Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

October: Unprocessed Challenge

Three days ago I commented on Facebook that I was in need of a detox to cleanse my body from the rather unhealthy eating I’ve been doing lately.  I realized that I can’t make it past noon without a soda, I’m eating salty snacks three times a day, and I crave, crave, crave without actually enjoying the food I eat.  All this makes me feel incredibly unwell.

That evening, while checking my Twitter feed, I came across the Unprocessed October challenge.  Coincidence?  Entirely.  One very big, happy coincidence.  It gave me the inspiration I so desperately needed to stop thinking and start doing.

Today is Day 1.  More than 2,000 other individuals have also determined this to be a worthwhile challenge.  Talk about a support group!  So what does this challenge mean, other than I’m going to be a cranky girl for the first week without my soda?  Well, it means that for one month, I am going to be more conscious of my food choices.  Gone are the sweet, salty, and carbonated snacks that I’ve become so reliant on (dare I say addicted to?).  Also gone are the all-too-convenient food items that contain ingredients unknown and unpronounceable.  In their place, I fully expect to rediscover higher energy, better concentration, and overall well-being.  That’s not too much to ask of a diet, right?

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.  While I already knew all these rules, as most of us do, they aren’t always at the front of my mind when I’m rushing through the grocery store to find something quick for dinner.  So call it a refresher course.  It never hurts to review 🙂

So the question is, what defines unprocessed?  The answer is, depends.  Everyone has a different definition, based on many different factors.  For me, I like the definition given by the challenge’s organizer, Andrew Wilder.  He calls it the Kitchen Test Definition: if you can’t reasonably make it in your own kitchen, it doesn’t pass the test.  Simple, right? I also liked Michael Pollan’s rule “eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.”  Again, such a simple definition!

Of course, sometimes this is easier said than done.  For example, I don’t think I could reasonably make milk in my kitchen.  And I can’ t picture salt growing in nature.  But since I have a growing boy who loves his milk and I have very low blood pressure (I know, hard to sympathize with that), I plan to make these two items, in moderation, deliberate exceptions to the rules.

Yesterday I cleaned out my cupboards and started preparing for a busy month in the kitchen.  I’ll be baking all our breads, making homemade crackers from whole grain flours and chips from actual vegetables, I’m even going to try my hand at homemade cheese.  Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of great influences to help me along this path.  And by blogging this challenge, I’ve made you all accessories to holding me accountable 😀

So wish me luck… and feel free to join me on this quest for better health!


October 1, 2011 - Posted by | Food for thought | ,

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