Our Rules for October Unprocessed 2015

If you read my previous post you’ll know my husband and I (and by extension, baby P, of course!) have pledged to be “unprocessed” this October as part of the October Unprocessed Challenge. You can still sign up to take part on your own terms.

Grocery store aisle - "Natural" section

I think somebody misappropriated the signage here…

Andrew, who originated this challenge, encourages participants to make up their own rules regarding what they will and won’t eat for the month. His two major guidelines are called “the Kitchen Test” and “Deliberate Exceptions”. Basically, his definition of “unprocessed” is something you can make at home with reasonable knowledge of home cooking. A deliberate exception is something you decide to eat, even if it doesn’t pass the kitchen test, but you must decide in advance (no ordering Timbits when you get to the front of the line at Tim Hortons just because they smell good!)

Mike and I have been talking it over, and we’ve also decided to use a few deliberate exceptions. One will be if we’re eating at someone else’s house and it would be rude or impossible to not eat something processed. (This may come in handy when I return to work from my maternity leave tomorrow, and I know my team has planned a celebration, complete with treats!) The other will be the inclusion of wholesome baked goods that may be made with refined flour – on occasion. So while at the farmers market I may pick up a homemade butter-baked authentic croissant, but I’m not going to be eating Italian bread every day. I’m also not going to be eating sugary cookies or cupcakes with neon icing.

Authentic pastry. Real butter. Deliberate exception.

Authentic pastry. Real butter. Deliberate exception.

However, we’re going to use a variation of the Kitchen Test to determine just what makes a food “processed” to us.

Being a history buff, Mike suggested only eating foods that would have been possible to make before the year 1600, but this would exclude things like canned goods, even if they’re made without preservatives, so I wasn’t happy with that. It might be easier to say what we won’t eat:

  • White or processed grains. No white rice, no white pasta, no white bread.
  • Unnecessary additives (including thickeners like guar gum; colours; natural/artificial flavours).
  • Modified milk ingredients.
  • Fortified foods (exception: milk, which is fortified by law).
  • White or refined sugar (including corn syrup, glucose, maltodextrin, etc.)

I think that about covers it. How does it compare to your list?

Good luck everyone! Don’t forget to plan, plan, plan. We’ll be sharing our meal plan for week one, tomorrow. Feel free to follow along or get some inspiration from the photos on Instagram (@Jillehd).

References and further reading:






  1. […] Let’s start with the bombshell: I did not make it to the end of October, Unprocessed. […]

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