Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Unprocessed Survival Guide -- Week One

Click me to learn more!

Alright, so I have been talking about it for the last couple of posts, but now it is the time to get down to business.  How on earth are we going to eat no unprocessed food for an entire month?!

Here's how:


We are cereal people.  And we don't have to give it up for October Unprocessed!  We just have to be smart about it.  For example, a box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries has the following ingredient list --
Corn, Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Brown Sugar, High Oleic Vegetable Oil*(Canola Or Sunflower Oil), Dried Strawberries, Rice Flour, Wheat Flour, Rice, Malted Barley Flour, Salt, Corn Syrup, Whey (From Milk*), Honey, Malted Corn And Barley Syrup, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color, Annatto Extract (Color). Bht Added To Packaging Material To Preserve Product Freshness. Vitamins And Minerals: Reduced Iron, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6,Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Zinc Oxide (Source Of Zinc), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D. Contains: Wheat, Milk. *Adds A Trivial Amount Of Saturated Fat And/Or Cholesterol.
Um, wow.  But there are other options.  Our favorite?  Trader Joe's Clusters.  A box of Maple Pecan Clusters has a much better ingredient list, one that I can understand --

Whole rolled oats, corn flour, milled cane sugar, rice flour, vegetable oil, pecans, whole wheat flour, brown rice, pure maple syrup, cornstarch, honey, salt, barley, turmeric, purple carrot juice

Ye-yeah!  Ingredients I know, ingredients I trust.  INGREDIENTS I HAVE IN MY KITCHEN.  We can still have cereal.  With fruit and milk.  SCORE!

(And at some point this month I plan on making granola from scratch.  I hear it is easy, so let's do it!)


Lunch is easy for us... we take leftovers.  So double up on dinner and pack it up.  Ta-da!  


Now is the part people stress out about.  (And by people, I mean me, last year.)  At the end of the day, you are tired, right?  And to make things from scratch... oh man, it takes some time!  But it doesn't have to take that much time.  

I have a menu ready for you.  All of these recipes are unprocessed, and all are quick.  Most importantly, all taste great.  

My family will be following this menu for the most part, but I have included some things here that we ate last week and will not be eating this week with you.  This will give me some free nights to find new unprocessed recipes to share with you.  Look for them throughout the week.

What are we eating this week?  Some good stuff!

Day 1 //  Greek Style Chicken
Day 2 //  Tomato Pizza with Ricotta & Oregano
Day 3 //  Leek & Bacon Baked Eggs
Day 4 //  Avocado & Egg Salad
Day 5 //  Honey Mustard Salmon
Day 6 //  White Bean Soup with Kale & Chicken Sausage
Day 7 //  Go out!  Eat leftovers!  Whatever, just take a break :)

Shopping List

*Most of the ingredients here are fresh.  However, some come in jars, like Dijon mustard or pre-made, like pizza dough.  Remember to check the labels, because you can find Dijon that is just Dijon and pizza dough that is just pizza dough, not other junk added.  My suggestion is to spend time in Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  They will offer the best products and will be things that fit the Unprocessed Kitchen Test (see below).

2 red onions
1 yellow onion
3 lemons
English cucumber
3 pints small tomatoes (cherry, grape, or mini-heirloom)
1 large heirloom tomato
1 head garlic
1 lb. green beans
1 lb. leeks
2 avocados

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
chicken sausage
1 lb. salmon
1/2 lb. bacon, any kind (I use beef for this recipe)
FRESH chicken stock (I suggest making your own OR visiting Trader Joe's or Whole Foods)

nonfat Greek yogurt
Feta cheese

red wine vinegar
champagne vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
Dijon mustard
long grain rice
Panko-style bread crumbs
1 lb. pizza dough

The Kitchen Test

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.  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.

Some common things that will need to change

The biggest changes are with sugar, flour, bread, and drinks.  Luckily for us, Andrew Wilder has answers to our questions!  Click on any of the words below to find out more.

SUGAR      //        FLOUR      //      BEVERAGES    

As for breads, go the local bakery or Trader Joe's.  They've got you covered.

One more thing...

This is not meant to be a burden for you!  If you want to try but don't feel like you can commit to an entire month, try three days.  A week.  Weeknights only.  Whatever you feel you can realistically do.  Our family will be following this rule -- while we are in charge of our food (at home or out to eat), we will be eating purely unprocessed.  If we are not in charge of our food (at a friend's house, etc.), we will eat whatever is kindly given to us, gratefully.  Really, what are we going to say?   "Um, did this come from a can? Because I can't eat that..."

GOOD LUCK!  And if you would like to join my friends and I in a group on Facebook where we are sharing ideas, message me on my blog's facebook page and I will add you.  The more the merrier!!! :)

Want more info?  Click HERE for the Official Guide.  We can do this!!!


  1. Ok!! I thought we were supposed to make everything from scratch! Now, this is pretty much my life!

    1. I know! That's why I thought of you :) Not too tricky if you just shop wisely!!!

  2. What a great idea! We do this mostly anyway. We could knuckle down a little more of course then I would have to give up my diet Dr. Pepper's. ;) Great stuff! Keep it comin'!

    1. I bet you could give up that Diet Dr. Pepper ;) Imagine how proud you will feel in the end. Anytime I give something up for a period of time, I always learn and grow a lot, food or otherwise.

  3. I think i'm going to try to participate! I know I won't be able to do it 100%, but every little bit helps, right? Thanks for the awesome tips + recipes!

    1. Woo-hoo! Do as much as you can and I am sure it will be a great experience!


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