Suddenly October is here and it’s beginning to feel like fall in my neck of the woods. It is a chilly, glorious time of year full of apple cider, pumpkins and other orchard delights.
I have also taken to spending my free moments here and there (when I need a creative release) to make these little guys:
I like having things like this on-hand for a little hostess or “thank you” gift and they are pretty quick and easy to make.
The other fun thing about October and all it brings is the October Unprocessed Challenge. It’s really an opportunity to think about what we put in our bodies and remind us of how important it is to not only eat healthy and well, but to be aware of where our edible products come from and what they do to us. I just recently found out about this and Cam and I are going to go for it.
Vegetarians tend to get a bad rap from time to time because there is a growing abundance of meat-like or meat-substitute products out there that are vegetarian friendly. While I will admit that I have a certain penchant for a particular comfort food of that sort, it’s not a great habit to have. For one thing, these products have a tendency to deceive us into thinking that they are somehow healthy because they are lower in fat or calories than their meatastic counterparts. Unfortunately, these really aren’t that great for us anyway. They are high in sodium and low in nutritional value. I say all of this more for my benefit than anyone else’s, but it’s worth pointing out, especially since one of the most famous recent advocates for exploring vegan options in one’s diet suggests a shopping list full of faux-meat, highly processed items. Oprah, you’re great but gorging on morningstar products does not a cleanse make.
Thus, the October Challenge makes just as much sense for a vegetarian as it does for anyone else, if not more so.
The site indicates that one can define the rules for themselves, so we are going to modify things a bit. This is what the site says:
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.
Guess what? The site also suggests that sugar is not a whole-food ingredient. By that logic, neither are quick oats or table salt. It is untenable for me to give up oatmeal in the fall, or to prepare that oatmeal with a dash of salt and some agave nectar. Thus, the commitment to the unprocessed in our house is going to be the commitment to making things ourselves instead of using the processed version. I think that I am already pretty adept at this, but there’s always room for improvement. For example, instead of using canned beans for that black bean soup, I’ll soak and cook my own. Anything that we buy in the store will have the least amount of ingredients possible and nothing that contains anything other than whole ingredients. So, organic peanut butter (peanuts, salt, sugar) is okay. Cascadian farms vanilla almond granola (Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Rice, Sunflower Oil, Almonds, Tapioca Syrup, Maltodextrin, Molasses, Sea Salt, Malted Barley Extract, Vanilla Flavor Organic) not so much. I don’t have malodextrin in my pantry, so this is a no-go.
I am excited, actually. I think this will be a good experience. My sense is that we do not eat a lot of processed food, but being more aware might teach us a lot about our diet.I am hoping that I won’t even want my beloved quorn nuggets when it’s all said and done…maybe.
If you’re interested, you should sign the pledge and join in improving your diet!