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 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
Kezia Stephen Texas
Melinda Ford Mississippi
Sarah Owens Wisconsin
Mary Wilbanks Southwest FL I'm in
Beth Ann Smith Ohio. USA
Jennifer adams connecticut
Calista V California
Barbara Joy Columbus, OH This is my 2nd year!
Julie Lewis Fort Worth
Aaqila Amatus Salaan Ohio
Janet Buechler Rochester, WA
Lori Diaz Illinois
sarah west Ohio
Lynn Pitts Great Falls, MT This is my 3rd year participating and a perfect time each year to re-evaluate our eating habits after working hard to being unprocessed for years now
Sarah Speight Colorado WooHoo!
Jory Lieber NY
Victoria Odle South Dakota
Nicole Small Arizona yay!
Rebecca Roth LaGrange, Ga. Had a fantastic experience in 2014! Looking forward to year two!
Aishah Muhammad OH
Rachel Meloche British Columbia
Luci Petlack Los Angeles
Barb Elliott Alberta
Annette P Connecticut
Samantha Campbell Alpharetta, GA

View and search the list of all 719 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. Mary Hess September 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m in!

  2. Tonya Gastineau September 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    I pledge clean eating in October.

  3. Katie Wessels September 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Ohio! I’m ready for October Unprocessed!

  4. Barbara Mears September 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm #


  5. Holly England September 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    I gladly pledge to unprocessed October!

  6. Lindsay K September 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm #


  7. Lindsay K September 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm #


  8. Karen September 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    What wouldn’t I make?!? I have wanted one of these for as long as I can remember. I would use it for everything!

  9. Lindsay September 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    I will try for one week not to eat any processed foods!!!

  10. cathy September 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    love bobs red mill products

  11. Jazmyne September 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    I’m in….lets do it !!

  12. lindsay September 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    one month!

  13. sharon Kingsley September 25, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I love Kitchen Aid, in red , of course

  14. Darnell's keyser September 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Excited to try this!

  15. Margaret Jennings September 26, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Would the Lay’s Potato Chips pass the Kitchen Test? The ingredients are: potatoes, vegetable oil and salt.

    • Andrew September 26, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      Hi Margaret! I’d say no – because vegetable oil doesn’t pass the kitchen test. (It’s not so easy to extract oil out of vegetables…).

      But it’s also pretty easy to make your own! Just slice some potatoes very thin — a mandoline definitely helps here — and then pan-fry them in a little olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt. Delicious!


  1. We’re In This Together – October Unprocessed Month | Blog – Farm Fresh To You - October 8, 2014
  2. Sprouts Farmers Markets – Oct 8 – Oct 15 - Saving a Buck with Mrs. Buck - October 9, 2014
  3. Woodman’s Coupon Matchups 10/9 – 10/15/2014 | Wisconsin Coupon Matchups - October 9, 2014
  4. High Value Bob's Red Mill Coupons + Kroger Deals - MyLitter - One Deal At A Time - October 11, 2014
  5. Simple food – Part 1 | Still learning - October 12, 2014
  6. Free with coupons 10/13/14 - Mashup Mom - October 13, 2014
  7. a little wholesome baking … Whole Wheat English Muffins | STRESSCAKE - October 14, 2014
  8. Homemade Whole Wheat Parsley Fettuccine - Letty's Kitchen - October 15, 2014
  9. What do you mean it’s only Tuesday? | casalissa - October 15, 2014
  10. October Unprocessed Update & 100 Days of REAL Food Recipe: Pumpkin Dessert Dip | Stacy Loves... - October 16, 2014
  11. Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | The Wimpy Vegetarian - October 16, 2014
  12. #Unprocessed: Day Migraine - October 18, 2014
  13. #Unprocessed: The Food Festival Exceptions - October 18, 2014
  14. Are You Up for a Healthy Challenge? - Skinny Mommy Fitness | Health & Fitness Coaching | Workout Programs | Nutrition | Motivation - October 20, 2014
  15. Free with coupons 10/20/14 - Mashup Mom - October 20, 2014

Leave a Reply