01 November 2010

October Was Unprocessed Food Month

Eating Rules ran a challenge last month: go for the entire month of October without eating any processed food.

I only found out about it around October 25, but I gamely signed on anyway. (Latecomers could pledge to give up processed food for a month following whatever date in October they started.)

I was curious: I wanted to think about what processed foods I have in my diet. Eating Rules defines unprocessed foods thus:
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.
Anything else, therefore, is processed. Jam? We make our own. Ketchup? Well, no, but I could. There are jars of store-bought hot sauce and salad dressing in the fridge, but I also make my own.

I was feeling pretty smug about my own diet because I actually do eat mostly unprocessed food. If I'm not cooking myself, I'm eating in a restaurant where vegetarian food is prepared on site.

But almost immediately after signing on to the project, I failed. I realized it was almost time to fetch The Offspring from school, and I hadn't eaten lunch, so I grabbed a handful of cheese slices and some corn cakes and scarfed them down on the way out the door.

Yep, vegan cheese slices. With ingredients like potassium phosphate, adipic acid, and carrageenan. And 290 mg of sodium per slice, so if I eat four or five slices as part of my lunch that's, well, a whole lotta salt.

I checked the fridge. The vegan "buttery spread" probably ought to go, and I'm going to think harder about some of the condiments taking up space in the doors. And though the cheese is a huge convenience, I'm going to cut back.

So the project had its utility: It got me thinking. And today, I opened up two pumpkins, roasted the seeds, cooked the flesh, and baked a pie. And there's plenty of pumpkin left over for another couple of pies.