Sure, it’s after October, but it’s not too late to join in.
You can start today! Read on. . .
Welcome to the 4th Annual October Unprocessed!
In October of 2009, I was struck by a simple idea:
What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?
This question would have been laughable (or even nonsensical) just a few decades ago. Nowadays, it seems that almost every food that comes with an ingredients list on it is likely to be laden with extra sugar, fat, and salt. And preservatives. And flavorings. And artificial colors.
I’m not okay with this.
So I tried it, along with a few good friends: A month of no processed foods.
It was revelatory. My expectations and sense of taste were re-calibrated. I started to identify individual ingredients in the foods I ate. I didn’t crave those salty snacks. I found myself often in the kitchen, excited to see what I could cook next. Above all, I simply felt better.
We took turns hosting small dinner parties, and shared our stories and experiences. It brought us closer together. Funny how real food does that.
In 2010, I decided to try it again, in a bigger way. I had started Eating Rules just a few months before, and I reached out to my fellow foodies, bloggers, and friends, and issued the challenge again. In October 2010, 415 people took the pledge and we shared over 40 guest posts! In 2011, more than 3,000 people participated, and we shared 55 guest posts.
Last year, over 6,000 people took the pledge, and we shared a whopping 93 guest posts!
Although it’s a lot of work to make this project happen, I want to do it again. It’s just too important not to. And I want to share this experience with as many people as possible. Not just my experience, but our experience.
Together, let’s see how many people we can get to eat no processed foods whatsoever during the month of October.
And then let’s see what happens.
The “Kitchen Test” Definition
The first question I’m always asked is, “How do you define processed?”
Obviously there’s a wide range of implications in that word, and we will probably each define it slightly differently for ourselves. My definition is this:
Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.
I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.
It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.
Here’s last year’s discussion on the definition, and we’ll continue exploring it as October approaches.
New This Year
I’m thrilled to announce that Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring this year’s challenge! I’m a huge fan: I love their wholesome and delicious products, and I believe they are a company that truly makes the world a better place. I’ve even visited the factory to see that they’re the real deal.
After you take the pledge (see below), you’ll receive valuable coupons for Bob’s Red Mill products — which you can print and use right away to start stocking your unprocessed pantry! Even better, once-a-month over the next year we’ll send you some of their favorite unprocessed recipes – along with coupons for the featured products in them. (You can always unsubscribe, of course – no pressure!)
We’ve been working on a few other goodies for you too, including a product giveaway and an interview with the Bob Moore, the man himself!
Let’s Do It!
Commit to eating no processed foods during the month of October by signing your name below.
This is an exercise in awareness. If an entire month is too much of a commitment, that’s okay. Maybe it’s only a week? Maybe just a day? Sign the pledge, and indicate your support!
Maybe you’re not comfortable with my definition of “unprocessed.” That’s okay, too. Decide what it means to you and take the pledge on your terms.
Need an exception? Sure, no problem. Just make sure it’s a deliberate choice, not just because of a habit.
Whatever your level of commitment (even if it’s for just one day, please sign the pledge), and discover how it changes you, your family, your community, and the world.