Natural Products Expo West – Heartless Business

February 14, 2018

Expo West Agenda

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

Expo West Anaheim

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.

Business Proof

Expo West Exhibitors

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?!

Expo West Media

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.

Business Ethics

Expo West Business 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 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

18 thoughts on “Natural Products Expo West – Heartless Business

  1. I have been following Biotoxin Journey for over 4 years and am always astounded at the immense information that Greg gives to his readers. I’ve told everyone that will listen about this blog and consider it one of the most valuable sources for information for anyone with chronic illness. I consider myself a very intelligent woman. I have studied, Dave Asprey, Doug Kaufman, Don Dennis, Dr. Shoemaker, The Better Health Guy, Mary Ackerley, Dr. Spounagle, Suzanne Somers, Dr. Klinghardt, Dr Virginia Savely, The Gordon Institute, and MANY other important sources providing information for people as sick and suffering as myself. I was a college cheerleader and worked in marketing many years while earning my Masters in Education prior to becoming disabled from CIRS and Lyme Disease. I am still fighting to gain any hope of recovery. I’m sure that God is using my illness to help me gain an understanding necessary for His purpose in my life. I fully believe that as we suffer, the greater good will come and my position individually is minimal compared to the Glory intended from this suffering. I truly value the Biotoxin Journey Website as one of the critical sources for information relevant and reliable in making choices for my health. Thank you a million times over for all you have contributed to many suffering people who so desperately need your help. Please continue to use your blog as a positive platform for valuable information. Love and Blessings! Lindsay Z.

    • Thanks Lindsay for your support and I deeply respect your view related to suffering. The depth and breadth of God is infinite. I’m feeling a little beat up right now so it’s great to hear from you.

  2. Biotoxin Journey is an incredible resource for the biotoxin illness community. For those of us whose lives have been turned upside down by toxins, Greg’s blog is a resource that I return to again and again for solid research and guidance. Thank you for all you do!

  3. I too have turned to Biotoxin Journey as a valuable resource for reliable information for those with Chronic illness.
    I support all of your positions above and certainly urge the Expo West to supply you with as many passes as you request.
    It is in their best interest to do so as you will help to get the word out about the Expo to your huge audience…
    Thanks for all you do Greg!

  4. I agree with the above. Biotoxin Journey has been such an amazing resource for me as I navigate my own journey. My life has been turned upside down…and Biotoxin Journey helps bring information that is light to me during this dark time. It is invaluable to me. Thank you!

  5. Greg’s Biotoxin Journey has been an invaluable resource for me and many like me who are navigating little-understood (and often misunderstood) conditions that have turned our lives inside out. I love Greg’s detailed, in-depth, systematic approach that is obviously very well researched and well thought-out. Ever since I found Greg’s site over 4 years ago, I’ve returned to his site again and again because there is such a wealth of information there.

    He could easily charge for access to his site. Instead, he provides this information for free out of kindness and a desire to help people who are sick and suffering.

    Greg does an excellent job of explaining complex health issues and treatments in lay terms so we don’t need PhD’s to understand what it all means! It makes the labyrinthine and often all-encompassing nature of something like CIRS more understandable and a bit less scary. I literally tell everyone I know with these conditions to visit Greg’s site because it honestly is the best site I’ve seen geared to understanding diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. His site is one that I refer to again and again in our Facebook groups.

    Whether you want the A to Z of CIRS treatment or you just want a bit of info on where to start with mold testing, it’s all on Biotoxin Journey in a format that’s easy to access. I also really appreciate Greg sharing his personal experience with this living hell. His autobiographical stories and added input are little gems sprinkled throughout the site. He truly understands how devastating and life-altering these illnesses can be.

    I’ve had this condition since childhood and have seen every type of alternative and conventional doctor you can imagine (like most of us). I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on doctors and treatments. I’ve been diagnosed with everything from bipolar disorder to adrenal fatigue to gluten intolerance to hormone imbalances and fibromyalgia. More recently I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme, CIRS, and CFS/ME. I feel like a 44-year-old trapped in a 98-year-old body.

    I became functionally disabled in 2013. Since then, my life has felt like a process of perpetual loss. I’ve lost many of my physical and mental abilities, my ability to work, two businesses, all my savings, all my IRA, all my credit, husband, home, car. I know I sound like a sad country song (although I do still have my amazing little dog, Paco, so all’s not completely lost!).

    I don’t say this to get pity but to illustrate the very real and very devastating affects of illnesses that aren’t well researched or well understood. There’s very little support for people like us in the medical institutions or the “real world,” and many of us fall through the cracks through no fault of our own.

    Most of us are hard-working, intelligent, ambitious people who have so much to contribute to this world. Greg is one of these people, and his contribution of Biotoxin Journey (in spite of being very ill himself) is a testament to this and an inspiration to all of us.

    You rock, Greg!
    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

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Regarding “I feel like a 44-year-old trapped in a 98-year-old body“, that’s a good way to put it.

      Those are compelling statistics. Thanks for posting them 🙂

  6. Greg’s website has really helped me in my health journey. He really takes the time to research everything thoroughly and has helped so, so many people. Thank you, Greg!

  7. Greg’s blog has been an invaluable resource as my family has traveled our own biotoxin journey.

    I visit the blog frequently and am always amazed at the amount of information covered.

    Thank you Greg!

  8. Greg’s blog provides clear, intelligent advice for a very underserved populaton. Greg’s blog is one of the few places I go where I feel like I can get real, thoughtful information for my difficult health journey.

  9. I have used the resources on this blog several times to help educate myself and others about biotoxin illness. It is a great resource and he should be recognized as such!

  10. Hi Greg,

    Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog and have found it very useful as a tool that breaks down complicated medical/scientific concepts into easily digestible articles 🙂

  11. I was diagnosed with CIRS and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities – after 8 years terrible sickness that took away my ability to work – thanks to the wonderful resource that is Biotoxin Journey. When I first came across Greg’s blog I could see the quality of his personal research and his excellent ability to clearly and accurately communicate his findings, and was therefore persuaded to undertake testing he had recommended. And yes, finally I knew what had mysteriously dogged my health for years. As a university based teacher of written communication myself, I am pretty fussy about the quality of information and its presentation, and do not lightly choose to follow any blog. I continue to follow the Biotoxin Journey blog as it is one of the main available sources of reliable and constantly updated information on the terrible illnesses that are biotoxin in genesis. I am amazed that anyone would consider such a resource not to be an invaluable blog. Thanks Greg for your great work.

  12. Thank you for being a reliable source of information and support. To whomever doesn’t recognize this blogger as being legitimate and in service to this underrepresented population, please reconsider.

    CIRS is a difficult condition to manage. Than you for making a qualitative difference in our lives!

  13. Reading a post on Biotoxin Journey was the first time I realized I wasn’t the only one in the world going through this hellish disease. It was such a huge relief after suffering alone for so long! And then the depth and breadth of the info on the blog was just amazing! It helped me clarify so many things, which have subsequently proved to be true. It is one of my top two go to blogs for information on this illness. The other one is Lisa Petrison’s Paradigm Change. If anyone deserves a press pass, Greg does. It will help all of us in this community, because we can count on him to do thorough research and well thought out write ups. Thank you, Greg, from the bottom of my heart for all that you do!

  14. Wow, I’m blown away by these comments!

    It’s so kind of you all 🙂

    Note: I messed up the other day and lost some comments. I’m really sorry to those people whose comments were lost. I feel bad about that. Please know that I read them all and that I’m truly grateful.

    I think that’s my cue to close these comments.
    February 16, 2018

Comments are closed.