Esther Roberts

Dear Newbie,

This is an open letter to all of you who have recently started the Program for your dear children. I invite you all to visit us at the Feingold Bulletin Board and ask a ton of questions and we will do our best to offer you advice, support and encouragement. We were all "newbies" at some point, so we understand how hard it is to get through that learning curve.

Here's my advice:

  1. Give this Program your best effort. That means doing it in the way it was intended. Begin at Stage One and not Stage Two. We know how hard it is to give up those wonderful "salicylate" fruits and vegetables, but this is usually a temporary time of six weeks....that's it, once you see a response. After six weeks of good results, you can start testing them back in. But if you don't pull them out, you will never know your child's potential behaviour. It is okay to mourn at not having things like tomatoes, apples, grapes. We've all been there. Just don't do it in front of your kids.

  2. If you are starting this Program for your child, stock up on as much acceptable junk food as you can. You can always scale back later. The point is to get your children's cooperation without making them feel different and deprived. In fact, when we started I stocked my cupboards full of junk food and told my DS [Dear Son] how wonderful this Program was since we had never eaten junk like this before FG [Feingold]. And every time I would find something new, I would tell him how we now get to eat so many things we never did before. But try to balance protein into this. There are wonderful "junky" protein items, such as natural turkey jerky, nuts etc. "Junk" doesn't have to be only refined sugars and carbohydrates.

  3. Your attitude towards the Program can make or break how your children will receive this Program. If you tell them that they can have the (artificial) red lollipop "just this once as a treat," you are telling them that this red lollipop is something special that you are normally depriving them of, but this time it is okay for them to eat. What kind of mixed message does this send to them? Choose your words carefully.

  4. If you hesitate to get rid of all the "bad" food and replace it with "good" food because you paid "good money" for it, you will be dealing with continued reactions and are not likely to see positive results. Chew on this: If you spent good money on spoiled food, would you still eat it? There is no difference here between "bad food" and "spoiled food." Both are bad for your family.

  5. Put the WHOLE family on the Program, not just your "target" child. I say this for a reason. If you single out one child, and make them the "different" one, again you are sending mixed messages. After all the persimmon doesn't fall far from the tree (apples are Stage Two, you know). Those genes came from somewhere. You can't tell your "target" child how awful artificials are while you're feeding the other kids that stuff. Furthermore, you will never know the other children's potential if you don't put them all on the Program.

  6. Make your home the "FG Safe Zone." There shouldn't be food there that is a temptation to your kids. All foods that are in the house should be safe for all to eat. There may be a few exceptions to this rule, if you can't get the adults to participate in the Program. But make sure these few exceptions are items a child is not likely to be able to prepare or take for himself.

    For example, my DH [Dear Husband] can't live without his favorite brand of pizza rolls. I have bought every substitute out there, but he refuses to give them up. We all refer to them as "Daddy's bad food." I never make them sound appetizing. It is bad food.

  7. If you have several family members on the Program and each has a different allergy or sensitivity, keep the home on the most tailored diet necessary. If you have one kid severely allergic to dairy or peanuts you would never take the chance on having it in the house in case of cross-contamination. Why would this Program be any different? It seems to me that either you would go nuts trying to remember who can eat what, or someone in the family would always be in reaction. Either way, what kind of life is that?...remember "KISS?" ("Keep It Simple Silly" - not the rock group).

  8. Follow the Program yourself. When we started this Program I told my DS, if he couldn't eat it, I wouldn't either. I never eat in front of my kids what they can't eat. If I veer off the Program, it is NOT in front of them. Remember: practice what you preach. Now that we've been a salicylate-free household for three years (for us Stage One remained best), I realize that I can't tolerate them well either. Apples and tomatoes make me feel like I have arthritis in my knees; peaches - even organic ones - make my face break out...enough already. My mother had arthritis in her knees by the time she was 45. I saw that in my future, so now that I know the source of the problem for me, I don't eat much in the way of salicylates.

  9. I leave you with this: You don't get 100% results with 80% effort. Give it your best effort and come to us with whatever questions you have.

    And remember, REAL food tastes REAL good.

    Esther Roberts
    Feingold Volunteer