october unprocessed

There’s a deliberate lack of transparency within the food industry, and we have been deliberately removed from the process of what goes into our food.

I am in the midst of October Unprocessed. What’s that? Some fellow decided to give up processed foods for a month, and now he’s got three thousand (and one!) people doing it with him. He says:

“In October of 2009, I was struck by a simple idea: What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods? This question would have been laughable (rather, nonsensical) just a few decades ago. Nowadays, it seems that almost every food that comes with an ingredients list on it is likely to be laden with extra sugar, fat, and salt.  And preservatives.  And flavorings.  And artificial colors. I’m not okay with this.”

I’m not either. I actually tend to stay away from most processed foods as a matter of preference, tummy-happiness, and that I like to cook, but, once you start looking, it’s amazing how pervasive processed chemicals are in the most whole-food seeming items. So, right: what’s unprocessed? According to Eating Rules (the blog run by the fellow that started all this fun):

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients. 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. 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.

Righto. Got it. I’m on board. I bought plain Greek yogurt and organic whole wheat bread with no preservatives, and a whole block of feta cheese  instead of the crumbled stuff, which has emulsifiers and non-coagulants. Last Monday, it’s day 1, and in the blear of 7:05 a.m., I mixed some Greek yogurt with honey and fruit and then shook some blueberry flax seed on top. Oops. Golden Roasted Milled Flax Seed with blueberries: milled roasted flaxseed, blueberries, corn starch, maltodextrin, cane sugar, natural flavors, soy lechithin. 

Blueberry flax seed escaped my Sunday processed-food-in-the-refridgerator inspection, probably because it’s flax seed. It’s like the spinach of breakfast confections.

After the flax seed debacle—an inauspicious start to my endeavor—I decided to try again Tuesday, to begin the grand October Unprocessed count anew. So, on Monday, since I had already eaten maltodextrin for breakfast, I cracked open a can of diet coke for lunch and enjoyed my last sip of: carbonated water, carmel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine, and phenylalanine. Yum.

I’m now a week in, and it’s going swimmingly. I’m doing two weeks because a week didn’t seem long enough and a month seemed too long—and also because, as evidenced by my first day of unprocessed, I thought I would need some wiggle room.

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