The unprocess: Eating more natural foods

Andrew Wilder runs a challenge every October on his blog, “Eating Rules,” to encourage people to ditch processed foods.

October #Unprocessed is back. Are you taking the challenge?

For the fourth year in a row, Santa Monica, Calif., food writer Andrew Wilder of the blog “Eating Rules” is challenging America to change its eating habits for the month of October. The goal? Ditch the processed junk many of us eat on a daily basis.

But fear not: This challenge is not about deprivation and there’s no way to fail. In fact, Wilder would like you to spend the rest of the month eating delicious food and enjoying every bite.

So far, more than 9,000 people have signed the pledge at Wilder’s blog, and many will use the social media hashtag #Unprocessed to cheer one another on, swap recipes or commiserate about giving up the likes of artificial sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives.

Whatever you do eat must pass “the kitchen test,” as Wilder calls it – as in, could you theoretically make it in your kitchen using common ingredients?

He uses bread as an example. Many supermarket breads contain preservatives to prolong shelf life. It’s better, Wilder said, to find bread made of 100 percent whole wheat and no added preservatives. Chocolate also gets a thumbs-up from Wilder – if it’s made without preservatives, emulsifiers and the like. “Go for the high-quality stuff,” he said. (He personally recommends the Trader Joe’s Organic 73 percent Dark Chocolate Bar.)

Don’t worry about being “perfect” during this challenge. If you slip, Wilder said, just get back on track.

“I just want people to stop and read labels, and to think about what they are eating,” he said. Go online to read more about the challenge and why Wilder chooses October as the challenge month at latimes.com/Unprocessed.

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