In 2009, Andrew Wilder started a challenge amongst a small group of friends: October Unprocessed – forgo processed foods for an entire month.
While the idea seemed simple enough, the actual impact to Andrew’s life proved to more than just superficial. Andrew began to taste foods differently because his palate had changed. He stopped drinking soda. He started a food blog, Eating Rules.
Over the years, the news of Andrew’s challenge has spread beyond the food blogger sphere. This year, the number of people who pledged to take the October Unprocessed challenge is just under 6,100 – and October isn’t even finished yet!
I like October Unprocessed because
(1) it makes me think outside of my normal routine (there’s more food challenges than just eating low-sodium foods), and
(2) the October Unprocessed rules are entirely flexible: you define your own level of commitment, and your own definition of unprocessed foods.
To get started,
- At some point during the month of October, take the challenge. This could be for a single day, a week of lunches or dinners, one weekend, or commit for an entire month. It’s all up to you.
- Decide where your “processed” boundaries are (everyone’s list is different). Andrew defines unprocessed food as:
- any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients, and
- food that passes the kitchen test – meaning, if you pick up a food product, read its ingredients, and spot an ingredient that (a) you’d never use in your kitchen, or (b) couldn’t make yourself, the food probably doesn’t qualify as being “unprocessed”.
- food that, in theory, you could make it yourself (not that you actually have to).
- There’s a great “go to” reference guide here.
So explore a little and have a fun trying something new. Andrew’s blog shares some great insights and recipe ideas (though, FYI – not all of the recipes are “low sodium”)…and you might see a guest post from us as well
In honor of October Unprocessed, we’ve linked to a couple of our favorite seasonal, low sodium, and “unprocessed” roasted vegetable recipes. (Andrew is a vegetarian. Last year, I wrote about turkey meatloaf on his blog – which he grinned through. This year, I thought I’d post links to recipes he might actually eat).