Why I’m Giving up on Coffee: Milk’s Dirty Little Secret

Coffee Confessions:

After my juice cleanse experience last week it really got me thinking about everything I put into my body. I eat really clean, but I know there are things that sneak into my diet that I can get rid of. The first thing I started thinking about was my coffee. I know people in the health world have all sorts of opinions of coffee. Some think it’s great for energy before a workout and will help burn fat, while others think it’s terrible for you and makes you gain weight.

I have been a coffee drinker since high school. I seriously love it, but we have gone through all sorts of growing pains over the years. I used to pour in that delicious chemical creamer until I realized it was less coffee and more dessert. Eventually, I moved away from the processed stuff to good old cream and raw sugar. And I wondered why I struggled with weight

Now I know better. I go for straight coffee and unsweetened almond milk. This way I cut excess calories and sugar and just get the good stuff. I don’t necessarily drink it every day, I go through phases. Some weeks it’s part of my morning routine, while other weeks I might just have it once. Either way it’s a comforting ritual and something I love; especially since my drinks are so “clean.” Well…at least I thought they were.

At home I am usually good. I brew my organic coffee and add the purest almond milk I can find, but when I buy coffee on the go it’s a completely different story. Warning: I have a MAJOR bone to pick with pretty much every major coffee shop right now.

starbucksI’ve been off the Starbucks train for a year now, but mostly because I hate their coffee. Plus, they only offered soy milk that tasted like it was laced with sugar…Surprise! It is.

I had a glimmer of hope for them when they came out with coconut milk, but that’s also total crap. It isn’t actually coconut milk at all. It’s a coconut “beverage” that’s loaded with: Water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D.

Wow…So glad they added some Vitamin D in there. Yikes. First off, the fact sugar is added is a major red flag. You don’t need added sugar! Period. Secondly there are all sorts of stuff that is SO gross! Besides unnecessary calories, I’m talking serious metabolic issues (aka: weight gain etc)

  • Carrageenan is found in almost all of the processed non-dairy milks to thicken them and keep them from separating. It is derived from a red seaweed so people like the “natural” aspect of it, but it can also cause insane digestive problems like inflammation, stomach ulcers, bleeding and even cancer. What?!?!
  • Gellan gum, corn dextrin, xanthan gum are all more thickeners that can totally mess up your gut.
  • Tricalcium phosphate is a calcium supplement that may not do any harm, but is unnecessary.
  • Natural Flavors is a BS way of covering up the fact they add artificial stuff that tastes like the real thing. Fail.

Unfortunately I can’t just be mad at Starbucks….It’s basically every coffee shop out there. I figured some of the smaller chains or more artisan coffee shops, like my favorite ever Pete’s Coffee, had to have something better. Nope.

I decided to be “that girl” and started asking to see labels. I went to all the shops I love to see if by some chance they had a non-dairy milk without this stuff, but no such luck. Whyyyyy?!?!???

Every single one I looked at had carrageenan, which is one of the worst of the ingredients. The only milk I have found that doesn’t is the Whole Foods Organic Almondmilk, but, like any replacement milk, it has some of the other unpronounceable ingredients so….

I get it, in order to have longer shelf life they have to add fillers, but come on!

Shocker! I just saw that Blue Diamond Almond Breeze is in a big lawsuit, not because of what’s in the milk, but what’s not. Their UK website claims their almond milk only has 2% almonds. Say WHAAAAT!? That’s basically just flavored water + crap. Sounds super.


So here’s the thing. I know it’s not realistic to think I’ll never buy a coffee out again. Let’s be honest. Like everything, it’s about moderation. I definitely don’t want to drink that everyday, but if it’s every once in a while, than C’est La Vie.

That being said I just bought like 4 pounds of almonds and cashews that I’ve been attempting to make into my own nut milks at home! It is supposed to be pretty easy and I can control what goes in it.

I’ll definitely share my “milk”-making experience with you all, so wish me luck! I know it’s super granola of me, but I want to be able to enjoy a cup without feeling like I’m poisoning myself little by little.

So, what should I make? Cashew or Almond Milk? Have you made it before? Let me know below! If you’re looking for healthy swaps to your favorite foods, go checkout my REAL healthy page.


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Katie DunlopMartina Bergstromร้านอาหารญี่ปุ่นLauraAmanda Jo Recent comment authors
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Sally Anne

Can’t wait to see your almond milk recipe! Have been wanting to make my own for ages! I’m actually super new to drinking coffee. Living in high Aussie temperature locations and recently moving South I am FREEZING! and a cup of coffee seemed to hit the spot to warm me up. But I definitely don’t want to form a habit if its not good for my body. What’s my best opinion when ordering a coffee to socialise in these cold temps?


Hee Katie,

I haven’t drink coffee ever. Maybe sometimes to try, but I never liked it. I use green thee everyday. I used to hate it, but once you train yourself to like something, it will eventually. I would suggest stop drinking milk (because I think it’s bad for you) In stead you can better drink smoothies with fruit and veggies. I like it. But I’m vegan, so I almost need to, to get enough calories. Could you mail me? I wonder if green thee is good for you or not.


Thanks Katie for article really helpful. .


Thanks for this Katie. Some really interesting discoveries. I decided to cut back on my milk intake, instead of swapping to non-dairy. Now I drink my coffee black! I love it and don’t have to worry about extra calories:) p.s Really enjoy all your workouts and healthy tips.


Thanks for this post Katie. I finally started my food and fitness journey about 4 weeks ago and stopped drinking coffee to avoid using half and half and raw sugar simply to avoid adding extra fat. I definitely miss my coffee. After seeing this about the ingredients in other nut milks it’s so frustrating to me. I loved my coconut almond milk from Califia Farms, so I just went to my fridge to check the back and low and behold the “C” word is in it. So so bummed. What’s a girl to do? So if you are really craving… Read more »


Hi Katie, thanks for the info! Coffee is my only vice at this point…. BUT I totally agree with you on making your own milk. My dad makes almond milk 2-3x/week. I can get you the recipe we use and you can try it out. Hope all is well, I miss your beautiful face and am so happy to see you’re doing so well with everything!! Cheers 🙂

Kara Lough
Kara Lough

So I’m in the same boat as you as far as coffee drinking goes. Literally the same. Sometimes its a couple days a week, others its just one day. I do tea also. I used to do Coffemate to the extreme until I realized what I was doing! Yuck! Then I switched to Almondmilk until I realized its ingredients as well, although the Costco 3 pack of unsweetened Silk Almond milk does NOT have that thickener in it. The one that I can’t spell, starts with a C. Haha. It’s free and clear of it. But…I hated all the other… Read more »

Karen C

Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve discovered – scary indeed. And I’m a coffee lover so it gives me much to think about…!

Amanda Jo
Amanda Jo

This blog kinda makes me want to cry :'( . I love my coffee…..I don’t know how to wean off of it…Not sure my co-workers could handle that!!!!


Hence why I always order a black coffee. And there is no disguising a bad coffee when it’s black 🙂
I’m looking forward to trying your recipe and making almond milk. Does anyone ever make rice milk? The ones I buy here in Australia always taste overly sweet. I’m a bit scared to look at the ingredients now after reading this article! lol.
Thanks Katie for an interesting read.