February 14, 2018
For the millions of us that have been crushed by a debilitating and protracted illness like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), Chronic Lyme, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), and the like, it’s both heart-breaking and exacerbating when we first learn that conventional medicine thinks so very little of our felt experience. Except for the lucky few, our stories and pleas for help fall on deaf ears. Conventional doctors quickly label our illness as being “idiopathic” – as in idiots that aren’t really sick.
As a consequence, we are given handfuls of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, that only serve to line the pockets of the drug industry, and then we are summarily dismissed and sent on our way. Our voices don’t matter. What was truly surprising and even worse to learn is that leading organizers in the Natural Product Industry, an industry that is reportedly on our side, working to find ways to help us recover, apparently doesn’t care about what we have to say either. As in conventional medicine, they have lost their way.
Statistics: On slide 41 of Mold Toxicity – A Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, Dr. Berndtson conservatively estimates that the number suffering from CIRS alone to be 4 million. Also, from reader Rebecca P:
- Admin, Denver Area Mold Illness Information & Support Group – 373 members
- Member, Toxic Mold, CIRS, and Lyme Disease Support Group – 15,493 members
- Member, Mold Avoiders Facebook Group – 9,666 members
- Member, Tucson Mold Warriors – 162 members
- Member, Colorado Lyme and TBD Facebook Group – 218 members
- Member, Women’s Lyme Disease Support Group – 16,488 members
Money & Power
Allow me to set a bit of context first, in order to better explain why I’m worried about the natural products industry, by first examining the life of J.D. Rockefeller. I’m guessing many have heard stories about the rise to power of elite families like the Rockefellers and their egregious wealth accumulation at the expense of the masses. For many generations now, a small group of elites have benefited immensely by essentially pillaging the wealth of the planet – the God given inheritance of us all.
If we focus on health, it is understood that the Rockefellers systematically foisted the lucrative drug-based model (allopathic) onto America while working with equal fervor to destroy the reputation of competing forms of medicine. I guess this should come as no surprise given that J.D. Rockefeller’s father was a “snake oil” salesman who pedaled raw petroleum (crude oil) as a cure for cancer – most medicines today are petroleum driven (chemically synthesized). It is truly stunning how control of the media and large targeted grants coerced and manipulated folks into accepting the drug based model.
My reasons for recounting how Americans were duped into eventually accepting a “Managed Care” drug-based business model run by corporate executives, with the apparent goal of indefinitely prolonging treatment in order to maximize profits, are two fold. First, the age old adage that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely is as true today as ever. I’m sure Mr. Rockefellar felt that he was doing a world of good by heralding in a drug-based model of medicine and working to crush all others – naturopathic, homeopathic, acupuncture, Ayurvedic, etc. After all, we’ve all been taught the value of the scientific process, right? Besides, drugs judiciously used can be helpful. However, what’s lost in the consolidation of power is diversity, and without diversity, every system becomes stagnant, corrupt, and self-implodes. It takes a myriad of diverse voices to arrive at equitable solutions and a vibrant system.
Second, in the pursuit of wealth and power, it’s all too easy to lose sight of those you are supposedly helping. The human mind is exquisite in its ability to rationalize just about any action. Sure, Mr. Rockefellar likely understood that by excluding other branches of medicine that vital treatments would be lost, but then again, think of the progress drug-based medicine has made – insert some select metric of your own choosing here. Likewise, I’m sure scientists that work tirelessly to develop ever more innovative ways to poison the human body with toxic chemicals in an attempt to treat aliments like cancer really believe in what they’re doing. Without direct and frequent exposure to the suffering of those you’re supposedly helping, it’s easy to lose perspective and become rigid.
Alright, so how does this tie into Expo West? Recently, a friend had the time and opportunity to attend Expo West. This is a very large trade show in Anaheim California wherein many thousands of buyers and sellers of natural products of all sorts get together to see what’s new, make contacts, attend educational programs, and the like. If you want to be inspired, learn a lot, and drive your natural product business, this is the place to go. Given that my friend has held several executive-level sales and marketing positions within the health and nutrition industry, I asked if she would be willing to attend with an eye on looking for solutions for those of us that suffer from chronic illness. She agreed and applied for a free Media Pass under Biotoxin Journey – others have to pay a very expensive fee.
To our surprise, Expo West denied our request for a free pass because Biotoxin Journey is not a “blog” and because my friend used to run her own marketing business. This makes absolutely no sense especially in light of the “Press Categories” listed on Natural Products Expo West website. In particular, Expo West makes it clear that they are more than happy to give out free passes to health care practitioners and a wide variety of media types. In particular, they list a “Media Support” category that covers nearly anyone that writes content for their online business. Given that I clearly write online content, I’m left to surmise that their real issue has to do with the fact that I have not made Biotoxin Journey into a business.
Apparently, because I didn’t break my long articles into one-page snippets that I released more slowly in an effort to entice folks to become blog “subscribers and amass a database of followers for a business, I’m barred from learning about what’s new in the natural products industry and sharing it with you. You know, I had hoped to be able to at least write an uplifting article about all the hard working people making cool new natural products with real potential. Instead, I’m put in the position of having to school this tradeshow conglomerate on values.
Now I’m not naive; I do understand that it just isn’t possible to let every person that would like to learn about new products and participate in the activities at the Expo West admission. Having said this, anyone that visits my site can clearly see I’ve been writing on the subject of chronic illness with a focus on Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome for over five years while asking very little in return. I do this because I understand first hand the deep levels of suffering that go along with a debilitating chronic illness. It’s my way of trying to make a difference, to share ways to get better that aren’t expensive and really work. You’d think that a huge tradeshow like Natural Products Expo would have a place for a writer like me.
A Question of Values
So let’s get down to the real heart of the matter. At the beginning of this article, I discussed why varied viewpoints, distributed power, and direct contact with clients/patients are critical for any system to remain relevant and vibrant – especially institutions and businesses related to health. In the context of the Expo West tradeshow provider that denied Biotoxin Journey a Media Pass, it’s important for Expo West to realize that the reason customers are flocking to natural products is precisely because their health, or the health of a loved one, has suffered. It’s because of people like you and me that have lost our health. If this weren’t the case, then we’d all have continued merrily along our way consuming less expensive processed food loaded up with RoundUp – gag.
In light of this, when a tradeshow like Expo West doesn’t have a place for the opinions of a writer that cares deeply about helping others and has the track record to prove it, I would suggest that a vital connection to a large group of people that the “trade” is serving has been lost. When this connection is lost, money and power swiftly move in to “make a killing”. Now I’m not saying this is the case with the buyers and sellers on the tradeshow floor, and I don’t bemoan getting jazzed up a bit about selling healthful products, but there needs to be a balance. From what I can tell, the folks that run Expo West are willingly putting up barriers against a very important group of people that are served by natural products – those with outstanding health issues.
If I had my way, I would have the start of Expo West begin with having all the exhibitors and buyers at the show getting together to take a few minutes to cultivate a bit of gratitude and re-connect with a very important purpose of the show – to help others. This could include gratitude for having relatively healthy bodies and sound minds. Gratitude for the supportive relationships they’re in. And especially, gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives that dearly need their products.
Well, my health continues to improve. Amazingly, my hypersensitivity to biotoxins has essentially vanished. At this rate, I may very well go to the show next year. Hopefully, the trade-show host will have had the time to re-evaluate their position on my value to their industry.
Note: If you’re so inspired, you could send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, send a email to one of the sponsors of Expo West like Bob’s Red Mill or Manitoba Harvest or unfi Natural Foods – complete list here.