Welcome to October Unprocessed!

October Unprocessed Logo
In October 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. Years later, more than 30,000 people have joined in.

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.

Set Yourself up for Unprocessed Success!

Real Food Rescue LogoThe October Unprocessed Challenge is totally free — but if you want a complete plan for unprocessed success for the next four weeks (and beyond), check out my Real Food Rescue program!

Filled with guidance, strategies, printable checklists & worksheets, dozens of recipes, and meal plans — this is the easiest way to have all the best resources and guidance at your disposal, helping you take control of what you eat, feel great, and transform your life.

Get $10 off the Real Food Rescue when you take the October Unprocessed pledge and purchase during September or October! (Once you take the pledge below, I’ll email you the discount code.)

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.


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.

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

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Carol Stottlemeyer
Carol Stottlemeyer
September 20, 2017 6:43 pm

But, what if I really hate to cook?

September 20, 2017 1:02 pm

Always try to eat clean

Karen Adams
Karen Adams
September 19, 2017 7:46 pm

I will take the pledge

Helen Ounjian
Helen Ounjian
September 19, 2017 7:23 pm

I love this challenge! It motivates me to cook better and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Good luck everyone!

karen bellomy
karen bellomy
September 19, 2017 10:14 am

trying to eat healthy is hard but this makes it easier

Hayley Metzger
Hayley Metzger
September 19, 2017 10:09 am

Let’s do this!!

September 19, 2017 9:36 am

Can’t get the pledge link to operate for me. Want to take the pledge though.

September 19, 2017 6:23 pm
Reply to  Andrew

no form appears so I can’t take the pledge and I can’t click on the phrase listed in your comment above


September 19, 2017 9:29 am

Can’t find the link!

Erin Kriz
September 11, 2017 10:23 am

I already eat this way every day. Fresh, whole, unprocessed foods are a must in my home. Congratulations to all of you who are pledging to eat healthier! The more you do it, the more your body will crave the good stuff. Listen to your body and stay focused on your health!

JC Richtofen
October 8, 2016 6:38 am

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.

N Muller
September 29, 2017 3:49 am
Reply to  Andrew

Thank you. I was just looking for this chart. Very helpful