Monday, October 3, 2011

What if you're already unprocessed?

One of the things I've been hearing alot in talking about October Unprocessed, is "oh, we already eat really healthy."

This statement is not just hubris--I work in food activism and I live and work in a crunchy-granola urban neighborhood, so a lot of the people I know eat only seasonal, local, organic and whole. They know how to make their own yeast. They have root cellars, in the city. They haven't set foot in a grocery store in 5 years.

I'm one myself. I started with Not Dabbling in Normal's Real Food Challenge in 2009 and never looked back. Except.

I gave myself a pass on candy bars. I like flavored teas. I eat out.

I'm probably not going to stop doing any of those things in the long haul. But I can do it for a month. And maybe I'll find, like I did with the Real Food Challenge, that there are things I can live without. And things that are easy, I mean easy, to replace, like getting local farmer-made raw-milk cheese and plain yogurt, or bread from the family-owned bakery, instead of Sara Lee's "healthy" line. And things that are absurdly easy to make, like jam, and mayonnaise, and flat breads-pita or nan.

Don't talk to me about "I have no time." I don't have kids at home, but I work full time and then some. I just spend all day Sunday cooking, and then the rest of the week I get to hang out on line looking for challenges.

So if you're as green as you think you can get, think again. Look through your cupboard and your larder and take an extra step. Think of creative ways to approach the challenge--go vegetarian if you're not already, or vegan, for one day. (Meat being one of the most highly processed foods we know.) Get really unprocessed and try incorporating more raw foods into your weekly diet. Think ahead and put something up for the winter.

As Andrew says in the Eating Rules blog that "runs" the challenge, October Unprocessed is not just about eating real food. It's about eating mindfully. Read a label, or better yet, a recipe. Eat a carrot for snack.

You'll be surprised how basic you can get.

Apple-maple oatmeal
1/2 cup apple cider (buy it at the farmers market, or read the label. It should say "ingredients: apples")
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oats
pinch of salt
1 T maple syrup
1/2 apple, cubed.

Boil the apple cider and water, then slowly add the oats, stirring constantly. Boil about 5 minutes or until the oats start to soften. Add the salt and maple syrup, continue cooking until it's the consistency you like. For a sweeter oatmeal, increase the apple cider to a full cup (and skip the water), and/or add more maple syrup.

Add the cut-up apple and serve.

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