"The Herb Doc"
For years now, Tony has been delighting audiences with his lessons on healing the body through nutrition. In fact, his teachings have earned him the nickname "Herb Expert."
Tony was born in Donegal, Ireland into a family consisting of eleven children. At the age of 21, he lost his father to heart disease, and later on he would lose 4 other members of his family (including his fiancee) to cancer. These traumatic experiences motivated him to take charge of his own health and to help others lead healthier lives. He has made it his mission to educate people on how to take responsibility for their own health.
Tony O'Donnell, a recognized Humanitarian and Volunteer, has made it his mission to promote the importance of herbs, fruits and vegetables for good health and to educate the public on proper diet and nutrition.
In addition to his many regular radio and television appearances on ABC, NBC, and CBS Tony, a veteran in the alternative health industry, lectures from coast to coast about nutrition and health. His many clients have found that eating right can lead to numerous health benefits including energy, better skin and weight loss.
His knowledge ranges from the health hazards of eating processed and fatty foods, that contain chemicals and preservatives known to be associated with cancer and heart disease, to foods that are vital in increasing energy and preventing illness.
As a regular guest on thousands of radio shows across the country, Tony O'Donnell - the Herb Doc - utilizes many avenues to create awareness on the importance of eating right and staying fit such as, success stories, rarely discussed nutritional facts, and his challenge to radio hosts and producers.
Tony's research, work and ability to connect with the public led him to become one of radio's most popular guests, as well as having earned various acknowledgments including Man of the Year Award from the Arizona chapter of the Leukemia Society as well as the Angels on Earth Award. Tony has written many health articles, as well as his own book called Miracle Super Foods That Heal. Today, Tony can be heard on hundreds radio stations across the country.
Interview with Tony O'Donnell, N.D., C.N.C.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tony O'Donnell after hearing him give a powerful speech on detoxification and a live foods diet, in Mesa, AZ. I was impressed with Tony's amazing level of energy and his knowledge on the subject. Below is a transcription of the interview. - Chef Jason (The Vegan Culinary Experience Interview)
You are a naturopath and herbalist, correct?
Yes, I am a naturopathic doctor, a nutritionist, and a holistic herbalist and have authored four books with a fifth book coming out, so I travel extensively, do a lot of radio and television news, for ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox and for Channel 3 where I've been the naturopath now for the last seven years in Phoenix, AZ.
What are some of your ongoing projects?
Well, I'm formulating and developing a line of whole superfoods, vegan, raw vegetarian foods that seem to have a positive effect on the health and well being of people who suffer from what I call malabsorption, autointoxication, and poor dietary habits. These superfoods are primarily green superfoods that seem to be full of life, full of energy, full of enzymes, and full of chlorophyll which is identical to the blood of plants. These tend to oxygenate and balance the PH in the body and we have to return to the basics of this food group. I'm also working on cleansing and detoxification programs that help rid the body of a lot of the excess waste matter that accumulates because of poor dietary habits. So that's primarily what I'm working on right now as well as writing lots and lots of books.
My fourth book comes out in a couple months. It's called Miracle Detox Secrets plus PH Balancing. I'm also working on another book that's not related to health and wellness, but it's about breaking the poverty cycle in life because a lot of people go through their life suffering and don't have belief in themselves and don't have belief that they can actually become somebody. I believe it's possible for everybody and now that I've come to America and become successful, I believe it's my duty and my honor to impart my message and my knowledge to help other people break through and become successful, not only in the health and wellness field, but also in their lives from a financial standpoint and that's what I'm working on primarily, as well as doing lots of radio and television and attending health and wellness seminars across the United States as well as public speaking.
I imagine you are like me and didn't start out vegetarian. What drew you to vegetarian cuisine and healthy eating?
Absolutely. I grew up in a large Irish family of eleven and I ate bacon, eggs, sausage, and fried bread and I thought it was the norm. I thought it was really good and I thought it was tasty and I thought that was how I should live, but I was sickly as a child and as a young man I lost my daddy when I was 21, as well as my uncle, my cousin, my fiancée, and I have four other members of my family suffering from heart disease, so I know that with that type of diet, it doesn't work because of saturated fat, genetically modified foods, massive amounts of sugar and fat, and lack of exercise. These cause acidosis and hypoxia in the human body and causes us to become sick and fat, bloated, and consequently we create all the unhealthy habits, we get heart disease, cancer, diabetes, indigestion, bloating, and all sorts of other health challenges that we're faced with on a daily basis and that's why we're spending trillions of dollars on health care. You know, I started off with a very bad diet of saturated fat, bacon, sausages, eggs, and I seemed to be seeing the doctor on a continuous basis and I realized there had to be a different way. Then I was introduced to raw foods, vegetarian foods, live whole foods and my body responded, my weight responded, my health rebounded and I felt better than I've ever felt in my entire life and that's why I wrote the four books and travel close to 100,000 miles every year educating not only people in Europe, but all over the world, particularly in America, educating people about the benefits of live, vegan, raw whole foods.
What are some of the biggest changes you've noticed in yourself after changing your diet?
Well, my skin improved dramatically. My weight improved dramatically, all the bloating, all the fat around my abdominal area and my face. I used to have terrible acne as a young boy growing up in Ireland, so when I got rid of the sugars and got rid of all the fats and increased my essential fatty acids, which are distinctly and uniquely and creatively different than the saturated fat I was taking in, I noticed an overall change in my sense of well-being, my consciousness, my connection with the universe, my connection with other people, my energy levels have increased significantly. I felt better, my eyes were clearer, my hair, my skin, my nails, and most importantly, I had vitality and I had better energy and I saw improvement in my eyesight. I look more youthful. People tell me I look like a young man, a boy, I'm 49 years old and they tell me, "Oh my goodness, you haven't aged in 20 years." So eating all these healthy live whole foods and doing wheat grass and barley and spinach and cabbage and kale and celery and the basics of this food group and living off the land, I noticed I had a distinct increase in my energy. Initially, it took a little while. I used to have to eat every two and a half to three hours because I am very active in a martial arts program. I'm a third degree black belt in martial arts, so I train and work out quite a bit. I definitely noticed a difference in the overall shift in my consciousness and awareness of food in a way in which I had not experienced before because I had grown up in the old lifestyle in my native Ireland and ate a lot of bad foods in this country, Ding Dongs, soda pops, doughnuts, Big Gulps, bladder busters, you know, those huge drinks you get at the 7 11 and other stores that sell these things and I realized that my body was toxic and I had to clean it out get rid of the waste matter and when I got rid of the waste matter, I was able to live. I had that vitality, I had the energy, and I noticed a difference in my overall sense of well-being and the way I connected with people and that's the big way I noticed a difference in my life.
My eyesight getting better was the first obvious benefit I noticed when I changed my diet to a healthy vegan diet.
Absolutely. I can read and I can see better becaue my eyesight has improved dramatically, absolutely dramatically, where I can see stuff that I could never see before. When your body and your mind and your consciousness are clear, when you're feeding it the right nutrients, the body responds accordingly because when we heat our food, we destroy the vitals and essentials of our life force, we kill our food. When you heat anything over 110, 115 degrees, you destroy the enzymatic activity of the food, so consequently we kill the life of the plant and remember, dead foods are for a dead body, live foods are for a live body. You can't get that from donuts and soda pop and Coca Cola and all the drinks that have aluminum and phosphoric acid in them. You can only get that from live foods, so live foods give the body vitality. We destroy our food, we destroy our lives, and we destroy our health with the choices that we make. So I advocate a return to the basics of the food groups with the superfoods. That's why I love Radiant Greens and Pomegranate Power and live whole vegan and raw foods as they tend to oxygenate the blood. As you know, viruses cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment. If you give the body the right foods, it will respond accordingly.
How did you get involved in raw, vegan foods?
When I first came to the US, I met many, many people who ate nothing but raw foods and I wanted to understand raw food. People think raw food, what is that? You don't cook anything? Wow! How can I eat it? How can I absorb it? How can I get this assimilated into my body. As you know, there is a raw revolution going on in Los Angeles and I took classes, read books, did courses on raw foods and started to incorporate it into my life. It took me awhile. It was difficult in the beginning. But anything worthwhile is difficult and takes time, and of course with the help and assistance of many colleagues involved in the raw revolution in Los Angeles, I found it wasn't that difficult at all and I wondered why I ever was eating that garbage food I was eating before. Now, I would never go back to that old lifestyle and anytime I feel like, "Oh, I would like to try a steak one day," I think, my goodness, why was I ever doing that in the first place and putting those poisons and toxins in my body because a lot of times when we smell those foods, they have all the chemicals and nitrites and preservatives to make you want to eat them more and when you eat live foods, your body feels the way it is supposed to feel and you don't have those cravings. I know people who eat steaks and hamburgers and junk food and then feel hungry fifteen or twenty minutes later because they're not getting the right nutrients. The good thing is, when I was introduced to raw foods in Los Angeles, with the books and classes, I realized this is the lifestyle I want not only for myself, but for my family and for the universe so I can impact world health and help my fellow man become healthy and wealthy.
How do you approach your patients to get them to try raw foods?
Very simple. What they're doing is not working. They're making themselves sick. You see someone going on a diet of burgers, French fries, soda pops, donuts, Big Gulps, genetically modified food and all that garbage, so when I meet these people, talk to them, lecture to them, they're sick already and they're coming to me to seek a new way, a non-invasive and holistic approach, so I just ask them to try this for thirty or sixty days and tell them to let me know how they feel and they feel so good, they don't want to go back to the old lifestyle. So many of us are bombarded by advertisements on television and magazines, we're making ourselves sick with the choices we are making on a daily basis, and it is so easy to switch people over to a holistic, non-invasive, affordable, live whole food regimen. I just ask them, here try this. And once they have the knowledge and once they get healthy (you know the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and people need to come to the possibility that they can get healthy) then, of course, they make better choices. It's not hard when people come to me and tell me they're sick, they've got high blood pressure or diabetes or their bones are falling apart and then I ask them if they like how they feel with the diet and program they're on right now and they say, "I don't, I want to change, I want to be healthy." It's not hard to change people once you set them on the right path, a rigorous path of making better choices on what they put in their body, because your body is a temple and a temple is where you go and you pray and you give thanks for the gift that is provided for you. You don't expect to polish your car on the outside and then expect it to run better on the inside. So it's very simple and very easy to introduce people to a new way of life because what they're doing is not working, it's killing them. My way is to give them something nutritious, that is live, that is whole, that is not toxic, and not invasive, something full of life that actually works. It's very, very easy to get people to switch to a new way once they see results because what they're doing is not working, and since it's not working they're willing to try something new. It takes time, it takes education and it takes more importantly than anything, patience, knowledge, and understanding.
What are the key points you would like to make to people about becoming healthy and what practical advice can you offer to them?
The first step in getting healthy is ridding your body of all the junk. You have to go through a detox program and a detox is very simple. I talk about that in my new book Miracle Detox Secrets plus PH Balancing because most people walk around with thirty to forty pounds of excess waste matter in their colon on the Western diet. So the first step to a good detox program is to get rid of all of the medication that people are taking, with, of course, the advice of your health care professional. You need to educate him as well. You need to become a student. You need to educate yourself. You need to get around people who are actually working the program, working the system, who may not have been exposed to toxic medications over a long period of time, or who may be sick. You've got to detox your body and get around the right nutritional program, particularly live whole foods because live whole foods give your body vitality, they give it energy, they oxygenate the blood, they give us what we need at the cellular level, and they also provide tremendous anti-oxidant protection against the free radicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water that we drink. Of course, the third thing is proper hydration. People think coffee and soda pop are ok, but they're not. They destroy the PH balance. They destroy your liver, they destroy your gut. We're taking in massive amounts of soda pops. The average person takes in between 200 to 300 cans a year. When I lectured last night, some lady told me she was taking in about seventeen cans a week! It's unbelievable what people take in their body. They're taking in massive amounts of fat, the wrong kind, they're not exercising, they're taking in massive amounts of sugar and they're wondering why they're fat, why they're moody, why their hair, skin, and nails have not improved and why they have no vitality. You've got to cleanse. You've got to detoxify your body. You've got to get on a good nutritional program and hydrate. More importantly, you've got to exercise. Your body is meant to move, it's meant to exercise itself, and it's meant to get itself into a state of mobility. Most people don't exercise. Is it any wonder that 65% of the U.S. population, and rising, is overweight? Childhood obesity has skyrocketed in this country and this is the first generation where children will die before their parents. You've got to eat clean, healthy food, get away from cooked food as much as possible because cooked food destroys all the enzymatic activity. Remember, dead food for a dead body, live food for a live body. So these are some of the basics and that's the subject of my next book Miracle Detox Secrets plus PH Balancing which comes out the end of July, early August.
Do you have any closing comments?
You only have one life. You have to choose carefully what you put into your body. You've got to take responsibility. We're living in America and we have an abundance of food. We throw away fifty million tons of food every year. Yet we're the most overfed, undernourished, overmedicated nation in the world. It's time to take our health back, it's time to make better choices, it's time to take responsibility, it's time to gain the knowledge, it's time to read up on that which can support you and your family, because if you don't have a plan for your health, you will fit into someone else's plan and that plan will involve hospitalization, institutionalization, and perhaps even death. We've got to help our children understand what quality eating and health is about. We've got to educate our parents. We've got to have better education in our schools. We've got to limit the advertisements on television because the unhealthy food industry and pharmaceutical companies control so much of what is on television. We've got to make better choices so that we can walk in the light and the ongoing possibility that we can have an abundant life, free of pain and suffering, that we can have a joyous life, and perhaps that we can have a life free of intimidation, free of drugs, free of cancer, free of suffering, free of ill health, and that we live in joy and peace, compassion, and passion, and in love.
The Vegan Culinary Experience Interview