Saturday, November 3, 2012


I've always wanted to do a post about GMO's and now that its on the California ballot and has everyone's attention I think it's the perfect time...

I could talk about this all day, but I'm going to make it as easy and straight forward possible:

What is a GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism; an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

Why are GMO's bad?
I would assume this is obvious, but you never know. First of all a GMO is not something that naturally occurs in nature. Should you eat something that's unnatural? The answer is no, but people still do it, so I'll go on. Once genetically altered foods their mutant genes could be passed onto your bacteria in your digestive system. We still don't know exactly what these genes could cause, but my guess is that's its not good. When you think about a GMO, think of it as a pure breed dog. They don't last very long and end up costing you a fortune at the vet. A GMO plant also requires an excessive amount of pesticides and other "help" to keep it alive until it's ready to be processed.

What are the most common GMO foods?
Corn, soy, rice, cotton (cotton oil, the oil In n Out uses), papaya, tomatoes, rapeseed oil (canola oil, margarine), dairy products, peas, and potatoes. 
click here to read more about these products in detail. 

How do I know what foods are GMO safe?
Here's the hard part, as of right now this is mostly up to you and you educating yourself. Some foods are labeled GMO safe, but it's up to the company to judge that, there is no government regulations placed on the issue. Whole foods is good about labeling GMO, but they still sell products that contain GMO and not everything is labeled. Trader Joe's does not label GMO, but the company claims all Trader Joe's brand products are GMO safe. A friend of mine recommended an app called "fooducate" where you can type in the name of the product or scan the product and it will tell if it is GMO and other nutritional information. 

If I buy organic, is it non GMO?
No, not always. The product has to be 100% organic. The USDA can label something organic that is only 95% organic, so that other 5% could possibly be GMO because there are a few loopholes in the system. For example, a strawberry can be labeled organic even if they had their start in a conventional nursery. I was very surprised to find all this out because I thought buying organic was a safe way to avoid GMOs. This issue came up when I was discussing formula with a very pregnant friend of mine. Almost every formula contains GMO, even the organic ones. I can't even go on about formula because it makes me so flippin mad. You're all wasting your money on poison for your baby, end of story.

Not only will Prop 37 label GMO foods, it will also make prohibit products being labeled as "natural" (which really grinds my gears!). Technically high fructose corn syrup is made from corn so products that contain it, can be labeled as natural as well as GMO foods, which hopefully you know by now are not natural. There is a lot of money against this proposition because there are a lot of corporations against it like Kelloggs, Coca Cola, Campbells, basically every crap company out there. 

I'm not a political person and it's not the type of debate I like to get involved in, all I'm really asking of you is to be an advocate for yourself and your family. 

peace, love, & read your labels.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mac N Cheese Faceoff!

Now that I'm back on dairy, I've dabbled into my old mac n cheese ways. I've tried lots of gluten free pastas throughout my journey and I really like the quinoa blends the best. They have a firm texture and mild taste (some of those brown rice pastas make me want to barf!) So in searching for the best gluten free mac n cheese, I knew I wanted to go with a brand that used quinoa pasta. There's not too many out there and they can be hard to find. My local Whole Foods doesn't carry them so I had to go to the downtown store, which I suppose is a good thing, it's dangerous for me to have mac n cheese too close!

I love Ancient Quinoa Harvest gluten free pastas, I always have a box in my pantry! So naturally when I discovered their mac n cheese, I couldn't wait to try it. First of all, the "little elbow" noodles they describe on their website is all wrong. The noodles are almost penne size, not elbow. 

The "mild" cheese sauce they talk about however, is very true. The packet of cheese is about half the size of your average mac n cheese packet. That, combined with the bigger noodles, leaves you with a very bland bowl of mac n cheese. On the bright side, it's organic and since it's a corn blend pasta, that's very important (corn is the #1 GMO food, always buy organic!). While I love this brand, I do not love their mac n cheese and most likely will not buy it again. Kids would probably like it, but I'm very particular about my mac n cheese!


The other brand I came across (by accident) is Simply Shari's. This caught my eye because it's different than a box, why it's in a resealable bag, I have no idea, but it does definitely stand out. When I bought it, it was on sale for $2.99 which is a very good price when it comes to gluten free pastas. I was nervous about trying it based on my other bad experiences, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has your average size and shape mac n cheese noodle and a strong cheesy, salty sauce. The only thing I recommend with the sauce is that with other natural cheese sauces, they're hard to blend evenly in the noodles, so I like to whisk the powder and milk separately and then mix it into the noodles. Like I said, I'm very serious about my mac n cheese! Simply Shari's also makes pizzas and baked goods. If you don't know of a store that carries the brand, the website has a store order form that you can bring in! They say my Haight Street Whole Foods carries it, but I haven't seen it. I really want to try the pizzas! 

For my next challenge: 

I found this mac n cheese powder at Fresh and Easy. It's just the powder, so you can use any pasta you want! It's a smart idea and I can't wait to try it!

Peace, love and mac n cheese!

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Dairy,

Nope that's not a typo, that says DAIRY! In January of 2011 I decided to give up gluten and dairy. I was strong for a few months and felt great for the most part. Here's the other part: it would be 2 am after a night of drinking and I think it's a great idea to order pizza or the caprese panini on the menu just looks to good to pass up or I have a headache and "must have" mac n cheese; yeah I have a lot of excuses. The problem is that I was about 98% dairy free (except for these situations that happened maybe once a month) and so when I would slip up, it would wreak havoc on my system (I'll spare you the details), but it was to the point of nearly blacking out in pain. So I decided let's be real, I am obviously not this super dairy free being and I need to find a balance. In a perfect world these 5 items I'm going to talk about would be the only dairy I consume, but surprise! I'm not perfect.So by eating these dairy options that my system can handle, it helps me to tolerate the ones I cannot when I slip up.

1. Greek Yogurt 

I love the Fage! It's obviously zero fat AND low in calories and packed with protien. I always get the plain version and add either french vanilla stevia or agave nectar. The major downside to the greek yogurt revolution is that the flavored ones have about as much sugar as ice cream, so find creative ways to blend them with honey or fresh fruit when feeding them to the kiddos.

2. Siggi's Icelandic skyr style non fat yogurt

As I mentioned above, I never buy pre-flavored yogurt, until I discovered Siggi's (thank you Sandi)! Over at Siggi's they had the same issue with yogurt as I do, it's too sweet! They use fruit and a minimal amount of agave nectar in their flavored varieties, still only adding up to 9 gram of sugar per serving (totally within my rule limit). Like greek yogurt, Siggi's has a no fat, high protein, and low calorie content. The label also comes off easily to be recycled separately, if necessary. The only down side is that it can be expensive, so I typically only buy it when it's on sale. 

3. Trader Joe's Lactose Free Coffee Creamer

This stuff is great! It comes in a big bottle and a very reasonable price. It's lactose free (which is what usually upsets stomachs), contains no artificial flavors or hydrogenated oils, and only has 4g of sugar. It's also great to make homemade ice cream with or use in baking recipes. I ALWAYS have a bottle of this in my fridge!

4. Kefir or Tart Frozen Yogurt

I really like the Kefir brand frozen yogurt because it contains probiotics and comes in a variety of flavors. However, it runs about $5 a pint and has 16g of sugar, kind of against the rules for me. Fresh and Easy's mango tart yogurt is much more cost effective, I think around $3 for 32 oz AND only has 11g of sugar. The downside is that they only have mango and plain flavors AND I may or may not eat the entire carton :)

5. Mild, Soft Cheeses

Cheeses like brie, ricotta, cream cheese, and sheep's milk cheese are all ok with my system in moderation. Cream cheese on a rice cake, ricotta in gluten free ravioli's, all good. However, the 2 baked bries on my birthday...not ok. 

Always keep in mind that with any diet/food choices, it comes down to balance. Unfortunately, eating a brick of pepper jack cheese in a 12 hour period will never ever be a good idea. 

Peace, love & lactose, 

K. McGrubbin

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Pin it!

You all may or have not heard of a little phenomenon us crafty people like to call Pinterest. Well I put on my smart pants and added a "follow me on Pinterest" button right there in your right hand corner, above the "follow on Facebook" button (which you should also click). 

To specifically follow the Kendra's McGrubbin on the Daily board, click here:

you can have access to past posts and repin posts to your own boards! 

Pinning and Winning ;)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

fork-worthy quinoa veggie enchiladas!

So it turns out my other half is more into the 90% vegetarian lifestyle we started after watching Forks over Knives. I can't say I'm that surprised since he has always been the more health conscious one. I can't tell you how many times we've been out to eat and the server gives him my food. Um excuse me, I ordered the cheeseburger add bacon and avocado with chili fries AND he has the turkey burger and salad. haha. If I was to be a vegetarian I would be totally fine eating popcorn and broccoli all day, but unfortunately that lack of creativity doesn't fly with "the vegan" which I now affectionately refer to him as :) . Thanks to the help of pinterest and clean eating magazine I've actually come across some great recipes! This one is adapted from Clean Eating's southwest quinoa salad...

Quinoa Veggie Enchiladas 

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 green and 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 can a diced green chilies
  • 1/2 onion 
  • taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 lime 
  • pepper jack cheese (optional, I have a love/hate relationship)
  • corn (I used Trader Joe's roasted corn, yum!)
  • enchilada sauce (I used Fresh and Easy green sauce, it says it contains wheat, totally defeating the purpose of this being gluten free, ugh! I typically buy Fontera green enchilada sauce, highly recommended!)  
  • quinoa 
  • cilantro

found these tortillas at fresh and easy, yum!!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Slice bell peppers and onions and cook until tender. Prep all other ingredients; dice tomato, shred cheese, etc. Once everything is cooked, throw everything into a bowl: bell peppers, onion, tomato, cheese, black beans, quinoa, chilies, and cilantro. Squeeze in lime juice. Add taco seasoning and salt & pepper(I didn't measure, so eyeball it or season to taste) and stir. If you want to make it spicier, add some cayenne pepper. It will look like this: 

Next, lay a tortilla flat and spoon in the quinoa mixture. Fold the tortilla over, making sure the ends are on the bottom of the dish so everything stays inside. Repeat until you've made enough to your liking and cover with enchilada sauce and cheese, again totally by your preference. I know how you's kids like 'em extra sloppyyy (billy madison lunch lady voice :) Pop it in the oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and crispy in the ends of the tortillas. 

They don't photograph very well, especially on an iphone, but I wanted proof! They were absolutely delish and the vegan was very happy with my skills! Since it's just us, I had a lot of the quinoa mixture left over, so he took it to work and ate it as a salad the next day for lunch and loved it! I will definitely be making this again!

Veg on!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

I speak for the trees!

In honor of Dr. Suess's birthday and one of my all time favorite books, The Lorax, I've decided to do a post about recycling! 

If you know me personally, you know that I am all about recycling. I have 4 separate trash cans in my house and I am pretty crazy about what goes in them. My roommates over the years have definitely seen me dig through the trash and reorganize, or better yet make a wall of posters about what goes where. 
Believe it! 

Here is my OCD recycling set up:

trash, recycle, cans, and compost

I would really love the matching Simple Human recycling separator trash can, but my boyfriend would have me on the streets if he found out I spend $140 on "just" a trash can. eco conscious girl can dream :)

As important as it is to recycle, it is even more important to look at the packaging of items you are purchasing. Remember that song "reduce, reuse, recycle and close the loop." Now seriously think about it: If you're recycling plastic, say your dish soap bottle, isn't it just as important when you buy new dish soap that it comes in a bottle made from recycled plastic? Or better yet, bring the soap bottle to a natural foods store that sells soap in bulk for you to refill! I once used the same laundry soap bottle for 2 years! Close the loop people!

The most common things that are recycled are paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic. Plastic is very difficult to break down and most likely can only be "down cycled" or recycled into something else one time. Plastic is a dead end waste stream. So when you're out shopping next and you reach to buy something packaged in plastic, look around to see if there is an alternative. i.e I refuse to buy liquid laundry detergent because the powder version comes in a recyclable cardboard box and when it comes to buying soda or sparkling water, I only buy aluminum cans. 

Stores like Trader Joe's and Fresh and Easy are the worst offenders when it comes to packages. Yes, it seems very convenient when you're buying it all, but then you're left with an overflowing trash can after the fact. And besides, no one really needs 8 zucchinis! Come on TJ!

Here is my top 5 list of favorite recycled products: 

1. Preserve Products

This company has a deal with Stonyfield Farm where all of their products are made from recycled yogurt cups.  I use their razors and always keep an extra toothbrush in the cabinet for guests. They also have kitchen and table wear available on their website. The toothbrushes and razors come in packaging marked and ready for you to mail it back to Preserve for them to recycle again! Their process includes a sizeable reduction in greenhouse gases emitted, and significantly less water, energy, oil, natural gas, and coal used in making plastic.

2. Seventh Generation 

Not only are Seventh Generation products all natural and eco friendly, they are super packaging conscious, even their labels are recyclable. My favorites: lavender & mint dish soap in a 90% post consumer recycled plastic bottle, and their kitchen trash bags made with 55% recycled plastic. 

Did you know?! If every household in the U.S. replaced just one package of 30 count kitchen trash bags made from virgin plastic with 55% recycled ones, we could save 51,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 2,900 U.S. homes for a year!

3. Compostable produce bags

If you aren't shopping at grocery store that has these, I suggest you go to a store that does and steal some!! ...Or go buy some, I don't need a lawsuit here. BioBags are made from cornstarch, vegetable oil and other renewable resources. These are such a great idea and also very handy when throwing out that rotten cilantro - the whole thing goes straight in the compost!

4. Recycled toilet paper

I don't care what brand you chose, please please please switch to recycled toilet paper! Buying recycled toilet paper helps protect forests, clean water, and preserve wildlife. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council if every household in the U.S replaced a single roll of virgin fiber toilet paper with a 100 percent recycled one we could save 423,900 trees. I read something once that The United States is the only country who uses a specific type of tree to make ultra soft toilet paper, and huge forests are being cleared in search of it. Is your toilet paper really that important USA?! No one else seems to care that much!

5. Casabella Sponges

These sponges are made from 100% cellulose. Cellulose is derived from wood pulp, a renewable resource. When you're done with them, just throw them in the compost! And they're super cute too!



unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing is going to get better, 
it's not. 



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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Forks Over Knives

Yes, it's Valentine' Day, and I was going to post a great cupcake recipe with dairy free coconut spread frosting, but I guess it will have to wait. This is too important to me. If you haven't seen this documentary, you must. AND if you have seen it and changed nothing about your life, maybe you should watch it again. 

I'm outraged and this is going to be a complete rant/sh(bad word)-show type of post so hold on to your horses, and by all means don't eat them, yes the horses. Not that I know many people that do, but that was my awkward way of segway-ing into the synopsis of this documentary,  chill on the animal eating. Yes, I've had two glasses of wine. Bear with me.

Here's the facts: 2 out of every 3 of Americans are overweight, diabetes is on the rise, 50% of Americans are on a prescription drug, we think bypass surgeries and lap bands are no big thang, heart disease, cancer and stroke are the three leading causes of death. The list goes on, how many of you know someone who is autistic? Schizophrenic? Depressed?

It all comes down to food. Food is here to keep you alive, give you medicine; not give you a reason to socialize or be happy. People in this country are eating the wrong things and it is killing us. 

Guaranteed you know someone with breast cancer or any type of cancer for that matter; do you know how many people in Kenya have breast cancer? 82% less than the United States. In other foreign countries, you hear about health issues like AIDS, hepatitis, cholera, malaria. Yes, those are huge issues, but most of them are preventable and all linked to direct causes; poor water quality, sanitation, education, nutrition, etc. It's interesting to me that you never hear about the common health problems we face over here: cancer, diabetes, autism, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, etc. Among the massive amounts of things that could be wrong out there, I can't help but wonder if they must also be doing something right (without even realizing it).

The idea of this movie is that we should be eating more plant based whole foods and shy away from animal products including meat and dairy. It is so ingrained into our heads that these staples are important. Think about it, you most likely eat meat or dairy with almost every meal. Why? Is that right? Says who? Yes, protein is important. Do you need it from an animal? NO. Yes, calcium is important. But calcium can come from so many other things than a glass of milk. AND did you know that a large number of Americans over consume calcium and it actually creates an adverse affect? Seriously, google calcium and hip fractures.  

I'm completely guilty of the meat and potatoes mentality when it comes to food and nutrition, it's how most of us were raised. In our parents time, ready available and processed foods were just coming around. It's not until now that we're seeing the harmful affects of it and it's not too late to turn things around. It's important that we instill good eating habits in our children. I just got into a debate today about whether or not pretzels were a great snack. Well yes, sometimes its fine and even better if they're being eaten as part of a nutritious meal or paired with another healthy snack. Here was their reasoning: I don't want to argue and I just want them to eat. Well A) you're child is probably not going to die of starvation, they'll get over it and eventually eat what you put in front of them, and B) you're an adult and in control (or you should be), and C) no one ever died from having a temper tantrum. Do I think kids should not eat carbs? No, they run around like wild banchies all day, they need carbs. I just think that in today's society carbs are the main ingredient in a kid's diet; they need to be taught balance, moderation, and be introduced to a wide variety of foods. I know that I cannot control what a child eats for the rest of their lives. Will they gain a freshman 15? maybe. Will they sometimes grab a bag of cheetos on their lunch break? maybe. What I do know is that I have done all that I can to help develop healthy habits and hopefully as adults they don't struggle to drink 8 glasses of water a day and an apple can be viewed satisfying afternoon snack (most of the time:)

So, do I think you should give up animal products 100%? If you can that's great, but for most of us it's unrealistic. What I hope for most is that you eat different types of food in moderation. One of my biggest beefs (pun intended) I have with vegetarians, is that they are sometimes over weight or in poor health.(side note: I once read Drew Barrymore actually lost weight when she gave up being a vegetarian). No offense to Drew, but I think this is due to our need for instant caloric satisfaction. A vegetarian can technically eat an entire box of mac n cheese and say "hey it's cool I'm a vegetarian." Um what part of that was good for you? What?! You can't hear me because you just passed out in a gluten coma. Been there, done that. 

Oh, I so wish I could go into my rant about gluten as an opiate in people on the autism spectrum....

But I'll save it. 

Here's the challenge try eating one meal a day without animal products, no dairy and no meat. I think dinner is the hardest meal to do that with, so I raise that challenge to also cooking at least one dinner a week animal free. I am so glad my boyfriend watched this with me because he is backing me up 100%. I always stress out about cooking dinner because he's an athlete and some what of a country boy and "needs his protein." I only buy grass fed, pasture raised, organic meat, so not buying so much meat is going to save me a fortune. 

As far as recipes and cooking a balanced meal with plant based whole foods, I suggest doing a little google research, or use one of the latest and greatest search engines = pinterest :) If you're a fan of Whole Foods on facebook, they have a "meatless Monday" recipe up every Monday. Some restaurants in San Francisco also abide by this and have meatless specials on Mondays. 

You can also buy cookbooks suggested from the Forks Over Knives website by clicking here. 

eat to live, don't live to eat. 

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