So… How’d it go?

October Unprocessed 2012 on Pinterest

Well, we did it!! At last count, 6,133 people signed the October Unprocessed pledge, and we shared three guest posts every single day this month — a whopping 93 posts!

I’m going to (try to) keep it brief today because, frankly, I could use a day off! But I do want to say just a couple of things.


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. 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 blessed and grateful.

Thanks to Stacy Spensley from Center Stage Wellness, for The Official Guide to October Unprocessed (which I hope you found helpful!), and for giving us excellent strategies for overcoming mental hurdles. And to Sabrina Modelle from The Tomato Tart, who designed the wonderful logo and shared her delicious, vegan cream cheese recipe.

I’m grateful to everyone who helped spread the word about the challenge — including so many bloggers and reporters. Every blog post, article, Tweet, and Facebook share made a huge difference. I’m especially indebted to the talented Rene Lynch at the Los Angeles Times, who has championed the cause for the past three years.

There are also two people who have been working completely “behind the scenes” that deserve some public praise.  First is Hannah, my awesome assistant. We’ve been working together since February to bring this whole project together, and I credit (what’s left of) my sanity to her.  And then there’s Matty, my wonderfully supportive husband. He’s put up with all my unprocessed shenanigans… and my long hours in front of the computer. Thanks, honey.

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 positive experience.

So… 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 three times before. But for some reason (umm, how about 93 guest posts?), this year I found myself more willing to “fudge” the rules in certain circumstances. At home, it was no problem – since the only foods we brought into the house passed the kitchen test. But when we’d go out to parties or other social gatherings, or would travel, I found myself being just a bit more flexible than, in retrospect, I would have liked, eating a few things here and there that definitely broke the rules. But that’s okay, I’m not beating myself up about it. (I’m just glad nobody caught me stuffing my face with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew!  Just kidding, just kidding…)

I’m guessing most folks had their ups-and-downs, too (that’s why it’s called a “challenge,” after all). I’d love to hear the highlights and the most positive “takeaways” from your experience. What I’m most interested in hearing about is 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 thorough 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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84 Comments on "So… How’d it go?"

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Eating unprocessed food is a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Susan S.

I am so thankful for the experience. I was shocked by so many foods that are processed and the unnecessary ingredients added to foods. The bread I baked didn’t have sugar added and it was delicious, why do all the baked breads in my grocery store have sugar? Unsalted butter, every one in my grocery store had added flavoring. A lot of items in the “Natural Food” section of my grocery store have ingredients I can’t pronounce let alone make at home. I am so much more aware of what is in the food I eat. I may not be as diligent as I was in Unprocessed October but I will be more selective in my food selections in the future. Thank you Andrew.

Danica D
I ate pretty well going into October, but definitely was not unprocessed. At the start of October, I turned myself over to the challenge and found an inner love for cooking I didn’t know I had! As the month went on, I found myself making more exceptions but settling into a mostly-unprocessed routine that I believe will stay. I like reading labels and finding foods that past the test. I like learning where my food comes from and focus on eating more natural foods. I like having a slice of Hawaiian pizza from the local joint that I salivate for, and have it be the best thing I ate all day. THAT’s why I did this challenge, and exactly what I got out of it; perspective. THANK YOU for the sticker, for the challenge, and for all the work you did to get to this point. I am honored to… Read more »
Charles B

My second year, and I’ve been trying to behave for the other 11 months in between. This October saw me kick my sweet drink habit: no sugar, no HFCS, no Splenda, no Stevia… all of it removed from my beverages. I especially enjoyed the daily articles. I’ve made my own fermented mustard and onion dip, and bought one of the contributors books. Thank you so much for doing all the work and getting all people together to write.

Kylie K.

It was way easier than I thought it would be! It is something I will continue to do the rest of my life! Thanks for the Challenge! Its changed the way I look at food…I’ve learned SO much!


Thank you so much for this Challenge. I know I wasn’t perfect but I’m so glad I did this. I was like you, at home I know I did perfectly because we only brought clean items in but out may have been a different story. 🙂 I did give my self a couple of allowances which I’m ok with. The daily 3!!! posts were amazing. I know a lot of work went into all that and I so appreciate it. I learned alot! I’m going to do my best to keep this up. I learned more about my body and it is much happier not having processed foods. Thanks again!!

Christy B

We had a great time eating unprocessed and it has really gotten us to question all of our food choices and re-evaluate how and what we eat. Homemade almond milk was a revelation. I will never buy a jar of peanut butter again. I crave my homemade version! We lost some weight, feel much better and plan to continue to learn and grow as unprocessed eaters (at least most of the time!)

I did pretty well, with the exception of having a piece of store-bought cake on Halloween at my office! I renewed my passion for cooking at home, and tried many of the wonderful recipes you posted, in addition to coming up with my own and finding others on the interwebs. I also shopped at my local farmer’s market for the first time, and spent much longer at the grocery store, actually reading every single label, and making educated choices. I am also on Weight Watchers, and during the month of October, I lost about 12 pounds. Not too shabby 🙂 And I’ve enjoyed the month so much that I will continue on for the duration of November…I bought a juicer the other day, so I will be making many fresh/healthy juices from here on out! Thanks for setting this challenge up; it was great and made me so much more… Read more »
Heather N

I absolutely love, love, LOVED this challenge! So amazing to become more educated on our food, what is in it and alternatives to eating all that processed, GMO filled junk. I know this must be a ton of work for the October Unprocessed crew and I can’t thank you enough… My family will be eating differently from now on! I have noticed a big difference in the way I feel and the behavior of my kiddos. Please continue spreading the word and making the transition to healthier eating easier!


I loved it!! I started the month at about 50-60% unprocessed already. I think I’m now up to 85-95% unprocessed, and will continue that for as long as I possibly can! I’m already planning how to unprocess my family’s Thanksgiving dinner (two dishes down, a couple to go!). I feel healthier, happier, and better because of this challenge. And so much more knowledgeable, thanks to all the posts! Besides, I’ve got quite a few new recipes to try out now 🙂 Thank you so much! I’m a changed person because of this.


This has been a very interesting and enlightening challenge. I have switched from reading the fat & calorie portion of food labels to reading the ingredients portion. I had no idea that something as simple as “ice cream” could harbor so many chemicals and preservatives. Through this challenge my entire family now checks the ingredients label on everything we purchase. It is no wonder that so many of us in this country are sick. It has been a blessing to me and my family to take part in this challenge. Our awareness of the food we eat will last a lifetime! Thank you!


It was super great! I loved the challenge and even made my own almond milk, it was a success! Thank you so much for your help Andrew! This will be my new life style from now on. I will miss your daily posts dearly, could we do November unprocessed too?


It was harder than I thought! We had a lot of gatherings that caused us to eat out and even the best option on the menu was not what I really should have been eating, but I was starving…

I am somewhat back on track, but plan to hunker down more over the next year to make it easier. The biggest Ah-Ha moment is that if I don’t plan out meals and snacks, I get off track really fast. I love the food that I have started making and keeping around the house when I do plan ahead!

The articles were fantastic! I am so grateful to have met Stacy! She is such an inspiration and look forward to following several of the other guest bloggers and this site!

Tamara @ oh lardy

I eat this way at home normally, however the challenge really made me take a look at how hard it is to find ‘unprocessed’ options out of the house. Restaurants, parties, school, etc make it difficult to follow the challenge. I really thought this was great and loved all the guest posts. would love to be a guest poster next year!!! 😉


I was excited going in, definitely ate better than before,found my family totally unsupportive, (hubby and 2 teenage boys at home)and everytime I took a day’s break due to busyness outside the home, I’d wind up with a headache, so I know the processed stuff affects me. I won’t quit, but I need to work on how to get the rest of the family to understand the reasoning behind it. Still, I lost a small amount of weight, and will continue with all the things I learned.