Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Eating Rules "October Unprocessed" Challenge

Generally, I hate rules. Stay off the green, lush-looking grass? Can’t do it. No outside food or drinks in the movie theater? Um… no. I’m the lady sneaking in a bag of popped microwave popcorn under my coat and pretending to be pregnant with a lumpy baby if anyone gets suspicious.

But as I’ve gotten older, it has come to my attention that some rules have a purpose (and I am not talking about No Singing at the Table, my parents’ favorite rule to enforce when I was growing up. That was the worst rule ever).

No shoes inside the yoga studio? Fine. Nobody wants to find themselves in downward-facing-dog facing dog poop from your sneakers. No eating animal products? Well, duh.

So when my friend Paul sent me a link to the Eating Rules October Unprocessed Challenge, I was enticed. Andrew Wilder, the guy behind Eating Rules, wants to get as many people as possible to pledge to eat only unprocessed foods for the month of October.

Andrew gets that some people (like me) don’t do so well with rules. So if the most you can commit to is a week, or even a day, no problem. Do what you can. That’s my kind of attitude. Here’s the Eating Rules definition of “unprocessed:”
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.
I read this definition and realized that since I am certainly not a person of “reasonable skill,” I’d have to develop a Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego to consult about my ingredient choices.

My Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego would be tall, graceful, and soft-spoken, and her kitchen would be stocked with all kinds of helpful tools and appliances. She wouldn’t be afraid of the blender or intimidated by Indian spices. And she would always be around to take over when I got discouraged.

So I pledged! Not only did I pledge, I’ll be writing a guest post at some point this month. At first I was confused when Andrew told me I’d be the only vegan writing about the challenge. But once I thought about it, it made sense. Lots of my staple vegan substitutes are processed, and cutting them out is going to be a real struggle.

I went through my kitchen this morning to identify the foods I’m going to have to binge on for the next two days avoid next month:

Oroweat bread
Earth Balance spread
Almond Breeze almond milk
Trader Joe’s pita chips
Trader Joe’s hummus dip
CLIF bars

Yes, CLIF bars. The biggest challenge of all. Since I became a vegan, CLIF bars have been my go-to snack to avoid starvation when I find myself on campus in a vegan desert of fast food chains. But for all their convenience, they are processed, and thus on the no-eat list for October.

I’m going to hit up the Isla Vista Coop today to investigate possibilities for unprocessed almond milk (but my Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego might have to make some in the food processor for me).

If you want to pledge, too (and I hope you do!), visit Eating Rules here.


  1. You can try making your own version of a clif bar... This recipe (minus the chocolate chips) could be a start:

  2. I thought WE were the ONLY family with a no singing at the dinner table rule!! It was years before I realized that that wasn't a general rule at everyone's house...although I guess most people probably don't need that rule...

  3. are your daiya faux-cheese things processed? :( they look like they make everything yummy! Also... I'd be very impressed if your Alter Ego overcomes the fear of Indian spices :)

  4. Saloni: Hmm... I don't know if Daiya counts as processed or not. Probably. I have xantham gum (one of the ingredients) in my cabinent, but do I have titanium dioxide?

  5. oh I just read this post and I think it is a little late to take that challenge, but you should make another one for the holidays since many people tend to gain some weight!