The Failsafe Diet Explained

An introduction to the failsafe diet for ADHD, with diet charts

Quick Reference: What Am I Reacting To?

Chicken and Broccoli

Wheat, Barley, Rye, Spelt, Kamut

You may not be sensitive to gluten. Most commercial bread contains propionates which can cause chronic pain and behavioural reactions. Find a propionate-free brand (organic is usually safest) or make your own bread and test. Test flour products separately. Have the grains been soaked or fermented? If so, assume an amine/glutamate reaction. Do you find gluten grains addictive? If so, assume an opioid-like peptide reaction. Do grains give you digestive problems? If so, assume a problem digesting FODMAPs.

Oats

Have the grains been soaked or fermented? If so, assume an amine/glutamate reaction. Oats are low in FODMAPs and don't generally cause digestive upset. Do you find oats addictive? Oats contain a nervine (nerve tonic), in the form of avenanthramides, which tend to act as a calmative, however, this can result in irritability withdrawal reactions and cravings.

Rice, Corn, Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat

Have the grains been soaked or fermented? If so, assume an amine/glutamate reaction.

Gluten-Free Flours

Most gluten-free flours contain sulphites. This is the most likely cause of food intolerance reactions. Digestive problems may well be caused by FODMAPs in gum-based additives. Xanthan gum is notorious for causing digestive upset. Have the grains been soaked or fermented? If so, assume an amine/glutamate reaction. Some highly processed gluten-free flours contain hydrolysed proteins (glutamate). Potato flours may contain solanine, which tends to cause minor digestive complaints, including hiccups!

Potatoes

Have the potatoes been fried in oil or dusted with flavour enhancers? If so, assume a reaction to additives. Did you eat potato skins, green or budding potatoes, or experience tachycardia, digestive problems or hiccups? If so, assume a reaction to solanine or salicylates. Potatoes also contain natural nitrates.

Milk and Yoghurt

Do you find milk addictive? If so, assume an opioid-like peptide reaction. Does milk make you sneeze? If so, assume an intolerance to the immunological compounds and/or opioids, or a genuine allergic reaction – particularly if milk makes your throat itch. Does milk make you gain weight? If so, assume an opioid-like peptide reaction and/or sensitivity to IGF. Does milk provoke seizures? If so, you may need to test your reaction to calcium.
For suspected opioid-like peptide responders, individuals should test A1 milk (regular cow's milk) versus officially branded A2 milk (Guernsey cow, buffalo, goat's and sheep's milk). People who are intolerant of opioids usually tolerate goat's and sheep's milk unless they are super-responders. See the gluten and casein responders page.

Cream and Butter

Honey

Spinach

Do you find spinach addictive? If so, assume an opioid-like peptide reaction. People with arthritis and aches and pains will need to test each food chemical separately as salicylates, oxalates and opioids can all cause arthritic pain.

Rhubarb

Celery

Spicy Foods e.g. Curry

Citrus Fruits: Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Lime, etc

Tropical Fruits: Mangoes, Bananas, Pineapples, Papaya/Pawpaw, Passionfruit/Granadilla, Pomegranate, Avocado, Carambola/Star Fruit, etc

Apples

Figs, Dates, Prunes

Grapes and Raisins

Nightshade Family: Tomato, Tamarillo, Tomatillo, Eggplant/Aubergine, Uchuva, Peppers, Tobacco, Potato

Coconut, Coconut Oil

Coffee

Do you self-medicate with coffee or have strong reactions to it? This may indicate a caffeine intolerance.

Tea

Do you self-medicate with tea or have strong reactions to it? This may indicate a caffeine intolerance or a sensitivity to glutamates (theanine in tea opposes glutamate and has a calming effect).

Chocolate and Cocoa

Cabbage Family: Cabbages, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli

Do cabbage family vegetables give you hangover symptoms? If so, test for sulphur reactions as you may be a sulphur super-responder. Do cabbage family vegetables make you feel cold and headachy? If so, have your thyroid function checked. Salicylate super-responders react to cabbage family vegetables.

Garlic and Onions

Though garlic is allowed on the elimination diet, a significant subset of failsafers have strong reactions to natural sulphur and must avoid it. Onion is very high in FODMAPs and can cause digestive upset in FODMAP intolerant people.

Notes

*SLAs: stands for salicylate-like aromatics, including natural benzoates, gallates, polyphenols and flavonoids.