TEDx Talk selling Out to its Sponsors?
Who sponsors Tedx Talks? Good question try Monsanto and many major pharmaceutical companies.
By now, many of you know my story: how I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, researched autoimmune diseases, and developed a nutrient-dense diet to feed the mitochondria in my cells. Within a year of starting this diet, I was no longer dependent on a tilt-recline wheelchair, could walk without a cane, and even ride a bike again.
It is also likely that you have seen my TEDx talk. One of my first opportunities to share my story was through the TEDx talk I gave in Iowa City, which has gotten over 1.5 million views and counting. This talk allowed me to spread my message of how eating for optimal health helped me overcome the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
But now, TED has chosen to add a warning label to my talk. During my talk, a message is posted at the bottom: “Note from TED: This talk, which features health advice based on personal narrative, has been flagged as potentially outside TED’s curatorial guidelines. Viewer discretion advised.”
TED is a nonprofit organization that brings speakers in front of an audience to spread their ideas and tell their stories in 18 minutes. TEDx talks give individuals and organizations within a community the opportunity to create a local dialogue about science, technology, design, entertainment, and other topics.
Having read the literature and now begun my own clinical trials, I am one of the few researchers who tests the impact of structured Paleo diets in the form of the Wahls™ diet plan on patients with secondary progressive MS. In another year, we will complete our current clinical trial, Wahls Paleo Diet and Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, and know even more about the nutrient density of these diets as well as their effect on disease progression, blood vessel health, and cellular health.
Yet despite my research and the many thousands of other scientific studies available on www.pubmed.gov that show that increased consumption of vegetables and berries and decreased consumption of processed foods are both associated with lower rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, and mental health problems, TED warns that “viewer discretion is advised” for my talk.
How is my talk not consistent with science?
My key message is about eating 9 cups of vegetables and berries each day, along with a personal narrative of how I developed my nutrient-dense diet based on thorough research. My personal health narrative is not the first shared on TED either. TED endorsed personal stories about illness and recovery when it hosted Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk, My Stroke of Insight.
Jill is another health scientist whose wonderful health narrative describes personal illness — in this case, a stroke. Yet her story has no warning label from TED, despite having no scientific studies associated with it. On the other hand, my narrative of healing, with years of research behind it, does not make the cut for TED. What could explain this hypocrisy?
Perhaps TED’s sponsors are influencing its curatorial decisions. Monsanto is a major TED funder, as are several major pharmaceutical companies. Monsanto, an agricultural, chemical, and biotech company, is also one of the biggest proponents of food alteration via genetic modification. The genetically modified organisms (GMOs) they create are being connected to various health issues and environmental damage, which makes sense–changing the DNA of our food is likely to change how our bodies react to and process that food.
These companies don’t want you to consume a healthful, nutrient-dense diet that feeds your mitochondria and is free of GMOs, such as the Wahls™ Diet. They don’t want you to heal your body at the cellular level, so that pharmaceutical drugs are no longer needed to attempt to keep the symptoms of illness and disease in check. That would be bad news for their bottom line, and I can only imagine this is why my logical, researched talk now comes with a warning label from TED.
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