February Extreme Challenge

>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Here's your extreme challenge for February:

Give Up Processed/Packaged Foods for a Month

To complete this challenge, you can...


  • Give up your biggest processed/packaged downfalls. Two types of processed foods that I just haven't been able to let go of are cold cereal and crackers. Maybe for you it's frozen pizza or ice cream. Just for one month, try giving them up.
  • Give up processed foods. Try spending a month making as much food as you can from scratch. Don't think you have time? Check out my Keep It Simple Stupid method of cooking, and later this month, I'll have more tips for saving time when cooking from scratch.
  • Give up all foods that come in packaging. Remember, it's just for one month, so push yourself to the limit. You might discover that giving up cheese makes your family miserable, or the extreme might force you to find a way to obtain cheese without packaging. Either way, you'll have a better idea of where your family's sweet spot is.
As always, you can modify these suggestions to meet your family's needs. Just make sure you:

Make a plan.
Write it down.
Post it somewhere you'll see it.

Here's what my family will be doing:

We've already purged ourselves of most processed/packaged foods. The main culprits that are still hanging around are crackers, cereal, tortillas, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles. Just for one month, I'm going to try feeding my family without those old standbys.

On the other hand, most of our other food packaging comes from milk, cheese, and butter, and my family will not be giving up those foods. We are mostly vegetarian, so I feel like those foods are very important for my family's health.

Will you accept the February Extreme Challenge to give up processed/packaged foods for a month? Let me know in the comments what your family will be doing.


You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays.

Like what you see? Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook! You can also find me over at The Green Phone Booth.


zsazsa February 2, 2010 at 7:08 AM  

Wow, what a challenge Erin, but a fun one! I'm taking this on! Processed/package foods are always in our grocery lists and although the task seems daunting at first, but your baby steps are really helpful! thank you! great blog, by the way. I love your "challengicous" concept!

Jeannie,  February 2, 2010 at 7:27 AM  

Hmmm....this post has motivated me to attempt to make my own almond milk. Wish me luck!

Thanks for another great challenge.

DramaMama February 2, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

Well....we had been doing awesome at the no cereal part before Christmas, but over the holidays and January we fell off the wagon!! I accept this challenge. Some of our other troubles have been crackers too and tortilla chips. They go so good w/chili!! I'm not sure I'm up to making my own tortillas, but maybe if I try it ONCE this month...Our other huge downfall is bread. I just can't seem to make a loaf (in the machine) that people consider good for sandwiches. It always turns out so dense! I will work on that this month too. Thanks for challenging me!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 2, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

@Jeannie - I'd love to hear how the almond milk goes!

@DramaMama - If you do make your own tortillas, you can turn them into tortilla chips by baking them in the oven. (There's a tortilla recipe in the recipe section of this blog.) I have to admit, though, that of the things we're giving up this month, I think tortillas are the most likely to come back. Burritos are my favorite quick meal!

Wonder-ful February 2, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

I've been thinking about this all day (well, since lunch) and I've concluded that the only possible step for me is the half-step between baby and jogging (speed walking step???). It's where I keep eating up the stuff that's already here while attempting to keep out any new stuff.

The thing that will be hard is the bread...and crackers. I don't eat them but that's what the bird seems to live on (other than seed).

Cherie February 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Although I haven't been posting or officially participating, I've been following your challenges. I already do many of your suggestions and have learned some new ones for the future. However, with Lent coming up, I've already decided on a sacrifice; can't torture myself too much. :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 3, 2010 at 8:58 PM  

@Cherie - Lent definitely takes precedence over The Conscious Shopper Challenge. :)

The Raven February 8, 2010 at 9:50 AM  

As I was thinking about this, my first instinct is that we've been doing pretty well. But then I realized that even WW pasta, and peanut butter, and cheese...and the loaf of bread we bought in the face of a two-foot snow story...and then there was that tub of hummus, and the yogurt...(and the chocolate bar and marshmallows and graham crackers--all destined to become s'mores...)

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