Author, educator, public speaker, manufacturing pioneer, product formulator, and man-on-a-health-mission.
1980 was a major turning point, when he was poisoned by pesticides. To heal himself, he turned his attention to the field of nutrition. Several years of research culminated in his first book Fats and Oils (1986), which established Udo as a sought-after expert on the subject.
In 1983, he began to pioneer technology for pressing and packaging edible, fresh oils ‘made with health in mind’, by excluding the three main factors — light, heat and oxygen — that can damage nutritious EFA-rich oils and turn them into toxic ones.
Udo published his best-seller Fats That Heal Fats That Kill (1993), which became recognized as the ‘bible on fats’, then authored a condensed version called Choosing the Right Fats (2001). He co-authored Omega-3 Cuisine (2008), which includes original recipes by celebrity chef Alan Roettinger.
To set new standards for food oils and other health-supporting consumer products, Udo partnered with Flora Manufacturing and Distributing Ltd. in 1994 to create the Udo’s Choice® health product line which includes EFA-rich oil blends, probiotic blends, digestive enzyme blends, a prebiotic fiber blend, a super greens blend with fermented greens, and pet supplements.
In 2005, Udo was inducted into the CHFA Hall of Fame for his tireless efforts educating the public about the difference between good oils and bad oils and for pioneering higher production standards of unrefined flax and other polyunsaturated fat-rich oils, methods which are still used today.
Since 1986, Udo’s work has been cited in publications around the world, he’s written hundreds of articles, and has completed thousands of live presentations and media interviews, including with Fox TV News, Daily Mail UK, Health Magazine US, Vogue (US and British), Women’s Health Magazine UK, Men’s Health Magazine US, Muscle & Fitness Magazine US. He is currently working on his latest books, including two on fats and oils, due out in 2018.
Udo was born during World War II in German-occupied Poland. Having survived the First World War, the Bolshevik revolution, the Great Depression that followed, and the Second World War, Udo’s parents were disenfranchised by the atrocities of war. With everything lost, the Erasmus clan (dad, mom, and five children) finally left a weary Europe. As refugees without means or connections — but with renewed hope — they started life over in Western Canada.
Udo’s late childhood and adolescent years were spent on 112 acres of bushland in Northern British Columbia, without electricity, television, telephone, or radio, but surrounded by nature. He and his siblings helped to tend a large organic family garden, in which each of the five children had their own plot to grow their favorite vegetables.
His educational interests included sciences, biological sciences, environmental studies, natural history, genetics, psychology, and health. Udo Erasmus earned his B. Sc. degree in Honours Zoology with a major in Psychology, followed by graduate studies in Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of British Columbia. He co-authored three research papers published in peer reviewed journals: one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1967), and two more in Mutation Research (both in 1971).
A Major Turning Point
Life for Udo took a dramatic new turn in 1980 when he was poisoned while carelessly working with pesticides. When conventional medicine provided little help with recovery from his illness symptoms, he realized his health was his own responsibility and began to seek answers in the research literature on nutrition and health. The damage done to oils by industrial processing and food preparation most profoundly caught his attention. It struck him that oils could be made by much higher standards, and would then much better support health. To this end, he examined thousands of original research studies, many of which were inaccessible to the public at the time. Several years of collecting and reviewing this data culminated in his landmark first book Fats and Oils (1986). Following its publication, Udo became a sought-after expert on the subject.
In 1983, while writing Fats and Oils, he conceptualized building machinery that would produce oils ‘made with health in mind’. Engineers turned his concept into technology for pressing and packaging fresh oils under exclusion of light, oxygen, and heat — three main factors which can transform nutritious oils into toxic ones — and a new industry came into being.
Until that time, oils were highly processed by destructive methods, sacrificing health benefits in order to attain long shelf life. This irresponsible treatment of sensitive oils produced many different kinds of toxic molecules including aldehydes, lipid peroxides, and trans– fats, whose toxicity has been widely publicized in recent years.
Starting in 1986, Udo and his group began to press fresh flaxseed oil ‘with health in mind’, and Udo popularized the use of flax oil through an exhaustive itinerary of public lectures which led to print, TV, and radio interviews. When he discovered through his own experience that flax oil can lead to omega-6 deficiency symptoms, he developed a better balanced formula with added sunflower, sesame seed, and other organic oils, all made with the same higher standards.
His groundbreaking best-seller, Fats that Heal Fats That Kill (1993), has become the de facto natural food industry’s bible on fats and oils. He wrote an abridged version called Choosing the Right Fats (2001), and co-authored Omega-3 Cuisine (2008), a recipe book that includes original plant-based recipes by celebrity chef Alan Roettinger.
In 1988, he received his MA in Counseling Psychology from the Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago (now called Adler University).
In 1994, Udo partnered with Flora Manufacturing & Distributing (Canada) and Flora Inc. (USA) to create the Udo’s Choice® line of nutritional and supplement products. His first product — not surprisingly — was Udo’s Oil® 3·6·9 Blend, a blend of certified organic unrefined oils from flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds, coconut, evening primrose, and other organic oils. In 1998, Flora and Udo began to market the very first line of age-specific probiotic blends, which address the need for both different amounts and different types of probiotics at the various stages of life.
More than 35 years of exploring the practical aspects of fats and oils nutrition earned Udo Erasmus authoritative status in this field. In addition to working with fats and oils, he also works with nutrient-dense and digestion-related foods and supplements: age-specific probiotics, digestive enzymes, soluble and insoluble fiber-rich and prebiotic whole foods; phytonutrient-rich greens and fermented greens; and wholefood-based pet supplements. He is currently writing his fourth (diet) and fifth (consumer-friendly) books on fats and oils (due out in 2017), in which he explores the latest research and tackles all the compelling questions surrounding fats and oils today. He is also working to turn health (based on nature and human nature) into a fully teachable field, accessible to everyone.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
At their Expo East in 2005, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) awarded Udo the highest honor in Canada, for his work in the field of nutrition by inducting him into the CHFA Hall of Fame.
In addition to his Hall of Fame status with the CHFA, the Udo’s Choice® products consistently win awards in the their respective categories for quality and effectiveness. Some of our recent awards:
2016: Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend wins Thrive Magazine’s “Best of Award” for the Editor’s Picks in Ultimate Self-Care;
2016: Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend wins Gold in the Essential Fatty Acids category of Better Nutrition Magazine’s 2016 Best of Supplements Awards (print issue Nov. 2016);
2016: Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend and Udo’s Choice Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic voted by both consumers and retailers as winners in their respective Healthy Oils & EFAs and the Digestive Health categories of the Alive Retailer & Consumer Choice 2016 Awards;
2016: Udo’s Choice Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic wins Gold in the Probiotic category of Taste For Life Magazine’s 2016 Supplement Essentials Awards;
2015: Udo’s Choice® Super Bifido Plus Probiotic wins Gold in the Best Probiotic category of Taste For Life’s 2015 Essential Awards;
2015: Udo’s Choice® DHA 3·6·9 Oil Blend wins Gold in the Cold Pressed Oil category of Nature & Health Magazine’s 2015 Natural Food Awards;
2014: Udo’s Choice® DHA 3·6·9 Oil Blend wins Gold in the Healthy Oils & EFAs category at the 2014 Alive Retailer & Consumer Choice Awards;
2014: Udo’s Choice® 3·6·9 Oil Blend wins Gold in the Oils & Spreads category of the 2014 Healthy Food & Drink Awards by Health & Fitness and Women’s Fitness Magazine;
2013: Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend (UK) wins Best Beauty Supplement in Shortlist Awards. Health and beauty journalist Fiona Klonarides founded The Beauty Shortlist in 2009 to highlight the best of beauty with an emphasis on natural, organic and eco-luxury skincare. The Beauty Shortlist is currently ranked in the Top 10 Beauty Blogs UK.