October Unprocessed 2013

October Unprocessed 2013

Sure, it’s after October, but it’s not too late to join in.
You can start today! Read on. . .

Welcome! Although October Unprocessed 2013 has come and gone, you can still join 15,659 people took the pledge! See below for the details of the challenge, then take the pledge on your own terms. Do your own 30 days (or more) of unprocessed, starting right now! Then read all the guest posts from the 2013 challenge right here, join the conversation in our Unprocessed Facebook group, and sign up for email updates of my latest blog posts throughout the year.

Welcome to the 4th Annual October Unprocessed!

Ready to take
the pledge?
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Click here!

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.

380 Comments on "October Unprocessed 2013"
  1. Comment left on:
    November 14, 2013 at 8:45 am
    mary lou says:

    My husband and I have been following a vegan diet for the last month.

  2. Comment left on:
    November 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    Cathy B says:

    trying to eat more unprocessed foods now a days..

  3. Comment left on:
    November 15, 2013 at 9:35 am
    karla says:

    After my son was born he started showing signs of a sensitivity to something I was eating. I couldn’t pin point exactly what it as that was making him sick so I am now dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, nut, and egg free. This has really encouraged me to do some clean eating since the foods I can eat are greatly limited! This gave me the extra push I needed to start eating healthier!

  4. Comment left on:
    November 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    Betsy says:

    Looking forward to a month w/o unprocessed foods.

  5. Comment left on:
    November 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    Victoria says:

    I have changed all the food eaten in my house & my children are loving it! They still want processed food because that is what they were use to but we have done great thus far & it is only going to get better. I make most of their food now from scratch & plan to increase efforts this month!

  6. Comment left on:
    November 16, 2013 at 6:30 am
    john says:


  7. Comment left on:
    November 16, 2013 at 10:48 am
    megan says:


  8. Comment left on:
    November 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    Lisa says:

    What a great idea!

  9. Comment left on:
    November 17, 2013 at 6:59 am
    Jill says:

    I wish I’d seen this earlier on so I could have participated, but we are doing our best to follow an unprocessed diet. I would say we’re probably at about 75%… and 90% vegetarian. :)

  10. Comment left on:
    November 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm
    Tiffany says:

    I support this!

  11. Comment left on:
    November 18, 2013 at 10:41 am
    Molly Ussatis says:

    100% on board and ready!

  12. Comment left on:
    November 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm
    Debbie says:

    I always try to eat healthy, but started the no processed food 7 daychalle nge today. So far, feeling great! Definitely makes one aware of what they are eating. Definitely a good thing!

  13. Comment left on:
    November 19, 2013 at 7:37 am
    Brittany says:

    VEGAN 100% of the time!

  14. Comment left on:
    November 19, 2013 at 9:39 am
    Amy says:

    I support!!!

  15. Comment left on:
    November 20, 2013 at 7:10 am
    jane says:

    i will take the pledge to be healthier

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