REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION. NAMES ARE CHANGED.
ORIGINALS ON FILE AT FEINGOLD ASSOCIATION OFFICES.

These parents did not have an easy time of it. This is a long detailed journal of how they found the missing puzzle pieces of their adopted son's many problems, and what they learned along the way. See his whole story here.

Below, however, I am pasting just the part of his description of how his daughter improved on the diet even though she had never been hyperactive. He has expressed to me his fear that children like this will not be helped because they are not the "squeaky wheel" and people do not think of using the diet for them. Read his story as he tells it:

What About Mary?

Although Mary exhibited no overt behavioral problems at home or in school, she was literally failing her classes. Her teacher reported wild day-to-day fluctuations in scholastic aptitude, and we noticed the same at home. Sometimes she read her primer without effort, but more often the simplest words represented formidable obstacles. She couldn't concentrate on anything. Every little stimulus represented a distraction, and if she sat in a room alone, she would invent her own distractions: staring at her hands, playing with her pencil, etc. When we forced her to focus on the work, she cried in despair. "I can't do it, Daddy. It's too hard."

One night my Aunt took Mary out for dinner as a special treat and inadvertently performed an experiment for us. Mary ate grilled cheese and ice cream, a meal that contains yellow dyes in the cheese, preservatives in the bread, artificial everything in the margarine, preservatives and gums in the ice cream, and sugar everywhere. The next morning Mary could not write the numbers 1 to 20. She reflected some of the digits like a dyslexic, and writing a two-digit number was out of the question. We sent her off to school, though I'm not sure why. The next morning we asked her to perform the same task, and she whipped off all 20 numbers in a nice clean row, and wondered why we were asking her to do such a silly thing.

With this compelling evidence in hand, We decided to skip the various drug regimens, which didn't work for John, and place her on the Feingold diet as well. At first she resisted, but she really wanted to do well in school, and she saw the improvement in John's behavior, so she told us she was willing to give it a try. As parents, we could have forced it on her, but I really wanted her voluntary cooperation. Classmates and friends are going to offer her treats and snacks for the rest of her life; this young girl has to muster the courage to say no. This is much harder than resisting illicit drugs. Just try to imagine: the cupcakes that your friend brought to school for her birthday don't hurt anybody else. They are perfectly legal, and delicious! Everybody's eating them, but not you. Even though you have your own special snack, you're sticking out like a sore thumb in a world where conformance is the gold standard. To add insult to injury, one of your classmates taunts you in a loud voice. "You can't eat this cupcake, because it's not on your diet. I can eat it -- it's delicious. Too bad you can't have it!"

Mary came home crying that day, and no doubt this scene will be repeated again and again. But she said NO, and brought the cupcake home for me to examine. I held her for a half hour and praised her for her courage. I then gave her the best treat I could put together, consistent with the Feingold program.

Although I like to think our positive reinforcements play a role, Mary is probably holding fast to her diet because she sees the difference in school. She has already Aced three tests in subjects that she was struggling with before. When she got 100% on a geography quiz, her teacher praised her in front of the class, and she came home positively beaming. She would do almost anything to retain this position of excellence, and so would I.

I wonder -- if Mary were an only child, what would become of her? We would have spent money hand over fist on Hooked On Phonics, the Sylvan Learning Center, and so on. These are all fine programs, but of no use to Mary. I don't know if we would have discovered the Feingold diet. I'm afraid she would have tried, and failed, and tried, and failed, until there was no point in trying any more. How many other well-behaved children are failing in school because they react to certain foods or food additives? Their parents are not likely to type "food additives" or "candida" into a search engine -- they'll be extraordinarily lucky if they ever consider diet therapy.

Headaches

When we flew across the country to pick up Mary, the workers at her group home told us she suffered from headaches once or twice a week. Sure enough, she developed headaches in our home as well, with no discernible pattern. We administered Tylenol, but I think the night's sleep did more to relieve the pain. Once Mary was placed on the Feingold diet, her headaches virtually disappeared. When I talked to her about this, she told me she often suffered in silence -- didn't want to bother the workers at her group home, or her new Mom and Dad. "I use to get a headache almost every day." she recounted. "I only complained about the big ones. Now they're gone." It is amazing how many chronic conditions clear up when the human organism eats the food it was designed, by God or evolution, to eat.

As if in confirmation, any significant deviation from the Feingold diet produces a headache some 8 hours later. Because her other symptoms, e.g. inability to concentrate, are difficult to measure, we use the headache as a litmus test. If she develops a headache at night, even a small one, her system cannot tolerate one of the foods she ate earlier that day.

K.D. Troy, MI