October is one of my favorite months, and not just because of Halloween, the anniversary of quitting my corporate day job, and beautiful fall weather. October is also an awesome month for food! There are two great food celebrations going on this month, and anyone who likes can take part: October Unprocessed and The Vegan Month of Food
What I love about October Unprocessed is that it's not super rigid. You can participate for a day, a week, the whole month, or really any amount of time that works for you. One of my friends is going unprocessed one day a week, for example. It's about doing what you can and seeing what you learn.
You can check out the rules - including what defines processed food - over at Eating Rules. The question of what makes food processed is a big one. Technically, for example, applesauce is processed, because you chop the apples and cook them down. Should applesauce be off the menu for October?
The Eating Rules folks use a "kitchen test" method, which I like a lot but am not sure works 100 percent for me. The basic idea is that if you can make it in the kitchen with simple ingredients, it's unprocessed. The trouble is, that means potato chips count, right? They're just potatoes, oil, and salt. But my gut says that chips are not in the spirit of unprocessed food. I'm going with a "kitchen test plus gut check" to decide what is and isn't processed in my life.
What do you considered processed food?
Vegan Month of Food aka Vegan MoFo
October is also the Vegan Month of Food, one of my favorite blogging events of the year! The idea is to celebrate veganism and whatever parts of the vegan lifestyle are close to your heart. The participating vegan bloggers share recipes, stories, rants, photos, and inspiration, and I love seeing what everyone's talking about all month long.
I think the MoFo is also a great chance for folks who are veg-curious to give vegan eating a try. Like October Unprocessed, I don't think you have to go totally vegan. Cook vegan for a day or a week. Heck, make one vegan meal and see how you like it! The MoFo is about community, but it's also a great time for new vegans or folks curious about veganism to find some great recipes and information about being vegan.
I'm participating in both the Vegan Month of Food and in October Unprocessed, and it's been a fun challenge already. I try to stick to whole, healthy foods in my all year long, but I do enjoy the occasional vegan cheese or fake meat, most of which is off the menu because that food is highly processed. This is a learning experience for sure and I encourage anyone who'd interested in vegan food or cutting the processed junk to give these challenges a go!