The October Unprocessed Challenge
Fall has finally arrived and once again we are gearing up for our annual October Unprocessed challenge. For those of you who aren’t one of the 30,000 participants, October Unprocessed is a movement started in 2009 by Andrew Wilder. The thought behind the movement is simple: “what happens if you stop eating processed foods for one month?” Wilder reported that in his case, he felt less lethargic, he felt more energetic, he had fewer cravings for sweet and salty snacks, and he was more creative in the kitchen.
Although it may sound intimidating to some, this is certainly not a diet so much as a mindful eating exercise. It is not meant to be restrictive at all, but instead is intended to make participants more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Our daily food choices directly impact our health and our mood, so why not choose real, whole foods?
The only “rule” is to try to eliminate processed foods. However, even the term “unprocessed” can cause confusion. For the purpose of simplicity, Wilder offers this definition, “Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.” In other words, a food would be considered processed if the label lists ingredients that you wouldn’t find in your kitchen and wouldn’t be able to make yourself (think artificial coloring, flavoring, preservatives or pretty much any ingredient that is unrecognizable).
Our hope for this experiment is that you are able to try some new recipes at home and become more thoughtful about your food choices. To learn more about the challenge, and find more resources for your journey, check out our Eat Real October Unprocessed post from 2017. Share about your journey in the comments below!