Taking the Unprocessed Eating Challenge
I have taken a challenge issued by eatingrules.com to eat all unprocessed foods for October. Some of my friends, family, and especially my husband think I may have gone a bit off my rocker. But not me, I’m up for the challenge. Being a dietitian, I have a pretty healthy diet – but I’m not going to lie, I do use processed foods at times to make life easier. Having a baby last year, and now feeding her food rather than formula has made me ultra aware of the ingredients in all the foods I serve for her and our family (ugh, have you ever checked out the food label on those puffs snacks for babies… what is that stuff?).
Since I have accepted this challenge, I have gotten the same question over and over again, “How do you define unprocessed?” Good question, even I thought so. Does this mean anything that has gone through any type of processing I cannot eat? I mean if you think about it even whole wheat flour has been processed – it doesn’t exist that way in nature. My husband threw out the argument that my organic skim milk should be considered processed, as it does not exist that way in nature. I started to panic, woooooo…. wait a minute… what have I agreed to. Am I destined to fruits and vegetables for the next month (I love them, but that would be a bit much to make an entire diet of them for a WHOLE MONTH!!)
And then I found a definition, a reasonable definition I think… that most people could follow with a little effort… According to the eatingrules.com website, here it is…
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.
Thank You eatingrules.com for not making this super difficult, and giving us a definition that is doable, even for busy people. So with that I’m feeling okay about this whole “October Unprocessed” challenge again. Luckily I do like to cook, and try new recipes. I’m pretty good at making substitutions for healthier ingredients. But even for me, this will be a learning process…
You might be asking yourself if my whole family is going unprocessed, and the answer is no. I would like us to, but my husband has flat out refused, stating “ he is just not going to give up his Big Macs for a whole month”. In his defense, he was sort of kidding, and doesn’t eat them too much, but yes… I am a dietitian who has a husband who eats Big Macs and fast food, and lots of other unhealthy stuff, and despite my best efforts, educational speeches, and flat out begging he continues… oye! But that is probably a topic for another blog. To answer the question, it will just be myself and my daughter going unprocessed.
So for now I am going to get working on stocking my pantry with unprocessed foods, and digging out my recipe books so I can plan out some meals. I am going to try to blog as often as possible throughout this challenge. I hope you will join me on this journey – even if you choose not to go unprocessed yourself, maybe you will pick up a few tips along the way to eat a little less processed, and a little more healthy.
Tracey is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Plattsburgh, NY. She enjoys cooking healthy recipes for her family, and loves involving her daughter in the process. On her blog, she shares meal prep ideas, healthy recipes, nutrition tips and even gardening tips (to help you eat more whole foods). Check out her social media sites for more great tips.