This month I embark on a journey that I have never been on. A journey from which I may not return. A journey that will take me to places both high and low. A journey that will fill me with wonder and dread. A journey that will expand my horizons, raise my expectations and lower my overall fat content! I will eat no processed foods for the month of October! And possibly beyond. . .
Now, eating foods that are not heavily processed is not a stretch for me. Unprocessed foods are food the way nature made them. Simple as that. I rarely buy processed foods, but I do buy some. Skippy Peanut butter in the giant Costo jar is always in the pantry. Campbell’s concentrated Cream of Tomato soup is my mother’s favorite and will also remain in the pantry. And yes, Ruby has the occasional Happy Meal. (oh the horror!) But my recipes are mainly from scratch, although I have no problem using a good quality jarred tomato sauce or low sodium chicken broth when cooking. These are products that save time and I always have on hand for cooking emergencies.
I generally do my everyday grocery shopping at Trader’s Joes and Sprouts (I call it the ordinary persons Whole Foods) which only sell foods without a lot of additives, preservatives and the like. Sprouts has great bulk bins, where I buy everything from sea salt to unbleached flour to steel cut oats. And the occasional bag of sour gummy worms for the kid. The meats tend to be naturally raised, hormone free, and/or organic. I have even bought a cow! Well, part of a cow. Two of my blogging buddies. Andrew Wilder, who is the man behind the whole #unprocessed movement, and Dorothy Reinhold of Shockingly Delicious and I bought 1/8 of a cow! 1/8 you scoff! Have you ever seen the size of a beef cow? Well, 1/8 is a lot of cow! We all had a lot of wonderful, grass fed, all natural, delicious beef to enjoy. It tasted like the beef I ate when I was a kid.
I made a pledge to try and eat only unprocessed food for the month of October over at my friend Andrew’s blog Eating Rules. October Unprocessed 2012 came from a light bulb moment three years ago:
In October of 2009, Andrew was struck by a simple idea:
“What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?”
And three years later, here I and thousands of others are. Ready to embark on our journeys. I cannot say I won’t wander off my path a bit, but I’ll look at my map and get back on the right track. I am not forcing my mother and daughter participate, although because I am the cook in the family they will be eating mostly unprocessed foods anyway. But at 81 years old and 14 years into her lung cancer battle, whatever mom wants to eat, mom gets to eat. She eats like a bird now, and this is a woman used to eat like a linebacker! Though her body may not be able to eat as much, in her dreams she still eats very well! She tells me of the foods she dreamt of, much of it from her childhood. Like canned figs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a canned fig. If you know where to get canned figs please tell me so I can buy her some! If mom tells me to make her a sandwich with American cheese on Wonder bread with extra Miracle Whip, she’s going to get it. With a smile!
My daughter is actually a great eater for a five year old. She loves salads, vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, turkey, pork and snacks on roasted seaweed. But she LOVES Happy Meals, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Scooby Snack Fruit Treats and other very processed foods. For my own sanity (and there is not a whole lot left, believe me) she will not be on the full unprocessed program either.
I am hoping this will help with my migraines also. By eliminating different food I may eliminate migraine triggers. By adding other foods I may find triggers. I do know it will help me to stay away from junk food with no redeeming value, except that it tastes good. And when I am stressed out, it tastes even better.
I know how to eat well, and cook well, I just have to do it. I already make my own bread from a starter I created myself from a bunch organic grapes. I cure and smoke my own bacon. I cure and smoke my own corned beef and pastrami. I make my own Limoncello (which I can no longer drink because of this new migraine medication! Damn you migraine headaches!)
I hope you will consider joining me and take the pledge to eat unprocessed foods, the way we were meant to.
Here is my first #unprocessed breakfast, that can even be made the night before. I like to garnish my oatmeal with dried cranberries, diced apples, diced fresh peaches when in season, almonds or raisins. Almost any dried or fresh fruit can be added to oatmeal. I sweeten it with maple syrup, though I realized I was out of maple syrup when I made this today, so I sprinkled it with raw cane sugar instead. Whatever you choose, enjoy it.
Recipe: Vanilla Steel Cut Oats
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Slowly stir in the oats, then lower the heat.
- Stirring occasionally, let the oats cook for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the milk and vanilla, and continue to cook and stir another 10-12 minutes, until the oatmeal is thickened and creamy.
- Serve with your favorite garnishes.
Preparation time: 2 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4