Stephanie Weaver Recipe RenovatorThis is what a month of unprocessed food will do for you. Oh, and a great photographer. Thanks to Jen Sabo Spencer of Modern Tree Studio for a wonderful photo shoot! Now, on to my lessons learned.

Lesson #1: It’s worth the trouble to eat unprocessed
Part of the reason I took the challenge myself is that I felt I’d gotten off track with my eating habits. Ever since we went to France, where I pigged out on all the foods I avoid in everyday life, I have had trouble consistently sticking to my eating plan. Even though it adversely affects my health when I don’t stick to it. So taking the challenge, and documenting my meals on Facebook, really did help keep me honest. And I have to say that I feel fantastic! So I have recommitted to eating this way, with only one or two processed foods back in my diet (all are dairy substitutes, like Daiya cheese and soy creamer).

Lesson #2: Never say that you’ll document all your meals on Facebook
What was I thinking? Sheesh. Yes it kept me honest. But it was a pain, hard to remember (more than once I had to reconstruct my lunch plate and photograph it), and I frequently wondered if it was useful to anyone.

October Unprocessed lunch

I didn’t mind documenting this lovely lunch hosted by Liz the Chef!

Lesson #3: It helps to be part of a community
Talking with people on the Eating Rules’ Facebook page who were also taking the challenge, and visiting a friend who was eating this way, really helped.

Lesson #4: Self-sufficiency is innately satisfying
October Unprocessed motivated me to try making my own staples, which I found to be fun and satisfying. While not everything I tried has made the cut (yes to margarine, no to toothpaste), I will continue to try making and sharing my discoveries as I go.