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
JaNeen Vance Taft TN
Debora Priest Germany, Kulmain Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it's driving me crazy so any support is ver
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
Lisa Renwick NJ Try for November
Mohamed Haji Chennai India That’s my hope to make unprocessed seasoning
MELINDA WALKER knox, tn
Crystal Dajnowski Memphis
Gloria Salumn Hopewell junction NY
Jil Kauffman Milpitas/Ca I love fresh food and will do my best!
Emelia Baylebridge Australia, Smiths Lake Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it's new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be book-marking and checking back frequently!
Karen Kipp Bonner Springs, KS Can't wait to join!
Cindy Harvey Franklin, Ma I will try 1 week, then more
Lori Mills El Dorado, California cool idea! great website 🙂
Brigette Johnson Garden Grove, CA
Sheridan Colbourn Danville/ CA
Jay King Florida
Michele Pitts Spring Valley
rachel campbell acworth, ga
Mayra Garcia Chula vista/CA
Karen Forbes Ontario, Canada

View and search the list of all 2503 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

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