This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni’s Renegade Roundtable, which can be found at http://www.RenegadeRoundtable.com. In this excerpt, Joel Odhner shares raw food tips for busy families.
Renegade Water Secrets with Joel Odhner, restaurant owner, chef, and raw food chef with clients from Delaware to New York.
Kevin: So let’s get onto today’s guest, Joel Odhner, is a raw food prep chef who has quite an interesting story which I’ll let you, I’ll actually let Joel explain his story. I’m not going to go into it. I think it’s great that he’s got the story that he does have and he’s made a massive transition and he provides raw and vegan meals to a bunch of private clients along the east coast. And when I asked Joel what his range was, I was actually kind of shocked because he drives all from…?
Joel: Delaware to New York.
Kevin: Delaware to New York. He’s got a huge range of clients and a lot of them are just really great people and what’s even better is he’s just now been recently been in Dr. Oz’s most recent DVD preparing food which is really cool. So without further ado, I want to welcome Joel Odhner to the call.
Joel: Well, thank you, Kevin, I appreciate it. Hello, folks, and I guess as Kevin said, I’ll give you a little quick history of where I came from, probably about eight or nine years ago, I was running a restaurant, a good old standard American diet restaurant. And I also decided that I would be doing more partying than working.
So what I did was I quit doing that because I realize that that was other than the best type of lifestyle. And right after I quit that I got introduced to raw foods. I actually went through a Victoria Boutenko talk and she ever talk about raw foods and it kind of really made a lot of sense to me and I said I’m going to do this. She, her last statement in her talk was to try it for two weeks.
So, as they say, I’m still trying it, eight going on nine years now. Trying raw foods in different ways and after I was just planning out to do it myself, I started a business called Raw Lifeline and we ship raw meals all over the country including Hawaii, too. We have a couple clients in Hawaii that would get food. And then I decided I really wanted it to be more personal and go more creative, so about a year or so ago, I moved into the private chef area and so now I have private clients from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. And what I do is I go to their homes and make them delicious raw vegan and vegetarian meals and lasts about, depending on how much they eat, you know, three to five days with the food and I really enjoying it. So that’s a little bit of background and I’m up for some questions.
Kevin: We’ve got a ton of them and there was a theme, my friend, that I think kind of echoes through every single one. And we’re going to start right with the big elephant in the room here. It’s how do I fit my busy schedule and how do I prepare raw foods with what I’m doing. That’s seems to be the bar-none question that we got the most of. So I think this will answer a lot of peoples’ questions. Right here, what are some tips, tricks and techniques that you use to really break through the time barrier? Let’s not forget to keep the kids healthy and happy as well!
Joel: Okay, well, one of the things that I want to say is that some of that is kind of a mental thing. People have it that it’s going to take long and there’s a lot of steps and what I’ve learned over the last seven or eight years is that there are some shortcuts of which I will talk to you about. But I remember one of the questions was just even about washing, when you’re getting your produce, whether it’s organic is ideal and if not, about washing it and a couple times people ask me about that. The quickest way is literally to just fill up your sink with water, put in a capsule of hydrogen peroxide. Soak your veggies in there for maybe three to five minutes. Wash them around, get all the dirt off and everything and then pull them out and let them dry off. And that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. And my feeling and my experience is that you’re not going to get it much cleaner than that. If you really want to take it and scrub it and go for it that’s a choice you can make. I just don’t think that you’re going to get much more off, either. If you’re not using organic and you are only able to get non-organic, you’re only going to get the outside pesticides off anyway. Anything that it is in the produce, it isn’t going to come off no matter how hard you scrub it.
Joel: So there’s that. And then, the other thing, another trick is, what I’ve learned is there’s a handful of items that you can make that will last three and four days. And when I say that, clearly, in raw foods optimally you want to make it and eat it. That’s the optimal solution, but we have lives. A lot of people are busy. They either have kids, they have jobs and all these different kinds of things and they don’t have two hours, three hours a day to be making an individual meal. And I’ll be honest with you. Even me, personally, I hate making food for one person. I mean it takes just as much time to make it for one as it does for eight if you really think about it.
Joel: So some of the tricks are to make things in larger batches. And making food easy, so you can make like a burger base, which is kind of like a carrot and nut base which will last an easy three to five days. You could make a kale salad. That’s like one of my number one favorites, kale with basically, just lemon-lime and olive oil, salt and pepper. And you massage that in and if you’ve got two or three heads, chop it up, put it in your fridge. It will last literally three to five days. In fact, it’s actually better the second and third day. So if you make a large batch of that, grab a handful, you’re all set rather than having to slice and dice every single day.
Kevin: When you talk about the washing the vegetables, are you talking about when you buy them. Just bring them home and wash them and then dry them and store them?
Joel: Yeah, okay. Yeah, unless you’re going to make them right there and then, yeah, just bring them on back, just everything you have right out of the bag, wash them up and then store them in your fridge. And that is one less. It’s easier to do en mass than individually every time you’re going to make it.
Kevin: Got you. And you mention the burger base. I think a lot of people would be interested in what are the kind of things you put into a burger base and do you sprout, if you’re putting lentils or any sort of grain in?
Joel: Sure. No, I don’t use grains. The basic one I was thinking of is I take raw almonds put them in the food processor, chop them up as fine a consistency as you want, relatively fine. A couple carrots, do the same thing, grind them on up and then that’s what I consider sort of the base and then I will dice some peppers, celery, onion and then mix that in. And if you want to put in, like, maybe, some fresh parsley or something like that, that’s great. And that’s what I consider sort of a base. It’s pretty plain and the advantage to that is you can take that base, that you made the large batch of it and then tomorrow you take a handful and make a burger out of it and maybe you want to sprinkle a little bit of chili powder on it so you have like a chili flavor on it or the next day you could sprinkle a little Italian seasonings and fresh herbs and stuff a pepper with it or you could roll it up in a collard green or romaine leaf. If you’re not totally raw, you could roll it up in a in a tortilla, like a sprouted tortilla wrap. So there’s lots of different options or just take a handful and throw it on your kale salad or any other type of salad you’re having. So the nice part about it is you can literally change the flavors each day with that base. You’ve only had to make it once. Another great thing is to stuff a Portobello cap. You can put that with a little slice of tomato, a little slice of onion on it and you have a great, great burger. Ideally, if you do that do it in the morning, by the time it’s lunchtime, the moisture from your burger has sort of soaked into your portabello cap and it’s sort of like an open-faced bun.
Kevin: Oh, wow. Now you are making me hungry.