More often than not, I am in a hurry when shopping for our food, and on a recent outing to the market, I was rushed enough to grab three avocados and toss them in a bag without hardly glancing to note their condition.
Before I could turn away, I felt a hand clamp down on my arm; an elderly lady with soft grey curls and piercing eyes had stopped me in my tracks. Leaning in closely, and not dropping my gaze, she vehement admonished me: “Il faut choisir avec amooooour.” (you’ve gotta choose with love) and sternly launched into a description of how an avocado should look and feel when ripe.
I was so startled by her hand on my arm, that I could only murmur “Oui.” and move on with my basket. But by the time I had rounded a few corners, I was chuckling to myself over the encounter, tickled pink over her surprising ardor. So what if the supermarket lady happened to be a bit of an avocado evangelist and invaded my personal space? I always love witnessing someone passionate for whole foods.
In fact, that kind of passion is similar to what the October Unprocessed online community demonstrated this past month. We brought whole foods into the spotlight, cheered each other on via Twitter parties, mulled over serious food for thought, and daily nourished our families with real food. It was most fun and inspirational.
Today I’ll share a little of what we gleaned from the challenge, as well as a handful of my absolute favorite recipes and articles from Unprocessed participants.
Photo by Shaina
I’m proud to say our family made it through with minimal adaptions to the challenge. The first two weeks were extremely hard core, as we eliminated most dairy from our diets in addition to any foods that didn’t pass the kitchen test. Then we coasted for a week, and then the kids started asking how many more days until November! Heh.
We staved off sugar cravings with chocolate beet cake and maple pumpkin pies. We roasted pumpkins and gobbled our way through batches of pumpkin spice granola almost as fast as I could make it. I’m pretty sure Mateo has the recipe memorized.
We made everything from scratch from our own crushed tomatoes to yogurt. We cooked batches of dried beans and brown rice and kept them on hand for ‘fast food’. We forgot what condiments were and enjoyed our sandwiches spread simply with butter. We drank a lot of water.
We even took the challenge to the extreme and harvested our own chickens for stock and soup.
On the flip side, we slacked a little here and there. Of course we did! We could.not.find. wine without sulfates, and, ahem, may have partook of a glass or three of red wine, particularly around Thanksgiving.
We traveled last weekend, and while I packed an unprocessed lunch and roast trip snacks, we ate the food served at our conference — salted caramel cupcakes and all. I think I stress-ate a grocery store chocolate bar once or twice.
But all in all, we did really well.
Tips & Takeaways
It really helped to have the OU community to bounce menu ideas off of and be continually inspired by. There’s also a certain level of accountability to be had, when we’re all Instagramming and tweeting our snacks, lunches and more.
Tips? I found that having a small selection of foods already cooked up in the refrigerator for when you need a fast meal or a quick bite was essential. Take the salad at the top of the post, for example. I came in from running errands one night, starving as usual, and had that ginormous salad on the table in a few minutes, thanks to cold chicken, roasted beets, and pre-washed lettuce in the refrigerator.
We had some excellent conversations with the boys through out the month about whole foods versus processed. Grocery shopping took on a whole new level as we navigated the aisles, determined to stick to our guns, read labels and avoid anything unrecognizable. Kids are smart; after just a few visits, they knew exactly what we could eat within the challenge (and what would have to wait until November to eat).
My favorite posts from the October Unprocessed line-up.
Andrew lined up some killer content this year, publishing three posts a day on three channels: recipes, how-to, and food for thought. From fluffy pumpkin scones to homemade sauerkraut, here are a few of my favorites from the month:
- Raising Kids to Appreciate Unprocessed Food in a Character-Filled World :: by Shaina
- It’s OK. Limiting candy won’t ruin childhood :: by Christina
- Ten Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens :: by Kim
- Make Your Own Gourmet, Artisan Sauerkraut :: by Sean
- Homemade Whole Grain Cheez-Its :: by Casey
- Barbacoa Tacos and Bonus Chili :: by Shaina
- Tomato, Avocado & Sprout Wrap with Wheat Berry Spread :: via Rachael
- Maple Peanut Nougat Chocolate Clusters :: by Irvin
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones :: by Jen
- Unprocessed Raw Cookie Dough Bites :: by Becky
- 32 Unprocessed Pumpkin Recipes, From Breakfast to Dessert :: by Sabrina
How was your October?