So if you are reading this right now, it is because I invited you to this article. I did not release this article to the public and only a few strangers will find it past those I invite with a special link.
For those few strangers who stumble here: let me introduce myself. I am Rebecca Mills-Anderson and I am a Certified Health Coach and also a patient. To read more about my story as a patient, you can read my story here. But today I am here as a healthcare practitioner. I am here because I have discovered a missing link that can help those with certain genetic propensity to Autoimmune and Neurological Diseases. Those with diseases like Dysautonomia, Gluten Ataxia, Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimotos, Rhuematoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Dementia, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anxiety and Depression, Chronic Viruses and more.
I started helping patients under the guidance of a Certified Functional Medicine Doctor and coaching patients in established protocols that were designed to help them reverse disease and to thrive instead of merely survive with these types of diseases.
It was during my time teaching these protocols that I cam upon research that led me to start testing my patients (with the help of my mentor and colleagues who were overseeing my cases as the consulting doctors) for something and in that testing finding the missing link that was not being seen or noticed by others: if not simply because they weren’t testing: or because they didn’t know what to do with this information. The ones that were testing for it were not experts in food sensitivities. They were also not experts in Celiac Disease and gluten related disorders. And here is where I go out on a limb: It has been my experience that those who are acclaimed “experts” still have a lot to learn because they themselves have not been through it. You see, this isn’t something you can learn in a weekend certification course: There are some things you can ONLY learn by going through it. And even that takes months. And then to be the type who can “bottle” this information and teach it to others– well that makes me unique. But there is still information that I cannot teach, at least not to those who aren’t going through it. Because only when someone is going through the journey, can they embrace the knowledge of how to go through it.
Izabella Wentz says there are two types of patients: the first type will improve with a gut healing protocol and cleaning up the diet. This is true, those patients exist. And the CEP is not for these patients. For these patients I recommend the protocols that are out there, and there are many.
The second type of patient, she says, will be more complex and have layer after layer that needs to be peeled back to get to the root cause of the disease process. And I agree. It is to these people that I am talking.
In functional medicine they talk about root causes: and these wonderful practitioners are often referring to things like hormonal imbalances, leaky gut syndrome, Adrenal Insufficiency, Thyroid imbalances and more. And they are right, these can be root causes. But in these complex cases, these are not THE root causes. They are root causes that in themselves are only symptoms. And so, these root causes have their own root causes.
It is my belief (and I have only been proven right in my hypothesis) that when the body starts these modern diseases, it starts as the body’s best way of doing exactly as it was designed to do: fight a toxin. Our body has multiple ways of responding to invaders: it starts an immune response or it creates inflammation in response to the toxin. Both are an appropriate response to various toxins. But in these complex cases, the body’s response does not solve the problem. Perhaps because the invader is food, and therefore the immune war may never end, or because the body is incapable of getting rid of the toxin at all. It cannot neutralize the threat. At this point it has two options: go to war or store the toxin. when it goes to war, the war may never end and so the body starts to plunder anything that looks like the toxin: and so we have autoimmune.
The other situation leads to storage of the toxin, usually in fatty tissues like the brain and nerves: this toxin, once stored, creates inflammation around it and this inflammation may cause pain or dysfunction: this is the norm in Neurological disorders. Sometimes the body does both and then the patient has both types of disorders. This happens in addition to the stress symptoms that the body also experiences, such as adrenal insufficiency, leaky gut, hormonal imbalances and more.
What patients usually don’t tell me is that they are having a lot more symptoms than they are telling me. And for that reason I refer them to this list of symptoms and ask them to give me a number of how many of these they have. The number of symptoms have ranged from 10 to 34. When I suspect that this person will not be that first type of patient, the one who can just heal their gut and clean up their diet, I then test their genes.
This gene test that I use is the first step of the Shoemaker Protocol. The Shoemaker Protocol is only done by physicians, and few at that. The first step is diagnosis, which I also do not do and may not be useful at this point. But in diagnosing these patients with CIRS, a chronic inflammatory syndrome that establishes a cause of “why” these patients do not get well with gut healing and diet alone; why these patients are not responding as desired to treating these “root causes” as addressed by the functional and integrative doctors. For the few who get this far, they are finally given a reason for it all.
As I said, I do not diagnose CIRS, or any disease for that matter. That is not my scope of practice: to diagnose or treat. My scope is food and lifestyle to support health. And to begin that all I need is one test that one of these Shoemaker certified doctors performs: a gene test.
This gene test tests for a few genes and when they are put in a converter, can tell you what that toxin may be: it will tell me if the patient has a gene combination that makes them unable to clear specific toxins. Most of the time this is chemicals, mold (from water damaged buildings) or perhaps lyme toxins. This tells me where to focus in the lifestyle portion of my protocol for this particular patient.
The benefit of my program is that it starts before the Shoemaker Protocol. The Shoemaker Protocol has one defining first step after diagnosis: change your environment. This first step of moving or re-mediating can be very intimidating for people, especially those with chronic health issues like brain fog, mental and physical fatigue, cognitive decline, chronic fatigue syndrome and more. And even those most motivated and dedicated to avoiding the chemicals or water damaged buildings that are making them sick, are often unable to find or afford clean housing. For this reason, they are unable to do all the Shoemaker Protocol asks them to do. This is where the CEP comes in.
The CEP was developed in response to a few factors of these patients. It is not appropriate for all of them, but is appropriate for the worst cases: the ones with Neurological Symptoms: Fibromyalgia, Brain Fog, Dissassociation, Cognitive Decline, Dysautonomia and more. While each case must be tweaked for the individual, these patients have a few things in common that make them candidates for the CEP.
CEP stands for “Celiac Elimination Protocol”. When I started testing these patients, I found that the vast majority of them carry a Celiac Gene. When combined with signs of Leaky Brain Syndrome, the necessity of this diet increases. While not all with a “positive” gene combination also carry a known celiac gene, most do carry it. For those who are not exhibiting signs of leaky brain syndrome (Blood Brain Barrier permeability can be tested for accuracy but signs of neuro-inflammation are obvious in those with neurological dysfunction such as ADD, depression and anxiety disorders, hypothalamus/pituitary dysfunction, ataxia, and more), they can do an alternative protocol such as AIP/ Paleo or other similar ones. But for those with leaky brain syndrome or other neurological inflammation like fibromyalgia: I do not recommend any protocol other than one mixed with the CEP.
This type of disease process mixed with a celiac gene tells me that this person is either celiac or “pre-celiac”. Pre-Celiac is a term I use to say that while this person may not have the Celiac gene “turned on” (meaning that the body does not attack the intestines resulting in a diagnosable celiac disease status), they are still reacting to the presence of gluten and other foods in the “celiac pattern” (cross reactives). They also may be reacting at a level much more sensitive than 20 ppm, due to their leaky blood brain barrier and heightened response to these toxins. The only way to find out for sure is the Celiac Elimination Protocol, as the antibodies to these foods may or may not show up upon testing. Testing at this time is neither complete nor affordable nor efficient to find at which level the body may or may nor respond to these foods. Also, as healing the gut is an integral part of this protocol, they may lose additional foods before the gut can be healed. This response to food would be IN ADDITION to the response of the environmental toxins determined by the gene test.
Because of both carrying the celiac gene (DQ2, DQ3– which is one half of the DQ2 allele, DQ8, DQ1 or DQ7 or DQ9, have all been associated with celiac disease, possibly more ) and having a suspected or confirmed CIRS status, going through this protocol can reduce inflammation and toxic load in these patients.
Aside from the elimination of possible trigger foods, including cross contaminated foods, they are also asked to open detox pathways by adding foods and lifestyle changes whose goals are just that: to open detox pathways. It also includes the recommended order of reintroductions after eliminating the high risk foods (ones that a person may react to or lose during the healing process) to ensure the highest success rate.
If the person does in fact, have CIRS, they will need to take this process of opening up the body’s detox pathways slowly and systematically, adding each step of diet and lifestyle one at a time, opening up the body’s ability to get rid of toxins, but knowing that some toxins the body will not be able to do without completing the rest of the shoemaker protocol: a protocol that removes environmental exposures and then sends in medication to remove stored toxins.
But this particular protocol, The CEP, is designed to start before they can fix the environment, allowing them to move forward with their health even if they cannot yet fix their environment. While they will not be “cured” by this protocol, they can reach 75% to 95% of health, even in the reflection of their lab results with lowered antibodies (for the autoimmune, for whom I focus on lifestyle and recommend similar diets such as the ones mentioned above) and reduced pain, confusion, inflammation, etc.
The diet and lifestyle changes that are recommended are mixed with tools that functional medicine makes available, such as antioxidants, hormonal and adrenals supplements, gut healing protocols and more.
When the patient is eventually able to fix their environment and take the Shoemaker recommended medications to remove the stored toxins, they continue to eat the way they have learned after doing the protocol, often landing in some modified version of the Wahl’s protocol, which was designed for addressing both neurological and autoimmune disease. Mixing these dietary protocols with the Shoemaker Protocol allows these patients to continue to heal and thrive at a rate that exceeds doing one protocol alone.
If you are interested in learning more about the CEP, simply sign up below for my newsletter or shoot me an email.
I am currently writing the book that is the introduction to the CEP and explains it in more detail, including the foods to include and avoid, and how to find a certified CEP practitioner. If you are a practitioner and want to learn more about how to get certified and to learn how to teach this protocol, please shoot me an email to see if you qualify to learn more about how to help others dealing with these needs and how to identify them.