Friday, September 30, 2011

New "30 Day Challenge": October Unprocessed

A few months ago I set out on a thirty day challenge.  It went like this: for 30 days spend absolutely no money on food other than the regular grocery shopping trips I make.  Easy to state, difficult to do, but so incredibly worth it.  We succeeded, we learned a lot, and it did leave some lasting impact in our day to day life.  (No, we didn't give up going out to eat, but we do it a lot less and we are more selective about the food we do choose to spend money on.)

That focused on one part of my quest: to find affordable food to eat.

But there are two other parts to this journey I am on.  As you can see by the little blog description above, I am on a quest to find delicious, nutritious, and affordable food for my little family of two.  This whole blog is dedicated to this task, but I am going to focus on the nutritious part this time.  Hence, a new "Thirty Day Challenge" -- which will actually be 31 days being the month of October.  Are you ready for it?

I am joining a group of people who have pledged to have an unprocessed October.

What is this, exactly?  Well, according to the mastermind behind it, Andrew Wilder, it is a push to get people to stop and think about what they putting in their bodies.  For the month of October, over 1,800 of us (yes, you read that correctly) have decided to put away packaged goods and go for it. 

Of course, each person might consider something processed that another does not, so here is the working definition for unprocessed food that we are using for this challenge (taken from Andrew's blog, Eating Rules!).

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.

If you have been following my blog at all, I am sure you know that I am someone who tends to lean in this direction... for dinner at least.  But I haven't always been that way.  Actually, for anyone who has known me for longer than two years your jaws are probably dropping as you read this.  Let's roll back the film of my life just a tad and look at my college years:  Junk food galore.  I kid you not.  I am was the queen of Ramen and Mac-n-Cheese.  My veggies consisted of tomatoes found in my burritos from Taco Bell.  Pop Tarts for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, Pasta-Roni with tuna for dinner.  This was how I ate. 

Today my life looks a lot different.  I have grown up, married a man who was raised on fresh food, and have found that between Jamie Oliver and my Advanced Health Education for Teachers class drilling into my head, I am finally starting to the value of eating healthy food.  I have made incredible growth in this area and I hope to continue to do so.  Which is why I decided to do this.  Like my no-going-out-to-eat challenge, I expect that this will be difficult, that I will have to be a little more creative, but ultimately, that I will realize so much about what I can do -- and then start to do it. 

This doesn't commence until tomorrow, but the preparations have already begun.  This week as I was grocery shopping I picked up this or that, carefully reading through the ingredients list.  Tsk, tsk, I would think, putting that item back on the shelf.  I am not putting that into my body.

Yes, I am becoming one of those people.

Oh, well.  I am OK with that.  I have a great (and easy) bread recipe from my mother-in-law so Paulo can live without his bagels, Trader Joe's has some excellent preservative-free pastas and what not, and I am going to learn to make chicken stock from scratch.  But am going to miss Skippy peanut butter this month! 

(Yes, that is peanut butter in my purse.  No, I did not set it up that way for the picture.  It is actually how I walked out the door this morning on my way to work.  What can I say?  That's how I roll.)

For more information on Andrew Wilder and his crazy/awesome idea, please visit
And of course, feel free to join in!  The more the merrier :)


  1. This sounds great! I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to take the challenge since I'm already vegetarian and gluten-free, but I'm very interested to see how this goes. I love your writing.

  2. I love your challenges if only I had more time too cook and do them with you. Maybe after year 3 of teaching.

  3. Chica! You Rock!! You can so do this!!

  4. Wow, I'll be rootin' for ya! This WILL be a challenge, esp. in the US. I've been kind of forced into this while living in Brazil, but I'm better for it. My college eating experience was exactly the same as yours, as were my reasons for changing :) I just put up a SUPER easy homemade peanut butter recipe on my blog, if you're interested!

  5. Girls! Thank you all for your encouragement. I CAN DO IT!!! And Danielle, I will check it out. I think you and I have an understanding on how cultures look at what "food" is in a way that most of our American friends cannot understand. I am definitely going to check out your peanut butter recipe!


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