Is consuming raw food the key to healthy living? For Joel Odhner, CEO of RawLifeLine, a raw food diet is essential to his overall well-being. Joel says he was leading an unhealthy life of excess from food, alcohol and drugs. Making a decision to eat healthier, he began to consume raw foods to cleanse his body and discovered that the beneficial effects spilled over into other areas of his life. "In my experience, by adding in the freshest food possible, adding in exercise and adding in some kind of spiritual practice makes a huge difference in my staying conscious to life," he says. Joel shares with Dr. Oz some of the basic principles of a raw food philosophy.
The basic premise of a raw food diet is obvious: Foods are never cooked. Joel says research has shown that the nutritional content of certain foods is dramatically reduced after they've been heated to high temperatures for certain periods of time. Many foods that Joel prepares are dehydrated at around 110 degrees or less. "Once you add heat to food, it starts to reduce the value of it because it starts to break it down and the enzymes and the vitamins start to be depleted," Joel says. "By keeping foods under 110 degrees, it really keeps the life force in it much higher."
The "life force" in foods is something Joel says may be difficult to measure scientifically, but that it has to do with the energy that is a part of every living thing. Joel's personal preference is to consume foods with their positive life force fully intact. For those who may be skeptical about his philosophy, Joel says his message is really more about adding healthier, greener foods to your diet. Juicing or making smoothies that include fruits as well as vegetables like celery, spinach, parsley and beets are all great ways to go raw, Joel says.
One of Joel's favorite raw dishes is kale salad, made by literally massaging together chopped kale, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt with your hands. Joel says there's an important reason behind using your hands versus simply tossing the salad. "We are putting our energy into the food," he says. "I put my energy into the food while I'm making it."
Be careful about your own attitude when you're making any food, Joel says. "If you're not in a great space, you will put that energy into the food," he says.