Power of Exile

The Power of Exile -
 Autism, A journey to recovery


Introduction: Sara’s Diet
and the IDEA


  1. Sara
  2. Sandra
  3. The Journey begins
  4. Sara joins our Family
  5. Journal Notes
  6. Impressions
  7. Influential People
  8. Center Stage
  9. I believe in Miracles
  10. Miracles in Abundance
  11. A Second Rainbow
  12. Widening Horizons
  1. World travel on a Wing and a Prayer
  2. Asperger Syndrome (Sam’s story)
  3. Autism: a Causal Theory and Treatment Option
  4. A Change in the Weather
  1. Second Timothy
  2. Turning Blue
  3. Food Intolerance in autism
  4. Sara’s Diet
    1. Introduction to the restricted diet
    2. Essential nutrients from foods
    3. Practical help with implementing a diet program
  5. What is Lutein?
  6. Autism, Pigments and the Immune System
  7. South Africa, World Community Autism Program
  8. Eating disorder in autism
  9. Autism, Origin – A Plausible Theory
  10. Autism, putting it all together

From: Miracles in abundance
I finished the manuscript, typed on a word processor with two fingers, and had it copyrighted, but Sara’s story was incomplete without the additional knowledge of whether it was an ‘isolated’ occurrence or whether others could get the same or similar results. I received inquiries and people began to receive copies of Sara’s diet: Portia Iverson before there was CAN (Cure Autism Now), Adair Renning who waited a while before she tried the diet with Asia. A woman called who had been advised to place her son in residential care - she was willing to try anything. Her son is now ‘symptom free’. Jean’s son improved. Debra stopped trying to feed her son all those colored vegetables. Jean and Debra went to work with Feingold Association to write articles for their Newsletter. Another parent began who had a 2½  year old son - he too is now declassified. A little girl in Iowa was started on the diet and a year later she passed the diagnostic testing to enter regular kindergarten without needing any special services. Her doctor is said to have stated “If one more parent of an autistic child says dietary intervention to me I am personally going to spank their bottom.”

There have been multiple reports of eye-color change and some of hair-color change after 3 weeks on the diet. 28% were already gluten and casein-free, and in this group 90% reported positive improvements with the additional restrictions. Several have been declassified, and others state their child is  now ‘symptom-free’. Some have begun the use of verbal language for the first time - the oldest to begin to speak is a man aged 23 after 3½  weeks on Sara’s Diet.

Mark Leventer, MD, Grass Lake Medical Center, Michigan, USA writes:
Tom is patient of mine for the past 8 months. He is now six years old and has autism and hyperlexia. Prior to coming here, he had a history of chronic sinusitis and otitis media, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. He was hospitalized once at the age of three for dehydration and has chronic yeast infection of the genitals. He had tubes placed in his ears at the age of 19 months.
  Autism was diagnosed at the University of Michigan at around the age of 2½. He was nonverbal until the age of three and had echolalia. He was very socially isolated and would play with himself and not with others. He did not know how to play with toys or other children. During the first office visit 8 months ago at the age of five, he was playing with toys for 20 minutes appropriately. His mother was also giving him acidophilus. Two days later he was instructed on the lutein free elimination diet for autism. Six days later he was noted to be doing better by his mother. He enjoyed the diet!
  His mother reported that at school, the teacher and consultant compared the notes from the prior year and felt that his learning and behavioral objectives were being met.  The patient was seen again one month later. It was noted that there were some problems at school. He seems to have more sensory awareness and is acting more over-stimulated. He is having more contact with his environment.
  The patient was seen again 2 months later. He is doing better at school now. His language abilities are reported to be progressing along as he is learning. He is interacting with and playing with the other children in a near normal fashion.
  Comprehensive digestive and stool analysis was reviewed. He showed excessive growth of pseudomonas and candida and also abnormal short-chain fatty acids. The patient was started on Uva Ursi.
  Also reviewed is 24 hour urinary amino acids. Several of these were low as can be found in autism. The parents were going to obtain an amino acid supplement which was low in methionine.
  The patient was again seen in 1 month, now using the lutein-free diet for 5 months. Doing well in school. Interacting with me during the office exam, he was calm and appropriate.  Reviewed the supplement with essential amino acids that were deficient. He is also taking treatment for Candida. He has some noted eczema on his cheeks. Advised to eat more fish for essential fatty acids.
  Seen again in 1 month. Still doing better in school. His attention span, cooperation and playing with other children have all improved. Sometimes he has a tantrum, but now recovers in a few hours whereas before it used to take weeks. The teachers have reported improvement also in his drawings. Hair analysis results were reviewed. There was a possibility of elevated lead and a possible thyroid problem. He will have further testing.

Marie A. Kemner, M. A., CCC-SLP writes:
I am writing this letter in regards to Sara’s diet. It was created and tested by Sandra Johnson. My desire to learn more about Sara’s Diet stems from my occupation as a Speech Language Pathologist who has worked with several children with a Pervasive Development Disorder. I currently provide service for a young boy with Autism who began the diet last year. Since that time I have observed many changes in this child. He has met and achieved all of this past year’s goals already which focused primarily on the pragmatics of language such as increasing eye-contact, conversational turn-taking, initiating and increasing his number of communicative intentions. Although I am inclined to believe these accomplishments may be partially the result of Sara’s Diet, I cannot make that conclusion without scientific research proving these changes are the result.
  The word about Sara’s Diet is spreading fast. Many parents have approached me with inquiries about the effects of the diet since I first heard about it last year. There continues to be more and more positive testimonies about the effects it has on children with Pervasive Development Disorders. The only thing holding this information back is the lack of ‘peer reviewed’ scientific research. I would greatly appreciate anything that could be done to begin this process. Sincerely, Marie A. Kemner, M. A., CCC-SLP

Linda Cronk writes:
Three weeks ago, we started Sara’s Diet. Jonathan’s eyes went from cloudy to very clear and sparkly. We have seen no adverse responses to food since we started. His speech is much better. Every therapist is thrilled, because his ABA sessions are going so well. We took him for his 6 month standard evaluation at University of Iowa Hospital this past week. The Head of Pediatric Psychology said that Jonathan has caught up in all deficit areas. More importantly, he said he saw NO AUTISTIC SYMPTOMOLOGY whatsoever during the testing. Jonathan (4 years and 3 months) was outgoing, charming, talkative, focused and cooperative for over two hours.
  If it weren’t for Sandra I don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure out what seems so obvious now.

Lyn Larue Chenoweth (RMT-BC Registered Music Therapist, Board certified), Michigan, writes:
I have provided music therapy for Charlie for 14 months. 8 months ago Charlie’s mother reported he had begun strict adherence to Sara’s diet. Within 4 weeks I noted significant changes in Charlie’s response level and behavior during music therapy sessions as demonstrated by increased eye-contact, attention span, attention to task, spontaneous speech and language usage, motor skills, social interaction, and compliant behavior. Decreased mood swings were also noted. Charlie’s ability to understand and follow directions with minimal verbal and/or physical prompt improved significantly. To date, Charlie has continued to maintain and/or improve abilities to respond to music stimuli using cognitive, communication, motor, social and emotional skills.

K. Terrillion writes:
Stephen no longer has the chronic abdominal pain; he sleeps through the night; stools no longer loose; he is a happy affectionate child and has lost his sensory defensiveness to people, touch, lights, commotion, as opposed to constant screaming. Able to go to new places, shows curiosity and exploration, wants to interact with people, likes to be held and will seek comfort when hurt, instead of not noticing when he gashed his head open. Within 2 months of diet intervention, he has developed gross motor skills to nearly age appropriate. Eyes changed color, eczema patch going away, skin good color, rear not broken down. He is a totally different child. His Neurologist is surprised, but also surprised that Stephen’s sister Sara (ADHD) is off her 100 mg Ritalin with no ill effects - now that’s a success story.

A. Renning (author of ‘The Ultimate Treasure Hunt. Finding the hidden child inside’) writes:
When I first read the information on ‘Sara’s Diet’, my first thought was, “No way, this is too hard.” But after seeing our daughter’s reactions to sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash, (she was swearing at her aide, throwing her lunch box against the wall, and talking to herself in different voices) none of which tested positive on her most recent allergy test, I was ready to try it. After all, we had already eliminated everything but the pigmented foods. Antifungals alone did nothing until we started ‘Sara’s Diet’. Asia has taken most of this in her stride and we have found substitute foods for the ones she can’t have now. . . The amount of research that has gone into perfecting this diet is phenomenal. It is fitting that the answers are coming from a mother. Her dedication is not only to her own daughter, but to all our children.

T. Mullens writes:
Kirsten’s hearing seems to have normalized substantially since going on SD. Some things still bother her (motorcycles), but she doesn’t seem to be bothered by noises that used to make her cover her ears and run to me. Kirsten is still improving daily. She interacts more with her friend, lets Katie push her on the swing, laughs when I tease her or act silly, falls asleep quite easily, and on and on . . . I’m going to write to ‘Autism Research Institute’ and let them know what happened with DMAE. She seemed more aware of her surroundings, less clingy, went to bed by herself . . . You’re unfolding a miracle before our eyes.