October Unprocessed Update

October Unprocessed 2012

I’m sure you’re dying to know how we succeed with our October Unprocessed week.  Truth be told—much better than I expected. My plans were not perfect, and we did have to make some adjustments, but for the most part we were totally unprocessed for the week.  Some of the changes we had to make:

  • We didn’t use homemade mayonnaise in our tuna salad (I ran out of time to make it!) So the mayonnaise was processed.
  • Bretton made foccacia bread and didn’t know white flour was forbidden, so the foccacia was only half wheat.
  • We ate tons of eggs!  Cheap, easy, real food: eggs.  We ate them fried, scrambled with veggies and on sandwiches.  Not only were they real food, they were organic from local chickens, so I felt like they were a healthy substitute for a few of the meals requiring more effort on my list.

Some things we learned:

  • In this guest post from the October Unprocessed website, I really agreed with the author’s viewpoint that if October Unprocessed helps us change just one unhealthy food habit, it has been worth participating.  Last year, Shandy completely stopped using nondairy creamer in his coffee, and has since weaned himself from whipping cream (expensive) to milk in his daily coffee.  That was a great change!  This year, I looked for a similar change we could make.  I decided that I would only have sugar (honey during October Unprocessed) in one cup of tea each day, and drink any others without sugar.  Not a huge change, but one I’m trying to make.  Eventually, I would like to stop using sugar in tea altogether.
  • We used nearly five pounds of honey during the challenge, which seemed astronomical.  During the week following the challenge, I kept meticulous track of the sugar we used, measuring a combined five pounds of brown, white and powdered sugar.  Since I make about 95 percent of our food at home, I figured that if we only use five pounds of sugar each week as a family, we would come in at about half the average sugar consumption for Americans (which is about 140 pounds per year.) Although we were gone for 2 days during the weekend, we didn’t even eat our five pounds!  Yay for us!  This was much better than I had expected. I am hoping to further reduce our sugar usage, but since doing this measurement, now feel it is not as critical as I thought.
  • We still are unable to find a good whole wheat bread recipe.  I made whole wheat hamburger buns during the challenge which were okay but not razzle-dazzle, and Eden made whole wheat sourdough rolls, also okay but not our favorite.  One guest post on the October Unprocessed website suggested making an exception for adding vital wheat gluten to whole wheat bread, but since we do have a local source for white flour, I will probably continuing adding about 1/3 white flour to our bread recipes unless we find a whole wheat recipe we like.

This was a fun assignment this year, and I think maybe next year, we will make the commitment for the month . . . depending on our sugar addiction!
Have you tried to do October Unprocessed?  How is your month going? Please leave me a comment.

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Planning a Family Style October Unprocessed

October Unprocessed 2012

Maybe you still remember that we tried to do October Unprocessed for a week last year, and by the end of the week were having such sugar fits that we fell off the wagon big time.  Well, this year we’re up for a new challenge.  We’re trying for the week again, and this time I’m making some good plans to keep our sweet tooth satisfied without sacrificing real food eating.

Here’s our menu plan for the week.  Yes, it is a three-meals-a-day at home meal plan, and I’m hoping to have leftovers for Daddy to take to work.

Monday:  bulgur as hot cereal with honey and  butter (this is a common breakfast around here, no big change), egg salad with homemade mayo on homemade wheat bread (I often make homemade mayo, and the bread is left over from Lucy’s last breadmaking project.)  Dinner will be a challenge, because we will be out of the house most of the day.  I’m thinking some roasted tomato sauce from the freezer with whole wheat pasta and baked delicata squash.

Tuesday:  baked oatmeal with apples using honey as sweetener, egg quesadillas on corn tortillas.  Dinner:  Eden is in charge of dinner, and she will be making a riff on chicken pot pie using fresh vegetables, leftover roast chicken, and topping the mixture with homemade whole wheat biscuits– Yum!

Wednesday:  Polenta as hot cereal and maple syrup for sweetener (another common breakfast, although we usually use sugar syrup made with mapleine — real maple syrup is a splurge for our family.)  Lunch will be leftovers from Monday and Tuesday dinners, and during the day on Wednesday I will be making whole wheat hamburger buns for our meal on Thursday.  Dinner on Wednesday will be Indian spiced lentils and rice with naan.  I need to investigate our yogurt and decide if I can use the kind of yogurt I usually buy, or if I need to make my own for this meal.

Thursday:  Eggs and toast (are you noticing an egg theme?  This is an easily available real food for us. Ours are even local and organic!)  I will grind some peanut butter when I go to the natural foods store today so that we can have our favorite pb&j for lunch tomorrow.  Thursday’s lunch will be leftover lentils and rice.  Brett is making hamburgers for dinner on Thursday, with homemade buns and mayo.  I also think we will be having baked sweet potato fries.

Friday:  Bulgur or cracked wheat cereal again today.  We usually eat more oatmeal than bulgur, but none of us like oatmeal without brown sugar, so we’re skipping it this week.  For lunch we will have a pb&j without the j, using a banana instead for our real foods week.  Dinner will be roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted beets fresh from our garden.

Saturday:  Chicken in a basket for breakfast after my long run (eggs cooked in a hole in the toast, in case you wondered!)  We’ll probably have leftovers or pb& banana again for a quick lunch, because Saturday and Sunday are usually big evening meal days.  I will make pitas in the afternoon, and Shandy and I will work together to make falafel for dinner.

Sunday:  Apple pan dowdy made with honey sweetened apples and whole wheat dough.  Only one main meal on Sunday, probably roasted pumpkin garlic lasagna or butternut squash ravioli.  It will be a ton of work, but so delicious.

Some compromises I’ve decided to make:

  • What happens away from home doesn’t count.  Our family usually eats 3 meals together 7 days a week at home.  If a teenager escapes for a soda, I am going to look the other direction.
  • Coffee is probably processed, and it will have to escape the ban.  Shandy can’t live without it.  However, he has totally weaned himself off of powdered creamer since last year, so that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about — and he says he’ll drink coffee with honey for the duration.
  • Remembering that this is only a week, but the lessons learned can last much longer than that, I will be looking for small changes we can make continuing toward a less processed normal diet.

Are your plans made for October Unprocessed?  Are you excited and a little scared?  Let me know in your comments below.