How many times have you admonished your kids to chew with your mouth closed? Well I propose a new mantra – suggest to your family and friends that they eat with their eyes open. Next month, I will be participating once again with Andrew Wilder’s October #Unprocessed Challenge. But what is unprocessed food and how would you know it when you see it?
According to Andrew, unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients. For example, if you buy peanut butter and it includes preservatives or fillers that you can’t pronounce or find on the shelf of your local grocery store, then it’s likely a processed food. If it’s just made with peanuts and salt, which you could theoretically purchase and grind yourself, then it’s unprocessed.
What does participating in the challenge look like for me? — a frazzled mom and writer who barely has time to turn on the stove most days? I view it as 30 days of education and motivation to learn how to maximize flavor and nutrition and minimize or eliminate preservatives and artificial ingredients.
If all you do is open your eyes and start reading labels a little more closely, rejecting the preservative-rich version for the simple easily-identifiable ingredient list, you will be making a huge leap forward. But I encourage you to sign up and read all the posts filled with recipe ideas and discussions about how to incorporate tasty, healthy, affordable choices into your everyday diet.
I’ve written guest posts for Andrew the last two years – one on Healthy Snacking Tips during the hectic holiday season that kicks off with the Halloween candy avalanche and last year I wrote about five ingredients you should avoid in your diet and why. This year I will be offering an easy unprocessed recipe that anyone can make whether skilled or novice in the kitchen.
So open your eyes, read the label, and choose unprocessed, real ingredients over foods you can’t pronounce or won’t see growing at a farm near you. Yummy and healthy are not mutually exclusive adjectives – they grow hand-in-hand. You’ll see.