october unprocessed 2011

I’ve been reading the Eating Rules blog trying to organize my pantry and fridge for the upcoming challenge to give up all processed foods for the month of October.

So here are a few of my challenges and concessions.

Chocolate

So many natural brands contain either soy lecithin, sugar or both. I’ve been working on finding an alternative. We enjoy a small bit of chocolate as a snack a few times a week, so I don’t want to spend a fortune on a $10 bar of chocolate that won’t last very long.

I found a homemade powerballs recipe on the 100 Days of Real Food web site and I just made a batch this afternoon. I pressed them into a square glass baking dish and they’re in the fridge now. I figure I can get 16 servings/pieces, and then we can add more nuts on top when we’re eating them.

We’ll see how it goes. If it’s not acceptable, I will cut back but will not compromise our chocolate needs. I will just find a brand that doesn’t use soy lecithin, and doesn’t cost a fortune, but we’ll have to make an exception for any added cane sugar.

Fruit jelly or jam

I’m a big fan of Crofters. It’s really low in sugar and the ingredients are organic. I buy the premium spreads which contain fruit as the first ingredient as opposed to their Just Fruit product which contains grape juice as the first ingredient. The problem is “sugar” as in processed white sugar isn’t allowed according to the “rules” and the “premium spread” jellies contain organic cane sugar. Since this brand is not inexpensive to buy, I don’t want to pay for fruit juice, so I will not be giving up my Crofters spread for October. Note: As I’ve been reading more and more comments over on the Eating Rules blog, I’m getting the feeling that some participants are a bit over the top. I’m don’t plan to be as strict & rigid, and that’s okay.

So Delicious Coconut Milk

I have an opened carton of the unsweetened milk in the fridge. It doesn’t pass the test for unprocessed because it contains guar gum and carrageenan, ingredients I wouldn’t expect to see in my own kitchen. Plus they enrich with vitamins and minerals. But since I opened the carton before I took the pledge, I will continue to use the coconut milk until it’s finished, and I won’t use it again until after October, if at all. I use So Delicious for baking and a tiny bit for my oatmeal, but I might consider a permanent switch to another kind of milk instead. Or maybe even a fresh non-homogenized dairy milk.

White Flour

I will still continue to use white flour – unbleached and un-enriched from King Arthur, but I will make a conscious effort to use more whole grain flours when baking bread, the way I used to when I first started baking. I’ve become a bit lax on that lately, adding up to half white flour. I’ll keep experimenting with barley, corn and rye flours as well as whole wheat. Oh and I’ll be also using vital wheat gluten.

Restaurants

I don’t think many of the big chain restaurants will qualify for unprocessed, even Chipotle Mexican Grill probably has something that breaks the rules by using sugar, soy, etc.

It was suggested on the blog to try local restaurants instead, but I’m not that sure they would be any better. Even if a restaurant boasts homemade food, how truly homemade is it. I’m sure there is some sort of processed ingredient, like soy sauce (not naturally made) or refined sugar.

So, I have to decide. Do I give myself one day a week to treat myself to a restaurant meal, as long as the meal is presumed to be fairly unprocessed? For instance, steamed chicken and veggies at the Asian restaurant or meat skewers & pork ribs at the Greek restaurant. Yes, I will add this to my list of concessions as well. One day a week, a healthy restaurant meal. NO chain restaurants.

Well I think that is all the issues I’ve encountered. I’m going to try to stick to the rules, but I refuse to spend a ton of extra money or waste food. Part of my challenge will be to stick to our budget!