I have been doing a lot of research on the whole unprocessed thing lately, and wow, it is more than I bargained for! The official October Unprocessed website has a ton of great resources, including this official guide, which I downloaded and read cover-to-cover.
What I discovered is that everything is processed. Well, okay, not really...but if you're going whole-hog, so to speak, a lot more things are forbidden than I'd thought about: white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup (okay, I knew all of those), anything with "natural flavors" on the label, or soy lecithin, or carageenan. No corn starch (eek! but my favorite ice cream recipe uses corn starch!). No dutch processed cocoa, no chocolate bars (kinda figured that one). The only "allowed" oils are evoo, unrefined coconut, butter, and peanut. No table salt. You have to check the labels on cheese, butter, yogurt...even milk, because sometimes they add things in. Meat: check the label; most of it has stuff added to it.
One thing I really liked about the guide is that they give really clear reasons and explanations for why things pass or don't pass the "kitchen test" -- they define "unprocessed" as anything a normal person with some cooking skill could make in a home kitchen with whole ingredients.
The other thing I really like is that they make it clear that you need to make the unprocessed goal work for you. So they suggest setting an intention: being clear about what your goals are and striving to meet those, and/or making deliberate exceptions before you even start, so that if you have something that's processed, you're not "cheating" and you don't have to rely on your willpower in a tough moment.
Armed with all of this knowledge, hubby and I had a big discussion about our goals for this challenge. I am so glad he is on board; I do not have faith that I could do this all on my own. More on our specific goals later........ (Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, I've decided to document our work on this challenge here. I have been in a blogging funk lately, and I'm hoping this will not only help us on our unprocessed journey, but also get me back in the habit of daily writing.)