Living a sustainable life echoes throughout every facet of life. Food is one of the biggest things that can contribute or take away from a sustainable life. In this day and age it’s so easy to just run to the market for a pre-made, convenient, pre-packaged snack or meal. But at what cost? That snack, that meal, comes with packaging that isn’t always recyclable, and an ingredient list that isn’t always pronounceable. Convenient in the short-term can have long-term consequences both for your own health, that of your family and the world. For me processed foods were one of my first established migraine triggers. Cutting down on my processed food intake became a health priority for me. Yet, in recent times it has waned.
That’s not cool. I want to get back on track, and I want to create a sustainable change in my life to live more sustainably. For me that means cutting down, and preferably, cutting out all processed foods. If my life goal is to live sustainable off the grid, I need to be able to do so without processed foods. I’m a decent cook and it’s an activity I do enjoy, so replacing all those processed foods with homemade shouldn’t be hard. Right?
Let’s find out!
I recently stumbled upon the October Unprocessed challenge. It’s simple, one month, no processed foods. Can you do it? Can I do it? I don’t know, but I sure do want to try! I’d like to invite you to try along with me too!
What are processed foods?
Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.
According to the challenge creator it’s anything that doesn’t pass the kitchen test. That is to say, it’s not something an averagely talented home cook can make. Or as I like to think of it, the ingredients you nee to make food. What’s listed in any old school recipe? Ingredients. Things like sugar, flour, chicken; not things like high-fructose corn syrup, meat byproducts, a box of cake mix, or a can of condensed soup. I think this is a very reasonable definition and I will be adhering to it for my challenge.
What about already prepared foods?
I will not be excluding these exactly. For example, take bread. There’s a difference between the bread conventional bread you buy at the commissary and fresh bakery bread isn’t there? There’s a difference in ingredients too. I will not be excluding things like bread if they come from a bakery that produces breads in a traditional way. So you know the ingredient list looks something like: Flour, water, salt, eggs, butter. No preservatives, no junk. So if the ingredient list reads like a recipe, I will be including it. If it doesn’t, then I will not be including it.
What about eating out?
I will be eating out. I will not be picky and I will not count these against the challenge. Reason being most Korean restaurants do make things from scratch, or at least much more so than most American, particularly chain, restaurants do. If you are playing along, I encourage you to make up your own mind on this. Do what works for you.
What are my goals for this challenge?
I want to build sustainable eating habits that do not rely upon processed foods. I want the majority of foods I eat to be homemade and whole foods. I want to do this for my heath, as well as to reduce our waste output as most processed foods also come with a great deal of packaging.
What are my food exceptions:
Exceptions will include all supplements, vitamins, and medications that I currently take or may be prescribed or recommended to take in the future. I do use whey powder to help me meet my protein macro goal. I will not be doing this in October. While the whey I use is rBGH free, and whey is a naturally occurring product of processes such as cheese making. My whey powder does have flavorings and other things added to it. Since my selection is limited here, and I don’t want to experiment with unflavored whey that I’d have to order online; I will forgo it. I also will be excluding Greek Yogurt (unless I can find some cheesecloth). As I can’t make it at home due to lack of cheese cloth (Can I use something else? Let me know!), also the commissary brands are very limited – if they even have it in stock. They frequently run out of yogurt.
How can you join?
If you want to join officially you can add your name here, as well as get more information including a guide and a meal plan. If you’d like to keep this just between us, then leave a comment in the comments! I will also be hosting a weekly check-in in the Paisley Hearts Facebook group to help keep everyone on track and help each other overcome challenges.
Will you blog about it?
Yes. I will be adding in a special Sunday Edition to update you every week on how it’s going and what I’ve been up to. I will include my weekly menu, and any thoughts, tips or other relevant musings I may have about it. I will also be sharing my progress on Instagram! Once the challenge is over I will write a comprehensive write-up of my experience, and what I learned. Look for that in early November!
I’m not the only blogger who will be doing it though! Kristin over at If the Saddles Fits, will also be participating – while moving no less!
Are you a blogger who will be participating in October Unprocessed? Let me know and I’ll add you to the list!