Table of Contents:
- Take the October Unprocessed challenge
- How do you define unprocessed?
A grassroots movement, October Unprocessed, challenges people to a month of eschewing any foods that couldn't be made in a typical home kitchen.
Here’s what Wilder says when asked how he defines "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.
So that means if you could grow or create that ingredient in your own home, it’s on the good list (yay for peanut butter, lentils, and salads!). But if it’s something extruded from a machine (here’s looking at you, PowerBar), or if it has ingredients on the label that you couldn’t make yourself (what is soy protein isolate, anyway?), it’s time to just say no.
I think October Unprocessed sounds like a fantastic way to help all of us simply to think about what makes up our food. “This is an exercise in awareness,” Wilder writes. If a month just sounds too daunting, try it for only a week or even a day, he suggest. No matter what, you’ll increase your understanding of what goes into your food, and you’ll likely feel better in the process. And if you go whole-hog with the challenge but just HAVE to have that PowerBar, don't beat yourself up; at least you'll be eating it intentionally. As Wilder says, “It’s about making an informed, conscious decision, in advance, about a particular food.”
If you give it a try, let us know how it goes! Tell us on Facebook or in the comments below.