Congratulations to the Graduating Class of October Unprocessed 2013!

October Unprocessed 2013 Wrap-Up

Well, we did it!! What a month it’s been. At last count, 15,546 people signed the October Unprocessed pledge, more than 2,000 people joined our vibrant Facebook group, and we shared 44 guest posts throughout the month.


It’s staggering the number of people who came together and volunteered their time, expertise, and talents to help make this project happen. First and foremost, I want to thank all the guest authors.  Their contributions.were mouth-watering, creative, beautiful, helpful, and so much more. Here’s an index of all of the guest posts. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The food blogging and wellness community is one of the finest groups of people I’ve ever been blessed to know and be a part of, and for that I am truly grateful.

Thanks go out to Suzanne Elizondo, for updating our October Unprocessed Guide, joining in and helping coordinate our Google Hangouts, and lending a hand with the Facebook group. Thanks also to Sabrina Modelle from The Tomato Tart, who designed the wonderful logo and shared her salted caramel macaroons.

I’m grateful to everyone who helped spread the word about the challenge — including so many bloggers and journalists. Every blog post, article, Tweet, and Facebook share made a huge difference. I’m indebted to Trina Kaye, my fabulous public relations guru, who helped spread the word about the challenge (and got us on radio & television!).  And to the talented and enthusiastic Rene Lynch at the Los Angeles Times, who has not only championed the cause every year, but also embraced the challenge herself.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bob’s Red Mill, and especially Cassidy Stockton, for their sponsorship and support of the challenge. I’m proud to partner with such a terrific company, and the challenge would not have been nearly as successful without their help. I hope you all were able to make good use of the coupons they generously provided — and stay tuned for more! Soon we’ll be emailing out more coupons to everyone who took the pledge: each month for the next year we’ll be sending a recipe and corresponding coupon. (Of course, you’ll be able to unsubscribe if you don’t want ’em.)

Finally, thank you to everyone who took the challenge and participated in any way – including those folks who weren’t ready to sign the pledge, and just read along all month. This challenge is really all about all of you, and I hope it’s been a wonderful experience.

Now tell me, how’d it go?

I suppose you’re wondering how I did on the challenge? Of course, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, having done it four times before. This year my own goal was to use our Vitamix every day of the month. I didn’t quite make it happen every day, but I won’t call that a failure — I used it quite a lot more than ever before, so I’m proud of myself for that step forward. Indeed, my smoothies with carrots, spinach, banana, apple, frozen fruit, and chia seeds really did help get me through this month. I also discovered that a small chunk of fresh ginger root is a phenomenal addition to a smoothie! I highly recommend it.

So now it’s your turn: I’d love to hear about how this experience may have changed you. What will you take with you into November and beyond? Please share in the comments below!

PS – I’ll be putting together a more formal survey in the next few days, so if you have specific thoughts and feedback about the challenge itself, that’ll be the place to let me know. I’ve done that in the past and it’s been tremendously helpful – I consider all of the feedback very carefully!


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39 Comments on "Congratulations to the Graduating Class of October Unprocessed 2013!"

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Andrew, I want to say thanks for having this challenge and providing insightful information to help along the way. I have been overweight for most of my life. Last year, at 35, my wife and I started with a personal trainer to be more active and to hold ourselves accountable to living a healthy life. While the weight came off initially, I have plateaued, while my wife has continued to lose. Now over a year later and I’m still down the initial 20 pounds but not anymore than that. I had to make a change! I have been reading your blog for a while and other food blogs that focus on whole/unprocessed foods. October Unprocessed was the trigger. I likened it to a smoker quitting cold turkey. My wife didn’t want me to do something so dramatic, but I had to do something. The month has been great. While not… Read more »

Wow, did the month fly by! I came close to my goal of eating at least 80-85% unprocessed, have tried new food and recipes, learned many new things. I now read all labels when shopping and will continue to do so. I can honestly say I do not know if I will ever be 100% unprocessed but I will be close. Thank you for creating this event. I am looking forward to learning even more and continuing to eat as unprocessed as possible.


Hello.will there be another challenge anytime soon?


I really enjoyed this challenge…wasn’t very successful in losing any weight but that wasn’t really my goal. My goal was to be better informed about the food I eat and getting healthier. Yes I do need to lose 20 or a little more pounds but that will come with the healthy eating…I learned quite a bit more of reading labels and the ungodly stuff processed food has in it..yuk…I meet a bunch of great people on the facebook site with alot of sharing of recipes and conversations..that was just the ultimate…!! hope you do another one..I am on board….kiddos to you and all who have pulled this together it was an awesome time…


This was my second year of the challenge, and I think I did so much better this go-around because I focused on what I WOULD eat, not what I COULDN’T eat. And I’d already done so much label-reading from last year that it wasn’t nearly as time consuming this time. It’s a great exercise, and I plan to keep dropping as much processed food as possible all year long. Thanks, Andrew!


This is a great insight. Changing focus in this way helped me to meet my goals this year (I didn’t quite make it last year). It also kept me from celebrating with forbidden foods on Nov 1. So far, the desire to eat candy corn, fast food, etc has not come back. Congrats to us all!!


I was really shocked out how well I did:) I only failed three times because I had koolaid;) haha I only have one moee habit to kick and that’s late night snacking. Its healthy snacks like fruits and veggies but I’m just doing it out of habit:/


I think that anytime you are able to heighten awareness as to what goes in your body is a good thing!

Veggie Val

Congratulations, Andrew, on another successful October Unprocessed! Thanks for all you do and the level of professionalism with which you do it!


Thanks for pushing my family with this challenge! We are going to try an unprocessed November too!


Thank you for hosting this challenge. I went into this challenge already eating “Gluten Free”, “Processed Sugar Free”, and almost entirely “Caffeine Free”. I was interested to see what else I might learn throughout this month. I was surprised at the number of “healthy” items that I ate regularly that had preservatives as one of their ingredients. Made me go back to reading labels once again. What did I come away with that I will continue this month and beyond? 1) I now make my own rice milk. (So easy & less expensive.) 2) I will definitely continue to read labels and choose “Unprocessed” foods and recipes. (I feel so great at the end of this month and realize that it is due to my clearing out those last few items that had preservatives, etc.)


Andrew, This challenge was just what I needed to push me that extra bit to educate myself on what eating clean really means!! lost about 6 pounds (without trying), sleeping better, feeling better and from all the compliments I have received, LOOKING BETTER! I feel healthier than I have ever felt and even my husband is on board with this lifestyle change (and it is for us). Never can I go back to eating tasteless, harmful food. Thank you so much!!

Jennifer L.

Gosh, this month went so fast and was fantastic! Thank you Andrew, et al, who worked so hard to put this event together. I am completely impressed with the ever-growing number of participants. Wow. Loved the FaceBook group!

A new thing I tried this last month? I toasted my raw almonds before making almond milk. Unbelievably great! I will definitely continue with toasted almond milk throughout the year. Man – it is true: Everything IS better toasted or roasted!

Jenn K

This was an amazing and wonderful challenge. The daily emails, the Facebook group, the knowledgeable and articulate and relatable bloggers were invaluable to my success. I have such heightened awareness about and focus on consuming actual food and the impact non-food has on our bodies and our world after this month. This was a game-changer for me in so many ways, I can’t thank you enough!

Mary Beth

Loved the recipes for truffles and other raw treats! Those help me to stay gluten free and provide an unprocessed lunch snack. The sweet potato hash converted my husband to those yummy gems. Thank u


So glad to be a part of this challenge! There is no doubt that I will continue on this journey. I had begun a strict “clean eating” plan in mid-September; so, when I saw that this challenge was coming in October, I jumped at the chance to join for some extra motivation. I am proud to say that I am going on 6 weeks of no processed foods, no sugar (other than raw organic honey very occasionally), no dairy and no wheat/corn/soy. Just 100% clean eating and it feels great. I am down 10+ pounds and have more energy than ever before. Thanks for sharing this challenge with us, and I look forward to continuing on this path! Excited to see how far I’ve come by next October’s “official” challenge!