What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?
More energy? Less headaches? No afternoon crash? Better sleep, better mood?
I don’t know, but I’m willing to try. I’ve joined Andrew Wilder’s October Unprocessed 2011 Challenge and am inviting you to give it a go too.
So how do you figure out if a food is “processed”? Andrew says:
I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (and 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.
After visiting Petaluma’s Tara Firma Farms, I was crazy inspired by what they were doing and pulled out my copy of The Omnivores Dilemma, as that was the book that inspired them to start a CSA (the book had been sitting, well intentioned, on my shelf for 5 years). After that, I took the leap to trying to get more foods, particularly meats, produce and dairy, from local sources. But I hadn’t committed 100%. So I’m taking doing October Unprocessed as a way to get my family and I on that train wholeheartedly.
As I’ve been doing for a month or so, I took a trip to the Farmer’s Market today, but today I did it knowing I’ve actually PLEDGED to go unprocessed for the next month. So I’d need to get some unprocessed rations on hand!
Here are the spoils:
We’ve got carrots, pears, white nectarines, potatoes, a red onion for Zach, green beans, broccoli and a French melon (something new to me!). We get a CSA box on Monday as well, so we’ll probably have tomatoes and lots of greens in that.
We’ve got some meat in the freezer from the CSA and some we got from Marin Sun Farms when we went there for a tour on Wednesday (a separate post to follow on their operation).
Aside from living in California, which is just about the best place in the United States to attempt this sort of thing, I am so friggin lucky to live in Petaluma, which is an old dairy town from way back. We have a parade called “Butter and Eggs Day” if that gives you an idea. So there are small farms and food producers everywhere right here in town.
Here’s where I interject and say, “But even if you dont live in a picturesque seat of small agriculture like I do, you can still take the October Unprocessed Challenge… Enough about how great where I live is, I’m sure you’ll find a way…”
Douchey, yeah. I should probably erase all the great stuff I wrote about Petaluma.
But the truth is, you can do this no matter where you live. October Unprocessed is about eating real food – Zach calls it the 100 Years Diet because it consists of foods people would recognize 100 years ago. “What’s a Cheez-It?”
This isn’t about going LOCAL, and it’s not about being ORGANIC.
Just eating foods that are actual, real foods not invented in a lab.
I think that’s a do-able goal. I’m in! You?