Unprocessed Foods – For All of October? Can You Do It?
By now you already know about Squat-toberfest 2012, my own challenge to see how many squats can be done in October (I’m up to 40 today!), but this nutritional challenge I stumbled upon in my travels is just too important for me to pass up. And honestly? It’s easier than you might think.
I met Andrew at the Fitness & Health Blogger’s Conference in June and he told me about how he’s doing a challenge in October called #Unprocessed, challenging people to eat only unprocessed foods, and I was all about that. Do you know that after we eliminated things like artificial coloring and preservatives, my son’s tic is gone by the way? True story. It seemed daunting at the time to eliminate so many of our staples, but it’s been good for all of us. I have learned SO MUCH about what’s really in our food (and yes, I do think we should be scared.)
REAL FOOD or as close as I can get to it, is the way to go for us. Not for now, for ever.
Wait. Whoa there, Sparky. What exactly is the definition of “unprocessed” anyway? Spinach? Are you telling us we can only eat SPINACH?
No! And I’m glad you asked. Andrew’s definition of unprocessed is anything that a person can (reasonably and technically) make in a kitchen. Whether or not you actually have the tools to churn butter is irrelevant, technically you could churn your own butter. You couldn’t, probably however, make Smart Balance by yourself. So that would be off the list. From Andrew’s blog, “Eating Rules:”
“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.”
So I read the list of the most popular foods that are on and off the unprocessed list and how exactly Andrew defines “unprocessed” (mostly because I got scared about the cheese because I love the cheese) and I actually got excited as I read it. (After all, technically you can make beer at home.)
So it’s not as hard as you might think. You just have to look at the ingredients carefully. Which to be honest, in every sense of the word, we should all be doing anyway.
This obviously takes some time however, if you’re just starting out, and I admit I have a bit of a head start because I’ve already spent my hours and hours researching ingredients and Googling from the grocery store and have, after all that, come up with my final list of “staples,” many of which are on the list. Many of which blur the lines, however, aren’t. Like my hazelnut flavored coffee. Meh. Or the white granulated sugar you put in it.
So it will take some sacrifice on my part and some tradeoffs. Perhaps tea with honey instead. Or plain coffee with sugar in its raw form. Which is probably better for me anyway.
So this challenge for me will take a little tweaking. The good news is, I’ve done the homework FOR YOU, so I can share my knowledge with you!
This challenge for me is about REALLY getting back to basics.
The really cool thing about this challenge is what McCormick mentioned at the tour I went on last week, which is that there is a movement across the world of people eating cleaner. People are beginning to realize the harm in processed foods and are beginning to revolt, one pantry at a time. It’s true! (Note: never ever forget the “r” in pantry like I almost did.)
I see the movement happening here in this challenge too as almost 4,000 people have signed up to take Andrew’s Oath of Unprocessed already in some shape or form, whether it’s for a day or for the entire month. It’s even making some news.
For me, eating cleaner and more unprocessed foods means starting with the health of my own family. But the more other people begin to take notice and revolt about the types of food that are available and the types of food we’re eating, the more that awful things like genetically modified corn in our cereals (which causes tumors) and chemicals, preservatives and colorings will not be ok or acceptable. Ever.
Taking my pantry back has been my way of saying NO MORE. And yes, my son’s tic is gone! (Coincidence? Perhaps! But I don’t think so…)
They eat their vegetables (and like them!) And we all actually very much feel better as we go about our daily lives.
So I’m going to take this challenge and I’m going to be crazy here and shoot for the month (because even if I miss, I’ll be among the stars!) I view it as my way of going just a little further with unprocessed and really getting back to good, real food.
I’d love it if you’d join, in any capacity you want! You can modify your definition of “unprocessed” or you can use Andrew’s definition, the trick is that the choices you make should be deliberate and not just “because you want that cookie” in the heat of the moment. You decide how it can work for you.
You can also choose how long you want to go, a day, week or the whole month, it’s all up to you!
Here are my deliberate exclusions:
- I’m still looking for non-chemical post-recovery drink. Until then, I’m using the protein shakes I have.
- Dinner at a relative’s house.
Read more about Unprocessed October and take the pledge!
You can guess what my recipes will be centered around on Saturdays! That’s right, real food! This weekend I have a video recipe coming! So if you’re wondering what kind of breakfasts, dinners or snacks you can make, I’ll show you my staples and share my favorite recipes and you can share yours too!
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