Is the F.A.I.L.S.A.F.E Diet… Failsafe?

When I suspected that Lachie might have ADHD… many people would say to me “he’s only 5” or “he’s a boy”. It was true, but I just couldn’t help but think there was something more to it. My mother’s instinct told me that if there was something in his way, something blocking him from reaching his potential, then I just HAD to find out what that was. So, I tried Failsafe.

I started digging around on the internet to find out what might be causing Lachie’s ADHD symptoms. The first thing I found was the F.A.I.L.S.A.F.E diet (Free of Additives, Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers) on Sue Dengate’s website. Did you know that NATURALLY OCCURRING chemicals found in some fruits and vegetables can cause ADHD symptoms? I had heard of blaming sugar or artificial colours, but not fruit and vegetables! I ordered Sue’s “Fed Up” book, read as much as I could online and joined multiple Facebook groups as we implemented the diet. I scrolled and scrolled on those facebook groups all day, to get as much information as I could… I didn’t want to miss something and make some silly mistake!

So many people reported seeing a difference in their child within weeks (days even) of implementing the Failsafe diet. They call it baseline – the point at which you see results, a relief of symptoms. Well… Lachie never reached baseline. We kept a food diary, we emailed it weekly to the dietitian (who was very familiar with the diet) to check for ‘errors’, we removed dairy and gluten on top of everything else we had eliminated. NOTHING! The best we got was what I suspected to be a reaction to cashews (hyperactivity after I made a ‘cheese’ sauce – a large dose of cashews, which are typically limited on the failsafe diet).

I was so disappointed! I was so sure that this was going to work.  I didn’t want to admit defeat, but it just wasn’t working. After 3 months of sticking it out, we had to move on. Lachlan had started seeing an Occupational Therapist at about this time and I made also made an appointment with a Paediatrician (because his new teacher suspected Asperger’s). I hadn’t given up on diet being a contributing factor, so I also booked an appointment with a Naturopath to see if there was something different we could try. I’ll share these stories soon.

[I feel it is important to note that I know of a friend who is having success with this approach, which I actually find very reassuring! I had felt that I failed, but as it turns out, this just wasn’t the right approach for Lachlan. There is no one size fits all approach to health and nutrition.]

Have you tried the Failsafe way? I would love to hear your story.


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