About Eric (nutrition & health)

Motivated by my mother’s death, I’ve spent a lifetime studying nutrition and its effect on health

Eric Armstrong
5 min readMay 31, 2023

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Mom’s Influence

I was eleven when my mother died. That was 62 years ago. But it was three years earlier, when I was eight, that my story began.

I distinctly recall that my mother started eating Wheat Germ (considered healthy at the time), and exercising. Those were things I had never seen her do before.

A year later, she went into the hospital, where I visited her off and on for the better part of two years.

When she died it left a gaping hole in my life. (They never did tell me what she died of. But there was one day she fervently made me promise to never take up smoking, so I’m pretty sure it was cancer.

A few laters later in High School, I came across a book by Adelle Davis on vitamins and minerals. That’s where my study of nutrition began.

Nutritional Investigations

I’ve never had the training needed to read the scientific journals and make sense of them, but I can follow the summaries made by others, and read the books they’ve written. So I consider myself mostly a “popularizer” of nutrtitional information.

But I’ve studied many areas, and have managed to put together a thing or two worth knowing in the process.

Among the areas I’ve studied are:

  • Vitamins, Minerals, Proteins & Amino Acids, Enzymes, Antioxidants
  • Electrolytes, Gut Bacteria, Fats & Fatty Acids, Gluten, Hormones

As I learned more and figured out how to apply the information, I began sharing it with others. That led to my first website, TreeLight.com

TreeLight.com

I’ve published 600+ articles at TreeLight.com, 50 or 60 of them devoted to health & nutrition.

One fellow wrote me saying, “Eric has restored my health and saved my life”. (I’m pretty proud of that. I feature it prominently at the top of the site.)

Many of the articles published there began as emails I wrote to friends, either because they were experiencing health problems similar to ones I had overcome, or because I investigated a problem they were experiencing.

Sometimes, though, important information came together from multiple sources, and I just had to share my findings. So I published an article on the subject.

The most important articles in that category are:

I summarize those articles below, to save you some reading time. But perhaps the biggest takeaway is this:

If you want to understand the massive levels of obesity and diabetes in America — and the rapidly rising levels elsewhere in the world — look no further than fast food chains.

The reason for the health problems they cause is the great tasting triple-whammy they pummel their customers with:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup in the drinks (and everywhere else)
  2. Wheat buns
  3. Foods fried in partially hydrogenated oils (especially breaded deep-friend foods)

Using Doctors Wisely

There are a few things you should know about your doctor:

  • The medical profession has the best diagnostics and equipment
  • The are terrific at identifying a problem
  • But their remedies leave a lot to be desired
  • Their remedies are great for diseases caused by a foreign invader
  • Diptheria, Malaria, Typhus are some of their greatest successes

But

  • Diseases caused by stress cannot be cured with drugs
  • Diseases caused by a terrible diet cannot be cured with drugs
  • Diseases caused by pesticides and dietary poisons cannot be cured with drugs

For those diseases, you must look to diet and lifestyle changes. (And by “lifestyle”, I don’t mean a lot of exercising. Far from it. A good diet, stress-relieving meditation, and light activity are all you really need!)

And when it comes to nutrition, you’re lucky if your doctor has even a rudimentary knowledge of the subject.

If you can, find a doctor who is also an athlete. They tend to be better informed. Or hold out for a practitioner of Functional Medicine, who can actually work to remedy adverse health conditions, rather than merely “manage” them.

What’s Wrong with Wheat?

A lot more than you may think, as it turns out!

In America, at least, anyone interested in their health would be wise to avoid it.

For much of the population, it’s as addictive as a drug, and yet they dose themselves with it three times a day (as did I, for most of my life!).

What’s Wrong with High Fructose Corn Syrup?

The problem, in a nutshell, is that it satisfies the tongue, but it doesn’t tell the brain you’ve had anything sweet, so:

  1. You’re never really satisfied.
  2. You stay hungry, and eat more.

What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

This is the article that propelled me to create a website. People have been literally dying for lack of this knowledge, but even though the science was already very well established, the general public was almost totally uniformed.

I had only recently become aware of the problem myself, and the information was so important I just had to share it. But where to publish it?

Send it to a magazine? Maybe. But how long would it be on people’s radar if I did that? The web was well established by now, though, so I created the TreeLight site in late 1996, early 1997.

I kicked it off the site with this article — the first of what would become many “What’s Wrong With __?” articles to point out the dangers in the American food supply, along with an equal number of “Why You Want ___” articles to point out things people can do for their health.

A couple of years letter (1998 or so), I got a note saying the article was #1 in Google’s search rankings. Cool! I checked periodically after that. It stayed #1 for a good 10 years!

In that article, I coined the term “metabolic poison” to describe the effect of partially hydrogenated oils on human physiology. And around 2003, I just happened to catch a talk by Walter Willet (head of the Harvard Health Group). In that talk, I heard him use the term “metabolic poison” when talking about these things. (I’m proud of that, too.)

Of course, in 2006 the FDA finally succeeded in establishing a legal requirement to label partially hydrogenated oils — whereupon the American food industry immediately attempted to change its name! (The FDA, to its credit, forestalled the effort.)

As a result of the labeling requirement, partially hydrogenated oils have all but disappeared from packaged foods. But the fast food industry still shoves them down the public throat in the form of deep fried foods — most of which are fried in partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which depresses the thyroid so well it’s used to fatten cows.

Bottom Line

If you want to understand why America has the highest levels of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (among other diseases), and the worst outcomes on every measure of health among industrial nations from infant mortality to longevity, look no further than the American food supply.

Then ask why the American Medical Association has never spoken out against that industry, and why they continue trying to “manage” dietarily-induced diseases with drugs, rather than working to cure them by backing the protections for the food supply that have been instituted in the European Union.

And with that information in mind, now you know why I feel compelled to publish what I learn!

Learn more: About Eric (lazy health nut)

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Eric Armstrong

Eric Armstrong has written books on weight loss, golf, meditation, & yoga. He even builds a Yoga Meditation Bench. Turns out it’s an Ancient Tradition!