October may be over, but it was really just the beginning

Unprocessed whole wheat pizza

Matty and I made this unprocessed pizza a few days ago. Here’s the recipe.
(Photo from my Instagram feed – follow me!)

Woohoo!

Congratulations, you made it through the fifth annual October Unprocessed!

And you’re in some pretty good company: At last count, 22,113 people took the pledge! Wow. 

Thanks.

It’s staggering the number of people who came together and volunteered their time, expertise, and talents to help make this project happen. First and foremost, I want to thank all the guest authors, who shared 40 guest posts throughout the month! Their contributions were delectable, creative, beautiful, helpful, and inspiring. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The food blogging and wellness community is one of the finest groups of people I’ve ever been blessed to know and be a part of, and for that I am truly grateful.

I’d like to thank Ben and the team at Mode Media for the gorgeous Foodie Unprocessed edition of their recipe app, Bob’s Red Mill for the coupons, Harper Collins for the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook giveaway, KitchenAid for the stand mixer & food processor giveaway, Mighty Nest for the kitchen tools & school donation giveaway, and Kombucha Kamp for their starter kit giveaway. I’d also like to thank everyone who helped spread the word about the challenge, in particular the awesome team at Eating Well magazine and the enthusiastic Sunday Supper crew. Every blog post, article, tweet, and share made a huge difference in getting the word out. Awesome.

Finally, a big “thank you” to everyone who took the challenge and participated in any way – including those folks who weren’t ready to sign the pledge, and just read along all month. This challenge is really all about all of you, and I hope it’s been a great experience.

Onward!

October Unprocessed, at its core, is an awareness exercise. Although many people report feeling better (and losing weight!), the goal isn’t really to change your health in just one month. It’s to learn about and focus on what you’re putting in your body, and how it affects your health and well-being and the world around you. I hope you’ve learned a lot this month, and will take that with you moving forward from today. Even though October 2014 has come and gone, October Unprocessed doesn’t really end today – I hope you’ll take your new-found unprocessed knowledge and build on it, growing and learning for the rest of your lives. (And of course I’ll still be blogging here–though perhaps not quite daily!–and sharing on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, of course.)

Each year our numbers have grown — and it gives me hope for the future. It means the pendulum is starting to swing back from ultra-processed foods to real food, and it’s gaining momentum. By continuing on this path, we will shift our world to what we want it to be. So please keep seeking out nutritious, delicious, unprocessed food. The more we demand it, the more the market will provide it, helping ensure everyone will soon have access to unprocessed, wholesome, affordable food.

Now, I’d love to know how the challenge went for you. What was your experience like? Did you have any revelations? Overcome a specific hurdle? Or did you only “make it” for part of the way? And most importantly: What will you take with you, moving forward?  Leave a comment and let us all know!

Thanks again,
Andrew

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27 Comments on "October may be over, but it was really just the beginning"

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Jeanna M
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Jeanna M
November 1, 2014 5:51 am

Although I didn’t post during the process I can say we stuck with it. I learned that it is a joy to make delicious homemade food for my family. We have eaten better this past month than we have in a long time. Also, yes you are right this is only the beginning. I read recipes that call for things such as marshmallow fluff and it just about makes me sick to think of it ( I know I could make my own). I really have gotten to like a simpler, more rustic menu myself. Today holds bread making, sourdough starter, and applesauce making just to name a few . Thank you for the challenge.

Michelle Cox
Guest
Michelle Cox
November 1, 2014 7:24 am

I’d say the process has been eye-opening. It motivated me to recognize that most of the processed foods I eat are due to being in a rush and wanting something quick to eat (I discovered that most of the processed foods I eat are snacks), so I changed some of my habits, like making more time on weekends to make snacks and prep ingredients (like cooking dried beans) so that I wouldn’t find myself stuck during the week. It also motivated me to set more goals. One I didn’t reach this month was to start making my own bread, so we ate bread with unrecognizable ingredients this month. So my next step is to make time for this too on the weekends and days I get home a bit earlier from work. Thank you for the challenge. This was just what I needed.

Gretchen
Guest
Gretchen
November 1, 2014 1:06 pm

I don’t usually make my own bread because it doesn’t last long enough and is often tough to slice thin. I buy the “Silver Hills Bakery” sprouted bread from Costco- it freezes really well and has an ingredient list that I am more than happy to eat =)

Marie-Hélène
Guest
Marie-Hélène
November 1, 2014 9:36 pm

Hi Gretchen,

I used to have the same problem with homemade bread but I found a recipe that solves it for me.

http://www.anoregoncottage.com/whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-101/

Once cooled, I am able to slice that bread to 1/4 inch slices and they hold up well. I usually slice the whole loaf and then split it up in 2 or 3 packages that I freeze for later. That way I don’t have more than I can eat sitting on the counter.

Christine
Guest
November 1, 2014 7:34 am

I will admit I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I sure learned a lot. I eat more processed junk than I thought. It was a good exercise for me. Thanks to all the contributors for their excellent recieps and insights.

Alicia
Guest
Alicia
November 1, 2014 8:01 am

Gratitude for the support and encouragement this month. I had two waves of family visiting during the challenge. I found myself tapping into creative energies that had grown dormant in the midst of quick and rushed menu planning. I planned meals that didn’t ‘live’ in isolation, but built upon each other, like using up bits of almost stale homemade bread from one meal to create an amazing pumpkin bread pudding. Thank you for linking ease with health and vibrancy.

MomCat
Guest
MomCat
November 1, 2014 8:05 am

Many thanks for Unprocessed 2014!

I enjoyed the articles and several recipes in particular. Sometimes it’s hard to cook and remain motivated when you’re cooking for one.

It was nice to have support and new ideas for a month. Hmmm…maybe do a mid-year refresher?

RE: Healthy Bread books. My bibles! For those not familiar with them, you really can have healthy bread in only minutes, once the dough is made and refrigerated. If you like homemade artisan bread but don’t want the sky-high price, you HAVE to try these books!

Thanks!

Deb
Guest
Deb
November 1, 2014 8:17 am

We took the challenge at our house and loved it! We’d already been slowly changing our eating habits so the challenge was a pedal-to-the-metal boost we needed! We’re committed to continue to grow, learn, and eat healthy, home-cooked meals! Many thanks to all of you!

Denice
Guest
Denice
November 1, 2014 8:53 am

Thank you for the inspiration! It was a great experience, and I will continue to pursuit an unprocessed life. I had been reading labels for awhile, but October Unprocessed helped me gain a lot of knowledge and ways to improve my quest. The best parts were the recipes which have greatly expanded my limited collection, and the sharing with others. Thank you, Andrew, for all that you have done and continue to do. You are making a huge difference in so many lives and the world overall!

Judy
Guest
Judy
November 1, 2014 9:45 am
Hi, Well this was the first attempt at going unprocessed and we did not FULLY succeed but we made HUGE progress from where we started. I grew up with a Mom who cooked a high percent of processed foods and no vegetables. (She disliked them so never made us eat them!) That was how I was cooking {and eating} for my family. I did make steps to improve over the years so I was not nearly as bad as I used to be or my mother was but it still was a LOT of packaged dishes. Anyway, I saw the challenge and really did try. We cut back on the packaged foods a great deal and I made more fresh foods. I even learned to make a kamut and lentil soup that is so good. My husband adores it! The only major crash was 1 night I made generic 10… Read more »
Gena & Bob H
Guest
Gena & Bob H
November 1, 2014 10:00 am

This had to be 1 of our best months of unprocessed in years. We’ve been committed to this life style for many years but always find new ideas, strengths & encouragement by joining this group. We now have new recipes, insights & links to keep us going until next Oct.! Thanks to you, Andrew, all your guests & Bob’s Red Mill for
the support. Knowledge is power.

tammie rubell
Guest
tammie rubell
November 1, 2014 10:31 am

Im going to continue to follow the unprocessed diet.

Diane Rocha
Guest
Diane Rocha
November 1, 2014 11:25 am

I did it! 31 days! Never cheated; never wavered. And I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time. As an unexpected bonus, I lost 9 pounds, which,of course has made me very happy. From here, I will continue with the 100 day challenge from Lisa Leake. I will probably make a planned exception, though, for Thanksgiving and my big birthday bash two alters later, but then I will get right to it. Oh, and surprise of all surprises, not only did I not eat even one piece of candy during this Halloween season, and I am a teacher, so it was all around me, I wasn’t even tempted! I am shocked by that and very happy too. Candy is crack for me. One piece, and it’s all over, so I don’t even go there. Thank you, Andrew, and here I come, Lisa!

Schelley
Guest
Schelley
November 1, 2014 11:51 am

Well, this is an experience I will repeat again next year because I learned so much. After a whole month of no candy I ate a snickers bar and even though I felt a craving it was so sickeningly sweet it tasted awful to me. That’s when I realized how much a had reset my palette and that was one of my main goals for the challenge. I’ve been reminded how much I love to cook and making pasta and old fashioned food like my grandparents made is my new mission for the future.

Tracy Smith
Guest
Tracy Smith
November 1, 2014 3:19 pm

THANK YOU! Feeling leaner and cleaner eating unprocessed. The recipes and resources this month are fabulous. I am committed to eating well and unprocessed, as well as cooking more for myself, my family and friends. This has been a great month of fun.

Valerie
Guest
Valerie
November 1, 2014 4:04 pm

October unprocessed was a big change for me. It gave me a direction and focus that all the fad diets did not do. Eating Clean makes sense, and I lost 18lbs this month!! I plan to make this my lifestyle. No more chemicals, preservatives or additives for me!! At last! Thank you Andrew for showing me how to be healthy again

Debbie Porter
Guest
Debbie Porter
November 1, 2014 6:04 pm

I did fairly well with the October challenge, The first week was a little tricky, but then figured it out. lIked all the cool recipes people sent. Thank You.

I will keep doing it and will sign up again next year. Thanks for doing it.

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