Welcome to the 6th Annual October Unprocessed!

October Unprocessed“Cubes” by Lernert & Sander, used with permission

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?

Ready to take
the pledge?
Scroll down or Click here!

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, and last year over 22,000 people 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, and 2014)

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 processed?”

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, and we’ll continue exploring it as October approaches.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Bob's Red Mill Logo

I’m thrilled to announce that Bob’s Red Mill and MightyNest are sponsoring this year’s challenge! I’m a huge fan of both companies, and they’re a perfect fit for the October Unprocessed.

Bob’s Red Mill makes wholesome and delicious real food, and MightyNest offers a wide variety of quality products for healthy living. I believe they are both companies that truly make the world a better place, and I’m proud to have their support.

Their sponsorship is a huge help in making October Unprocessed happen again this year — thank you, Bob’s Red Mill and MightyNest!

Awesome Bonus Freebie!

Bee's WrapOnce you take the October Unprocessed pledge, I’ll send you a code so you can get your first month of The MightyFix for free! This is a new service from MightyNest where they ship an amazing product to you that helps your family live healthier each month.

Your first month’s shipment will be two full-size pieces of Bee’s Wrap reusable storage wrap — absolutely free! (If you were to buy this at full price, it would be $19.05 with shipping.) I’ve been using Bee’s Wrap for awhile now, and just love the stuff… So after you take the pledge below, look for an email from me with instructions on how to take advantage of this sweet deal.

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 indicate 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.


Take the October Unprocessed Pledge Here!

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
Stephanie Stiavetti Oakland CA
Jessica Pelote France
Shayna Gonzales Waterville, OH I feel so much better when I eat unprocessed, it's so bad for you!
Shelby Reilly North haven
carlos mago Caracas Everything is under discussion these days... Unprocessed food... is it the same to say Natural food?... no chemical ingredients nor preservatives or something else... like eating an apple directly from the tree which hasn´t been spread with toxic... or a
Jamie Velasquez Hilo, HI Yay
Irina Albanell Sais Barcelona
Doug Doo Warner Robins, Ga
Elizabeth Renneisen Chattanooga, TN I'm going for Feb 29-March 25!
Abbi Gayle California yes, do it...
Belinda Dillback Evansville, IN October??? Should be March
JIll Upchurch Madison, MS
Jwa Star Paterson, NJ
Michelle Bridges French Camp
Carol DiFrancesca Easton pa
Carolyn Sedinger fort worth texas Let's go!
Lizzy Romero Los Angeles / California
claire Bleathman United KIngdom I pledge for month of February!
Yolande Harrison Montreal/Quebec
James Fowler Houston/TX January 5th to February 5th
Jessi travis merrilliville/Indiana jan 13th-feb 13th
Janette Dejesus Virginia Im going to take the pledge October 2016
Michele Prunk Firestone, co Ready!
Alyson Abramson Bethesda, MD Can't wait! Hoping I can do it in January?
Mona Gustafson Elk Grove, Ca I and my family can do this!!!

View and search the list of all 5518 awesome people!


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

398 Responses to Welcome to the 6th Annual October Unprocessed!

  1. Kathy Dillard September 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    thank you

  2. Jodi Lincourt September 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Might be a challenge…but, I’m willing to try…

  3. Alexandra Lane September 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    My favorite time of year.

  4. Kimberly September 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    It’s a way of life for us!

  5. Janet Revia September 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Yes yes yes!!!!!

  6. Shaunda L Biwman September 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    I want to join in Unprocessed October!!

  7. brenda September 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    I pledge to do the unprocessed food month!

  8. EmilY Burch September 29, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Our family of 4 has 3 people who suffer from celiac. We’ve had to make major changes in everything overt the last 4 1/2 years. I like the rules of this challenge n I have the freedom to buy premake things, as long as I could make them myself.

  9. Alicia Karschnik September 29, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I need all the help I can get!!


  1. Free with coupons 9/29/14 - Mashup Mom - September 29, 2014
  2. FREE In Stores This Week! (09/28/14) - Surviving The Stores™ - September 29, 2014
  3. Kosher Target Deals for Week of September 28th - Kosher on a Budget - September 29, 2014
  4. October. Unprocessed. | my kitchen addiction - September 29, 2014
  5. Organizing your Kitchen for a Successful October #Unprocessed Challenge | Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog - September 29, 2014
  6. FREE Bob's Red Mill rice flour at Target - Mashup Mom - September 29, 2014

Leave a Reply