February 14, 2018
Expo West doesn’t care. 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 purportedly 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
Expo West 2018
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 as it relates to money and power. 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 pharmaceutical 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 above all others.
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. Drugs judiciously used can be helpful. However, what’s lost in the consolidation of power is diversity, and without diversity, every system eventually becomes stagnant, corrupt, and self-implodes. It takes a myriad of diverse voices to arrive at equitable solutions and maintain 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. In other words, 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 the title of this article on 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, a “Client Services Specialist” representing Expo West denied our request for a free pass. Specifically, they said that because Biotoxin Journey is not a “blog”, and because my friend used to run her own marketing business, that we would have to pay $700. What?!
This makes absolutely no sense especially in light of the “Press Categories” listed on Natural Products Expo West website. Looking over the press and business categories, it is clear that Expo West is more than happy to give out Media Passes to a wide variety of media types. Among the many categories, they even have one called “Media Support” that covers nearly anyone that writes content for an online business.
Given that I clearly write online content, I’m left to surmise that their real issue has nothing to do with whether Biotoxin Journey is a blog, website, twitter account, or otherwise. Likewise, given that I specifically sent in a signed letter explaining that my friend was representing Biotoxin Journey, I fail to see what her previous work experience has to do with anything – except show that she was well qualified to evaluate natural products. Instead, I’m left to conclude that the real reason we were denied has to due with the fact that I have not made Biotoxin Journey into a business and that consequently, there was no perceived immediate financial gain to be made.
So even though it would have cost Expo West virtually nothing, 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 amassed 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 and explain to them that although I may be a small “non-blog” website, I represent an audience that numbers in the millions.
To be fair, 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. However, 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. 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 of getting 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.
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 deeply understand 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 and otherwise ignoring our health.
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 huge group of people that the “trade” is serving has either been lost or is missing. When this connection is lost or missing, money and power swiftly move in to “make a killing” and the sort of short-sighted, dollar-driven, decisions like denying a Media Pass to a site like Biotoxin Journey are made. To be clear, I’m not saying this is the attitude of the buyers and sellers on the tradeshow floor, and I don’t bemoan them getting jazzed up a bit about selling healthful products. I just bet they don’t know that these sorts of decisions are being made by the tradeshow host on their behalf and at their expense.
As I reflect on all of this, I have to say that if I had my way, I would have the start of Expo West begin with having all the exhibitors, buyers, and especially the tradeshow providers, 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 the lives of people 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 apply for a Media Pass for myself to the show next year. Hopefully, the trade-show host will have had the time to re-evaluate their position on the value of writers such as myself to their industry. Geez, you’d have thought that that folks in the natural products industry would have been a step above the money-driven, short-sighted, business model that has caused us all so much grief. Given that it’s been nearly two weeks now since I sent a link to this article to the tradeshow provider with zero response, I guess not.
Note: If you’re so inspired, you could send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.