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It’s the 2nd of October – have you joined the October Unprocessed challenge yet? If you’re having trouble, here are some tips and tricks to help you get started.
1. Figure out what to look for & what things mean.
Most breads have bleached flour & sugar. Both are totally processed. Look for these and immediately put it down. Also, “enriched” flour is a no-go, so keep an eye out for that.
Once you start noticing a few of the ingredients that are red flags, make sure to put down the processed item.
If you simply don’t know what it means, look it up. You can make a decision only once you have the knowledge to do so. And you can always ask the unprocessed community.
2. Find your go-to pre-made unprocessed favorites.
No way are we are giving up bread and pasta. Last year we even made our own of both. It was difficult, the food came out denser than desired, and I got very hangry.
So – I kept my eye out for unprocessed bread and pasta.
We’ve found two breads that are completely unprocessed and our favorite pasta comes from Trader Joe’s. It has 3 ingredients in it – three types of whole wheat flour.
We will probably try to make bread again – but at least we have a couple of options to stave of the hanger.
3. Find a few good recipes
I am already cooking clean and bookmarking recipes left and right. I don’t cook, but if I plan to try 3 new recipes this week, maybe i’ll make at least one. I have already found a cookie recipe that I love, but I want to find another. I need variety. Plus – we really stocked up on whole wheat flour, oats, dark chocolate, and honey – so we’re set!
I’ve been following some pretty amazing instagrams. And yes it burns that they’re all 19 in “Uni” (University) and have so much time on their hands to look great and eat right. But I swallow my pride so that I can soon swallow the deliciousness that comes from their recipes.
And usually it’s super simple, like their version of ice cream aka “nice cream” or “nana ice cream” is really just blended frozen banana with some cacao nibs or some other fruit, nut, or cacao powder. My favorite is banana, cacao powder, and honey. yum. How simple is that?!
Once we find a recipe, like amazing 3 ingredient pizza dough that the boyfriend makes, we make it once a week. It gets so easy and common that you forget it’s completely unprocessed.
4. Cheat (a bit)
There are just some things that I can’t give up. Chocolate being one of them. If I tried to give it up, I would end up sitting alone in the dark, face covered in chocolate cake. mmm…cake.
In fact, I would but special equipment just to be able to make each ingredient in my kitchen. I don’t have the time or money for that. So the next best thing is to get as unprocessed as possible. I know chocolate, the way we know it, can never be sugar-free. So I try to get a certain amount of pure cacao – there’s a 73% from trader joe’s that I love. I have made it a rule to get over 70% cacao so that there’s little room for sugar and additives.
Though I have made my own chocolate with powder (ground cacao) honey & coconut oil sans special equipment (does a mini food processor count?), I still need the real stuff.
I cheat a bit on the weekends. My favorite Mexican joint one night, a wedding cake another night, and maybe a $5 organic donut from our local cafe. But, the very next day we’re back at it and finding a clean donut recipe to help our health…and our wallets.
5. Don’t give up
Ok there was free lunch in the conference room today. And though I stuck to eating my unprocessed bread, cheese & grapes – I still grabbed some salad. The dressing was delicious, but I assume there was sugar in it. (There’s sugar in most condiments)
That doesn’t mean I’m done for the day. “Welp, I messed up, let’s eat a bag of cheetos…” No. Not going to happen. I’m going to just do my best at every instance. And if you do end up eating a bag cheetos, enjoy it, really savor that bright orange, fake, processed “cheese” product. Because tomorrow, you won’t be eating it.
So head over to eatingrules.com and get signed up! It’s never too late.
I am so excited about the October Unprocessed Challenge. Never heard of it? Head over to eatingrules.com and get signed up!
Basically – if you can’t make it in your kitchen – it doesn’t belong in your mouth. So this means that you have to read your labels! Don’t know how they make “natural flavoring”? Me neither. So put that item down and make it yourself – with real flavors. Just search #cleaneats on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of recipes.
For more motivation – check out my slide show from last year: 7 reasons to go unprocessed!
One of the big issues I always face is: SUGAR. I have a crazy sweet tooth! And most sugar is very bleached and processed. Last year, I got very familiar with honey, maple syrup, & 70% + dark chocolate. I make an exception for dark chocolate. Raw cacao is too bitter for me, so I try to stay above a certain percent of cacao.
Based on my results from last year (dropped 7 lbs and learned to bake bread: win-win) – I want to focus on:
- Clean desserts (following a lot of people on Instagram for this)
- Clean weekends – last year, we got pretty lackadaisical on the weekends
- Cooking more. Right now, my boyfriend is a great cook, but if I can buy raw/unprocessed items – I opt for that instead of experimenting and making it from scratch. It’s time to get messy!
So I hope you’ll join me on this challenge. And if you invite me over for brunch, expect me to bring something unprocessed! Or a lot of fruit.
I just returned from Moscow! It was amazing, and yes it did help to get my creativity flowing again.
The first thing I noticed: the beautiful architecture. Every building in the town center has intricate detailing from centuries past, but they look as if they were just built. Apparently, once a building begins to look run-down, the city immediately starts working to repair it. I heard that the new mayor of Moscow has made it his mission to clean up Moscow. Literally. They wash the streets many times a day. They’re even out during the rain. (Send your water to CA!) They’ve opened many walking streets with beautiful, yet expensive, shops, and the parks are gorgeous with a lot of fun activities (ping pong or bocce ball, anyone?). We were visiting my boyfriend’s parents who have lived there for 3 years. They told us how much the city has changed since they first arrived. There’s always something new: beautiful lights during the winter, festivities year-round, and people out and about at all times. (I can’t imagine that in the dead of winter)
Check out some of the scenic photos:
The next thing I noticed: I looked like a tourist. Yep, I brought comfortable walking shoes, some boots, and flats. I am so glad I did! However, the women of Moscow don’t seem to care for flat shoes. Sure they have their ballet flats, but they seem to prefer the 5 inch heels. Even in the park! Even in the rain! Yep, in the rain, on cobblestone. And I’ve heard that they’re masters at wearing them in the ice and snow. I love my heels – but since I rarely walking in them in SF, I will definitely not be walking in them in Moscow!
We went to the Ritz for drinks (and of course we walked there) So I wore my boots, if only my heels folded up nicely to fit in my Kate Spade Clutch…
And finally, I realized, I really don’t know Moscow at all. On the one hand, the unemployment rate is next to nothing (1%, I think) but on the other – everybody talked about the tiny one-room apartments that houses an entire family. But of course – that’s the issue with being a tourist – you see everything from the outside and never really understand what it’s like to live there.
One day we wandered into a Russian exhibit where nobody spoke English. A young man who had wandered in behind us helped translate for us. We invited him to spend the rest of the day with us, at which he jumped at the chance. We hadn’t met anybody so friendly and outgoing. He wanted to practice his english & we welcomed the interaction. (I had tried on a few occasions to engage with people, must didn’t speak english or didn’t want to) He then spent the rest of the day with us wandering the park & space museum. We also met up with him the next day at the Kremlin. He noted, “I’ve never done any of these things before.” He told us some stories about growing up in Russia, living, dating, and working in Moscow. However, between my attempt to be polite by not asking too many questions and his english skills, I left Moscow wanting to know so much more. Next time.
Yes, there will definitely be a next time.
Hello! I know it has been such a long time since my last post. Over two months! I have hit a wall. The creative juices aren’t flowing. Sure there are some reasons: long hours, some summer blues, and traveling. But I can usually snap myself out of my rut – I think I’ve just gotten lazy. So no more. I’m snapping out of it. It’s silly – I have so many 1/2 written posts but just can’t figure out how to finish them. Or even worse – when I re-read them, I’m so unenthused by my own work that I scrap the whole thing.
So, from here on out – I’m just going to write. Tomorrow we leave for Russia. Yep – a week in Moscow. Still wrapping my head around it, but I’m really excited. I’m hoping that the 15 hour flight will give me time to write in my journal and get the brainstorming going. And the trip itself will get me out of my comfort zone, experience new things, and give me the push I need. I’ll come back energized and ready to write.
Yes I have high expectations for this trip, but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it. And if nothing does – I’ll be right back where I started. So why not, right?
As my mom likes to remind me, she would have never had kids if it weren’t for my father; he’s “different than the rest of them.” My father the mustachioed, loving, supportive husband with a big heart, deep values, a penchant for tweed, and a sarcastic wit. So in honor of father’s day, here are 15 thank yous:
1. Thank you for reading to me. From The Seven Voyages of Sinbad by my hospital bed, to your great British accent as you read the 1st chapter of Harry Potter out loud in an attempt to start family reading night which didn’t stick. I cherish the memories.
2. Thank you for your medical expertise. When you ran in to my room after I woke up screaming with a Charlie horse, massaged my calf, and then handed me a banana in the morning. Or the time I cut myself and you took matters into your own hand (so to speak): “Daddy, my thumb is bleeding” “Lick it off” “Eww” “I’m trying to watch your brother’s soccer game” “Daddy…” And you swiftly grabbed my thumb and popped it in your mouth. “There it’s not bleeding now.”
3. Thank you for letting me sleep with you and mom after a scary dream. Even more, thanks for taking my tiny twin-sized bed once your bed got too crowded.
4. Thank you for feeding me. It must have been annoying to hear, “we’re starvin’ Marvin” often. I didn’t know mom could even cook until I promised a home cooked meal to my high school boyfriend that she ended up cooking.
5. Thank you for teaching me to cook. From a “how to brine a turkey” lesson 3,000 miles away to the hands-on matzoh brie class in our kitchen. They both stuck!
6. Thank you for teaching me how to make a decision. I learned the hard way during one of driving lessons; backing up straight into the hill rather than picking a direction to turn the wheel.
7. Thank you for telling me “I’m nice and pretty” is not an acceptable answer to, “if you don’t get your grades up, what will you do?” I still think those factors got me this far, but maybe the MBA helps.
8. Thank you for teaching me that passion can speak louder than money. Your dedication to the public defender’s office of Los Angeles has been inspiring. More so, thank you for teaching me your passion for equality: everybody deserves a chance. Your fight for people who can’t afford lawyers breaks all public defender stereotypes.
9. Thank you for letting me know it’s OK to make more money than my partner. I can be my own knight in shining armor.
10. Thank you for all the uncomfortable conversations. Telling me things I may not have wanted to hear but had to. Thanks for letting mom handle a few of them too.
11. Thank you for telling me that my first boyfriend was a tool. Even if you only wanted him gone because he was “geographically undesirable” and you were stuck driving us around. He was a tool. He made out with some girl under the bleachers. What a cliché.
12. Thank you for the forbidden McDonald’s runs while mom was out of town. It was a fun way to break the rules every now and again.
13. Thank you for being involved and hands-on. Packing lunches, driving carpool, daily conversations and of course various activities (Girl Scouts, father-daughter events, watching every recital etc.). But, thank you, especially for stepping in as a flying monkey in the school play. I couldn’t be the best Wicked Witch of the West without a great flying monkey!
14. Thank you for showing me what a strong partnership looks like. Every marriage has its tests, but it your marriage always seemed like a loving friendship in which you and mom worked together as a team. It helped that you both had your own interests, called each other by first names, showed affection, had lives outside of your kids, and collaborated, like a jury, when planning a
15. Thank you for my curls & big personality. I’ve learned to love and embrace them both. I am definitely my father’s daughter.