Eat Drink Better

Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Heather Carr


October Unprocessed 2013

October UnprocessedFruits and Vegetable in a Paper Bag

October Unprocessed starts tomorrow! This month, I make the commitment to eat only unprocessed foods. Thirty-one days isn’t so long, right?

What Is October Unprocessed?

Actually, this is the third year I’ve done this. October Unprocessed started with Andrew Wilder on the Eating Rules blog. He’s been giving up processed foods during October since 2009. What exactly is “processed”? He provides us with a “Kitchen Test” definition as a guide:

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

Most of the things we buy could be made at home with a little practice. Bread, beer, wine, tea, coffee, seasoning blends, even frozen dinners are all fairly easy to make for anyone with time, space, and the willingness to learn.

That doesn’t mean that participating in October Unprocessed will have us working ceaselessly in the kitchen. Purchasing bread or any other premade food is within the limits of October Unprocessed, I’ll just be sure to check the ingredients list.

The other thing about participating in October Unprocessed is that we set our own limits. Some people avoid processed foods for one day or one week and that’s fine. It’s more about learning what’s in our food and how our food is made than it is about passing some test.

Is Convenience Food Really Convenient?

Giving up processed foods gets easier each year, since I’ve already done much of the research on different brands. In some cases, I’ve realized that convenience foods aren’t always more convenient than making it myself. One example is my usual breakfast – granola and a cup of tea. I used to eat Quaker Chewy Dipps (chocolate chip). Yum! But the list of ingredients in one of those granola bars is extensive and very…chemical.

I experimented a little bit, which I consider more fun than work, and came up with a homemade granola recipe that reproduces the flavors that I loved about the Quaker Dipps without the extra stuff. It doesn’t hold together like a bar, but using a spoon and a bowl is okay with me. After eating my homemade granola for a while, I picked up a box of Dipps. I was surprised to realize that there isn’t much flavor in there and that most of the flavor is sweetener.

Bob’s Red Mill Coupons

Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring October Unprocessed this year. They make a wide variety of flours and baking helpers. Over on the Eating Rules blog, there is a form to fill out that gives you a link to coupons for Bob’s Red Mill products.

I learn new things about my own eating habits each time I do this. I hope you’ll join me during October Unprocessed and let me know how you’re doing.

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

7 Responses to October Unprocessed 2013

  1. JR says:

    Why just October? If, as you and the rest of us know, processed food is bad for us, why would you eat it any month? Ever? Do you only want to be 1/12th healthy?

  2. DaveWh says:

    Whilst informed people try to avoid processed foods as much as possible I find that one great incentive where I live is that processed foods are more expensive!
    Weekly shopping bill would increase considerably if we ate these chemically laden convenience foods not to mention the health detriments.

  3. Pingback: It’s A Date! October 24 is Food Day 2013. | Healthy Food Guides

  4. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

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