Tomorrow is October 1st and so begins unprocessed October. I have signed up to participate this year on the spur of the moment. We don’t eat a lot of processed food anyway but I am sure there is room for improvement. If nothing else, it will remind me to read labels and think about each and every food decision.
So what is unprocessed? To quote Andrew Wilder, the founder of this movement,
‘Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable
skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.
We 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.’
Considering I cook mostly from scratch and try to avoid GMO’s and preservatives I thought, “Piece of Cake!”
That was until I started reading some of the facebook posts and the “rules” on Food Rules. All of a sudden, my cake was in danger! Of course everyone has their own approach and define their own ‘rules’ but I think this might be more a challenge than I anticipated.
My goal is mainly to continue to eliminate additives and preservatives from our diet.
These are my main challenges:
- Sugar: I use cane sugar in my baking and although pure cane sugar is non GMO it is refined and processed. (Not sure how I am going to handle this)
- Flour: I use unbleached bread flour, white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour – I think these are going to be considered OK – I will have to do a little more reading on this.
- Asian condiments: Soy sauce is OK – but the black bean garlic sauce I have on hand does not nor does our beloved Sriracha hot chili sauce. (Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Bisulfite are both preservatives found in Sriracha & many other asian condiments)
So why am I embarking on this adventure? Mostly to bring awareness to my kids, grandkids and the community.
According to Forbes the typical American family spends 90% of their food budget on processed foods, Given those numbers, the amount of additives and preservatives that they are ingesting is staggering.
Azodicarbonamide, BHA/BHT, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Nitrate / Nitrite, TBHQ. The list goes on and on. Notice the real names are so long that they have to be abbreviated!
To be honest, although I am seeing a growing awareness of the problem I am not seeing real change. In fact the grocery stores around me are redesigning their aisles to feature more processed food. I recently went into one of our local markets and was shocked when I walked in. In the past, if you entered the door on the right and turned to the right, you would be entering the bread and tortillas section with the cheese etc just around the corner.
After a quick redesign you now enter into this.
Needless to say I was speechless. So much for shopping the perimeter of the store!
Rather than just sit here and bellyache about the sad state of our food system, I thought I would join the crusade for a healthier future. Until we prove to the retailers that we want and are prepared to pay for REAL food this trend will continue.
If you would like to join in, it isn’t too late. Go to October Unprocessed and sign the pledge!
One thing is for sure, I am really glad I already know how to bake our own bread!