Welcome to October Unprocessed 2017!

October Unprocessed 2016

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. By the end of October, 415 people took the pledge and got this movement really started. We’ve grown each year since then — by now, more than 30,000 people have joined in.

We’ve also shared a ton of guest posts each year, and this year will be no exception. (Want to read previous years’ guest posts? Here they are: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

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 unprocessed?”

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.

Thanks to our sponsors, who make the challenge possible

Bob's Red Mill LogoBob’s Red Mill makes wholesome and delicious real food, with an emphasis on whole grains. They’re a longtime sponsor of October Unprocessed, and I’m proud to be working with them again.
Primo WaterPrimo Water makes high-quality home and office water dispensers and 5-gallon bottled water. This is their first year sponsoring the challenge, and I’m thrilled to welcome them — because what you drink is as important as what you eat.

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 show 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.

Andrew

Take the October Unprocessed Pledge Here!


If you don’t see the pledge form, please try this page instead.

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 NameLocation (City/State)Comment
Rita Blow Houston, Tx
Patsy Halfey Australia, Karingal Centre I will immediately clutch your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you've any? Please allow me recognise so that I could subscribe. Thanks.
RichardTydayXQ RichardTydayXQ Peru
Richard Beech Hollywood, Florida oh no...
Pamela Martin Roy, Ut
Alejandro Garcia Bogotá, Colombia Im interested in seeing how eating real food changes my body, not only physically but also how it affects my energy amount, my humor and overall myself in the process.
ThomascapJG ThomascapJG Romania
Analysha Davis Oklahoma City Oklahoma
Melanie Sarabia San José del cabo I would love to try
Ken Obe Charleston
Magen Omalley Tonawanda
Eugenia Highsmith New Smyrna Beach, FL
Laurie Critchfield Spotsylvnia Virginia
Jean Wynn San Diego CA
Deanna Johnson Fresno, Ca
Robin Vallese Narragansett ri
Lindsay Weinschenk Iowa City
Carol Adams Newton
JaNeen Vance Taft TN
Denise Orr Bronx, NY Ok. So it's after October. Still good.
Angela Ramirez Grand Island Nebraska
Mary Jones-Furlow Philadelphia, PA I am taking the pledge on November 3, 2017!
Ashleigh Hager Virginia Beach, VA Love Bob's Red Mill. I have cut processed foods and sugars from my life and you folks at Bob's Red Mill make my life so much easier!! Thank you, Ashleigh H.
Patt Keane Minneapolis, MN I signed up (I thought) but never got any of the emails. Sad!
pasryani arief indonesia

View and search the list of all 2519 awesome people!

 

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

Photo of kneading dough by Gaelle Marcel.

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35 Comments on "Welcome to October Unprocessed 2017!"

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Monika Robinski
Guest

Kind of makes me feel proud. Apparently people find it hard to do , what I do every day. Cooking with simple ingredients. Good luck!

Shunda
Guest

Thanks the average person myself included eats so many processed foods without a second thought. And to walk away from them are hard especially with children processed foods are easy to grab and appeal a great deal to tiny people.

JC Richtofen
Guest

Fat is not bad for you in moderation. In fact, fats are needed as part of a healthy diet. We need to educate people better about fats and what they are and how they are needed.

Kenani Y. Gertner
Guest

I have had a great deal of physical problems, and a doctor actually caused me diabetes, so I try harder to eat healthier, but I’ve always started with wholesome, unprossed goods, which I cook from scratch, no boxed refuse for my family.

hanna beck
Guest

Looking forward to creating delicious whole-grain meals with fresh in season produce! I love Bob’s Red Mill, and I love knowing what is in all the food I eat!

Darlene Latshaw
Guest

Can’t wait to meet some of you in person at the Natural Products Expo in Baltimore the end of September!

Pauline
Guest

I think the $5 bento box is the most exciting for me

Jacqueline Davis
Guest

October 2016, just need to stay focused on yes and no foods! I’d make a muffin in a mug and my waffles. Yum!!

Tmmaceira
Guest

Looking forward to joining the challenge