The Failsafe Diet Explained

An introduction to the failsafe diet, with diet charts

Quick Reference: What Am I Reacting To?

Wheat, Barley, Rye, Spelt, Kamut

  • Propionates (E282): artificial additive
  • Gluten: opioid-like peptides
  • Gluten: insulin-like lectins
  • ? Long chain starches
  • ? Insoluble fibre

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.

Oats

  • Gluten-like proteins (avenin): weak opioid-like peptides
  • Gluten-like proteins (avenin): insulin-like lectins
  • ? Long chain starches
  • ? Avenanthramides (cholesterol-lowering polyphenols)
  • ? Soluble fibre

Have the grains been soaked or fermented? If so, assume an amine/glutamate reaction. Do you find oats addictive? If so, assume an opioid-like peptide reaction.

Rice, Corn, Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat

  • Salicylates and/or SLAs (black and red rice are very high in tannins, jasmine and basmati rice are aromatic, buckwheat contains buckwheat polyphenol (BWP), corn contains salicylates, trace amounts in millet and quinoa)
  • ? Oxalates (buckwheat)

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

Gluten-Free Flours

  • Salicylates and/or SLAs (rice and corn flour)
  • Added sulphites (all flours)
  • ? Glutamate
  • ? Solanine (potato flour)

Most gluten-free flours contain sulphites. This is the most likely cause of reactions. 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.

Potatoes

  • Salicylates and SLAs (low amounts found in skin, green potatoes, new potatoes)
  • Insulin-like lectins
  • Solanine (alkaloid)
  • Naturally occurring nitrates
  • ? Long chain starches

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 which can cause digestive problems.

Milk and Yoghurt

  • Casein: opioid-like peptides (bioavailability is increased by lactobaccillus fermentation making yoghurt reactions worse than milk)
  • Multiple immunological compounds (hormones, anti-microbial factors, immune development factors, tolerance/priming factors)
  • Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) (particularly in rBGH-treated cows, IGF-1 is resistant to pasteurisation and bioavailability may be increased by pasteurisation, though IGF-1 is undetectable after heating to 121°C for 5 minutes, at which point the proteins become denatured)
  • Lactose (lower amounts in yoghurt, absent from sour tasting yoghurt)
  • Melatonin (a relatively harmless amine that aides sleep, particularly found in milk from cows milked before dawn)
  • Amines, particularly tyramine (trace amounts, usually yoghurt only)
  • ? Lectins (trace amounts, from the cow’s diet, lectin super-responders only)
  • ? Salicylates and salicylate-like polyphenols (trace amounts, from the cow’s diet, salicylate super-responders only)
  • ? Arachidonic acid (super-responders only)
  • ? Disinfectant used to wash out milk tanks (trace amounts, potassium iodide, chlorine and others, super-responders only)
  • ? Calcium (excitatory, causes glutamate release, super-responders only)

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. 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 A2 milk (Guernsey cow, goat’s and sheep’s milk). People who are intolerant of opioids usually tolerate A2 milk unless they are super-responders. See the gluten and casein responders page.

Cream and Butter

  • Casein: opioid-like peptides (trace amounts – super-responders only)
  • Insulin-like growth factor I (trace amounts – super-responders only)
  • ? Carotinoids including beta carotene (super-responders only, particularly in Jersey and Guernsey cows)
  • Lactose (trace amounts)
  • ? Arachidonic acid (super-responders only)

Honey

  • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high)
  • ? BH4 (super-responders only)

Spinach

  • Rubiscolin: opioid-like peptides
  • Salicylates and SLAs (very high)
  • Oxalates (extremely high)

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

  • Salicylates and SLAs
  • Oxalates (extremely high)

Spicy Foods e.g. Curry

  • Food colourings and additives (artificial SLAs)
  • MSG (glutamate)
  • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high)
  • Capsaicin (alkaloid) (pain triggering component of hot pepppers, triggers endogenous opioid release)

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

  • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high)
  • SLAs with specific effects (trigger histamine release)
  • Amines (high)

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

  • Salicylates and SLAs (high, except for bananas)
  • Amines (very high)
  • Multiple SLAs with specific effects (e.g. bromelain)
  • Phytoestrogens (pomegranate)

Apples

  • Salicylates and SLAs (vary from very low to very high depending on variety)
  • Unknown factor (pectin? malic acid? found particularly in raw apples and apple peel, known to cause stomach ache, bloating and digestive upset in some people)

Figs, Dates, Prunes

  • Salicylates and SLAs
  • Added Sulphites
  • Sorbitol (laxative)
  • Caffeic acid, Chlorogenic and Neochlorogenic acids (SLAs) (laxative)
  • ? Digestive irritants (SLAs)
  • Grapes and Raisins

    • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high)
    • Multiple SLAs with specific effects (flavinoids, polyphenols, e.g. quercetin, resveratrol)
    • Added Sulphites

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

    • Steroid and Other Alkaloids (solanine, nicotine, chaconine)
    • Salicylates and SLAs
    • Amines, including unusual amines like GABA

    Coconut, Coconut Oil

    • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high in SLAs)
    • Multiple SLAs with specific effects (flavinoids, polyphenols)

    Coffee

    • Caffeine
    • Salicylates and SLAs
    • Caffeic acid, Chlorogenic and Neochlorogenic acids (SLAs) (laxative)

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

    Tea

    • Caffeine
    • Salicylates and SLAs (extremely high)
    • Gallates (SLAs) (green tea polyphenols)
    • Theanine (glutamate antagonist)

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

    Herbal Teas, Herbs and Spices

    • Salicylates and SLAs (very high in SLAs)
    • Multiple SLAs with specific effects (flavinoids, polyphenols)

    Chocolate and Cocoa

    • Theobromine (caffeine related compound)
    • Caffeine
    • Amines (very high)
    • Multiple SLAs with specific effects (flavinoids, polyphenols)
    • ? Unknown mechanism, possibly psychological, triggers endorphin release

    Cabbage Family: Cabbages, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli

    • Goiterogens (thyroid inhibiting effects)
    • Natural sulphur
    • Salicylates and SLAs (low in salicylates, moderate in SLAs)
    • Oxalates (variable)

    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

    • Natural sulphur
    • Salicylates and SLAs (low)

    Though garlic is allowed on the elimination diet, a significant subset of failsafers have strong reactions to natural sulphur and must avoid it.

    Notes

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

    Written by alienrobotgirl

    23 September, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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