Welcome to the 6th Annual October Unprocessed!

October Unprocessed 2015
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, 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 Sponsor

Bob's Red Mill LogoI’m thrilled to announce that Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring this year’s challenge again! I’m a huge fan; I love their wholesome and delicious products, and I believe they are a company that truly makes the world a better place. I’ve even visited the factory and can personally confirm that they’re the real deal.

They’ve been a longtime supporter of my site, and their sponsorship is a huge help in making the October Unprocessed happen again this year. Thank you, Bob’s Red Mill!

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 NameLocationComment
bethany white cincinnati ohio
Christine McDonald New Zealand This is my third year. I find that October becomes like a re-boot to get rid of any processed foods that have crept back int o my diet since last October. Looking forward to it.
Kathy Keating Indiana
cathy campo CA
Mary Catherine Donnellon Michigan Looking forward to eating healthier!
Mattea Orr NY
Fran Hall Exeter NH
Dalores Lounds Merrillville, IN
sandy wimmer ohio
Donna Thomas Belleville, IL
Neda Afshar Chicago, IL Thank u!
Julie Mankin Olympia, WA
Suzanne Holland Phx,Az
Bethany Brown Nashville 2nd year! Let's do it!
Erin Fries Oregon
Erin Kurwicki Illinois
Marlen B Seattle
Nick Leimbach Washington, D.C.
Emily Jensen Idaho Love this challenge. Each year it's a time to refocus where I may be getting lax with my eating. Love your emails throughout the month! Thank you!!
Cheri Scott Anchorage, AK
Stacy Carson Los Angeles
rebecca drummond GREENWOOD
Wendy Ambrosia California
Tara McKinney Germantown,MD
Chelsie Wong Honolulu, HI We're ready!

View and search the list of all 350 awesome people!


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

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

  1. Cindy October 17, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    i will do it!!!!

  2. cherie October 18, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    Gonna try this

  3. cherie October 18, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Gonna try this!

  4. sunny October 18, 2014 at 12:22 am #


  5. Bekah October 18, 2014 at 12:49 am #


  6. lily October 18, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    like those products

  7. Casey October 18, 2014 at 3:48 am #


  8. Barbra Warsetsky October 18, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    Will try to be more conscious of labels and give up processed foods.

  9. Twila Rowe October 18, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    Love Bob’s!

  10. R till October 18, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Good idea!

  11. wilheminia October 18, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    ill do it

  12. indirimli elektrik October 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    i will try it

  13. vish October 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    i do!

  14. K October 19, 2014 at 12:50 am #


  15. V Ng October 19, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    One week commitment.


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