Last week I came across a link on Facebook, posted by Seattle Tilth. A blogger named Andrew Wilder was inviting people to join his challenge, October Unprocessed 2012. The idea is very simple: commit to eating only unprocessed foods in October (or at least commit to doing your best toward that goal).
Yes to potatoes!
I was immediately drawn to the idea. I’ve always liked personal challenges like this and have tried many of them over the years. For me, they’re a way to bump myself out of routine, to question assumptions about how I live and interact with the world, and to learn which pieces of a different approach to living I might want to adopt as longer-term ways of life.
October is always a very demanding month for me at work, so I’m going to be a little extra forgiving with myself on exceptions when I really think I need them. But what the heck? I’m going to give it a try.
I like Wilder’s definition of unprocessed, and in general, I’ll follow his approach, with tweaks as they make sense to me. So no white flour, no white sugar (and limited sweeteners like agave or maple syrup), no Daiya, no seitan. I will include oil (anyone who knows me knows I need every calorie I can get!), but during October I will pass on delicious, greasy sandwiches from Highline or Wayward or donuts from Mighty-O. Good thing I had all of those things this past weekend
Really, though, I have confidence that despite all the things I’ll be cutting out, in so doing I’ll also be forced to try new things and in many ways expand my food choices and cooking repertoire, just like when I went vegan. Although I won’t be making any effort to restrict gluten, I expect I’ll be eating significantly less of it because I’ll be avoiding many of the things that contain it.
What’s there to miss?
I’m hoping to eat more healthfully, to reduce the amount of packaging I buy with prepared-food shortcuts, to eat more locally produced food, and to learn some new tricks.
And periodically throughout the month, I’ll blog about it here!
Here’s what food has looked like for day one:
Breakfast: Rice cakes with sunflower seed butter and an MacIntosh apple
Snack: Hazelnuts with cacao nibs (you didn’t think I was going to skip chocolate, did you?), and homemade nectarine fruit leather
(Brown rice with broccoli and black beans, topped with raw pepitas and dressed with olive oil, vinegar, smoked salt and red chili flakes)
Snack: Banana and cashews
(Pumpkin-crusted tempeh with baked sweet potato, topped with parsley-lemon sauce)
With a demanding schedule I won’t promise much in the way of stellar food photography, but I’ll try to include representative photos as I go, plus recipes when I find ones worth recommending. If you have recipes I should try, I’d love to see them! And if you have suggestions for making my pumpkin-crusted tempeh less dry, I’d love to hear about those, too.