More than five thousand people avoided processed food for an entire month. What happened next…

October Unprocessed 2015 "Cubes"

…will amaze you!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist poking a little fun at all those click-bait titles… but when thousands of people (5,484 at last count) come together to do something for their health, and the health of their families, communities, and our planet, it truly is amazing.

October Unprocessed, at its core, is an awareness exercise. Although many people report feeling better (and losing weight!), the goal isn’t really to change your health in just one month. It’s to learn about and focus on what you’re putting in your body, and how it affects your health and well-being, and the world around you. I hope you’ve learned a lot this month, and will take that with you moving forward from today. Even though this October has come and gone, October Unprocessed doesn’t really end today – I hope you’ll take your new-found unprocessed knowledge and build on it, growing and learning for the rest of your lives. (And of course I’ll still be blogging here–though not every day!–and sharing on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, of course.)

Each year our movement has grown — and it gives me hope for the future. It means the pendulum is starting to swing back from ultra-processed foods to real food, and it’s gaining momentum. By continuing on this path, we will shift our world to what we want it to be. So please keep seeking out nutritious, delicious, unprocessed food. The more we demand it, the more the market will provide it, helping ensure everyone will soon have access to unprocessed, wholesome, and affordable food.

Thanks.

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, who shared 36 guest posts throughout the month! Their contributions were delectable, creative, beautiful, helpful, and inspiring. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: 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.

I’d like to thank Bob’s Red Mill and MightyNest for their generous sponsorship, which made it feasible for me to spend the time and energy coordinating all of this. (And it’s not too late to get your FREE month of The Mighty Fix! Just use coupon code UNPROCESSEDFIX when signing up, and your first month will be completely free.)

Thanks also to KitchenAid for the Multi-Cooker with Stir-Tower Accessory giveaway, and to Lernert & Sander, for generously allowing me to use their delightful “Cubes” photograph (you can purchase a signed print of the image directly from them — mine just arrived from Amsterdam!).

Finally, a big 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 great experience.

So, how did it go?

I’d love to know how the challenge went for you. What was your experience like? Did you have any revelations? Overcome a specific hurdle? Or did you only “make it” for part of the way? And most importantly: What will you take with you, moving forward?  Leave a comment below, and let us all know!

To Your Health,
Andrew

 

,

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "More than five thousand people avoided processed food for an entire month. What happened next…"

Notify of
avatar


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Summer
Guest
Summer
November 1, 2015 7:24 am
This is my third year of doing October Unprocessed. This year, my 13 year old son, completely of his own volition, also signed up for the Challenge! It was wonderful and amazing having him doing it with me side by side, and I feel so proud of him for the many tough choices he made. Children in general and teens specifically are bombarded with so many advertisements, well-meaning adults, junk food addicted friends….. but he made it through sleepovers without caving in to potato chips and soda. He read labels more diligently than I did. Although I and my daughter avoid gluten, my son and his dad can eat bread…but because I’m not making it, they usually just buy a loaf from the store. My son was appalled when he started reading labels of even the “healthier” bread products on the shelf. A new habit of making simple,5 ingredient Artisan… Read more »
Susan
Guest
Susan
November 1, 2015 7:35 am

Because of you doing this from the first time. I have been trying to keep it up all the time. Its working well for me. Thank you for starting this up for all of us. I never would have done it with out you telling me about trying it for a month way back then.

Marge Evans
Guest
Marge Evans
November 1, 2015 7:48 am

I began a whole foods plant based diet in 2010 and have never looked back.

Beth
Guest
Beth
November 1, 2015 8:16 am

This is my 3rd and most successful October unprocessed yet! Thank you for motivating me and so many others to remember what real food is. I have pledged to myself to continue on and make unprocessed the new normal for myself. Still working on my family!

Denice
Guest
Denice
November 1, 2015 9:11 am

Last year was my first time doing October Unprocessed, and it changed the way I looked at eating. I did add many things I learned throughout the year, although I wasn’t as good as I was during that first month. I read all labels now, shudder at boxed foods like hamburger helper and mac n’ cheese, and have incorporated many new healthy recipes into my diet. This year’s October Unprocessed helped remind me of some of the things I forgot, and introduced me to even more recipes, for which I am ever grateful!!! I will admit I wasn’t as good as last year; however, the last two weeks I did step it up. Thank you, Andrew Wilder, for creating this fabulous journey!!! You have made a great difference in so many lives by creating this community and inspiring us.

Peggy
Guest
Peggy
November 1, 2015 9:56 am
Thank you Andrew for starting & continuing this challenge! Last year was my first challenge, and I have never looked back. Even tho I teach Health & First Aid at the college level and knew more about nutrition than many individuals, the reality was the overall quality of my diet had slipped for the sake of convenience. I kept the challenge going all year – not perfectly but with sharp awareness of the choices I was making. This year I worked on fine tuning my deliberate exceptions to make them healthier (coffee creamer, salad dressing, my 1 diet soda per day). But thie point of this is not to beat myself up for not being perfect but to be more aware, and when I backslide, to pick myself up the next day and recommit to being my best self. Along the way I have shed 50 lbs and improved many… Read more »
Rachel
Guest
Rachel
November 1, 2015 9:58 am
This is my second attempt at the October unprocessed challenged. After last year I spent a lot of time researching unprocessed and clean eating and slowly substituting items in my diet for less processed alternatives. This time round I found myself a lot more prepared for the challenge. I feel I did really well. I planned from the start to finish on the 30th because I had a family party planned and wanted to give myself a night off. I really didn’t feel that put out with the challenge this year. I’ve got to the end and spent the weekend eating the things I thought I’d missed. Turns out I missed them more than I actually enjoyed them in the end. As a result I’ve now decided to go unproccessed again from tomorrow morning to next month end. I’m hoping the more I eat unproccessed the less I’ll want my… Read more »
Rachel
Guest
Rachel
November 1, 2015 10:05 am

Sorry that should say the less I’ll want my processed “treats”. Lol!

Sarah
Guest
Sarah
November 1, 2015 10:14 am
I participated for the first time this year. It is nothing like I thought it would be. I took it in the spirit intended (awareness more than strict diet guidelines) and it took me most of the month to get over craving sugars and other processed foods. About two weeks in I couldn’t wait for October to be over, but now I have decided I need more time moving towards real food so that I can continue awareness without those cravings. I did not lose weight, but I did get several compliments on how I looked like I had lost weight. I have fibromyalgia and lots of food sensitivities and allergies so I feel tired, achy, and foggy a lot, with “flares” in my symptoms that are made worse by certain triggers. This month I did not have a flare despite experiencing multiple triggers (bad weather, cold virus, being too… Read more »
Sarah
Guest
Sarah
November 1, 2015 10:14 am
I participated for the first time this year. It is nothing like I thought it would be. I took it in the spirit intended (awareness more than strict diet guidelines) and it took me most of the month to get over craving sugars and other processed foods. About two weeks in I couldn’t wait for October to be over, but now I have decided I need more time moving towards real food so that I can continue awareness without those cravings. I did not lose weight, but I did get several compliments on how I looked like I had lost weight. I have fibromyalgia and lots of food sensitivities and allergies so I feel tired, achy, and foggy a lot, with “flares” in my symptoms that are made worse by certain triggers. This month I did not have a flare despite experiencing multiple triggers (bad weather, cold virus, being too… Read more »
Jo-Ann Holden
Guest
November 1, 2015 10:40 am

And this is not including the ones who didn’t join officially but avoided the processed stuff anyway. Great work, keep it up!

Valerie
Guest
Valerie
November 1, 2015 12:30 pm

I had a great month! I haven’t been feeling well for a while and was struggling with such fatigue every afternoon. After one month with no sugar, no white flour, and nothing processed I feel so much better! As a nice bonus I lost 6 pounds. At times the cooking(and washing so many dishes!) was overwhelming but it was so worth it. I plan on keeping my home unprocessed. Thank you Andrew!!

Janet
Guest
Janet
November 1, 2015 12:57 pm

This was my third year, and I started the month also doing a two week “no added sugar” challenge to myself. I won’t say I never ate anything remotely processed, for me, some of the recommended restrictions are just not practical, and some I don’t think are really necessary… However, I realized I eat “unprocessed” at least 80% of the time anyway – without even thinking about it!

Maria
Guest
Maria
November 1, 2015 3:29 pm

This is my second year of doing the October Unprocessed challenge. It went better than expected the second time around. I am more conscience of what I eat and how to make the the right choices. I plan to keep up with the program as a lifestyle change. I am feeling much better and proud of what I can accomplish. Thank you!

Heather
Guest
Heather
November 1, 2015 3:42 pm

This was my 2nd year but I really put extra effort into it. It’s amazing what ingredients are in the products we eat. Just taking the time to read them can make a big impact. My daughter joined me too. It was hard for her but she gave it her best effort. We slipped at times but kept doing our best. I have made some permanent changes in products I buy because of the challenge. I loved the emails and recipes too. Thanks. Hoping to keep this going.

Jamey Bennett
Member
November 1, 2015 7:35 pm
Hi Andrew, I really enjoyed this go around the unprocessed path! I probably had my second most consistent OU so far. I didn’t learn so much this year, as it was simply a matter of applying what I have learned in previous years. I went much looser on my Paleo thing, but pretty strict on the unprocessed thing (with minor exceptions for dining out and gums in hot sauces). One yield from this go around is getting a sourdough starter from a friend! I also bought some sprouted grain wheat flour and might start adding bread back into my life in limited quantities. One of the most fun things I added to this challenge was requiring that I eat a different fruit or vegetable every day that is unique. Of course, there were overlaps, but in the end I had at least 30 different plants of various colors. I am… Read more »
wpDiscuz