An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet

*Please note that any links forwarding to third-party streaming services have no affiliation or monetary connection with Simply Streep.
Release date: 1994
Directed by: Jim Abrahams
Produced by: The Charlie Foundation
Running time: 45 minutes

An introduction to the Ketogenic Diet, a special high-fat diet used to treat seizures, as a treatment for childhood epilepsy narrated by Meryl Streep. The video provides a step-by-step preparation of the meals, available options for the diet and discussions with parents and children about their dealings with the diet.

A few months ago, my husband and I received a letter from our friends, Jim and Nancy Abrahams, who wanted to start up a new foundation in order to spread the word about the Ketogenic Diet. The letter began like this: ‘Dear Meryl and Don. On March 11th, 1993, on his first birthday, I was pushing our son Charlie in a swing, when his head twitched and he threw his right arm up in the air. The whole event was so subtle I didn’t even think to mention it to Nancy until a couple of days later when it recurred. She said she had seen a similar incident. That was the beginning of an agony I’m without words to describe. Nine months later, after literally thousands of a variety of epileptic seizures, an incredible array of drugs, dozens of blood draws, eight hospitalisations. A mountain of EEGs, MRIs, CAT Scans and PET Scans, one fruitless brain surgery, five pediatric neurologists in three cities, two homeopathists, one faith healer and countless prayers. Charlie’s seizures were unchecked. His development delayed. And he had a prognosis of continued seizures and progressive retardation. Then, last December, we learned about an obscure diet, consisting mainly of fats, that benefited some kids with difficult to control seizures. The only institution that champions this diet is Johns Hopkins Hospital. Their dietitian, Mrs. Millicent Kelly, former dietitian in charge of John Hopkins nutrician clinic, has been profecting the Ketogenic Diet for over fourty years. We took Charlie there, he started the diet, and since Christmas 1993, he’s been seizure and drug free.

The Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy was founded in 1994 after twenty month old Charlie Abrahams, having endured multiple daily seizures, and failed every available anti-convulsant drug and one brain surgery, was cured of his epilepsy by the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The diet was undertaken despite resistance from the five pediatric neurologists he had seen. When Charlie’s parents realized that Charlie was but one of hundreds of thousands of children whose families were either not being informed, or being misinformed about dietary therapy, they started The Charlie Foundation.