The Science Behind My (Pat McAuley) TEDx Talk


This past week TED placed the following notice on my talk:

My talk can be viewed here on YouTube:

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I’d like to start by saying that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that TED has given me to share my story and reach so many people. It’s an amazing platform. I am by no means putting down TED, it is their right to do this and they, of course, get to decide what is put on their platform.

With that being said, I’d like to support my views with the science that I reference in my talk. I hope this will answer any of the questions viewers may have about the science behind the talk and be a general reference for those seeking more information.

At the 7:20 mark of the talk is when I start to reference some data and science.

7:20 - “Over 2 million Americans will die of disease related causes this year.”

This figure was taken from the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) here:

7:26 - “Over half of those (deaths) are from our top 2 killers: heart disease and cancer.” (633,000 - Heart Disease & 595,000 - Cancer)

The heart disease figure was taken from the CDC here:

The cancer figure was taken from the National Cancer Institute here: This figure is now up over 600,000 since my talk.

7:32 - “Heart disease is preventable and reversible… the only diet on the planet that has been proven to not only stop in its tracks, but reverse our number 1 killer is a plant-based diet.” I mention Dr. Dean Ornish’s discovery in 1990.

The 1990 study that I reference from The Lancet can be found here:

Countless other published scientific studies have found the same results from Dr. Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and others. In no particular order, here are many of them:

Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease:

We Can Prevent and Even Reverse Coronary Artery Heart Disease:

A way to reverse CAD?:

Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic Through Plant-Based Nutrition:

The Nutritional Reversal of Cardiovascular Disease – Fact or Fiction? Three Case Reports:

7:55 - “Just 5-10% of all cancers come from purely genetic factors.”

This is widely known and clearly stated by the National Cancer Institute here:

It is also stated by the American Cancer Society here:

This published study in the journal of Pharmaceutical Research goes into more detail on these numbers:

8:50 - “In 2015 the World Health Organization declared processed meats a Class 1 carcinogen and red meats as a probable carcinogen.”

Here is the official press release from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015:

Here is a Q & A on why the WHO came to these conclusions:

9:08 - “Another widely used Class 1 carcinogen is cigarettes.”

Here is the official list of carcinogens from the American Cancer Society:

As stated, processed meats are on the same Class 1 carcinogen list as cigarettes.

This study in The Lancet was a large driver in WHO making these conclusions:

Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat:

9:24 - “All animal protein, including fish, dairy, and eggs, raises the level of cancer growth hormone IGF-1 in the human body.”

This is the American Association of Cancer Research published study I am referencing:

The Associations of Diet with Serum Insulin-like Growth Factor I and Its Main Binding Proteins in 292 Women Meat-Eaters, Vegetarians, and Vegans:

For more details on this study and others supporting this evidence and why IGF-1 promotes cancer growth, I recommend viewing these videos from Nutrition Facts:

Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production:

IGF-1 as One-Stop Cancer Shop:

Animal Protein and the Cancer Promoter IGF-1:

9:48 - “The evidence is so overwhelming that states like California have been fighting to remove processed meats from public schools and that the country of Canada has removed dairy as a food group from their food pyramid.”

The Santa Barbara school district in California banned processed meats from their school system in 2018 (other school districts in CA fighting for the same), here:

Santa Barbara Unified School District Drops Processed Meat from the Lunch Menu:

Since my talk, New York City has banned processed meats from ALL public schools! Here:

New York City Schools Ban Processed Meat!:

The new 2019 Canadian Food Guide can be viewed here:

12:14 - “I believe that when you eat an animal, a once living, breathing, feeling creature, you take on its energy. There’s a scientific theory dating back to 1940’s called cellular memory, that our memories and experiences exist at a cellular level, not just in the brain, and are able to live beyond the life of the being.”

To be clear, I state that “I believe” this occurs. I reference a “scientific theory,” I am not stating this as a fact, but as a theory.

For a full overview of what cellular memory is, I suggest going here:

Here is a study published in 2013 done on worms that is widely used as an example of the possibility of cellular memory:

An automated training paradigm reveals long-term memory in planarians and its persistence through head regeneration:

In the study, despite having their heads and brains removed, the bodies of the worms still demonstrated learning based on previous memories. This suggests that memories do not just reside in the brain.

Now, if I had more time (TED limits you to 18 minutes), I generally explain this concept via the laws of quantum physics. Quantum physics tells us that everything in the physical world (the chair you’re sitting on, the table, the laptop, our bodies, everything) when you break it down it is comprised of energy. What is our body made of? One might say organs. What are organs made of? One might say tissue. What are tissues made of? One might say matter. What is matter made of? Matter is made up of atoms. What are atoms made up of? Subatomic particles - protons, neutrons, electrons. What are subatomic particles made up of? Energy. Everything is energy.

Thus, when you eat a food, or an animal, I believe you take on its energy. Now, you may believe that’s hippy talk. I believe it’s Physics.

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to watch my talk and TED for giving me such an incredible platform to reach people. I hope my talk and the data/information above makes us all ask more detailed questions about the foods we put inside our bodies and how they directly affect our health and well being. I hope it sparks, for many viewers, a deeper dive into the science around nutrition. The above barely scratches the surface of the years of data supporting a plant-based lifestyle.

Finally, I hope this gives hope to the millions of people around the world struggling with illnesses of any kind and serves as a reminder that we have much more control over our health than we may think. We have the power, through lifestyle changes, to drastically alter our health and lives for the better.