04 October 2011

October Unprocessed

I've signed on to the pledge at Andrew Wilder's blog, Eating Rules, to avoid processed foods for the month of October.*

Andrew has some thoughts on how to define "processed" and "unprocessed."  Basically the test is this: could you make the food in your kitchen (even if you don't)?  Then it's okay. 

Sugar, corn syrup, hard liquor: No.  Coffee, chocolate, beer: Yes.  Oils and salt are on the border, and nut butters and bread require a look at the label.

I already eat a diet that's pretty close to the ground, and most of what I eat would be reasonably recognizable to my great-grandmothers, or at least somebody's great-grandmother.  But when I found out about October Unprocessed at the very end of the month last year, it got me thinking.

I don't eat fake meat much, but I use fake dairy products all the time -- soy milk, soy cheese, soy margarine, soy yogurt.  I could make soy milk and soy yogurt at home. but cheese and margarine? No way.

I've already given up margarine, and discovered I don't miss it between the toast and the (home-made!) jam.  Andrew has me thinking about giving up the soy cheese.  I could do it in cooking by using more herbs and spices instead of cheese, and on sandwiches by substituting nut butter or hummus.

I could make tofu at home, but whole beans are probably healthier, and I've been eating them more often, since last October.  Another advantage is I've been using a variety of different beans and legumes, rather than eating tofu several times a week.

I've been thinking for some time about getting a soy milk maker for home use, and then using home-made soy milk to make my own yogurt.  Besides the reduced cost, there's a major advantage there in reduced packaging. 

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* I'm not forcing my family to join me, in case anyone is worried about The Offspring having to give up his soy milk or his tofu pups.  (Soy milk because he's allergic to dairy; tofu pups because we're vegetarian.)