages list has been updated again. Please email directly with changes, preferably in the format in the list, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. People continue to rave about the real flavour of these sausages!


HopperHQ (was AllergyTrain) is a popular and helpful online and retail store with a large range of failsafe products. It is run by dietitian Jenny Trezise who has both personal and professional experience with food allergies and intolerances. “We have not changed the essence of what we do in catering for allergies and intolerances, but we wanted to let everyone know, that we also cater for many others including people who have Coeliac Disease, those on a Vegan diet, and people who just want to make healthier food choices”.  Check out their failsafe range

FoodSwitch app might be useful if you are gluten-free. Let us know: iOS : Android :
Note that the app does NOT do preservatives and other additives (yet, but we are in contact) and the Star Rating is ‘gamed’ by the food industry eg Nestlé showed stars on its Uncle Toby’s breakfast cereals where they scored an average 3.9 stars, but did not provide the star logo on its confectionery range, which received an average 1.4 stars. Read more

The completely revised and updated Friendly Food from RPAH is now available at $38.00 including post and GST from the Food Intolerance Network store

Friendly Foodsmall

SPECIAL OFFER because it costs no more to post these:

  • Friendly Food (at cost) $38.00 incl postage & GST
  • add Fed Up for only $18.00 (32% discount)
  • add Failsafe Cookbook for only $27.00 (22% discount)
  • add Fed Up and Failsafe Cookbook for only $45.00 (25% discount)
  • add DVD Fed Up with Children's Behaviour for only $14.00 (45% discount)
  • add 'The Set' (Fed Up, Failsafe Cookbook & DVD) for only $60.00 (25% discount)


New story collection: 220-226 sulphites/sulfites! - we were surprised how many heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation reports there are, as well as the expected asthma stories from dried fruit and wine.

Factsheets provide science-based access to information on added and natural chemicals, on symptoms and support. See full list of over 100 factsheets and remember that you can use the search function to search all factsheets (Information>Factsheets>Search all factsheets)

Don't forget that there is great collection of short videos to help answer your questions and understand food intolerance.

Thanks for your continuing support of each other!

A video-graphic introduction to food intolerance from one of our Network members (2 mins): Food intolerances, what are they? Thanks to Steph Aromataris


Diet not working as well as you'd hoped? One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the Checklist of common mistakes. Readers tell us this list is very useful. You can also ask for our Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate mistakes sheets This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Online support: Sue Dengate facebook group (now nearly 16,000 members, open forum meaning the public can see your posts).

Closed failsafe group with over 5,000 members (the public cannot see your posts)
USA facebook group Note that this group has just changed its name to Failsafe USA Products.
NZ facebook group (membership preference given to those living in New Zealand)
UK facebook group again accessible

twitter-bird-blue-on-whitetweet as @failsafers (note the plural). See all tweets

The Food Intolerance Network website has had over 12 million visits

Dietitians: Remember that we always recommend that people use one of our supportive and experienced dietitians for best results. Do it once and do it properly and then you will know which food intolerances you have and how to manage them.

For failsafe-friendly dietitians, see the regularly updated There is no longer any need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list.

Many dietitians are now online and the cost (typically $80 per half hour) can be rebated from most health funds. Ask them when making contact. As one dietitian said, ”I use Coviu which is a video conferencing service developed by the CSIRO for Australian allied health workers. It is encrypted end to end so it has a very high privacy. I can show education videos, share documents, patients can fill out forms for me and I can see them in real time so it is going really well”.


DVD "Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” has subtitles in six languages. (In PAL format only, not available with subtitles in NTSC format. But NTSC format DVDs are at a reduced price of only $14.50 including postage through the shop on As a reward for reading this newsletter so thoroughly, the first two people to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their mailing address will receive a copy of our DVD free!

brochureflags flagFinland

: are available in many languages
in a printer-friendly format (thanks to Failsafe members for translating!). Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help with other languages. Brochure in Chinese. Latest brochure in Finnish.

All Failsafe Newsletters can be searched and printed. There is a wealth of research, issue discussion, recipes, personal reports and recipes now available in one place. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.

Success story collections: These are the most popular downloads from the website,
organised by symptom and by additive. The latest collection is on violence and aggression (54 pages)

The Food Intolerance Network strongly supports the peer-reviewed publication of evidence regarding the effects of salicylates on health, behaviour and learning and acknowledges that more research needs to be published, particularly using dietary salicylates. However the very foundation of science is observation and these observations over many years show an astonishing and convincing range of real symptoms. We hope that they may assist in stimulating further research publication.

Reintroduction guidelines: for people who are extra sensitive, the new RPAH reintroduction guidelines recommend much smaller servings of salicylate and amine containing foods than previously, see reader comment below. Available on request from
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you so much for the new RPAH reintroduction recommendations. I now understand why when I tried to ascertain my tolerance levels and did as my dietician recommended (try 1/2 a cup of salicylates) that my symptoms returned very quickly. ½ a cup is 100 times ¼ of a teaspoon, and given my scent problems I’m probably highly sensitive. Now I can try again. - failsafer, NZ


Pea-green sauce (Thermomix or traditional) (V)

That cheese sauce is very popular but for a change we have been trialling this new recipe and it has proven equally popular at our house. Garlicky, smooth, looks exotic - great on pasta or over vegetables. Seen here on a potato and spring onion pizza. Let us know what you think!


400g white potato peeled, 1cm cubes
100g frozen peas (contains moderate glutamates but no salicylates or amines so NOT for your strict elimination diet – replace with celery if on elimination diet)
3-4 Brussel sprouts, chopped
3-4 shallots, whole, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
100g raw cashews (or less for lower fat)
500g water
2-3 tsp salt if desired

Thermomix Method: Place all ingredients in Thermomix. Cook 24 minutes, 100°C, reverse, speed 1. Pulverise speed 9 for 60 secs. Adjust consistency to taste by adding more water or salt if necessary.

Traditional Method: Chop all vegetables and place all ingredients in saucepan, boil until vegetables are tender. Pour in to blender, and blend until very smooth. Adjust consistency by adding water if necessary.

Serving suggestion: over pasta, steamed vegetables or rice, use instead of bechemal in a lasagna.

This sauce can be frozen! To use, thaw it out and blend (eg Thermomix speed 4-5, 4 secs). Then heat while stirring and finish with a strong blend (eg Thermomix for 500mls: 100˚C 5 mins at speed 3, then 30 secs at speed 8).

You can also find more recipe ideas at or Failsafe Cookbook

Every failsafer should get the regular newsletter from The Failsafe Table - it is fantastic August-September edition - "pears are in season at the moment. All the recipes are using pears, mostly sweet and some savoury dishes." Many inspiring recipes and photos - Thanks to Rona


There's a recipe index of ANY Failsafe recipes on ANY blog. So far there are more than 1,000 recipes with great photos and ideas all categorised to make it easy to search 

Failsafe Thermomix group with recipes and a place to ask questions etc

I bought a Thermomix a couple of months ago, and absolutely love it. These machines are totally awesome, so pure and clean, and I truly believe that if we’d had a Thermomix years ago when our son was at his worst, it would have saved us a lot of heartache, as well as time and money - Susan.

And the very useful weekly meal plan website

Privacy statement about emails and reports: Your email addresses and stories are never shared with anyone without your express permission. Names in stories are often changed to better protect the privacy of those providing them but the original emails are held in a secure location to provide evidence that these are real reports and that express permission to share them has been granted.

The FAILSAFE Newsletter is available free by email. Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Unsubscribe by sending a blank message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use the unsubscribe button if your newsletter comes from MailChimp.

Sue Dengate’s books and DVD and the failsafe magnifying card and sulphite test strips are available through the shop on

Special offer for USA and Canada: Random House has taken over distribution of Sue's books in the USA and Canada, but our current warehouse in upstate New York continues to offer special prices until all gone: Go to and search for "Sue Dengate"

21 copies Fed Up Revised and updated at $US12.50
8 copies Failsafe Cookbook Updated at $US22.00
9 copies Fed Up With Children' Behaviour (NTSC format) - DVD at $US14.50

Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook are now available as an ebook: for Kindle, in ePub version suitable for Tablet PCs, PCs, Macs, Laptops, in ePub for digital and iPhone/iPad.

Sue Dengate’s personal story as an ebook only $3.99: Fed Up with Food Intolerance - a personal story 

"Of all your books, your ebook Fed Up with Food Intolerance is my favourite ­ I just couldn’t put it down" - from Fed Up Roadshow 2015

Look inside


This is the story that helped thousands of parents and adults understand this baffling disorder.

Buy direct at
Download a sample for Kindle (.mobi) or for other ereaders (.epub).
Also available through Amazon for Kindle

Disclaimer: the information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for possible underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. Information is drawn from the scientific literature, web research, group members and personal enquiry; while all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and the Food Intolerance Network and Sue Dengate cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions.

© Sue Dengate 2020 (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to the many members who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter and particularly to Teresa and Tracy for their help with facebook and story collections. Further reading and viewing: Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate