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.


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,


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March 24, 2016 10:27 pm

I recently read about a study regarding the plague of processed and ultra-processed foods and wrote a blog of my own about it at I had no idea there was an event like this. I will be excited to join in during the next challenge. Thank you for posting about it.

November 4, 2015 12:33 pm

I did a much better job this year than last year, my first. I am most excited that I was able to cook a month of meals that close to half my family would eat again without complaining or even realizing they are unprocessed! It has definitely opened my eyes to processed foods and my desire to feed myself and my family more unprocessed foods.

November 3, 2015 5:08 pm

I have had stomach problems for about 6 years now and my doctor can’t find anything specific. I gave up dairy, which helped a lot, but still didn’t “fix” things. I especially enjoyed the article about processed v. ultra-processed because I have avoided ultra-processed for many years. For one thing, I didn’t like buying products where I couldn’t pronounce or recognize many of the ingredients. Plus, most of them are tasteless and blah. I have been using dried beans, lentils, grains, fresh vegetables and fruit for many years because I find that making dishes myself is a lot more flavorful and cost effective. I am lucky living in So Cal in that I have access to local (at least California) produce most of the year. Also, I have a vegetable and herb garden, fruit and avocado trees, and boysenberries. I give away a lot of vegetables and fruit and freeze… Read more »

Bistro OneSix
November 3, 2015 10:19 am

Thanks so much Andrew for letting me be involved as one of the guest bloggers. You put so much work into this and it certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you for all you do to promote unprocessed eating – in October and year around. Cheers to another great campaign.

November 2, 2015 6:26 am

This was my first October Unprocessed challenge and it was great! I had 3 “exception” meals picked out when I started and that really helped! I did falter a few times, but I learned so much from those that I have to count them as a win. Because of the heightened awareness of unprocessed this month, when I faltered I was able to more clearly see my “triggers” and what was happening that created the situation, and that insight was the most amazing discovery I made during this challenge!

Jamey Bennett
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 »

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.

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!

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!

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!!