Welcome to the 5th Annual October Unprocessed!

October Unprocessed 2014

Sure, it’s after October, but it’s never too late to take charge of your plate.
You can start today! Read on. . .

Way back 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?

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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! It’s grown each year since: In 2011, more than 3,000 people participated, and we shared 55 guest posts. The 2012 challenge inspired more than 6,000 people and we shared a whopping 93 guest posts!

And would you believe that last year, more than 15,500 people took the pledge (and we had 44 guest posts, too!).

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 a more in-depth discussion of the definition, and we’ll continue exploring it as October approaches.

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.

Take the October Unprocessed Pledge Here!

By taking the pledge you’ll also receive new blog posts by email; you can unsubscribe anytime–no hard feelings! Of course, your email address will never be shared or displayed publicly.

The following people have taken the pledge:

First NameLast NameLocationComment
meerak posa washington
Tami Ross MT Excited to try this!
Jen Russo Toronto
Kristen Talley Oakland, CA October is approaching!
Darlene Balkcum Georgia
Janey Wilson North Carolina Are you doing this in 2015?
Ashley Harris Ohio
kelly jefcoat laurel, ms
Jess Godoy Virginia Beach
Daniel Timoshenko 98275
Madeline Smith Oakland
Christina Zeringue United States Super psyched! I've been planning to try Unprocessed August-and so why not try to go until October?
Stephanie Patton Lima, Ohio
Smiti Kaul NC
Syaza Nadzirah Malaysia
Christina Fiebeck Miami, Fl
Andrea Lapotaire Texas
donna hirth` allentown pa can't wait to try the chocloate cake
sue jones 09432
Darlene Loflin huh
madison hughes Texas
jennifer randazza las vegas
Marie Keating Farmington Hills, MI

View and search the list of all 22571 awesome people!


You can leave a comment below, but if you want to take the pledge, please fill out the form above! 

336 Responses to Welcome to the 5th Annual October Unprocessed!

  1. Laura Schaller October 19, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    Love these healthy options!

  2. Nicole October 19, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    None of my coupons printed with a barcode. Anyone else having issues????

  3. Angie October 19, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Love the Bran

  4. Melissa Conlin October 20, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Would love to take the challenge!

  5. Micky Dryden October 20, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    A welcomed change!

  6. janet Fazio October 30, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    Stumbled upon this a bit late for October, but I’d love to try this in November.

  7. Serrat February 22, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Would love to take the challenge!


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