Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Unprocessed - A Wrap Up

Well, my first adventure with October Unprocessed has come to an end.  It was an interesting experience.  I definitely think I have learned a lot.  I also think I cheated.  A lot.  As in at least a little bit every day.  However, I can truthfully say that for the entire 31 days I did not partake of these processed foods:
*non-dairy coffee cream
*boxed cereal
*salad dressing
*soda (or any other processed drink or drink flavor packet; it was all tea, coffee, milk, or water)
*processed cheese
*seasoning packets
*fast food
*rice/pasta preseasoned packets
*canned soup
*the good candy from my mom's pumpkin dish (think Snickers, Reeses cups, Hershey's Miniatures, Skittles, etc.)

And I could probably list some other things but that's all I can think of right now.

Some of the things I learned:
~ grating your own cheese is no big deal; then you don't have to worry about all the weird stuff they put in there to keep it from clumping
~ I used to think that giving up cereal would cause me all sorts of problems, i.e., I love cereal; what could I possibly eat instead??  Cereal has lots of fiber; I need lots of fiber to survive!
The truth is, there are lots of other things to eat besides boxed cereal.  Most of the month I ate baked oatmeal but I also had lots of smoothies.  Both of these alternatives were high in fiber & I suffered no adverse effects *ahem*
~ I really love smoothies!  I'm not super adventurous with my ingredients but if you combine kefir, a little juice, frozen berries, spinach, & flax seed you're good to go!
~ I love natural peanut butter.  I will not be going back.
~ I had to be super intentional about meal planning & snack planning.  This type of eating does not happen naturally in our society, sad to say.  Therefore, before grocery shopping I had to be really organized about what I was hoping to eat & then I also had to have a bit of a Plan B in case something that I thought was unprocessed was actually processed or just unavailable.
~ Canned beans are not a necessity.  Soaking & cooking dry beans is no big deal.  Once again, I have to be organized because soaking & cooking the beans takes a lot more time than cranking off the lid of a can.
~ It is very difficult to buy canned tomatoes that don't have stuff added.  In fact, I was only able to find one brand that didn't have additives.  This really makes me even more determined to have our own garden at some point & get into canning our own tomato products.
~ Condiments are tricky substances.  We have a lot of work to do in this area. 
~ I got tired of water.  For the first time in my life I could hardly make myself drink it.  I was really surprised by this because I drink water more than anything else.  And all month long I continued to drink coffee (although I never really did get used to using real cream in my java).  But I didn't have any, not even one little slurp of diet soda.  I'm not a big time soda drinker, but I do like to have a couple every week in the evening.  Of course this was when the water just didn't cut it.  I tried a couple of different teas thinking that they would satisfy the craving but this just let me to discover that...
~ I do not like hot tea.  Period.  I tried & tried to like it but it just doesn't work.  If I am sick I might sip a cup of hot tea but that's it.  I will not try to continue to convince myself.
~ I didn't really miss salad dressing.  There were several other easy options - I used my own combo of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, & spices, salsa, or cottage cheese.  Easy & yummy.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something there too but this is getting long & I wanted to wrap up with some honesty. 

Today is the first day off of the challenge & this is what I've eaten so far:
Luna Bar
coffee (with nondairy creamer & raw sugar)
salad with romaine, spinach, Parmesan cheese, carrots, celery, & Catalina salad dressing
applesauce (homemade with nothing but a few splashes of cider added to it)

So I'm definitely a hybrid eater.  Some processed & some unprocessed.  In a big way I need to inventory our pantry, freezer, & fridge to see what we have that should just be tossed & what we can finish up & just not buy again.

This challenge has been thought provoking & I hope life changing.  For me it's all about making the baby steps, especially since Mike has to be on board with something this huge in our lives.  I've done a lot of research this month.  I've read a ton of interesting blog posts.  Together Mike & I decided that we would rather buy local as much as possible, buy organic when we can, & pay our grocer rather than our doctor.  It's going to involve training our taste buds to like things that taste a little different.  It's going to involve adjusting our budget.  It's going to affect where I shop, what recipes I use most often & how we plan our time (because I will be spending more time in the kitchen).  But I think those are all good things.

What do you think?  Are you impressed by my partial, failure ridden success *grin*  Are you motivated to make any changes?  Do you think I'm a crazy nut?

1 comment:

Mrs.T said...

I am very impressed, not only with what you've accomplished, but with the conclusions you and your hubby arrived at. I'm afraid I have a L-O-N-G way to go in the unprocessed eating department!