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Why I Cut Ties With Starbucks & What I Replaced It With

Jan 22

I broke up with Starbucks.

Well, not totally. I broke up with their gross, nasty, pesticide containing, processed sugar filled drinks.  Like the ones you should avoid in my post about dangerous sugars here. I still drink their tea (with nothing added) & the cold pressed Evolution Juice they carry. Mint Majesty is my jam.  Matt & Starbucks on the other hand…they kind of have a “friends with benefits” relationship going on.  Maybe after reading this I’ll pull him from the dark side (we just started watching the Star Wars series).


The Dangers in Starbuck’s Coffee

After realizing what I was actually drinking and the damage I was doing to my body, I ditched that Iced Mocha Frap like last weeks bachelor girls.  (But seriously Lace should have been gone after the first episode).

According to the incredible Food BabeYou might think it is a bit radical to suggest not drinking their most prized ingredient that makes over 85,000 different combination of drinks, but it’s also radical drinking and paying a premium for coffee that’s ridden with potential toxins. Let’s get real here, they do not actually serve organic coffee at most Starbucks locations, which means (like all brands of conventional coffee) it’s been sprayed with pesticides. We all know Starbucks coffee ain’t cheap, but most people don’t know that regular consumption of conventional coffee can be a serious source of pesticide exposure.

Starbucks coffee is grown all over the world in developing nations. The United States doesn’t regulate the type and amount of pesticides foreign countries use in their production of coffee beans, which makes consuming non-organic coffee on a regular basis pretty risky. You could be drinking toxins from pesticides that are in fact banned here in the United States but not else where, like the pesticide Chlorpyrifos that is a contact poison. It has caused human deaths, and has been linked to birth defects. It is extremely toxic to birds, freshwater and marine organisms, bees, and other wildlife.

Furthermore, we know that increased exposure to pesticides are linked to birth defects, nerve damage and cancer. The President’s Cancer Panel has urged us not to consume food sprayed with pesticides and doesn’t believe any amount is safe.

And in regards to their decaf… did you know that conventional decaffeinated coffees are made decaf by soaking the beans with a chemical called ethyl acetate used in nail polish and glues and a carcinogen called methylene chloride?”


Think you are making the healthier option by choosing soy or coconut milk?

Food Babe states in her own words, “Logically, it makes sense to choose organic soy milk, since Starbucks decided to eliminate organic cow’s milk as an option a few years ago. But not so fast. Starbucks organic soy milk has one ingredient they would rather you not know about. This ingredient was recently highlighted in a report generated by the Cornucopia Institute and echoed in a recent NYTimes article about non-organic ingredients allowed in organic food. One of those questionable ingredients is carrageenan (<< also in Starbuck’s coconut milk!!), which is derived from seaweed and is in Starbucks branded organic soy milk. This substance is reported to cause intestinal inflammation and can be become a carcinogen once it is digested.

How such an ingredient became allowed in organic food is bigger than just Starbucks. However, companies ultimately make the decision to use or not to use these harmful ingredients.

Carrageenan can also be found in other Starbucks food and drink products including their cakes, scones, yogurt and Light Frappuccinos.” (source)

Scary Right?? I was kind of freaking when I read this and did further research.  But wait, there’s more…


Starbucks Drink’s Contain An Extremely High Amount Of Sugar

The quantity of sugar in some of Starbuck’s most popular drinks are outrageous!! The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day (25g), or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day (37g), or about 9 teaspoons. (source)

Here are a few drinks (directly from Starbuck’s nutrition facts menu) that contain more than the daily amount of added sugar:

  • Classic Chai Tea Latte with nonfat milk (43g) with coconut milk (39g)
  • Carmel Frappuccino Blended Coffee with nonfat milk & whip (64g) no whip (59g)
  • Carmel Frappuccino Blended Coffee with coconut milk & no whip (58g)
  • Mocha Light Frappuccio Blended Coffee with nonfat milk (26g)
  • Strawberry Smoothie  with nonfat or coconut milk (41g)
  • Matcha Green Tea Latte (Every basic girls fav) with coconut milk (61g)


What Do I Replace My Starbuck’s With

Support local organic coffee shops!  Give back to your community and find a new favorite.  Most all coffee shops have free wifi, so that’s not a problem if you want to go and get some work done.  A few of my favorite places in San Diego are: Better Buzz, Kona Coffee, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Turquoise Cafe, and Holsem Coffee.  Another way is to make your coffee or tea lattes at home!  This way you have full control over what ingredients you put in.  As far as coffee goes we get our coffee from the bulk bins at our local heath food store but  here, here, and here are a few organic, fair trade, safe choices and super yummy!  I like to make mine in a french press so all the coffee bean oils are preserved.  It’s super smooth!  We use this french press.

I hope after you read this you think twice about where you get your coffee from.  It’s always fun to try somewhere new! I don’t mean to hate on Starbucks, because I definitely still go there for their Mint Majesty tea & Evolution Juice!  I also find Starbucks SUPER convenient when I am traveling for work and just need to get to a quick spot to get some work done.  They are just so darn convenient! Just be mindful about what you are putting into your body and the negative side affects.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post!  It is definitely one of the most controversial topics we have done so far.  Positive vibes please!


//The Lokahi Sisters//  



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  • Reply Joan Stone Jan 22 at 7:21 pm

    It is interesting to read about Starbucks. It is important to do the research, and I am glad for this blog for checking things out. We have always supported local businesses, and I am glad to see you advocating for that too. I wonder about Free Trade coffee now. According to your article, Starbucks purchases their coffee from all over the world, potentially grown with pesticides. So, one has to wonder about the sources for the other brands. Worth more research, right?

    • Reply admin Jan 23 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you! It is definitely important to know where your favorite brands source from. Environmentally conscious coffee shops will make you aware of where their coffee is from by labeling it “free trade” and “organic”. Absolutely worth additional research 🙂

  • Reply D Page Jan 23 at 6:51 am

    WOW! I am shocked about the sugar and the chemicals. I just got a gift card to Starbucks so I’ll have to use it on the drinks you suggested! Thanks for the heads up!

    • Reply admin Jan 23 at 8:49 pm

      Of course!! Thanks for commenting D! There’s definitely other options at Starbucks, I totally couldn’t give it up 100% haha

  • Reply Carline Mccracken Apr 27 at 4:29 am

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    • Reply admin Apr 30 at 11:32 pm

      Thank you so much Carline! I am so glad you found it so helpful 🙂

  • Reply May 16 at 4:24 pm

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    • Reply admin May 16 at 6:05 pm

      Wow, thank you so much!

  • Reply Tara W. May 25 at 12:21 am

    I knew their coffee wasn’t the greatest, but oh my! You’ve got me worried about other coffee shops I frequent.

    While you pointed out some great options, it’s pretty bad that in general, prices are skyrocketing and the quality of things we get keeps going down. 🙁

  • Reply Amie Hawks Oct 27 at 8:29 pm

    Great read thank you!!

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