I have always loved coffee. Coffee was one of my favorite things to drink because I enjoyed the taste and I loved putting creamer and sugar or flavored syrups in it and “foofing it up” so that I could have a foo-foo drink. Thankfully, I really never drank coffee because of caffeine or because I needed an energy surge. I usually ordered decaf but still Starbucks was a multi time per week stop for me and something that I really looked forward too. I felt pampered because I could go get a “premium” cup of coffee.

After changing my diet and lifestyle due do my rock bottom health crisis I realized two things. The first thing was that I could not tolerate coffee due to the fact that it exacerbates intestinal permeability, and has a negative impact on my thyroid and at the time any little bit of caffeine (which decaf has) would further hinder my adrenal glands recovering from the burnout they were in from the chronic stress and lack of sleep I had for years. On the same note, coffee is a known gluten cross reactor which means if you have a gluten intolerance (as with Celiac or Hashimotos) and you eat any foods that have a similar protein structure to gluten, your body may mistakenly see those proteins as gluten and react to them causing inflammation and antibodies in your system just like they would as if you ate gluten. With autoimmunity I don’t need anything consistently exacerbating or increasing my inflammation or antibodies.

The second thing I realized was that if it wasn’t for the dairy and sugar I really was not going to drink black coffee. I drank the “foo-foo drink” because I was craving the sugar and dairy sugar and honestly, addicted to it. The drinks I purchased at Starbucks were FULL of sugar and many other chemicals that are far from natural that were increasing the inflammation in my body. It was a blessing in disguise that I really couldn’t tolerate coffee anymore because it made me let go of the sugar, dairy, chemicals and GMO’s that were in the drinks as well.

Being that I don’t indulge in coffee drinks multiple times a week anymore because I had to let that go I have come to find some other foods and drinks I look forward to and feel like an indulgence for me. Most of them are also around the same price as a coffee drink at Starbucks or any other specialty coffee shop too. They are also all GMO free, organic and chemical free and nourish my body instead of damage or deplete it. Here they are in random order.

Rhythm Kale Chips

I like their Zesty Nacho kale chips. There are so many varieties of kale chips out there to choose from. These chips work for me because they satisfy the crunch factor that I often crave. They don’t have nuts in the ingredients (only seeds which I can tolerate on occasion) and my local natural grocery store carries them. I am sure you can find some or even make some. I will be sharing my own kale chip recipe soon on Feasting On Joy too so check back. Snacking on these is a real treat and I usually eat a whole bag in one sitting. I know, I’m a rebel!

Dang Coconut Chips

These are such a simple idea and honestly something I could make at home just like the kale chips but that’s the fun of an indulgence is that it’s already made for you and you just open and eat. They have a no sugar variety, regular variety (that uses organic sugar) and a Caramel Sea Salt flavor (that uses coconut sugar.) They also have chocolate covered and Greek yogurt covered coconut chips but they have lecithin in them as well as dairy. I know they are certified GMO free but if the lecithin comes from soy then I can’t have it. Soy and I don’t get along. I do love this snack and I feel spoiled when I buy a bag of these and again they relieve a crunch craving or even a sweet craving that I have. The store I buy these at I can get two bags for the price of one coffee drink. I don’t eat two bags in one sitting though!

Organic (Swiss Water Process) Decaf Coffee and Ghee

I know, I know, I said above the reasons why I don’t drink coffee due to intestinal permeability and it being a gluten cross-reactor. What I said is very true and applies to me in a big way but I have found as I have healed that once in a blue moon I can make myself a cup of organic coffee at home using organic swiss water processed decaf coffee to stay away from chemicals in growth and production. I add some coconut oil, ghee and honey to it and have a delicious coffee drink complete with foam! Adding the fats to it makes it rich and creamy and also helps protect my gut lining and nourish my mitochondria making for a clear brain and great energy.

Here’s how I make it: I use a french press and make medium strength organic decaf. When it is done brewing I add (for one and a half cups coffee)- 1.5 tsp. ghee, 1.5 tsp. coconut oil, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional) and 1 tsp. raw local honey (added once the coffee isn’t terribly hot.) Using an immersion blender (essential for the foam,) I blend all the ingredients for about 1 minute and during that process the ghee forms a foam on the top. This drink is luxurious and rich and very decadent. This kind of coffee that I make is a slightly different, dairy free version of Bulletproof Coffee®.

Organic, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Bars

I like to keep a stash of these chocolate bars for that time when I want something sweet. For me, chocolate has to be a rare indulgence too since it is also a gluten cross reactor and can exacerbate leaky gut as well. When I eat some it is usually only one or two squares. The darker the chocolate the better when eating chocolate bars because it means the sugar content is lower. Also, be sure that you are getting organic so that GMO’s will not be a part of your indulgence. Read the fine print because if it was processed in a place that processes wheat then it is not gluten free even if it says it is. I love using a square of these on GMO free Marshmallows with a homemade “graham” cracker for homemade clean smores!

Organic Herbal Tea with Certified Therapeutic Essential Oils

Especially during colder months or brisk evenings I love drinking organic loose leaf hot tea. I get mine here because it is free from mold, fungus and it is organic and picked and the peak of purity.I prefer loose leaf tea because then I don’t have to think about the bleach in a tea bag or the plastic leaching into my tea from the newer net type tea bags.

A warm cup of tea is very comforting to me. The type of tea I order makes it an indulgence and furthermore what I add to it makes it even more therapeutic and a treat. Once my tea has come to a warm state (rather than hot so as not to kill active constituents in the oils), I like to add one drop of Lemon Essential Oil and one drop of  Wild Orange Essential Oil along with 1 tsp. of raw local honey. The honey enables the oils to disperse into the tea and gives it some sweetness. *By the way, if I don’t have any loose leaf tea on hand then I like this organic herbal tea as well. It goes perfectly with the essential oils. If you need essential oils or want to learn more about their therapeutic benefits click here. I look forward to my cup of tea multiple times a week and it serves as a great indulgence and much healthier substitute for chemical laden, high sugar Starbucks Coffee.

Boulder Sea Salt Chips

Potatoes really aren’t on my “eat every day list” since they are a nightshade, have lots of gut damaging lectins and can spike blood sugar due to their high glycemic index BUT there are times when I just want a potato chip that is crispy and full of flavor. Boulder has created that! These chips are fried in Avocado Oil which is a healthful alternative to the ultra damaging canola, corn or peanut oil. Avocado oil is wonderful, nutritious oil that does not oxidize easily and can withstand higher heat. I love that. These are gluten free and non-GMO and that is a good thing because potatoes are on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list as having higher pesticides and to EWG says to avoid non organic ones.

This is a short list of indulgences for me. Aside from the tea and Pure Therapeutic Essential Oils, these are once in a while splurges. For coffee, I have it more like once every six months. I don’t want to get into any habits that make my healing go backwards and so I am cautious about eating/drinking these things too often. Really, any treat should be that way and is not an everyday thing when maintaining health with autoimmunity.

Maybe you can find a substitute for that daily latte or mocha? Maybe you could give up coffee all together? (I know you are laughing out loud right now but you will probably feel better for it!)

One quick note – I am not anti-Starbucks. Although they are not my favorite coffee shop due to some political things they stand for and support the use of chemicals and GMO’s, I sit at Starbucks typing this post drinking the only drink I can have here which is a Mint Majesty Hot Tea. It’s still not really the best because it is not organic and has a toxic tea bag but sometimes I have to get out of the same four walls and into new surroundings to have a different focus. Plus, this is the closest place to Awana (where my kids are at this evening) so it is my stop for the night! There is a better coffee shop in my area that serves better drinks with better ingredients that are organic but it was too far away. Just thought I would share to help you know I am human! Sometimes I actually just get a cup of hot water and bring my own tea bag too.

FYI, if you do go to Starbucks and get a drink TAKE OFF THE LID before you drink your beverage. Their lids are not BPA free and heat and acid leach BPA (a known endocrine disruptor) out of plastics at a higher rate! It is one of the highest sources of BPA contamination out there.

Cheers to finding better, healthy alternatives to GMO’s, sugar, pasteurized dairy and chemical filled coffee!

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  1. Hello! Just found your blog. Love it. It took me years to figure out my Hashimoto’s diet so it’s very validating to find someone who has discovered the solution as well. And this diet was a secret for too long!

    Did you know chocolate is also a gluten cross-reactor? I know we are all different and some can tolerate chocolate. I think like coffee, it’s another food very difficult to give up as it affects brain function and is addictive. In fact for me, chocolate is worse than just about anything. Too many people suffering from depression or other brain issues and will still fight to keep their coffee and chocolate when they shouldn’t.

    • Jennifer

      Hi Rum Raisin! Food is so powerful for healing (or hindering healing – depending on what you’re eating) I agree, it is nice to find chronic illness conquerors who have committed to diet and lifestyle changes. I did know that gluten is a cross-reactor. Actually, there are lots of foods that are, like bananas and corn and lots more! For years I could tolerate chocolate well and coffee. Then my body went into a mild flare and those two foods do not sit well with me anymore. However, I haven’t lost hope! Through deep cellular healing and detox, I will gain the ability to eat those foods again. It’s great to hear from you. I am so pleased to hear that you have found healing!

  2. Thank you so much for this list. I will got be on the lookout for these at my health food stores!! I have to go gluten free due to hashimoto’s and h pylori. It was so hard to give up treating myself to starbucks or any other frothy coffee shop delicacy. Now I am just herbal tea every other day. I’ve been interested in health food for nearly 10 years now, and now that I have this autoimmune disorder along with a stomach infection, I am really trying to absorb as much new information as I can, when before I didnt have to worry about gluten. It’s not easy finding everything I want GLUTEN FREE and it also tastes different sometimes..so it’s hard to get used to some things, but it is so worth it. Ready for full optimal health again. Thank you so much for this <3

    • Jennifer

      Hi Amber, You’re very welcome for this list! Originally, when I went gluten free it was very hard too. It was God’s way of preparing me for what was to come in eating the GAPS way and then Autoimmune Paleo. Great job for doing what you are doing! It’s a wonderful start to healing. Good news for you is that you can heal from your infection and remit Hashi’s symptoms. You can check out my health journey to see the things I have done to thrive again rather than just survive! Here it is: https://feastingonjoy.com/about/my-health-journey/


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Jennifer | Feasting On Joy

Hi! I’m Jennifer

It's great that you stopped by. I am thrilled to help you create your own holistic life and guide you to healing your autoimmunity.

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